Re-Ranking the AL Lineups After Michael Bourn to the Indians

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2013

Re-Ranking the AL Lineups After Michael Bourn to the Indians

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    On Monday night, the Indians landed the market's top remaining bat, signing speedster Michael Bourn to a four-year, $48 million deal (h/t ESPN).

    The signing certainly bolsters the Indians roster, and Bourn joins Nick Swisher, Mark Reynolds and Drew Stubbs as new faces in a vastly improved Cleveland lineup.

    Where does that signing put the Indians lineup among the rest of the American League lineups? Proceed to find out.

15. Houston Astros

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    The Astros have added a pair of capable run producers this offseason, signing Carlos Pena as a free agent and acquiring young slugger Chris Carter from the A's.

    However, the latter move cost them one of their best hitters from 2012 in Jed Lowrie, so overall it didn't make them much better for the season ahead.

    Jose Altuve remains a spark plug atop the lineup, and Justin Maxwell and Brett Wallace have power potential, but there is simply no star power to elevate this lineup out of the bottom spot here.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    2B Jose Altuve
    RF Fernando Martinez
    DH Carlos Pena
    LF Chris Carter                                                                                                                     1B Brett Wallace
    CF Justin Maxwell
    C Jason Castro
    SS Tyler Greene
    3B Matt Dominguez

    Projected Bench

    C Carlos Corporan
    IF Marwin Gonzalez
    OF Rick Ankiel
    OF J.D. Martinez

14. Minnesota Twins

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    The Twins focused on improving their pitching staff this offseason for the present and future, and as a result they traded a pair of starting outfielders in Denard Span and Ben Revere.

    With no major additions to the offense, that leaves the team worse off than last season as unproven Darin Mastroianni and Chris Parmelee will take their place in the starting lineup.

    Josh Willingham proved to be a top-tier run producer last season and Joe Mauer looks to be back to 100 percent, but aside from those two it's a below-average group.


    Projected Starting Lineup

    CF Darin Mastroianni
    2B Jamey Carroll
    C Joe Mauer
    LF Josh Willingham
    1B Justin Morneau
    DH Ryan Doumit
    RF Chris Parmelee
    3B Trevor Plouffe
    SS Pedro Florimon Jr.


    Projected Bench

    C Drew Butera
    1B Jeff Clement
    IF Eduardo Escobar
    OF Brandon Boggs 

13. Seattle Mariners

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    The Mariners have had the American League's lowest-scoring offense each of the past three seasons, and they took steps to address that this offseason.

    Sluggers Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales were brought aboard to provide some much-needed run production; they should immediately make the offense better.

    They also completely retooled their bench and should benefit from the midseason additions of two top prospects: catcher Mike Zunino and shortstop Nick Franklin. They're a team on the rise, but they are still a year or two away.


    Projected Starting Lineup

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


    Projected Bench

    C Kelly Shoppach
    IF Robert Andino
    OF Jason Bay
    OF Raul Ibanez 

12. Tampa Bay Rays

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    The Rays have been carried by their pitching staff for the past several seasons, and despite a subpar offense they have been able to be perennial contenders.

    The team signed James Loney and Kelly Johnson in free agency and acquired Yunel Escobar in a trade, as they've reworked their entire infield around superstar third baseman Evan Longoria.

    The biggest move, though. was the acquisition of Royals top prospect Wil Myers, who could make a serious impact by midseason and give the Rays another dangerous slugger alongside Longoria.


    Projected Starting Lineup

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


    Projected Bench

    C Jose Lobaton
    1B/OF Shelley Duncan
    IF Sean Rodriguez
    IF/OF Ryan Roberts

11. Kansas City Royals

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    The Royals made a handful of big moves this offseason to improve their pitching staff, as they look to give some support to their impressive, homegrown offensive core.

    Billy Butler enjoyed a career year in 2012, with a .313 BA, 29 HR, 107 RBI and winning the Silver Slugger. At 27 years old he's just entering his prime.

    Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer all have the potential to be among the best at their positions, but the player to watch is catcher Salvador Perez. The 22-year-old opened the season on the DL, but hit .301 BA, 11 HR, 39 RBI in 289 at-bats and could be in for a breakout season.


    Projected Starting Lineup

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


    Projected Bench

    C George Kottaras
    2B Johnny Giavotella
    IF Elliot Johnson
    OF Jarrod Dyson

10. Chicago White Sox

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    If not for a late-season collapse, the White Sox would have won the AL Central last season. Their competitiveness in 2012 was due in large part to a resurgence by their offense.

    Adam Dunn and Alex Rios both enjoyed bounce-back seasons, while Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo held their own as they moved to the starting lineup.

    Replacing Kevin Youkilis and A.J. Pierzynski with Jeff Keppinger and Tyler Flowers is clearly a step back, though, and there is no guarantee that Dunn and Rios won't regress.

    Projected Starting Lineup

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


    Projected Bench

    C Hector Gimenez
    1B/OF Lars Anderson
    IF Angel Sanchez
    OF DeWayne Wise 

9. Oakland Athletics

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    The A's made the most of a group of journeyman veterans and unproven youngsters last season, ranking eighth in the league in runs scored despite not having any big-name players in their lineup.

    Guys like Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss and Yoenis Cespedes all stepped forward with big seasons, and the team has taken steps to make its offense even better this coming season.

    Jed Lowrie was added in a trade with the Astros to serve as a super utility man, Hiroyuki Nakajima was signed out of Japan to be the everyday shortstop and 30/30 threat Chris Young was acquired from the Diamondbacks.

    If the aforementioned surprise performers can duplicate their performance, the offense should be a legitimate asset in 2013.


    Projected Starting Lineup

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


    Projected Bench

    C Derek Norris
    1B Daric Barton
    3B Josh Donaldson
    OF Chris Young

8. Texas Rangers

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    Losing Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli has left the Rangers with a lineup that no longer ranks as the game's best.

    They added Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski to replace some of the lost production, and still have All-Star caliber players in Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre.

    The biggest determining factor in how their offense does this season could be the continued progression of top prospects Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar, but they may be hard-pressed to repeat as highest-scoring team in the AL.


    Projected Starting Lineup

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


    Projected Bench

    C Geovany Soto
    IF/OF Jeff Baker
    IF/OF Leury Garcia
    OF Craig Gentry

7. Cleveland Indians

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    Expected to be sellers this offseason, the Indians have instead been aggressive buyers in signing a trio of impact bats in Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and Mark Reynolds.

    The also acquired Drew Stubbs and Mike Aviles via trade and signed Jason Giambi and Ryan Raburn to minor-league deals as their lineup has a completely new look.

    Those new additions join a talented young core led by Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis. It won't be enough to catch the Tigers, but the Indians should be able to improve on their 68-win season last year.


    Projected Starting Lineup

    CF Michael Bourn
    2B Jason Kipnis
    SS Asdrubal Cabrera
    1B Nick Swisher
    C Carlos Santana
    DH Mark Reynolds
    LF Michael Brantley
    3B Lonnie Chisenhall
    RF Drew Stubbs


    Projected Bench

    C Lou Marson
    1B Jason Giambi
    2B/OF Ryan Raburn
    IF/OF Mike Aviles 

6. Baltimore Orioles

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    A lot went right for the Orioles to make the playoffs last season, but there is no denying that they have a solid offensive core to build for future success.

    Adam Jones enjoyed a breakout season, while Matt Wieters and Manny Machado are among the game's emerging stars.

    The health of Brian Roberts is an ongoing question, as is whether or not Nate McLouth can turn in another solid performance hitting atop the team's lineup. All in all though, it's a solid lineup top-to-bottom entering the season.


    Projected Starting Lineup

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


    Projected Bench

    C Taylor Teagarden
    3B Danny Valencia
    IF Alexi Casilla
    OF Nolan Reimold

5. New York Yankees

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    The Yankees lost Russell Martin, Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones this offseason and opted not to make a splash signing.

    The re-signed Ichiro Suzuki, added Kevin Youkilis to fill in for the injured Alex Rodriguez and signed Travis Hafner to a low-cost deal to serve as the primary DH.

    It's an aging group, but there is still plenty of star power here. They may not top the 800-run mark again this season, but the offense should be a plus once again.


    Projected Starting Lineup

    RF Ichiro Suzuki
    SS Derek Jeter
    2B Robinson Cano
    1B Mark Teixeira
    CF Curtis Granderson
    3B Kevin Youkilis
    DH Travis Hafner
    LF Brett Gardner
    C Chris Stewart


    Projected Bench

    C Francisco Cervelli
    1B/OF Juan Rivera
    IF Eduardo Nunez
    OF Matt Diaz 

4. Boston Red Sox

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    The Red Sox freed up a ton of money last August in dealing Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford, and they used that money to add a number of midlevel veterans this offseason.

    Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew and Jonny Gomes were all added to the starting lineup, and David Ross and Lyle Overbay were added to bolster the bench.

    Those signings certainly won't lead to sustained success, but it should be enough for them to improve on last season's disappointing results and finish somewhere around .500.


    Projected Starting Lineup

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


    Projected Bench

    C David Ross
    1B Lyle Overbay
    IF Pedro Ciriaco
    OF Daniel Nava

3. Toronto Blue Jays

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    With six new players among the 13 projected to make up the position players on the Opening Day roster, overhaul doesn't quite sum up what the Blue Jays have done to their roster this offseason.

    New table-setters Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera will provide plenty of RBI opportunities for the slugging duo of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, and if Adam Lind can turn in a solid season at DH there are really no holes in the lineup.

    One to watch is third baseman Brett Lawrie, who battled injuries last season but has the makings of a future superstar and could take a big step forward in 2013.


    Projected Starting Lineup

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


    Projected Bench

    C Henry Blanco
    IF Maicer Izturis
    IF/OF Mark DeRosa
    OF Rajai Davis

2. Detroit Tigers

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    The superstar duo of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, coupled with the emergence of center fielder Austin Jackson as a bonafide leadoff hitter atop the lineup, the Tigers had plenty of firepower last season.

    They've only gotten better this offseason, signing Torii Hunter to improve the right-field situation and welcoming back Victor Martinez after he missed all of the 2012 season.

    They are as good as any team in baseball from one to five, and if the four remaining hitters can put together at least solid seasons they could be the AL's highest scoring offense.

    Projected Starting Lineup

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


    Projected Bench

    C Brayan Pena
    IF Ramon Santiago
    OF Quintin Berry
    OF Brennan Boesch

1. Los Angeles Angels

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    After spending big to add Albert Pujols last offseason, the Angels opened their wallets again this winter to add the market's top bat in Josh Hamilton.

    Those two join budding superstar Mike Trout, who turned in perhaps the best rookie season in MLB history last year, to form perhaps the most dangerous trio in baseball.

    Mark Trumbo is another dangerous slugger in the lineup, and the remaining group of Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, Albert Callaspo, Chris Iannetta and Peter Bourjos are all capable of putting up above-average numbers at their positions.


    Projected Starting Lineup

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


    Projected Bench

    C Hank Conger
    IF Andrew Romine
    IF/OF Bill Hall
    OF Vernon Wells