In 2012 six different players started at least one game in the #4 spot of the lineup for the Indians, led by Carlos Santana, who was there for 82 games. Travis Hafner, Michael Brantley and Jose Lopez (?!) each also started there 20+ times. It's possible Santana will spend most of 2013 there as well, or Nick Swisher may bat cleanup more frequently instead. According to the Play Index at Baseball-Reference, since 1916 (which is as far back as complete box scores go), there have been 241 different players to start a game as the #4 hitter for the Indians (that's noticeably fewer than have started in the lead-off, #2, or #3 spots). 37* of those players have collected at least 500 plate appearances while batting cleanup. That's the cut-off point for these rankings. *Among those 37 player is one best known to fans of baseball history for his pitching: Smoky Joe Wood. Wood was one of the best pitchers in baseball from 1909 to 1915 (with the Red Sox). He led the American League with 34 wins, 35 complete games, and 10 shutouts in 1912. Baseball-Reference has him at 10 WAR that season. In 218 career games with Boston, Wood's ERA was 2.03, good for an ERA+ of 150. In 1913 though, he broke his thumb. It never healed properly, and while he continued to pitch, and his results remained strong, he was in great pain for the next three years. He decided to sit out the 1916 season and most of 1917 too.
The Best Cleanup Hitters in Cleveland Indians History
Let's Go Tribe | Feb 6