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Power Ranking All 30 MLB Lineups Post-Winter Meetings

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2012

Power Ranking All 30 MLB Lineups Post-Winter Meetings

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    With the MLB winter meetings behind us and multiple players switching teams, now is as good a time as any to take a look at how these moves impact starting lineups around the league.

    We will look at the abilities and track records of the players we project as starters, factoring in how they produced in 2012 and what the future holds in 2013.

    It's an inexact science, and with major league rosters in a continual state of flux, this is sure to be the first of several times that we will look at starting lineups between now and the start of the regular season.

    So sit back, grab your mouse, and let's get going.

30. Houston Astros

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Jose Altuve 2B R
    Jimmy Paredes RF S
    Jed Lowrie SS S
    Brett Wallace 1B L
    Fernando Martinez DH L
    Justin Maxwell CF R
    Jason Castro C L
    J.D. Martinez LF R
    Matt Dominguez 3B R

     

    It's kind of weird to see the Astros lineup with a designated hitter in the lineup, isn't it?

    The team has some youngsters with talent, but overall, this isn't a very imposing lineup to say the least. Houston was the only team in baseball to not score 600 runs in 2012.

    Jed Lowrie is one bright spot, as the shortstop slugged 16 home runs in 387 plate appearances last season. 

    While the Astros will be better in 2013, they will still struggle mightily to put runs on the board.

29. Seattle Mariners

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Dustin Ackley 2B L
    Franklin Gutierrez CF R
    Kyle Seager 3B L
    Jesus Montero DH R
    John Jaso C L
    Justin Smoak 1B S
    Jason Bay LF R
    Michael Saunders RF L
    Brendan Ryan SS R

     

    Seattle has some talented pieces in Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager and Jesus Montero, but of the trio, only Seager surpassed expectations.

    Montero floundered and Ackley took a major step backwards.

    Jason Bay was a great "what do we have to lose?" signing, and maybe he'll show something.

    But Seattle, thus far, hasn't addressed the major issue on this team, which is the lack of a big-time run producer in the middle of their lineup.

28. Miami Marlins

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Juan Pierre LF L
    Donovan Solano 2B R
    Logan Morrison 1B L
    Giancarlo Stanton RF R
    Justin Ruggiano CF R
    Greg Dobbs 3B L
    Rob Brantly C R
    Adeiny Hechavarria SS R

     

    Take a long, hard look at the Miami Marlins' lineup.

    It's that bad.

    Not even Giancarlo Stanton's raw power and mammoth home runs can save this bunch from battling Houston and Seattle for the title of least productive offense in the league.

    To be fair, the Marlins do have some decent prospects in the lineup, like Rob Brantly and Adeiny Hechavarria.

    But this offense is going to struggle to score runs, and if I were the opposing manager, I'd walk Stanton every time he stepped to the plate, daring his teammates to step up and beat my club.

27. Chicago Cubs

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    David DeJesus CF L
    Nate Schierholtz RF L
    Anthony Rizzo 1B L
    Alfonso Soriano LF R
    Starlin Castro SS R
    Ian Stewart 3B L
    Wellington Castillo C R
    Darwin Barney 2B R

     

    The rebuilding in Chicago continues, but the Cubs have two excellent pieces to build around in Starlin Castro, already an established star, and Anthony Rizzo, who will be playing his first full MLB schedule in 2013.

    One of five teams in baseball who didn't average four runs per game in 2012, (the Cubs averaged 3.8 runs per game), the Cubs will struggle to put runs on the board once again in 2013 as Castro, Rizzo and Soriano are the only real run producers on the team.

    Things are looking up, but the Cubs lineup is still too underwhelming to find much success in 2013.

26. San Diego Padres

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Everth Cabrera SS S
    Logan Forsythe 2B R
    Chase Headley 3B S
    Carlos Quentin LF R
    Yonder Alonso 1B L
    Will Venable RF L
    Cameron Maybin CF R
    Nick Hundley C R

     

    San Diego has historically struggled to score runs since they play half of their games in cavernous Petco Park, one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the league.

    While the team insists that it will remain a pitcher's park, they have moved the fences in, which should result in more offensive production from the middle of the Padres lineup (h/t Yahoo! Sports).

    Yet the key pieces of the puzzle in San Diego remain the same.

    Chase Headley and Carlos Quentin are the only power bats on the team.

    While they have some promising youngsters in Everth Cabrera and Yonder Alonso, San Diego needs another impact bat in their lineup if they hope to take the next step.

25. Oakland A's

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Coco Crisp CF S
    Seth Smith DH L
    Yoenis Cespedes LF R
    Brandon Moss 1B L
    Josh Reddick RF L
    Josh Donaldson 3B R
    Scott Sizemore 2B R
    Derek Norris C R
    Adam Rosales SS R

     

    Oakland enters the 2013 with virtually the same lineup they had in 2012, and while it's not one that jumps off the page and makes you scream "Wow! Look at that lineup!", this group was an effective one.

    Effective enough to win the AL West and advance to the playoffs.

    Yoenis Cespedes proved that he was worth every dime last season while Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick both had breakout seasons.

    But questions abound.

    Can that trio repeat their success—or take their games to an even higher level?

    What exactly can the A's expect to get from players like Josh Donaldson, Scott Sizemore and Adam Rosales?

    There are simply too many questions and not nearly enough answers.

24. Minnesota Twins

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Darin Mastroianni CF R
    Jamey Carroll 2B R
    Joe Mauer C L
    Josh Willingham LF R
    Justin Morneau 1B L
    Ryan Doumit DH S
    Chris Parmelee RF R
    Trevor Plouffe 3B R
    Pedro Florimon, Jr. SS S

     

    The middle of the Twins lineup is solid with Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau, Ryan Doumit.and Joe Mauer, who remains one of the best pure hitters in the game.

    But you just don't know what you're going to get from the rest of the bunch.

    Gone is the steadying presence of Denard Span atop the lineup, and along with him we bid adios to the game-changing speed of Ben Revere.

    The "Killer P's", Parmelee and Plouffe, both have considerable talent, so it will be interesting to see how they continue to develop.

23. San Francisco Giants

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Angel Pagan CF S
    Marco Scutaro 2B R
    Pablo Sandoval 3B S
    Buster Posey C R
    Hunter Pence RF R
    Brandon Belt 1B L
    Brandon Crawford SS L
    Gregor Blanco LF L

     

    When you're the World Series Champions, it really doesn't matter what anyone thinks of your lineup.

    They may not outscore some of the more prolific offenses in baseball, but they score enough to win, and that's what ultimately matters most.

    But I'm going to give it a shot anyway.

    Half of San Francisco's lineup is really good. Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro, Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey are all solid players who work well together when hitting in succession.

    The bottom half of the lineup, however, leaves something to be desired. 

    Hunter Pence is inconsistent, Brandon Belt shockingly has no power and neither Brandon Crawford nor Gregor Blanco contribute much with the bat at all.

    Finding a permanent upgrade to Blanco would be the biggest upgrade that the Giants could make.

    Did someone say Nick Swisher?

22. Cleveland Indians

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Drew Stubbs CF R
    Jason Kipnis 2B L
    Asdrubal Cabrera SS S
    Carlos Santana C S
    Michael Brantley LF L
    Mark Reynolds 1B R
    Lonnie Chisenhall 3B L
    Mike Aviles DH R
    Ezequiel Carrera LF L

     

    UPDATE: Tuesday, December 11, 9:45 p.m. ET

    The Indians traded former All-Star RF Shin-Shoo Choo to the Cincinnati Reds as part of a three-team deal on that also included the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night, as reported by CBS Sports' Jon Heyman (via Twitter):

    indians receive bauer, albers, shaw and stubbs. reds get choo and donald. dbacks get gregorius, sipp and lars anderson.

    — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 12, 2012

    Stubbs has speed and power, but he's not on the same level as Choo.

    While this deal makes sense for the Indians based on the pitching that they received, their lineup takes a hit in the process.

    Cleveland slides back two spots.

    ---End of Update---

     

    Jason Kipnis is one of the bright young stars in the game, while Michael Brantley is one of the most underrated players in the league who, for whatever reason, loves hitting fifth. Check the splits for yourself here.

    Cleveland finally addressed their need for a right-handed bat with power by signing Mark Reynolds, but their lineup can still use a bit more balance.

    Trade winds are swirling around the Indians however, with Asdrubal Cabrera at the center of the storm. 

    Removing him from the lineup changes things drastically.

21. New York Mets

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Ruben Tejada SS R
    Daniel Murphy 2B L
    David Wright 3B R
    Ike Davis 1B L
    Lucas Duda LF L
    Mike Baxter RF L
    Kirk Nieuwenhuis CF L
    Josh Thole C L

     

    The good news in Flushing is that David Wright is sticking around and Jason Bay has headed to Seattle.

    The bad news is that the Wilpons still own the team and they aren't spending any money to bring in additional help.

    While Ike Davis and Lucas Duda combined to hit 47 home runs and drive in 147 runs in 2012, the duo hit only .233 and struck out 261 times, earning only 112 walks.

    Those numbers will need to improve drastically if they have any hope of helping Wright turn things around for the Mets, who scored four runs per game in 2012.

20. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Starling Marte RF R
    Neil Walker 2B S
    Andrew McCutchen CF R
    Garrett Jones 1B L
    Pedro Alvarez 3B L
    Russell Martin C R
    Travis Snider RF L
    Clint Barmes SS R

     

    While the Pirates' catching situation—both at the plate and behind it—was greatly improved with the signing of Russell Martin, Pittsburgh failed to do the one thing that needed to be done.

    Find Andrew McCutchen a running mate.

    McCutchen led the Pirates in every offensive category in 2012 and chances are that he'll do it again in 2013 as the talent around him essentially remains the same.

    His teammates' inability to produce is a major reason why the Pirates averaged only 4.1 runs per game last season, tied with the San Diego Padres for 23rd in all of baseball.

    Martin's arrival will certainly help the Pirates to score a bit more, but he's not the dynamic run producer that Pittsburgh needed to pair with McCutchen so that their offense could take the next step forward.

19. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Desmond Jennings CF R
    Yunel Escobar SS R
    Ben Zobrist 2B S
    Evan Longoria 3B R
    Matt Joyce LF L
    Wil Myers RF R
    James Loney 1B L
    Ryan Roberts DH R
    Jose Molina C R

     

    One through six, Tampa Bay's lineup is in great shape.

    Evan Longoria is the straw that stirs the drink, and he must shake his penchant for injury and stay in the lineup for more than 73 games as he did in 2012.

    Over the past two seasons, he has played in only 207 of a possible 324 games,

    Wil Myers, the biggest prize in the trade that sent James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City, has the ability to be a big-time run producer. With the batters in front of him all traditionally doing an excellent job of getting on base, Myers could be the driving force that shoots Tampa Bay's lineup up the rankings.

    Should he struggle—or should Longoria go down with a major injury again—Tampa will be scrambling trying to figure out a way to get those runs home.

18. Chicago White Sox

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Alejandro De Aza CF L
    Jeff Keppinger 3B R
    Adam Dunn DH L
    Paul Konerko 1B R
    Alex Rios RF R
    Dayan Viciedo LF R
    Alexei Ramirez SS R
    Tyler Flowers C R
    Gordon Beckham 2B S

     

    Solid but not spectacular is how I'd describe the Chicago White Sox lineup heading into 2013.

    You know what you'll get from the first four spots in the lineup and from Ramirez, but the rest of the lineup has questions surrounding it.

    Can Tyler Flowers hit? He's failed to show that he can in parts of four major league seasons, but with A.J. Pierzynski no longer around to pick up the majority of those at-bats, Flowers needs to become a productive member of the offense.

    Of greater concern is Alex Rios, who has shown a tendency to alternate great years at the plate with disappointing ones, much like Bret Saberhagen used to do on the mound in the 1990s.

    If Rios isn't on his game, it will leave a void behind Konerko that Dayan Viciedo may or may not be ready to fill.

17. Kansas City Royals

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Lorenzo Cain CF R
    Alcides Escobar SS R
    Alex Gordon LF L
    Billy Butler DH R
    Mike Moustakas 3B L
    Salvador Perez C R
    Eric Hosmer 1B L
    Jeff Francoeur RF R
    Chris Getz 2B L

     

    Kansas City hasn't done anything to improve their lineup from 2012 to 2013, and it's unlikely that we'll see any significant changes between now and the start of the season.

    But they didn't really need to.

    Wil Myers, who would have replaced Jeff Franceour in right field, was shipped to Tampa Bay for much-needed pitching, and Frenchy remains one of two weak spots in the Royals lineup, along with Chris Getz.

    The Royals need Eric Hosmer to resemble the batter that finished third in the voting for the 2011 American League Rookie of the Year award, and they need Lorenzo Cain to stay on the field so they have a legitimate leadoff hitter.

    Salvador Perez, who missed a chunk of the 2012 season due to a knee injury he suffered in spring training, has the ability to be a difference maker with the bat and will put up big numbers over the course of the season.

    This is a talented group of youngsters who, if they play to their abilities, will have the Royals in more games than people expect.

16. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Mark Ellis 2B R
    Andre Ethier RF L
    Matt Kemp CF R
    Adrian Gonzalez 1B L
    Hanley Ramirez SS R
    Luis Cruz 3B R
    Jerry Hairston, Jr. LF R
    A.J. Ellis C

    R

     

    The Dodgers struggled to put runs on the board for much of 2012, one of the many reasons that they went out and traded for Hanley Ramirez in one deal and then pulled off the blockbuster with Boston to land Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, among others.

    A full season of Ethier, Kemp, Gonzalez and Ramirez batting back-to-back-to-back-to-back will certainly result in the Dodgers scoring more than 3.9 runs per game, but questions remain about the rest of their lineup.

    They lack a true leadoff hitter and Luis Cruz is an unproven commodity at third base.

    Adding a bona fide leadoff hitter with speed and the ability to get on base consistently would be a major boost for their run producers—and scoring total.

15. Baltimore Orioles

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Nate McLouth CF L
    J.J. Hardy SS R
    Nick Markakis RF L
    Adam Jones CF R
    Matt Wieters C S
    Chris Davis 1B L
    Wilson Betemit DH S
    Manny Machado 3B R
    Brian Roberts 2B S

     

    The heart of Baltimore's lineup—Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters—will all need to elevate their games in 2013 with the absence of Mark Reynolds' big bat from the lineup.

    We finally get to see a full season of Manny Machado, and if he's able to make the necessary adjustments and become a bit more patient at the plate, Buck Showalter won't be able to keep him that low in the lineup for long.

    Adding a bat with power to play either first base, shifting Chris Davis to the DH spot or a veteran who is willing to be a full-time DH (Lance Berkman perhaps?) would make the Orioles' lineup more complete than it is right now. 

14. Boston Red Sox

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Jacoby Ellsbury CF L
    Shane Victorino RF S
    Dustin Pedroia 2B R
    David Ortiz DH L
    Mike Napoli 1B R
    Will Middlebrooks 3B R
    Jarrod Saltalamacchia C S
    Jonny Gomes LF R
    Jose Iglesias SS R

     

    Boston's lineup looks great on paper, but after Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, there are far too many "ifs" and questions throughout the lineup.

    Can Jacoby Ellsbury can stay healthy? If so, he'll have a monster season in his walk year.

    Can Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli bounce back from subpar seasons with the bat? If so, they could be two of the steals of the winter, especially Napoli, whose swing is tailor-made for Fenway Park,

    Can Jose Iglesias hit major league pitching? Even a little bit?

    If the answers to these questions are yes, then Boston is in for a good season.

    If the answers are no, it's going to be another long summer in Beantown.

13. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Jimmy Rollins SS S
    Ben Revere CF L
    Chase Utley 2B L
    Ryan Howard 1B L
    Michael Young 3B R
    Domonic Brown RF L
    John Mayberry, Jr. LF R
    Erik Kratz C R

     

    With their big bats healthy and the third base problem solved—for now, at least—Philadelphia's lineup is looking much better heading into the 2013 season than they were in 2012.

    They are light on power, with Howard the only legitimate slugger on the team, and could use another power bat, preferably at one of the corner outfield spots.

    Adding Ben Revere was an excellent move as it replaces the speed they lost when they traded Shane Victorino, and if Revere can get on base consistently, the runs will follow.

12. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Adam Eaton CF L
    Aaron Hill 2B R
    Justin Upton RF R
    Miguel Montero C L
    Paul Goldschmidt 1B R
    Jason Kubel LF K
    Chris Johnson 3B R
    Cliff Pennington SS S

     

    UPDATE: Tuesday, December 11 at 9:36 p.m. ET

    The Diamondbacks have addressed their shortstop dilemma by acquiring former Cincinnati Reds prospect Didi Gregorius as part of a three-team deal between the D-Backs, Reds and Cleveland Indians, as reported by CBS Sports' Jon Heyman (via Twitter):

    indians receive bauer, albers, shaw and stubbs. reds get choo and donald. dbacks get gregorius, sipp and lars anderson.

    — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 12, 2012

    Gregorius, 22, was ranked as the Reds' seventh-best prospect entering the 2012 season by Baseball Prospectus (subscription required).

    He figures to compete with Cliff Pennington for the job in Spring Training, but I'm giving the nod for the gig to the veteran right now.

    This deal doesn't change where the Diamondbacks lineup ranks on our list.

    ---End of Update---

     

    One through six, the Diamondbacks' lineup is solid, but Arizona still has major issues in the bottom third of the order.

    Chris Johnson and Cliff Pennington won't contribute much to the cause, putting added pressure on the players batting in front of them to get runs across when the opportunity presents itself.

    Adam Eaton is an unproven commodity, but he has phenomenal patience at the plate and has the skills necessary to be a dynamic leadoff hitter.

    Of course, the whole thing gets blown up if Justin Upton gets traded.

11. Atlanta Braves

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Martin Prado LF R
    B.J. Upton CF R
    Jason Heyward LF L
    Freddie Freeman 1B L
    Dan Uggla 2B R
    Brian McCann C L
    Juan Francisco 3B L
    Andrelton Simmons SS R

     

    Michael Bourn is gone, leaving the Braves without a true leadoff hitter.

    Chipper Jones is gone, leaving the Braves without their unquestioned leader.

    But this remains a very dangerous lineup, one capable of putting runs on the board quickly.

    The addition of B.J. Upton was s shrewd move by GM Frank Wren, and a full season of Andrelton Simmons will pay big dividends as well.

10. Colorado Rockies

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Dexter Fowler CF S
    Josh Rutledge 2B R
    Carlos Gonzalez LF L
    Troy Tulowitzki SS R
    Michael Cuddyer RF R
    Todd Helton 1B L
    Wilin Rosario C R
    Chris Nelson 3B R

     

    Scoring runs has never been a problem for the Rockies considering where they play half of their games, but the fact that they averaged nearly 4.7 runs per game in 2012 despite being without perennial MVP candidate Troy Tulowitzki for the last four months of the season is impressive.

    Well,Tulo is back, Wilin Rosario has established himself as a big-time player, Carlos Gonzalez continues to put up MVP-worthy numbers of his own and Dexter Fowler is coming off of his breakout campaign.

    When it comes to scoring runs, the Rockies will be one of the more prolific clubs in the league in 2013.

9. Texas Rangers

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Ian Kinsler 1B R
    Jurickson Profar 2B S
    Elvis Andrus SS R
    Adrian Beltre 3B R
    Nelson Cruz RF R
    David Murphy LF L
    Mike Olt DH R
    Geovany Soto C R
    Leonys Martin CF L

     

    Inexperience dots the Rangers' lineup in 2013, with three players—Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt and Leonys Martin—having played in fewer than 100 career games.

    Combined.

    Without Josh Hamilton's bat in the middle of the lineup, the Rangers lose some of their swagger—and a chunk of their power—but this remains a very talented lineup that has significant upside.

8. New York Yankees

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Ichiro Suzuki RF L
    Derek Jeter SS R
    Robinson Cano 2B L
    Mark Teixeiera 1B S
    Curtis Granderson CF L
    Kevin Youkilis 3B R
    Eduardo Nunez DH R
    Chris Stewart C R
    Brett Gardner LF L

     

    UPDATE: Wednesday, December 12 at 6:41 p.m. ET

    While they are still working out the final details, the Yankees are bringing another one of their own free agents back into the fold for 2013, as reported by CBS Sports' Jon Heyman (via Twitter):

    Ichiro will be a yankee

    — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 12, 2012

    Ichiro was revitalized after being traded to the Yankees this past July, posting a .322/.340/.454 batting line in 67 games for the Bombers. His return allows the Yankees to slide Brett Gardner back to the ninth spot in the lineup, a spot in which he's flourished in the past.

    Another solid move by the Yankees, who bump up one spot in the rankings.

    ---End of Update---

     

    New York started the day at No. 10 on the list, with prospect David Adams penciled into the eighth spot in the lineup at third base in place of the injured Alex Rodriguez.

    With their signing of veteran Kevin Youkilis on Tuesday afternoon to fill in for A-Rod and hop into the third base slot, the Bronx Bombers jump up one spot.

    One through six, the Yankees lineup is a a solid, experienced bunch that knows how to get on base and create runs.

    After that, it's a mix of backups who would all be best served by coming off of the bench.

    It would look better—on paper at least—with Alex Rodriguez penciled in, but he simply cannot be counted on in 2013. According to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, the recovery time from A-Rod's upcoming January hip surgery is four-to-six months

    Even if he returns in the second half of the season, there's as good of a chance that he's a shell of the shell of his former self as there is that he's revitalized by the surgery.

7. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Rafael Furcal SS S
    Allen Craig 1B R
    Matt Holliday LF R
    Carlos Beltran RF S
    Yadier Molina C R
    David Freese 3B R
    Jon Jay CF L
    Daniel Descalso 2B L

     

    St. Louis returns virtually the same lineup that it ended 2012 with when they scored 4.7 runs per game, fifth-most in baseball and the second-highest total in the National League.

    Their middle infield is shaky, as Rafael Furcal is constantly injured and Daniel Descalso is best served in a utility role, but the rest of their lineup, from Allen Craig to Jon Jay, is outstanding.

    Were they to make a move to remedy their questionable middle infield positions, St. Louis would rank even higher on this list than they already are.

6. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Norichika Aoki RF L
    Rickie Weeks 2B R
    Ryan Braun LF R
    Aramis Ramirez 3B R
    Corey Hart 1B R
    Jonathan Lucroy C R
    Carlos Gomez CF R
    Jean Segura SS R

     

    There wasn't a team in the National League who scored more runs in 2012 than the Milwaukee Brewers, who ranked third in all of baseball behind the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees.

    With speed at both ends of the spectrum and big-time power sandwiched in between, expect more of the same from the Brew Crew in 2013.

5. Cincinnati Reds

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Shin-Soo Choo CF L
    Brandon Phillips 2B R
    Joey Votto 1B L
    Ryan Ludwick LF R
    Jay Bruce RF L
    Todd Frazier 3B R
    Ryan Hanigan C R
    Zack Cozart SS R

     

    UPDATE: Tuesday, December 11, 9:25 p.m. ET

    Cincinnati picked up the leadoff hitter that they needed in Shin-Soo Choo as part of a three-team deal that involved the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cleveland Indians, as reported by CBS Sports' Jon Heyman (via Twitter):

    indians receive bauer, albers, shaw and stubbs. reds get choo and donald. dbacks get gregorius, sipp and lars anderson.

    — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 12, 2012

    This is a huge move for the Reds. Not only is Choo a perfect fit at the top of the lineup, but it allows Brandon Phillips to hit behind someone who gets on-base constantly (evidenced by his career .381 mark), meaning that Phillips' run-producing opportunities will increase significantly.

    I can't say enough good things about this for the Reds, who now move past the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers on our list.

    ---End Of Update---

     

    Cincinnati's offensive production took a nosedive in 2012, dropping to 21st in runs scored with 669 after ranking seventh a year earlier with 735.

    The difference?

    Joey Votto missed nearly two months of the season.

    Votto is healthy and the Reds return the same lineup that has taken them to two National League Central titles in the past three years.

    It would be nice if they'd acquired a legitimate leadoff hitter so they could take better advantage of Brandon Phillips' ability to drive in runs, but they've had plenty of success with Phillips leading off.

4. Washington Nationals

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Denard Span CF L
    Jayson Werth RF R
    Ryan Zimmerman 3B R
    Michael Morse 1B R
    Bryce Harper LF L
    Ian Desmond SS R
    Danny Espinosa 2B S
    Kurt Suzuki C R

     

    Already a potent offense at the end of 2012, the Nationals got significantly better when they traded for center fielder Denard Span, a great leadoff hitter who excels at getting on base.

    With the talented lineup behind him and excellent speed, Span will be a threat to score whenever he's on base.

    From top to bottom, Washington's lineup is solid.

    Bryce Harper, with nearly a full year of major league action under his belt, is sure to be even more dynamic a run producer than he was in 2012.

    The Nationals averaged 4.51 runs per game in 2012, according to ESPN.

    Expect them to average even more in 2013.

3. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Jose Reyes SS S
    Melky Cabrera LF S
    Jose Bautista RF R
    Edwin Encarnacion 1B R
    Colby Rasmus LF L
    Brett Lawrie 3B R
    Adam Lind DH L
    J.P. Arencibia C R
    Emilio Bonifacio 2B S

     

    Toronto has great balance throughout their lineup.

    From the table setters at either end of the batting order to the significant run-producing bats in between Reyes and Bonifacio, there's nothing to dislike about what Toronto will be entering the season with.

    GM Alex Anthopoulos has given the Blue Jays the pieces that make theirs not only the most dangerous lineup in the American League East, but one of the most dangerous lineups in all of baseball.

2. Detroit Tigers

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    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Austin Jackson CF R
    Torii Hunter RF R
    Miguel Cabrera 3B R
    Prince Fielder 1B L
    Victor Martinez DH S
    Andy Dirks LF L
    Jhonny Peralta SS R
    Alex Avila C L
    Omar Infante 2B R

     

    One of the best lineups in baseball in 2012 got better in 2013.

    Significantly better.

    The addition of Torii Hunter coupled with the return of Victor Martinez give the Tigers the best top-half of a lineup in baseball.

    From Austin Jackson to V-Mart, you won't find a more potent combination of batters than you will in Detroit.

    Oh yeah, and that Cabrera guy is pretty good from what I hear.

1. Los Angeles Angels

31 of 31
    Projected Lineup Position Bats
    Mike Trout CF R
    Erick Aybar SS S
    Albert Pujols 1B R
    Josh Hamilton LF L
    Kendrys Morales DH S
    Mark Trumbo RF R
    Howie Kendrick 2B R
    Alberto Callaspo 3B S
    Chris Iannetta C R

     

     

    UPDATE: Thursday, December 13 at 2:40 p.m. ET

    This was the best thing that could happen to the Los Angeles Angels and the absolute worst possible scenario for their AL West rivals, the Texas Rangers. Courtesy of ESPN Dallas' official Twitter account:

    BREAKING: Josh Hamilton has agreed to join the LA Angels. Story to come: es.pn/e3bpkT

    — ESPNDallas (@ESPNDallas) December 13, 2012

    The prize of the free agent market, the addition of Josh Hamilton to the middle of the Angels' already explosive lineup vaults them up three spots to the top spot.

    There isn't a lineup in baseball with the potential to do as much damage as the Angels could inflict on opposing pitchers in 2013.

    ---End of Update---

     

    Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos might be the fastest set of bookends in the game, though Toronto's Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio might have something to say about that.

    Hey, Commissioner Selig. Set that race up for All-Star Weekend, will ya?

    But I digress.

    It's hard not to like the Angels' lineup, which features talent in every spot in the order.

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