Projecting the Starting Lineup of Every MLB Team Entering Spring Training

Doug Mead@@Sports_A_HolicCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2013

Projecting the Starting Lineup of Every MLB Team Entering Spring Training

0 of 30

    As each MLB team gets ready to start spring training in less than a week, many of those teams will be working on tweaking their starting lineups.

    With several free agents still out there for the taking, it's a fluid situation for some teams as they try to put the finishing touches on their rosters. In other cases, a spring audition could well determine an Opening Day starting lineup as well.

    Here is a projection of what each MLB team's starting lineup will look like on Opening Day.

Arizona Diamondbacks

1 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Adam Eaton              CF 
    2    Martin Prado              3B   
    3    Aaron Hill                   2B   
    4    Miguel Montero         C   
    5    Paul Goldschmidt     1B   
    6    Jason Kubel              LF   
    7    Cody Ross                RF   
    8    Cliff Pennington        SS
    9    Ian Kennedy             SP

    Unless Didi Gregorius has a huge spring, Pennington for now will be the shortstop for the Diamondbacks. Gregorius' glove is ready, but the bat may need a bit more seasoning.

    The biggest question for the Diamondbacks is the outfield mix. No question that Eaton could be the answer in center field and in the leadoff spot—Eaton led off every game in which he started during his September call-up last season.

    Manager Kirk Gibson will not fail to use Gerardo Parra often in an outfield somewhat compromised defensively in the corners.

Atlanta Braves

2 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Andrelton Simmons     SS     
    2    Jason Heyward            RF     
    3    Justin Upton                 LF     
    4    Freddie Freeman         1B     
    5    B.J. Upton                    CF     
    6    Dan Uggla                    2B     
    7    Gerald Laird                 C
    8    Juan Francisco            3B
    9    Tim Hudson                 SP

    The Atlanta Braves don't have many questions to answer in terms of their starting lineup—but the batting order itself has questions.

    Simmons hit .289 with a .335 on-base percentage last year. He has a chance to equal Michael Bourn's .348 OBP from a year ago, but the team would no doubt love to see Simmons pick up more walks (12 in 182 plate appearances).

    Laird will fill in until Brian McCann is ready to go after offseason shoulder surgery. Francisco impressed during winter league ball and will likely get reps with newly-acquired Chris Johnson.

    The Braves also lack a true No. 2 hitter with the departure of Martin Prado. Manager Fredi Gonzalez will likely have some tinkering to do to find the right fit there.

Baltimore Orioles

3 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Brian Roberts       2B   
    2    J.J. Hardy             SS   
    3    Nick Markakis       RF   
    4    Adam Jones         CF   
    5    Matt Wieters         C
    6    Chris Davis          1B   
    7    Wilson Betemit     DH   
    8    Manny Machado   3B   
    9    Nate McLouth       LF

    The big question mark is Nolan Reimold, who had a herniated disc removed from his neck last June. McLouth projects as the everyday left fielder until Reimold can show he can handle the rigors of everyday play himself.

    He's likely to get reps at designated hitter as well along with Betemit.

    Roberts is also loaded with question marks. He hasn't played a full season since 2009 and failed to compile even a full season's worth of games in the past three years.

Boston Red Sox

4 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Jacoby Ellsbury              CF   
    2    Shane Victorino              RF   
    3    Dustin Pedroia                2B   
    4    David Ortiz                     DH   
    5    Mike Napoli                    1B   
    6    Will Middlebrooks           3B   
    7    Stephen Drew                SS   
    8    Jonny Gomes                 LF   
    9    Jarrod Saltalamacchia    C

    New Red Sox manager John Farrell will likely platoon Saltalamacchia and newcomer David Ross behind the plate.

    With Ryan Kalish likely out until at least August after shoulder surgery, Farrell will have to roll the dice with Gomes in left field against right-handed hitters.

Chicago Cubs

5 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    David DeJesus         CF   
    2    Nate Schierholtz       RF   
    3    Anthony Rizzo          1B   
    4    Alfonso Soriano        LF   
    5    Starlin Castro           SS   
    6    Ian Stewart               3B   
    7    Welington Castillo    C
    8    Darwin Barney         2B
    9    Matt Garza               SP

    The Cubs will be banking on the successful return of Stewart from left wrist surgery that limited him to just 55 games last season. Stewart showed flashes of power in 2009 and 2010 before nagging wrist injuries started dogging him.

    Schierholtz will be out to prove he can be more than just a platoon player. He's likely just serving as a place-holder until prospect Brett Jackson is ready for prime time.

Chicago White Sox

6 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Alejandro de Aza     CF
    2    Jeff Keppinger          3B   
    3    Adam Dunn              DH   
    4    Paul Konerko           1B   
    5    Alex Rios                 RF   
    6    Dayan Viciedo         LF   
    7    Alexei Ramirez        SS   
    8    Tyler Flowers           C
    9    Gordon Beckham    2B

    Konerko's production has declined each year since 2010—is it unreasonable to think that won't continue this season at age 37?

    Dunn and Rios posted rebound seasons after dismal 2011 campaigns—the White Sox will need that trend to continue as well.

    The wild-card could be Keppinger. He was a breath of fresh air in Tampa Bay for manager Joe Maddon last season, hitting a career-high .325 in 115 games.

    Another wild-card will be Flowers, finally given the chance to prove himself on an everyday basis.

Cincinnati Reds

7 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Shin-Soo Choo     CF     
    2    Brandon Phillips   2B     
    3    Joey Votto            1B     
    4    Ryan Ludwick       LF     
    5    Jay Bruce             RF     
    6    Todd Frazier         3B     
    7    Ryan Hanigan      C
    8    Zack Cozart          SS
    9    Johnny Cueto       SP

    Ludwick could be the key to this lineup. If he struggles with plating runners in scoring position, opposing pitchers will happily pitch around the immensely talented Votto.

    The Reds now have a legitimate leadoff hitter in Choo, who has posted at least a .375 OBP in four of the past five seasons.

    Frazier will get his chance to shine in an everyday role in place of the departed Scott Rolen.

    Devin Mesoraco figures to get more at-bats in 2013 as well—the Reds like Mesoraco's power potential despite just a .205 average in 72 major league games thus far.

Cleveland Indians

8 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Michael Brantley        LF   
    2    Jason Kipnis              2B   
    3    Asdrubal Cabrera      SS   
    4    Nick Swisher             RF   
    5    Carlos Santana         C
    6    Mark Reynolds         1B   
    7    Lonnie Chisenhall    3B   
    8    Drew Stubbs            CF   
    9    Mike Aviles               DH

    Manager Terry Francona will definitely be tinkering with his lineup to find the best possible spot for Swisher, who is not a natural cleanup hitter. It's possible Reynolds could move into that slot in time if he can somehow manage to hit above .250.

    Yan Gomes could factor into the lineup at some point as well—he hit .328 with a .938 OPS at Triple-A Las Vegas last season.

Colorado Rockies

9 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Dexter Fowler          CF     
    2    Josh Rutledge         2B     
    3    Carlos Gonzalez      LF     
    4    Troy Tulowitzki        SS     
    5    Michael Cuddyer     RF     
    6    Todd Helton            1B     
    7    Wilin Rosario          C
    8    Chris Nelson           3B
    9   Jorge de la Rosa     SP

    Helton, arguably one of the greatest and most accomplished hitters in Rockies history, will start the season behind the 8-ball, courtesy of his DUI arrest early Wednesday morning. In addition to the fact that he's 39 years old and coming off hip surgery, it doesn't bode well for the Rockies offense.

    Rutledge appears primed to take over full-time at second base for his first full season, but the offense will again rely on the bats of Gonzalez and a healthy Tulowitzki.

Detroit Tigers

10 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Austin Jackson    CF   
    2    Torii Hunter          RF   
    3    Miguel Cabrera    3B   
    4    Prince Fielder      1B   
    5    Victor Martinez    DH   
    6    Andy Dirks          LF   
    7    Jhonny Peralta    SS   
    8    Alex Avila            C
    9    Omar Infante       2B

    The big unknown for the Detroit Tigers is in left field. Dirks would appear to have the upper hand after hitting .322 in 88 games last season. However, manager Jim Leyland will find ways to use the speedy Quintin Berry as well.

    Hunter will add some pop and a .300-plus average in the No. 2 hole, and Martinez hopes to return to form after missing the entire 2012 season.

Houston Astros

11 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Jose Altuve                2B   
    2    Fernando Martinez    LF   
    3    Carlos Pena              DH   
    4    J.D. Martinez             RF   
    5    Brett Wallace            1B   
    6    Justin Maxwell          CF   
    7    Jason Castro            C
    8    Tyler Greene            SS   
    9    Matt Dominguez       3B

    Newly-acquired right-handed hitter Chris Carter could split time with Pena at DH and Wallace at first.

    Greene will be pushed by Marwin Gonzalez at shortstop with Jed Lowrie now out of the picture. The entire lineup at this point looks like a complete challenge for first-year manager Bo Porter.

Kansas City Royals

12 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Lorenzo Cain         CF   
    2    Alcides Escobar     SS   
    3    Alex Gordon           LF   
    4    Billy Butler              DH   
    5    Mike Moustakas     3B   
    6    Salvador Perez      C
    7    Eric Hosmer          1B   
    8    Jeff Francoeur       RF   
    9    Chris Getz             2B

    Perez could well become one of the best hitting catchers in the majors. He certainly flashes of brilliance last year in hitting .301 with 11 HR in just 76 games.

    Hosmer will look to bounce back from a disappointing sophomore season and Moustakas has 25 HR and 85 RBI potential.

    Last season the Royals had the third-most hits in the American League, yet they were third-worst in the league in runs scored. The ability of their young position players to excel with runners on base will be a big key in 2013.

Los Angeles Angels

13 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Mike Trout             LF   
    2    Erick Aybar           SS   
    3    Albert Pujols         1B   
    4    Josh Hamilton       RF   
    5    Mark Trumbo        DH   
    6    Howie Kendrick    2B   
    7    Alberto Callaspo   3B   
    8    Chris Iannetta       C
    9    Peter Bourjos       CF

    To say this lineup can be scary good could just be a huge understatement.

    Trout, Pujols and Hamilton alone gives this Angels offense something for every team to think about. If Trumbo can find consistency throughout the entire season, 900 runs for this offense isn't out of the question.

Los Angeles Dodgers

14 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Mark Ellis             2B   
    2    Carl Crawford      LF   
    3    Matt Kemp           CF   
    4    Adrian Gonzalez  1B   
    5    Hanley Ramirez   SS   
    6    Andre Ethier        RF   
    7    Luis Cruz             3B   
    8    A.J. Ellis              C
    9   Clayton Kershaw  SP

    The leadoff spot remains the Achilles heel for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Manager Don Mattingly would prefer for Crawford to lead off despite the belief that he did not want to do so with the Boston Red Sox.

    "He said he didn't know where that came from," Mattingly said. "He said he heard that on ESPN. He said he would do whatever we want him to do."

    Second baseman Ellis could be an option—he led off 31 games last season.

Miami Marlins

15 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Juan Pierre                   LF   
    2    Placido Polanco           3B   
    3    Giancarlo Stanton        RF   
    4    Logan Morrison            1B   
    5    Justin Ruggiano           CF   
    6    Rob Brantly                  C
    7    Donovan Solano          2B   
    8    Adeiny Hechavarria     SS
    9    Ricky Nolasco              SP

    It's not a certainty at this point that Morrison will be ready for the start of the season. Morrison underwent knee surgery in September and isn't expected to be at full strength when spring training starts.

    New manager Mike Redmond will be tasked to score runs with an offense lacking in experience. Stanton and Morrison will be the main run-producing tandem—beyond that it's a crapshoot.

Milwaukee Brewers

16 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Norichika Aoki         RF   
    2    Rickie Weeks          2B   
    3    Ryan Braun            LF   
    4    Aramis Ramirez      3B   
    5    Jonathan Lucroy    C
    6    Mat Gamel             1B   
    7    Carlos Gomez       CF   
    8    Jean Segura          SS
    9    Yovani Gallardo     SP

    With Corey Hart out of the lineup until at least late April, Gamel will get the opportunity to show his stuff at first base. Gamel played just 21 games last season before a torn ACL prematurely ended his year.

    Manager Ron Roenicke will be counting on a bounce-back year from Weeks, and Gomez will look to build on a solid year that saw him hit 19 HR with 51 RBI.

    Alex Gonzalez is back in the fold again as well—he'll serve as insurance for Segura.

Minnesota Twins

17 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Darin Mastroianni    CF   
    2    Jamey Carroll          2B   
    3    Joe Mauer               C
    4    Josh Willingham     LF   
    5    Justin Morneau      1B   
    6    Ryan Doumit          DH   
    7    Chris Parmelee      RF   
    8    Trevor Plouffe        3B   
    9    Pedro Florimon      SS

    The Minnesota Twins offense will be contingent on the production in the middle of the order from Mauer, Willingham and Morneau. Mauer will get looks at DH and at first base as well, spelling both Doumit and Morneau.

    Mastroianni can steal some bases, but he's likely just holding down the spot for Aaron Hicks, who could very well have impact on the Twins roster in 2013.

New York Mets

18 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Ruben Tejada            SS   
    2    Daniel Murphy           2B   
    3    David Wright             3B   
    4    Ike Davis                  1B   
    5    Lucas Duda              LF   
    6    Mike Baxter              RF   
    7    John Buck                C
    8    Kirk Nieuwenhuis     CF
    9    Johan Santana         SP

    When you're faced with an offense in which none of the starting outfielders are run producers, you're in trouble.

    That's currently what the Mets face with an outfield of Duda, Nieuwenhuis and Baxter. It's possible that Michael Bourn could still sign before spring training, but that won't help the run production much.

    Manager Terry Collins is going to be inventing ways to manufacture runs with this group.

New York Yankees

19 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Derek Jeter               SS  
    2    Ichiro Suzuki             RF   
    3    Robinson Cano        2B   
    4    Mark Teixeira           1B   
    5    Curtis Granderson    CF   
    6    Kevin Youkilis           3B   
    7    Travis Hafner           DH   
    8    Francisco Cervelli    C
    9    Brett Gardner           LF

    Cervelli will compete with Austin Romine and Chris Stewart for the everyday job behind the plate for the New York Yankees in what will no doubt be the most spirited positional competition during spring training.

    They could all just be temporary until highly-touted prospect Gary Sanchez is ready to make his way to the Bronx.

    Suzuki was comfortable in the No. 2 hole hitting behind Jeter and manager Joe Girardi will have to come up with options at DH against left-handed pitching.

Oakland Athletics

20 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Coco Crisp              CF   
    2    Jed Lowrie               3B   
    3    Yoenis Cespedes    LF   
    4    Brandon Moss        1B   
    5    Josh Reddick          RF   
    6    Seth Smith              DH   
    7    John Jaso               C
    8    Scott Sizemore       2B   
    9    Hiroyuki Nakajima  SS

    Josh Donaldson is the incumbent at third base for the Oakland A's, but the recent acquisition of Lowrie could very well change that. Much will depend on how Nakajima adjusts to American baseball.

    With Chris Young in place, manager Bob Melvin will have plenty of lineup options. Young can DH or play center, Crisp can play center or left field, Cespedes can play left or DH. Melvin could play the matchup game in determining his optimal lineup each day.

    The addition of Jaso behind the plate helps as well. A's catchers combined to hit just .204 with a .262 OBP last season.

Philadelphia Phillies

21 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Ben Revere           CF
    2    Jimmy Rollins        SS   
    3    Chase Utley          2B   
    4    Ryan Howard       1B   
    5    Michael Young      3B   
    6    Delmon Young      RF   
    7    Domonic Brown    LF   
    8    Erik Kratz             C
    9    Roy Halladay       SP

    With Carlos Ruiz starting the season with a 25-game suspension, Kratz and Humberto Quintero will try and hold down the fort.

    With 74 stolen bases in his last two seasons, Revere adds the element of speed to the top of the lineup. Utley and Howard will be counted on to stay healthy and wield the big bats in the middle of the order.

    Newcomer Delmon Young will get a fresh start in Philly—whether or not his defense sees vast improvement is another story entirely.

Pittsburgh Pirates

22 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Starling Marte              LF   
    2    Neil Walker                  2B   
    3    Andrew McCutchen     CF
    4    Garrett Jones              1B   
    5    Pedro Alvarez             3B   
    6    Russell Martin             C   
    7    Travis Snider              RF   
    8    Clint Barmes              SS
    9    A.J. Burnett                SP

    This is the lineup that should be out there every day—first baseman Gaby Sanchez will try to change that, however.

    If Sanchez can wield a big bat in spring training, Jones will see more time in right field. Snider has the potential, but has yet to fully realize it through parts of five seasons.

    Manager Clint Hurdle also has Jose Tabata and Alex Presley at his disposal. Tabata's streaky nature of play keeps him behind Marte on the depth chart.

San Diego Padres

23 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Everth Cabrera       SS   
    2    Logan Forsythe      2B   
    3    Chase Headley      3B   
    4    Carlos Quentin       LF   
    5    Yonder Alonso       1B   
    6    Will Venable           RF   
    7    Cameron Maybin   CF   
    8    Nick Hundley         C
    9   Edinson Volquez    SP

    Bringing in the fences at Petco Park may not help the Padres pitching staff, but it will be of great benefit to Headley and Quentin. Their production in 2013 will be a major factor in the success of the Padres offense.

    Hundley takes over behind the plate while Yasmani Grandal serves out his 50-game suspension, a definite downgrade offensively.

San Francisco Giants

24 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Angel Pagan                 CF   
    2    Marco Scutaro              2B   
    3    Pablo Sandoval            3B   
    4    Buster Posey                C
    5    Hunter Pence               RF   
    6    Brandon Belt                1B   
    7    Brandon Crawford       SS   
    8    Gregor Blanco             LF
    9    Matt Cain                     SP

    The exact same offense that won the World Series for the San Francisco Giants in 2012 is back in place again this year.

    Old friend Andres Torres was brought back to help out Blanco in left as well.

Seattle Mariners

25 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Dustin Ackley              2B   
    2    Franklin Gutierrez       CF   
    3    Kyle Seager                3B   
    4    Michael Morse            LF   
    5    Kendrys Morales        DH   
    6    Jesus Montero           C
    7    Justin Smoak             1B   
    8    Michael Saunders      RF   
    9    Brendan Ryan            SS

    The big question mark for the Mariners offense is Smoak. Smoak was the centerpiece of the trade that sent starting pitcher Cliff Lee to the Texas Rangers in 2010. The Mariners are still waiting for Smoak to fully realize his potential.

    If he continues to falter, Morales will see much more time at first. Morse could be an option as well with Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez also in the picture in left field.

    Manager Eric Wedge will mix and match in an effort to field an offense that doesn't finish last in scoring for a change.

St. Louis Cardinals

26 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Rafael Furcal          SS   
    2    Allen Craig              1B   
    3    Carlos Beltran         RF   
    4    Matt Holliday           LF   
    5    Yadier Molina         C
    6    David Freese         3B   
    7    Jon Jay                  CF
    8    Daniel Descalso     2B
    9    Adam Wainwright   SP

    The St. Louis Cardinals are hoping that Furcal's health holds out for another year.

    Matt Carpenter will work extensively with former infielder Jose Oquendo in learning the nuances of second base, and the Cards are hoping Carpenter can adjust enough to get his bat into the lineup on a regular basis.

Tampa Bay Rays

27 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Desmond Jennings      CF   
    2    Yunel Escobar             SS   
    3    Ben Zobrist                  RF   
    4    Evan Longoria             3B   
    5    Matt Joyce                  LF   
    6    Luke Scott                  DH   
    7    Kelly Johnson             2B   
    8    James Loney              1B   
    9    Jose Molina                C

    A whole lot of intangibles here for the Tampa Bay Rays.

    Johnson was signed to add some additional pop. However, both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays gave up on Johnson in the past two years. Whether or not he can add more than a .225 average with the Rays remains to be seen.

    Scott will get one more chance to show the Rays he can be a powerful offensive weapon after being re-signed for one year and $2.75 million.

    The wild-card in the equation is Wil Myers. The centerpiece of the trade that sent pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals, it's thought that Myers will start the season in Triple-A.How quickly he continues to develop will definitely have impact on the Rays offense in 2013.

Texas Rangers

28 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Ian Kinsler           2B   
    2    Elvis Andrus        SS   
    3    David Murphy      LF   
    4    Adrian Beltre       3B   
    5    Lance Berkman   DH   
    6    Nelson Cruz        RF   
    7    A.J. Pierzynski    C
    8    Mitch Moreland   1B   
    9    Leonys Martin    CF

    The absence of Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli will hurt. The Texas Rangers will now rely on Beltre and Berkman to step up in the middle of the order.

    Murphy will finally have an everyday role after five-plus seasons and Martin and Craig Gentry will likely platoon in center.

Toronto Blue Jays

29 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Jose Reyes                SS   
    2    Melky Cabrera           LF   
    3    Jose Bautista             RF   
    4    Edwin Encarnacion    DH   
    5    Brett Lawrie               3B   
    6    Colby Rasmus          CF   
    7    Adam Lind                1B   
    8    J.P. Arencibia            C
    9    Emilio Bonifacio        2B

    This is an offense that has the potential to be scary. Bautista is apparently fully healthy after undergoing surgery to repair a tendon sheath in his left wrist.

    Lind will attempt to bounce back from an up-and-down 2012 season in which he was demoted to the minors. Utility infielder Maicer Izturis will see plenty of time at second base as well.

Washington Nationals

30 of 30

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    1    Denard Span               CF   
    2    Bryce Harper              LF   
    3    Ryan Zimmerman       3B   
    4    Adam LaRoche           1B   
    5    Jayson Werth              RF   
    6    Ian Desmond              SS   
    7    Danny Espinosa         2B   
    8    Wilson Ramos            C
    9    Stephen Strasburg     SP

    The addition of Span gives the Washington Nationals a solid leadoff presence.

    Harper hit second for much of last season, and he'll look to improve on a .340 OBP hitting behind Span.

    This is an offense with plenty of pop—Harper, Zimmerman, LaRoche, Werth and Desmond are all capable of 25 to 30 home runs apiece.

    Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.