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Predicting the Starting Lineups of All 30 MLB Teams

Doug MeadCorrespondent IJanuary 8, 2017

Predicting the Starting Lineups of All 30 MLB Teams

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    Predictions are much like opinions, and certain parts of the anatomy—everyone has one.

    The internet is certainly filled with them, from scientists and anthropologists predicting the day the world ends, to predicting who will win the Oscars each year, and pretty much everything else in between.

    Baseball is certainly not immune from predictions, either. At any time on the web, there are prognosticators predicting this year’s MVP Award winners, Rookie of the Year Award winners, Cy Young Award winners and every other award imaginable.

    Yet others are predicting who will win each division, each pennant, and who will win the World Series. So, in keeping up with the tradition of predictions, Bleacher Report will join the fold.

    Here is our prediction for the Opening Day starting lineup for each MLB team.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. SS Willie Bloomquist

    2. 2B Aaron Hill

    3. RF Justin Upton

    4. C Miguel Montero

    5. CF Chris Young

    6. LF Jason Kubel

    7. 1B Paul Goldschmidt

    8. 3B Ryan Roberts

    9. SP Ian Kennedy

     

    The Arizona Diamondbacks went out and tamed the West last season—the NL West, that is. Fresh off their surprising division title, GM Kevin Towers went out and reloaded for another run in 2012. Kubel takes over in left for Gold Glove-winning Gerardo Parra, and while it’s definitely a dropoff in defensive abilities, Parra now gives manager Kirk Gibson flexibility in his outfield.

    Stephen Drew is still several weeks away from a return, and will likely start the season on the disabled list. Drew is only eight months into his recovery from a broken ankle suffered last July, and likely won’t be in action until early May at the latest. Bloomquist should get the nod for now, with John McDonald also in the mix.

    If Goldschmidt can deliver on the power, he could very well slide into the cleanup to provide protection for Upton. Nonetheless, it's a pretty solid lineup.

Atlanta Braves

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. CF Michael Bourn

    2. LF Martin Prado

    3. 3B Chipper Jones

    4. C Brian McCann

    5. 2B Dan Uggla          

    6. 1B Freddie Freeman

    7. RF Jason Heyward

    8. SS Tyler Pastornicky/Andrelton Simmons

    9. SP Jair Jurrgens

    The Atlanta Braves are looking to put last year’s collapse completely behind them, and they’ll be doing it with essentially the lineup that brought them crashing down to earth in late September.

    Braves GM Frank Wren made virtually no moves during the offseason, save for the Derek Lowe deal with the Cleveland Indians. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez departed via free agency, handing the reins over to young Tyler Pastornicky, who thus far is hitting .091 in seven spring games.

    However, not so fast. Another young shortstop in the Braves' system, 22-year-old Andrelton Simmons, has dazzled thus far in camp with his superior defense, and is hitting .300 this spring after leading the Carolina League in batting last year. No less than 40-year-old veteran Chipper Jones has been blown away by Simmons' abilities.

    "This kid has got it all," Jones said. "When you haven't played a game above [Class] A ball and everybody who sees you says you're Major League-ready defensively, that's saying something.

    "He's confident, but he's not outwardly showy. He's like another former player from Curacao (Andruw Jones) who knew the game came easy to him. That's fun to watch."

    Jurrjens draws the Opening Day starter nod with Tim Hudson shelved until early May. Jurrjens allowed six walks in his start against the Yankees on Saturday, however his right knee, which plagued him the second half of last season, appears to be healthy.

    The Braves will clearly be aided by a full year of Michael Bourn at the leadoff spot, and right fielder Jason Heyward will be expected to bounce back from a miserable sophomore season.

Baltimore Orioles

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. LF Nolan Reimold

    2. RF Nick Markakis

    3. SS JJ Hardy

    4. CF Adam Jones

    5. C Matt Wieters

    6. 3B Mark Reynolds

    7. DH Wilson Betemit

    8. 1B Chris Davis

    9. 2B Robert Andino

    Opening Day Starter: Tommy Hunter

    The biggest issue facing the Baltimore Orioles this spring for manager Buck Showalter is finding a candidate to lead off.

    With second baseman Brian Roberts still recovering from concussion symptoms and with no timetable set for his return, there is no obvious choice for a replacement at the top of the order. Showalter used Hardy a few times last season, but with his power is more suited for the middle of the order.

    Showalter has tinkered with left fielder Nolan Reimold at the leadoff spot as well, which very well could be the best option at this point. The O's have power in Hardy, Jones, Reynolds, Davis and Wieters—it's just a matter of getting runners on in front of them.

    With the trade of Jeremy Guthrie to the Colorado Rockies, there is also no clear cut Opening Day starter. It will likely be between Hunter and Jake Arrietta.

Boston Red Sox

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury

    2. 2B Dustin Pedroia

    3. 1B Adrian Gonzalez

    4. 3B Kevin Youkilis

    5. DH David Ortiz

    6. LF Cody Ross

    7. RF Ryan Sweeney

    8. C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

    9. SS Mike Aviles

    Opening Day Starter: Jon Lester

    The Boston Red Sox, much like the Atlanta Braves, are looking to rebound from a disastrous finish to their 2011 season, and they'll do it with a lineup that is once again potent.

    Left fielder Carl Crawford will likely start the season on the disabled list, giving Cody Ross a chance to see if his swing is perfect for Fenway. Sweeney, acquired from the Oakland A's in the deal that brought over closer Andrew Bailey in exchange for Josh Reddick, will also be given the opportunity to see regular time in Crawford's absence.

    In a perfect world, manager Bobby Valentine would love to have Crawford leading off, moving Ellsbury down to take advantage of his power and production. However, the 1-2 punch of Ellsbury and Pedroia at the top of the order still isn't a bad table-setting duo for A-Gone, Youk and Ortiz.

    Valentine has yet to tip his hand on who he plans to start on Opening Day, however, Lester is on track to start the opener based on current rest.

Chicago Cubs

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. RF David DeJesus

    2. 2B Darwin Barney

    3. SS Starlin Castro

    4. 1B Bryan LaHair

    5. LF Alfonso Soriano

    6. C Geovany Soto

    7. CF Marlon Byrd

    8. 3B Ian Stewart

    9. SP Matt Garza

    The Chicago Cubs will field an Opening Day lineup that could be completely different in just a matter of months.

    Manager Dale Sveum has already tabbed DeJesus in the leadoff spot, preferring DeJesus' overall abilities that Sveum feels are needed at the top of the order.

    “Yeah, [DeJesus] is going to be the leadoff guy, there’s no question,” Sveum said. “He’s really our only bona fide on-base guy that obviously can hit and he hits left-handed. He brings all the intangibles that nobody else in the lineup really has brought to the table yet in their careers.”

    However, if DeJesus is unable to improve on last year's .323 on-base percentage, that could change. For now, LaHair will be given every opportunity to show he's finally for prime time at the age of 29, and Stewart will hope that the change of scenery allows him to reach his potential. If not, the Cubs lineup in June could feature Josh Vitters at third and Anthony Rizzo at first.

Chicago White Sox

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. CF Alejandro De Aza
    2. C A.J. Pierzynski
    3. CF Alex Rios
    4.1B Paul Konerko
    5. DH Adam Dunn
    6. SS Alexei Ramirez
    7. LF Dayan Viciedo
    8. 3B Brent Morel
    9. 2B Gordon Beckham

    Opening Day Starter: John Danks

    The Chicago White Sox have plenty of potential in the lineup, however, it's a lineup heavily predicated on bounceback seasons from Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham.

    Morel will look to capitalize on a strong 2011 finish and Viciedo has shown he can rake, so if they establish themselves early, new manager Robin Ventura could tweak the order. De Aza will also be expected to provide the ability to consistently get on base as he showed in limited action last year.

Cincinnati Reds

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. 2B Brandon Phillips

    2. SS Zack Cozart

    3. 1B Joey Votto

    4. RF Jay Bruce

    5. 3B Scott Rolen

    6. CF Drew Stubbs

    7. LF Chris Heisey

    8. C Ryan Hanigan

    9. SP Johnny Cueto

    Ideally, Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker would love to have Stubbs at the top, but the continued lack of plate discipline (.321 OBP, 205 Ks) is still a major concern. Rolen appears to be fully healthy and will be a key in the middle of the order, and Hanigan will likely start, for now. Devin Mesoraco is the future and will likely supplant Hanigan at some point in 2012.

    Cozart will look to once again show his potential after hitting .324 in just 11 games last season before suffering an ankle injury that ended his season. Now recovered from two surgeries (ankle, elbow), Cozart has seen quite a bit of time as the team's second hitter this spring, a role that seems to fit him perfectly.

Cleveland Indians

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. CF Michael Brantley

    2. SS Asdrubal Cabrera

    3. RF Shin-Soo Choo

    4. C Carlos Santana

    5. DH Travis Hafner

    6. 1B Casey Kotchman

    7. 2B Jason Kipnis

    8. LF Shelley Duncan

    9. 3B Jack Hannahan

    Opening Day Starter: Justin Masterson

    The Cleveland Indians have a lineup absolutely loaded with left-handed hitters, two of them switch-hitters. Second baseman Jason Kipnis showed great promise in the last two months of last year and could find himself in the No. 2 hole later in the year if he continues his natural progression.

    The two big question marks are at third and in left. Indians manager Manny Acta has already acknowledged that his toughest decision will be who his third base starter will be between Hannahan and Lonnie Chisenhall.

    "It's going to be one of the toughest decisions we're going to make," Acta said. "But, you know what? At the end of the day, this kid [Chisenhall] is only 23 years old. If he's ready to go, we'll take him. If we don't feel it's best for us and for him, then we won't."

    The logjam of candidates for left field is no picnic for Acta either, as he continues to audition players for the role, including Duncan, Felix Pie, Aaron Cunningham and Ryan Spilborghs, among others.

    It may come down to Spilborghs and Duncan, however Acta will likely plug and play during the season until Grady Sizemore returns later in the season. Then, the picture gets a whole lot muddier.

Colorado Rockies

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. CF Dexter Fowler

    2. 2B Marco Scutaro

    3. LF Carlos Gonzalez

    4. SS Troy Tulowitzki

    5. RF Michael Cuddyer

    6. 1B Todd Helton

    7. C Ramon Hernandez

    8. 3B Casey Blake

    9. SP Jeremy Guthrie

    Colorado Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd became the Ty Pennington of MLB this past offseason.

    Pennington, the host of the ABC show Extreme Makoever, had nothing on O'Dowd in terms of completely revamping and rebuilding. He brought in veterans Balke, Hernandez, Cuddyer and Scutaro, not just for their talents on the field but for their character as well.

    In addition, O'Dowd brought in several new faces for a starting pitching staff that sported a horrific 4.73 ERA last season. Juan Nicasio appears fully recovered from the horrible neck injury sustained last year, and Guthrie brings a workhorse mentality along with him from Baltimore.

    O'Dowd also has two terrific prospects in third baseman Nolan Arenado and catcher Wilin Rosario, both of whom could impact the 2012 season as well.

Detroit Tigers

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. CF Austin Jackson

    2. RF Brennan Boesch

    3. 3B Miguel Cabrera

    4. 1B Prince Fielder

    5. DH Delmon Young

    6. C Alex Avila

    7. SS Jhonny Peralta

    8. LF Andy Dirks

    9. 2B Ryan Raburn/Brandon Inge

    Opening Day Starter: Justin Verlander

    With the addition of Prince Fielder, the Detroit Tigers will certainly have no issues putting runs on the board.

    The 3-7 hitters in the lineup are as good as it gets. A healthy Boesch will be a welcome addition in the No. 2 hole, and manager Jim Leyland will have some decisions to make regarding DH, third base and left field.

    Brandon Inge could also impact the lineup at second base, drawing rave reviews for his work there thus far. Inge's impact on the lineup will hinge upon his bat, which led to a demotion last season and a paltry .197 average, although he hit much better in the postseason.

    Young seems much better-suited to a DH role with a questionable glove in left, and Dirks is hitting .400 in five spring contests. Ryan Raburn gives Leyland a terrific option with his flexibility as well.

Houston Astros

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. CF Jordan Schafer

    2. RF Jason Bourgeois

    3. LF J.D. Martinez

    4. 1B Carlos Lee

    5. SS Jed Lowrie

    6. 3B Jimmy Paredes

    7. C Jason Castro

    8. 2B Jose Altuve

    9. SP Wandy Rodriguez

    The Houston Astros will be looking for sharp improvement over last year's 106-loss season, and manager Brad Mills will likely continue shuffling lineups this spring for a roster that's still a work in progress.

    Schafer and Bourgeois at the top of the order brings the element of speed, especially with Bourgeois, who has the ability to match Michael Bourn's stolen base totals if he can get on base at a decent clip.

    Outfielder Brian Bogusevic could be in the mix as well, and infielder Angel Sanchez is working his way back from back pain that has limited his participation.

    Castro returns from knee surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2011 season along with a broken foot suffered in the Arizona Fall League.

Kansas City Royals

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. LF Alex Gordon

    2. 2B Johnny Giavotella

    3. DH Billy Butler

    4. 1B Eric Hosmer

    5. RF Jeff Francoeur

    6. 3B Mike Moustakas

    7. C Salvador Perez

    8. CF Lorenzo Cain

    9. SS Alcides Escobar

    Opening Day Starter: Jonathan Sanchez

    Last year, the Kansas City Royals finished their disappointing 2011 season on a positive note, winning 15 games in September. This spring, there is optimism in the air with a strong core group of young, home-grown talent in the mix.

    Gordon experienced a breakout season in the leadoff role, and Butler was one of the most consistent designated hitters in the American League. Hosmer put together a terrific rookie year and seems poised to break out, and Moustakas gained valuable experience last year as well.

    Perez is clearly the backstop of the future for the Royals, having just signed a five-year, $7 million contract with options that take him through the 2019 season. Perez hit .331 in just 39 games last season.

    Sanchez is likely to be the Opening Day starter in his first year in Kansas City. Sanchez has the ability to be dominant at times, but also has the ability to frustrate managers with his high pitch counts.

Los Angeles Angels

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. SS Erick Aybar

    2. 2B Howie Kendrick

    3. 1B Albert Pujols

    4. RF Torii Hunter

    5. LF Vernon Wells

    6. DH Bobby Abreu/Kendrys Morales

    7. 3B Mark Trumbo

    8. C Chris Iannetta

    9. CF Peter Bourjos

    Opening Day Starter: Jered Weaver

    The Los Angeles Angels have a renewed hope this season, and for very good reason.

    With the additions of Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Chris Iannetta and LaTroy Hawkins, the Angels will no doubt make the AL West race very interesting, giving chase to the two-time American League champion Texas Rangers.

    Not only will the additions of Pujols and Iannetta help, but the return of a healthy Kendrys Morales adds another potent bat as well. Morales successfully ran the bases on Sunday, clearing a major hurdle in his long rehab from a broken ankle suffered in May 2010.

    Morales placed fifth in American League MVP voting in 2009 with 34 HR, 108 RBI and a .306 average, and was well on his way to another stellar season in 2010 before his celebratory stomping of home plate put his career in jeopardy. Morales could start appearing in spring games as early as this week, and he can re-adapt to major league pitching, Abreu will be the odd man out.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. SS Dee Gordon

    2. 2B Mark Ellis

    3. CF Matt Kemp

    4. RF Andre Ethier

    5. LF Juan Rivera

    6. 1B James Loney

    7. 3B Juan Uribe

    8. C A.J. Ellis

    9. SP Clayton Kershaw

    The Los Angeles Dodgers will look to improve upon last year's 82-79 finish with a lineup that features several changes.

    Gordon impressed after being handed the starting shortstop role for the final two months of last season, posting a .324 average and 24 stolen bases. Only seven walks were a bit of a concern, but Gordon's plate discipline should improve with maturity. Ellis comes over from Oakland to provide stability at second base, and Juan Rivera will look to build on a strong second half for the Dodgers last year, with 46 RBI in 62 games.

    The biggest key is the return to form by right fielder Andre Ethier. While he started off strong last season with a 30-game hitting streak, Ethier's production dipped dramatically, and knee issues eventually ended his season early. The Dodgers need Ethier to produce the way he did in 2009 and 2010 in order to provide proper protection for Kemp.

    A healthy and more svelte Uribe would be a welcome addition as well, and Ellis is likely just a bridge for catching prospect Tim Federowicz, who will likely be around in 2013.

Miami Marlins

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. SS Jose Reyes

    2. CF Emilio Bonifacio

    3. 3B Hanley Ramirez

    4. RF Giancarlo Stanton

    5. LF Logan Morrison

    6. 1B Gaby Sanchez

    7. 2B Omar Infante

    8. C John Buck

    9. SP Josh Johnson

    On paper, the Miami Marlins feature a lineup that is indeed potent. However, games aren't played on paper.

    Several factors will impact the Marlins' success in 2012. First and foremost, Reyes needs to stay away from the nagging and constant hamstring injuries that have landed him on the disabled list more often than not. Second, Hanley Ramirez needs to show that he is fully recovered from the shoulder injury that prematurely ended his 2011 season and that he is mentally and physically ready to take on the hot corner.

    Third, Giancarlo Stanton must continue his emergence as an elite power hitter. Some experts believe that with the hitter-friendly confines of the new Marlins Ballpark, Stanton could produce 50 home runs.

    And finally, staff ace Josh Johnson needs to stay healthy as well. Limited to just nine starts last year due to shoulder woes, Johnson's health will be of major importance to a staff that's not blessed with great depth.

    With a great blend of speed at the top and power in the middle, the Marlins could very well be giving their opponents in the NL East fits throughout the year.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. 2B Rickie Weeks

    2. CF Nyjer Morgan

    3. LF Ryan Braun

    4. 3B Aramis Ramirez

    5. 1B Mat Gamel

    6. SS Alex Gonzalez

    7. RF Norichika Aoki

    8. C Jonathan Lucroy

    9. Yovani Gallardo

    The Milwaukee Brewers received good news earlier this week. Right fielder Corey Hart had successful surgery to repair a torn meniscus last week, and could just minimal time at the beginning of the season.

    Hart likely would have been batting behind Ramirez, so Gamel will likely move up with Aoki and Carlos Gomez sharing time in right.

    It's still a pretty potent offense, with Weeks, Ramirez, Gamel and Gonzalez all capable of going yard at any time.

Minnesota Twins

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. CF Denard Span

    2. SS Jamey Carroll

    3. C Joe Mauer

    4. 1B Justin Morneau

    5. RF Josh Willingham

    6. 3B Danny Valencia

    7. DH Ryan Doumit

    8. 2B Alexi Casilla

    9. LF Ben Revere

    Opening Day Starter: Carl Pavano

    The Minnesota Twins will feature three new additions to their starting lineup in Carroll, Willingham and Doumit, and others will be expected to bounce back from injury-plagued seasons.

    Span, Mauer and Morneau all missed significant time in 2011, and the trio will be counted on to stay healthy and produce. Revere adds speed to the bottom of the lineup, and Valencia will be expected to rebound from a 65 point drop in his batting average as well.

    Mauer and Morneau both played in back-to-back games last week, an excellent sign. However, any further injury issues to either in 2012 will likely keep the Twins near the bottom of the AL Central.

New York Mets

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. CF Andres Torres

    2. 2B Daniel Murphy

    3. 3B David Wright

    4. 1B Ike Davis

    5. LF Jason Bay

    6. RF Lucas Duda

    7. C Josh Thole

    8. SS Ruben Tejada

    9. SP Johan Santana

    There is a lot riding on the health of two players in the Mets' lineup, and in the return to form of a multi-million dollar left fielder as well.

    Wright was sent to New York to have his sore ribcage muscle evaluated, and his status for Opening Day remains in doubt. If Wright isn't ready, manager Terry Collins will likely turn to Justin Turner in the interim.

    Davis is making his way back from an ankle injury that limited him to just 36 games last fever. A bout with Valley fever slightly slowed him down, but Davis should be ready for Opening Day.

    Bay will be a huge key. Injuries and lousy performance thus far have soured him to Mets fans in his two seasons. He has admitted pressing too much to please his new team in 2010, and a loss of confidence in his swing mechanics, a concussion and other injuries have made his stay in the Big Apple less than memorable thus far.

New York Yankees

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. SS Derek Jeter

    2. CF Curtis Granderson

    3. 2B Robinson Cano

    4. 3B Alex Rodriguez

    5. 1B Mark Teixeira

    6. DH Andruw Jones/Raul Ibanez

    7. RF Nick Swisher

    8. C Russell Martin

    9. LF Brett Gardner

    Opening Day Starter: CC Sabathia

    About the only difference in the Yankees' offense from last year is at designated hitter, where Jones and Ibanez will likely split time in a lefty-righty platoon.

    Yes, they're a year older, but they scored the second most runs in baseball last year, and the well-oiled machine continues to run. A-Rod appears to be determined after receiving platelet injections overseas.

    Manager Joe Girardi will also use Gardner in the leadoff role as he gives more time off this season to Jeter, with Eduardo Nunez filling in.

    There isn't much not to like about this team right now, and the AL East could be theirs to lose.

Oakland Athletics

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. 2B Jemile Weeks

    2. LF Coco Crisp

    3. CF Yoenis Cespedes

    4. DH Seth Smith/Jonny Gomes

    5. RF Josh Reddick

    6. 1B Brandon Allen

    7. 3B Eric Sogard

    8. SS Cliff Pennington

    9. C Kurt Suzuki

    Opening Day Starter: Brandon McCarthy

    After just two games, it appears that Cuban sensation Yoenis Cespedes is the leading candidate for center field, with Crisp moving over to left. Unless Cespedes completely crashes within the next day, he will likely make his major league debut in Japan in late March.

    Everyone seems to be assuming that converted catcher Josh Donaldson is the odds-on favorite to land the starting third base job in the wake of the Scott Sizemore season-ending injury, however, Sogard is better defensively and has hit very well this spring thus far.

    With an outfield of Reddick, Cespedes and Crisp, Gomes and Smith will be left to battle for time at DH along with Daric Barton when he returns to full health.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. SS Jimmy Rollins

    2. 3B Placido Polanco

    3. 2B Chase Utley

    4. RF Hunter Pence

    5. LF John Mayberry Jr.

    6. CF Shane Victorino

    7. 1B Ty Wigginton

    8. C Carlos Ruiz

    9. SP Roy Halladay

    Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has yet to divulge who will be his cleanup hitter to start the 2012 season, a position long covered by rehabbing first baseman Ryan Howard, who is likely out for up to two months to start the season. Pence would appear to have the upper hand at this point.

    On occasion, Jim Thome will get starts at first with Mayberry moving back to left field. The other main concern is Utley, whose arthritic right knee has prevented him from taking the field this spring. If Utley remains sidelined, 22-year-old Freddy Galvis could well be the option.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. RF Alex Presley

    2. LF Jose Tabata

    3. CF Andrew McCutchen

    4. 2B Neil Walker

    5. 1B Garrett Jones

    6. C Rod Barajas

    7. 3B Pedro Alvarez

    8. SS Clint Barmes

    9. Kevin Correia

    The Pittsburgh Pirates lineup in 2012 will be a lineup that manufactures runs, not one like the old Baltimore Orioles who relied on three-run homers.

    Walker appears to be the cleanup candidate, but with just 12 home runs in each of his first two seasons, it's a telling sign of a lineup that is devoid of power.

    McCutchen will no doubt continue his progression, however, unless guys like Alvarez and Jones really step up, Walker and McCutchen will not be offered a whole lot of protection.

San Diego Padres

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. CF Cameron Maybin

    2. 2B Orlando Hudson

    3. 3B Chase Headley

    4. LF Carlos Quentin

    5. 1B Yonder Alonso

    6. C Nick Hundley

    7. RF Will Venable

    8. SS Jason Bartlett

    9. Tim Stauffer

    While the above lineup could be the Opening Day lineup, it's likely that manager Bud Black will tinker to find the right flow. Chris Denorfia will factor into the outfield, and Jesus Guzman will be offered at-bats somewhere in the lineup after hitting .312 in 76 games last season.

    Quentin and Alonso are the obvious power sources for Black, and Maybin and Hudson will both be counted on to provide table-setting opportunities at the top of the order.

San Francisco Giants

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. CF Angel Pagan

    2. LF Melky Cabrera

    3. 3B Pablo Sandoval

    4. C Buster Posey

    5. 1B Aubrey Huff

    6. 2B Freddy Sanchez

    7. RF Nate Schierholtz

    8. SS Brandon Crawford

    9. Tim Lincecum

    Much of the success of the San Francisco Giants' offense in 2012 will be predicated by their new 1-2 combo at the top of the order in Pagan and Cabrera.

    Obviously, Posey's return to the lineup will be a huge lift as well, and Huff will be relied on to bounce back from a sub-par 2011 season. Brandon Belt could impact the roster if Huff fails to deliver, and Crawford has yet to show he can handle major league pitching as of yet.

    Still, with the return of Posey and Sanchez and the additions of Pagan and Cabrera should lead to Giants to score more than last season's paltry 570 runs.

Seattle Mariners

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. 3B Chone Figgins

    2. 2B Dustin Ackley

    3. RF Ichiro Suzuki

    4. LF Mike Carp

    5. DH Jesus Montero

    6. 1B Justin Smoak

    7. C Miguel Olivo

    8. CF Michael Saunders

    9. SS Brendan Ryan

    Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge is hoping that his lineup in 2012 can be productive, and he's counting on new leadoff man Chone Figgins to find the form that made him so pesky at the top of the order with the Los Angeles Angels in the late 2000s.

    To say that Figgins has been a massive disappointment thus far in Seattle would be a vast understatement, but Wedge is hoping that returning Figgins to the top of the batting order will reinvigorate him. Wedge is also hoping that Smoak can dust off the images of a tough 2011 campaign, and new addition Montero will be a key cog in the middle of the order as well.

    Ackley could very well turn into the sparkplug for the entire offense. Much is expected from the 24-year-old second baseman, who hit .273 with six HR and 36 RBI in his debut season.

     

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St. Louis Cardinals

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. SS Rafael Furcal

    2. RF Carlos Beltran

    3. LF Matt Holliday

    4. 1B Lance Berkman

    5. 3B David Freese

    6. CF Jon Jay

    7. C Yadier Molina

    8. 2B Daniel Descalso

    9. Chris Carpenter

    New St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny will trot out a lineup in 2012 that will obviously have a prominent former player missing (Albert Pujols), but possesses the ability to score runs in bunches.

    Beltran, Holliday, Berkman and Freese provide a solid 2-5 combo, and Furcal will look to stay healthy and provide decent speed and on-base abilities at the top of the order.

    Carpenter's current neck issues put his Opening Day status in doubt, so Adam Wainwright could get the call.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Projected Lineup:

    1. LF Desmond Jennings

    2. CF B.J. Upton

    3. 3B Evan Longoria

    4. 1B Carlos Pena

    5. 2B Ben Zobrist

    6. RF Matt Joyce

    7. DH Luke Scott

    8. SS Sean Rodriguez

    9. C Jose Molina

    Opening Day Starter: James Shields

    When discussing the Tampa Bay Rays, everyone raves about the pitching, and rightly so. However, the offense could be better than expected.

    Longoria was slowed by injuries last year, and with Pena back in the lineup will be offered much better protection. Having Jennings for a full year at the top of the lineup should be beneficial, and if Scott can rebound from an injury-plagued 2011 season, the Rays present an offense that could be much more supportive of its terrific starting rotation.

Texas Rangers

29 of 31

    Projected Lineup:

    1. 2B Ian Kinsler

    2. SS Elvis Andrus

    3. LF Josh Hamilton

    4. 3B Adrian Beltre

    5. DH Michael Young

    6. RF Nelson Cruz

    7. C Mike Napoli

    8. 1B Mitch Moreland

    9. CF Craig Gentry

    Opening Day Starter: Colby Lewis

    The Texas Rangers have dealt with some nagging little injuries this spring, with Kinsler and Napoli each missing time recently. However, none of them are expected to be lingering, and the Rangers will feature a lineup on Opening Day that is one of the most potent in all of baseball.

    Gentry is in place right now, however, competition still exists between Gentry, Leonys Martin and Julio Borbon, although Martin's candidacy appears to be waning.

Toronto Blue Jays

30 of 31

    Projected Lineup:

    1. SS Yunel Escobar

    2. 2B Kelly Johnson

    3. RF Jose Bautista

    4. 1B Adam Lind

    5. DH Edwin Encarnacion

    6. 3B Brett Lawrie

    7. CF Colby Rasmus

    8. LF Eric Thames/Travis Snider

    9. C J.P. Arencibia

    Opening Day Starter: Ricky Romero

    The big battle going on right now for the Toronto Blue Jays is in left field, and Snider has blasted three HR with seven RBI thus far. Both are hitting .294, so while Snider has added more power, no one has clearly pulled away.

    Snider will likely see time at DH along with Encarnacion should Thames be the choice in left, and Rasmus looks to rebound from a tough 2011 as well. The key could be Lawrie, who impressed everyone last season with his .293 average, nine HR and 25 RBI in just 43 games.

Washington Nationals

31 of 31

    Projected Lineup:

    1. SS Ian Desmond

    2. 2B Danny Espinosa

    3. 3B Ryan Zimmerman

    4. LF Michael Morse

    5. RF Jayson Werth

    6. 1B Adam LaRoche

    7. C Wilson Ramos

    8. CF Roger Bernadina

    9. Gio Gonzalez

    The Washington Nationals feature a terrific pitching staff with the additions of Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson, and manager Davey Johnson is hoping that his offense can be a help rather than a hindrance.

    Zimmerman looks to return to health following a 2011 campaign in which he missed two months, Werth will look to improve on a disappointing first season in the nation's capital and LaRoche will hope his surgically repaired shoulder holds up. Morse, Ramos and Espinosa all provide plenty of power and Desmond will need to improve on a .298 on-base percentage at the top.

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