MLB Power Rankings: Where Your Team Stands as Spring Training Play Begins

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2013

MLB Power Rankings: Where Your Team Stands as Spring Training Play Begins

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    Spring training is in full swing, and teams have begun their Cactus and Grapefruit League schedules as fans get their first look at their favorite teams for the upcoming season.

    Success in the spring is by no means a good gauge of how a team will perform in the season ahead, but it is a time to see how individual players look on new teams, in new roles or returning from injury. 

    So, with March fast approaching, here is a look at where all 30 teams stand as spring training play begins and we move ever closer to Opening Day.

30. Houston Astros

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    Key Newcomers

    LF Chris Carter

    Acquired from the A's in the Jed Lowrie trade, Carter hit 16 home runs in 218 at-bats last season during his first extended look in the majors.

    With the short porch in left field and a full season of at-bats, he could make some serious noise in Houston.

     

    RP Josh Fields

    The first pick in the Rule 5 draft, Fields posted a 2.01 ERA and 12.0 K/9 in 42 appearances in the Red Sox minor league system last year.

    He'll open the season in a middle relief role, but he could quickly emerge as a key late-inning arm for the Astros.

     

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

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

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP Bud Norris
    SP Lucas Harrell
    SP Jordan Lyles
    SP Phil Humber
    SP Erik Bedard
    CP Jose Veras

29. Miami Marlins

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    Key Newcomers

    SP Henderson Alvarez

    As a 22-year-old last season, Alvarez was one of the few Blue Jays starters who managed to stay healthy, making 31 starts and going 9-14 with a 4.85 ERA.

    He was acquired in the same trade that landed Adeiny Hechavarria, and he'll open the season as the team's No. 2 starter.


    SS Adeiny Hechavarria

    The Marlins' offseason was spent turning key veteran pieces into prospects, and the big league roster took a hit as a result. Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco were signed to fill out the roster, but they don't bring about much excitement.

    One player with a solid future who will contribute immediately is Hechavarria at shortstop. He hit .312/.363/.424 with 63 RBI in Triple-A last season and will be 23 to open the season.

     

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    LF Juan Pierre
    3B Placido Polanco
    RF Giancarlo Stanton
    1B Logan Morrison
    CF Justin Ruggiano
    C Rob Brantly
    2B Donovan Solano
    SS Adeiny Hechavarria
    Pitcher

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP Ricky Nolasco
    SP Henderson Alvarez
    SP Wade LeBlanc
    SP Nathan Eovaldi
    SP Jacob Turner
    CP Steve Cishek

28. Colorado Rockies

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    Key Newcomers

    RP Wilton Lopez

    Pitching was clearly the Rockies' biggest issue last season. While they did little to address their starting rotation, they added a solid bullpen arm in Lopez for young right-hander Alex White.

    Lopez, 29, has posted a 2.64 ERA over 205 appearances the last three seasons, and if the team decides to trade Rafael Betancourt, he's likely next in line to close. 

     

    SP Daniel Rosenbaum

    A 22nd-round pick in 2009, Rosenbaum went 8-10 with a 3.94 ERA in Double-A for the Nationals last season, and he was selected in the Rule 5 draft.

    He's slated to fill a bullpen spot, but with a questionable starting staff in place, he could wind up filling a bigger role than expected.


    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    CF Dexter Fowler
    2B Josh Rutledge
    LF Carlos Gonzalez
    SS Troy Tulowitzki
    RF Michael Cuddyer
    1B Todd Helton
    C Wilin Rosario
    3B Chris Nelson
    Pitcher

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP Jorge De La Rosa
    SP Jhoulys Chacin
    SP Drew Pomeranz
    SP Juan Nicasio
    SP Jeff Francis
    CP Rafael Betancourt

27. San Diego Padres

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    Key Newcomers

    SP Freddy Garcia

    Garcia enjoyed a career renaissance in 2011, going 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA for the Yankees. However, he fell off last season, going 7-6 with a 5.20 ERA and splitting the season between the rotation and bullpen.

    He's nothing but rotational filler at this point in his career. But if he can eat up some innings and post an ERA around 4.00, he'll be a good addition.

     

    SP Tyson Ross

    Ross is on the outside looking in for a rotation spot this season after being acquired from the A's. But at 25 years old, he has some upside.

    He went 6-2 with a 2.99 ERA in Triple-A last season, but was just 2-11 with a 6.50 ERA in Oakland. So he has some kinks to work out if he is going to contribute in San Diego.


    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    SS Everth Cabrera
    2B Logan Forsythe
    3B Chase Headley
    LF Carlos Quentin
    1B Yonder Alonso
    RF Will Venable
    CF Cameron Maybin
    C Nick Hundley
    Pitcher

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP Edinson Volquez
    SP Clayton Richard
    SP Jason Marquis
    SP Eric Stults
    SP Freddy Garcia
    CP Huston Street

26. Minnesota Twins

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    Key Newcomers

    SP Vance Worley

    The Twins shipped Ben Revere to the Phillies for pitching prospect Trevor May and the 25-year-old Worley.

    After going 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA as a rookie in 2011, he was 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA last season. Not spectacular numbers by any means, but he'll front the staff and will be a welcome addition to the rotation.

     

    SP Kevin Correia

    Joining Worley in the Twins' new-look staff is former Pirates right-hander Correia, who has won double-digit games each of the past four seasons and went 12-11 with a 4.21 ERA last year.

    He signed a two-year, $10 million deal and should be a solid innings eater if nothing else. Joining those two in the rotation will also be Mike Pelfrey, who could also emerge as a key arm.


    Projected Opening Day 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 Opening Day Rotation

    SP Vance Worley
    SP Kevin Correia
    SP Mike Pelfrey
    SP Liam Hendriks
    SP Brian Duensing
    CP Glen Perkins

25. Chicago Cubs

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    Key Newcomers

    SP Edwin Jackson

    Though he is not a staff ace, Jackson has been a solid, durable starter for years now. And after going 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA last year in Washington, he signed a four-year, $52 million deal to join the Cubs.

    If he can approach the 200-inning mark again this year and register double-digit wins, Chicago's staff will be much better off having him in 2013 and for the next four years.

     

    OF Scott Hairston

    A platoon player for most of his career, Hairston enjoyed a breakout season with the Mets last year, hitting 20 home runs in 377 at-bats.

    He'll again be in a platoon role, sharing right field duties with Nate Schierholtz. But if he can put up numbers similar to what he did last year, he could wind up being a steal on the two-year, $5 million deal the Cubs signed him to.


    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    CF David DeJesus
    SS Starlin Castro
    1B Anthony Rizzo
    LF Alfonso Soriano
    RF Nate Schierholtz
    3B Ian Stewart
    C Welington Castillo
    2B Darwin Barney
    Pitcher

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP Matt Garza
    SP Jeff Samardzija
    SP Edwin Jackson
    SP Scott Feldman 
    SP Travis Wood
    CP Carlos Marmol

24. New York Mets

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    Key Newcomers

    SP Shaun Marcum

    Though injuries limited him to just 21 starts last season, Marcum was solid in his two years in Milwaukee, going 20-11 with a 3.60 ERA.

    The injury concerns led him to settle for a one-year, $4 million deal with the Mets, and he'll open the season as the No. 2 starter behind Johan Santana. 

     

    C Travis d'Arnaud

    d'Arnaud was well on his way to the Blue Jays' starting catching job last year, hitting .333/.380/.595 with 16 home runs and 52 RBI in 67 games at Triple-A.

    However, a torn PCL ended his season in June, and he was traded to the Mets for reigning Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. John Buck will likely open the season as the starter, with d'Arnaud starting off in the minors, but d'Arnaud should take over by midseason.

     

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    SS Ruben Tejada
    2B Daniel Murphy
    3B David Wright
    1B Ike Davis
    LF Lucas Duda
    RF Mike Baxter
    C John Buck
    CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis
    Pitcher 

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP Johan Santana
    SP Shaun Marcum
    SP Jon Niese
    SP Matt Harvey
    SP Dillon Gee
    CP Bobby Parnell

23. Chicago White Sox

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    Key Newcomers

    3B Jeff Keppinger

    Third base was a black hole production-wise for the White Sox last season until they acquired Kevin Youkilis from the Red Sox. But after he departed in free agency, the team was in the same position.

    The White Sox signed Keppinger to a three-year, $12 million deal to fill the void. While that may be a bit much for a career utility man, he did turn in a terrific season last year when he hit .325/.367/.439 with nine home runs and 40 RBI for the Rays.

     

    RP Matt Lindstrom

    The 33-year-old Lindstrom has a live arm, and he'll replace Brett Myers in the back end of the White Sox bullpen.

    He has closer experience after saving 23 games for the Astros in 2010, and he posted a career-best 2.68 ERA in 46 games last season, so he was a solid signing on a one-year, $2.8 million deal.

     

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

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

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP Chris Sale
    SP Jake Peavy
    SP John Danks
    SP Gavin Floyd
    SP Jose Quintana
    CP Addison Reed

22. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Key Newcomers

    C Russell Martin

    Signed away from the Yankees on a two-year, $17 million deal, Martin should be a significant offensive upgrade over Rod Barajas at catcher.

    Though he hit just .211 last season, he he did have 21 home runs and 53 RBI. Aside from his pop offensively, he also does a nice job handling the staff and should be an asset behind the plate.

     

    SP Francisco Liriano

    Liriano has been as frustrating as any pitcher in baseball since first breaking into the league, and the 2012 season was no exception. He finished the season 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA, and after lengthy negotiations, he finally signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Pirates.

    A broken right forearm could keep him sidelined to open the season, but he's a solid addition on an incentive-laden deal.


    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    LF Starling Marte
    2B Neil Walker
    CF Andrew McCutchen
    1B Garrett Jones
    3B Pedro Alvarez
    C Russell Martin
    RF Travis Snider
    SS Clint Barmes
    Pitcher 

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP A.J. Burnett
    SP Wandy Rodriguez
    SP James McDonald
    SP Jeff Karstens
    SP Kyle McPherson
    CP Jason Grilli

21. Seattle Mariners

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    Key Newcomers

    DH Kendrys Morales

    Morales was a budding star when he hit .306 with 34 home runs and 108 RBI during his first full season in 2009. However, injuries sidelined him much of 2010 and all of 2011, and he entered last season looking to get his career back on course.

    The numbers weren't quite as good last year, as he had 22 home runs and 73 RBI. But that was still enough for him to hold some trade value, and the Angels shipped him to Seattle for left-hander Jason Vargas.

     

    LF Michael Morse

    Originally acquired by the Mariners back in the 2004 trade that sent Freddy Garcia to the White Sox, Morse spent four forgettable seasons in Seattle before his career took off with the Nationals.

    With the acquisition of Denard Span and the re-signing of Adam LaRoche, Morse was the odd man out in Washington and was sent to Seattle in a three-team trade for catcher John Jaso.


    Projected Opening Day 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 Opening Day Rotation

    SP Felix Hernandez
    SP Joe Saunders
    SP Hisashi Iwakuma 
    SP Erasmo Ramirez
    SP Blake Beavan
    CP Tom Wilhelmsen

20. Cleveland Indians

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    Key Newcomers

    1B Nick Swisher

    Though he is not an elite slugger, Swisher has been a consistent producer throughout his career. He averaged a line of .268 BA, 26 HR, 87 RBI in his four seasons with the Yankees.

    Swisher agreed to terms on a four-year, $56 million deal with Cleveland, where, aside from serving as the cleanup hitter, he'll be a terrific leader in a young clubhouse.

     

    CF Michael Bourn

    It took him a while to find a home this offseason, but Bourn eventually agreed to a four-year, $48 million deal to join the Indians.

    One of the game's premier speed threats and a fantastic defensive center fielder, Bourn will add another dynamic to what should be a solid Indians lineup this coming season.


    Projected Opening Day Lineup

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

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP Justin Masterson
    SP Ubaldo Jimenez
    SP Brett Myers
    SP Zach McAllister
    SP Daisuke Matsuzaka
    CP Chris Perez

19. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Key Newcomers

    RP Mike Gonzalez

    The Brewers' biggest weakness last season was their bullpen, so they understandably made that the focus of their offseason.

    Gonzalez has been a solid left-hander relievers for years, and he posted a 3.03 ERA in 47 appearances with the Nationals last season. He agreed to a one-year, $2.25 million deal. 

     

    RP Tom Gorzelanny

    Joining Gonzalez in the Brewers bullpen is fellow southpaw Gorzelanny, who signed a two-year, $5.7 million deal.

    The 30-year-old also spent last year with the Nationals, going 4-2 with a 2.88 ERA in 72 innings of work out of the 'pen. He is capable of starting as well if the team runs into rotation problems.

     

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    RF Norichika Aoki
    2B Rickie Weeks
    LF Ryan Braun
    3B Aramis Ramirez
    C Jonathan Lucroy
    CF Carlos Gomez
    1B Hunter Morris
    SS Jean Segura
    Pitcher


    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP Yovani Gallardo
    SP Marco Estrada
    SP Michael Fiers
    SP Chris Narveson
    SP Wily Peralta
    CP John Axford

18. Kansas City Royals

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    Key Newcomers

    SP James Shields

    The Royals took a big chance in dealing top prospect Wil Myers, but they got one of the game's better veteran arms in Shields.

    Under team control through 2014, Shields went a combined 31-22 with a 3.15 ERA the past two seasons. And he's eclipsed the 200-inning mark each of the past six seasons as one of the most durable arms in the league.

     

    SP Ervin Santana

    After winning 28 games combined in 2010 and 2011 and posting an ERA under 4.00 each season, Santana went 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA last season.

    Facing a $13 million option for 2013, the Angels opted to deal him, and the Royals took a chance on him returning to form and took on the bulk of his contract. 

     

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

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

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP James Shields
    SP Jeremy Guthrie
    SP Ervin Santana 
    SP Wade Davis
    SP Bruce Chen
    CP Greg Holland

17. Boston Red Sox

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    Key Newcomers

    1B/C Mike Napoli

    Picking just two guys wasn't easy after the Red Sox's busy offseason.

    While Shane Victorino signed the bigger contract (three years, $39 million), Napoli may well have the bigger offensive impact.

    After failing his physical, Napoli had to settle for a one-year, $5 million deal. But if he can come even close to his 2011 form, he'll be the steal of the offseason even with the incentives attached to the deal.

     

    SP Ryan Dempster

    Pitching remains the Red Sox's biggest concern after a rocky performance top to bottom last season, and the team hopes the veteran Dempster can help shore things up.

    The 35-year-old was terrific with the Cubs during the first half of the season, but he struggled to a 5.09 ERA in 12 starts with the Rangers after being traded. The Red Sox are banking on him pitching like he did in Chicago after giving him a two-year, $26.5 million deal.

     

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

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

     

    2013 Projected Rotation

    SP Jon Lester
    SP Clay Buchholz
    SP Ryan Dempster
    SP Felix Doubront
    SP John Lackey
    CP Joel Hanrahan

16. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Key Newcomers

    3B Michael Young

    A staple in the Rangers lineup for the past 13 seasons, Young was traded to the Phillies along with $10 million towards the $16 million he'll make this coming season.

    The 36-year-old had the worst season of his career last year, hitting .277 with eight home runs and 67 RBI. But he will be motivated to prove he still has something left after Texas essentially moved him for nothing.


    CF Ben Revere

    In need of a long-term answer in center field, the Phillies shipped right-handers Vance Worley and Trevor May to the Twins for the 24-year-old Revere.

    He is essentially Juan Pierre-lite, as he bring terrific speed and a solid average, but absolutely nothing in the power department. Revere is a much better defender than Pierre ever was, though, and he should be a solid addition to an aging Phillies roster.

     

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    SS Jimmy Rollins
    2B Chase Utley
    3B Michael Young
    1B Ryan Howard
    LF Darin Ruf
    RF Domonic Brown
    CF Ben Revere
    C Erik Kratz
    Pitcher

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP Roy Halladay
    SP Cliff Lee
    SP Cole Hamels
    SP Kyle Kendrick
    SP John Lannan
    CP Jonathan Papelbon

15. New York Yankees

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    Key Newcomers

    3B Kevin Youkilis

    With Alex Rodriguez lost until at least midseason after undergoing hip surgery, the Yankees needed a stop-gap option at third base, and they found one in former rival Youkilis.

    The 33-year-old struggled before being traded from Boston to the White Sox last season, but he turned things around with a .771 OPS with 15 home runs in 80 games in Chicago. It'll be odd, to say the least, seeing him in pinstripes.

     

    DH Travis Hafner

    Once among the most feared sluggers in all of baseball, Hafner has averaged just 86 games over the past five seasons and only once played in more than 100.

    The power is still there, as he hit 12 home runs in 219 at-bats last season—it's just a matter of him staying on the field. On a one-year, $2 million contract, he was a great low-risk, high-reward signing.


    Projected Opening Day Lineup

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

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP CC Sabathia
    SP Hiroki Kuroda 
    SP Andy Pettitte
    SP Phil Hughes
    SP Ivan Nova
    CP Mariano Rivera

14. Texas Rangers

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    Key Newcomers

    C A.J. Pierzynski

    The 36-year-old Pierzynski enjoyed a career year for the White Sox last season, hitting .278 with 27 home runs and 77 RBI to take home Silver Slugger honors.

    After spending the last eight seasons with the White Sox, he signed a one-year, $7.5 million deal with the Rangers, where he'll be asked to help ease the loss of Josh Hamilton, among others.

     

    DH Lance Berkman

    The NL Comeback Player of the Year in 2011, Berkman struggled to stay on the field last year and ended up playing in just 32 games altogether.

    Short on offensive options after missing out on their top targets, the Rangers signed the 37-year-old to a one-year, $10 million deal. He will be counted on to be a key run producer hitting out of the No. 3 hole in the lineup.

     

    Projected Opening Day 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 Opening Day Rotation

    SP Yu Darvish
    SP Derek Holland
    SP Matt Harrison
    SP Alexi Ogando
    SP Martin Perez
    CP Joe Nathan

13. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Key Newcomers

    3B Martin Prado

    The key veteran acquisition in the Justin Upton trade, Prado ranks as one of the most underrated players in all of baseball over the past few seasons.

    Last season, he played all four infield spots and left field while hitting .301 with 10 home runs, 70 RBI and 17 steals—good for a 5.4 WAR. He does a little bit of everything and should be a terrific addition to the Diamondbacks lineup.

     

    SP Brandon McCarthy

    McCarthy has pitched like a front-line starter when healthy the past two seasons, going 17-15 with a 3.29 ERA. However, injuries limited him to just 43 starts, and a scary head injury last year left his future in question.

    He'll open the season as the No. 4 starter, but could quickly emerge as the staff ace if he can avoid injury. He looked solid in his spring debut, striking out four over two innings of work.

     

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    CF Adam Eaton
    2B Aaron Hill
    C Miguel Montero
    LF Jason Kubel
    3B Martin Prado
    1B Paul Goldschmidt
    RF Cody Ross
    SS Cliff Pennington
    Pitcher

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP Ian Kennedy
    SP Trevor Cahill
    SP Wade Miley
    SP Brandon McCarthy
    SP Tyler Skaggs
    CP J.J. Putz

12. Baltimore Orioles

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    Key Newcomers

    SP Jair Jurrjens

    Entering last season, Jurrjens was one of the top young arms in the game, coming off of a 13-6 season in which he posted a 2.96 ERA and made his first All-Star appearance.

    Fast forward one year and he's fighting to make the Orioles roster on a minor league deal. After posting a 6.89 ERA in 11 appearances with the Braves last season, he was non-tendered. Now, he'll look to turn things around and win the No. 5 spot in the Baltimore rotation this spring.

     

    IF Alexi Casilla

    Claimed off waivers from the Twins, Casilla has consistently provided good defense at either middle infield spot and good speed the bases, though he has hit just .250/.305/.334 for his career.

    Second baseman Brian Roberts' health is always a question, so adding a proven veteran as an insurance option was a solid move for the Orioles.


    Projected Opening Day 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 Opening Day Rotation

    SP Jason Hammel
    SP Wei-Yin Chen
    SP Chris Tillman
    SP Miguel Gonzalez
    SP Jair Jurrjens
    CP Jim Johnson

11. Oakland Athletics

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    Key Newcomers

    3B Jed Lowrie

    Though Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson stepped up big last season, the A's entered the offseason without a sure thing at any of the four infield positions.

    Lowrie was acquired from the Astros for a package built around slugger Chris Carter, and he'll play all over the infield, with a bulk of his time coming at third base. The 28-year-old had 16 home runs in 340 at-bats for Houston last season.

     

    SS Hiroyuki Nakajima

    After failing to sign with the Yankees last offseason after they won negotiating rights with a $2 million bid, Nakajima was a free agent this offseason and he agreed to a two-year, $6.5 million deal with the A's.

    A .302 career hitter in Japan, he hit .311 with 13 home runs and 74 RBI last season. Even if he is slow to adjust to the MLB game, he should still be an upgrade offensively over Cliff Pennington and others who manned the position last year.


    Projected Opening Day 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 Opening Day Rotation 

    SP Brett Anderson
    SP Jarrod Parker
    SP Tom Milone
    SP A.J. Griffin
    SP Daniel Straily
    CP Ryan Cook

10. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Key Newcomers

    RP Randy Choate

    The Cardinals' only clear need entering the offseason was a second left-handed arm alongside Marc Rzepczynski in the bullpen. 

    They got their guy in the 37-year-old Choate, signing him to a three-year, $7.5 million deal. He appeared in an NL-high 80 games and posted a 3.03 ERA last season while playing for the Marlins and Dodgers.

     

    IF Ty Wigginton

    With Allen Craig moving into an everyday role last season, the Cardinals lacked a bat off the bench capable of providing some pop.

    Wigginton should be able to provide that after hitting 11 home runs in 315 at-bats last season for the Phillies. He also gives the team an insurance policy at third base should the injury-prone David Freese be forced to spend time on the DL.


    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    SS Rafael Furcal
    1B Allen Craig
    LF Matt Holliday
    RF Carlos Beltran
    C Yadier Molina
    3B David Freese
    CF John Jay
    2B Daniel Descalso
    Pitcher

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP Adam Wainwright
    SP Jaime Garcia
    SP Jake Westbrook
    SP Lance Lynn
    SP Joe Kelly
    CP Jason Motte

9. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Key Newcomers

    RF Wil Myers

    He may open the year in the minors, but by midseason, Myers could be a key run producer in the middle of the Rays lineup.

    The Minor League Player of the Year last season after he hit .314/.387/.600 with 37 home runs and 109 RBI, Myers doesn't need much more minor league seasoning. After giving up James Shields to acquire him, the Rays will want to see him in action once he's deemed ready.

     

    SS Yunel Escobar

    Myers was the marquee addition, but the team also added some solid filler pieces in Escobar, first baseman James Loney and second baseman Kelly Johnson.

    Escobar has not always been the best locker room guy, but there is no denying his offensive skills. And after suffering through the likes of Reid Brignac, Sean Rodriguez and Elliot Johnson at the position last season, he'll be a welcome addition. 

     

    Projected Opening Day 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 Opening Day Rotation

    SP David Price
    SP Jeremy Hellickson
    SP Matt Moore
    SP Alex Cobb
    SP Jeff Niemann
    CP Fernando Rodney

8. Los Angeles Angels

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    Key Newcomers

    RF Josh Hamilton

    A year after paying big to sign Albert Pujols, the Angels again made a splash and signed the market's top bat when they gave Hamilton a five-year, $125 million deal.

    Hamilton has battled injuries off and on, but there is no denying his power. And he launched a career-best 43 home runs with 128 RBI last season. With Hamilton and Pujols alongside Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles' offense should put up huge numbers.

     

    SP Jason Vargas

    The Angels rotation features three new starters this season behind Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, with Vargas joining Tommy Hunter and Joe Blanton in Los Angeles.

    Vargas is the best of the three newcomers in my opinion, as the left-hander went 14-11 with a 3.85 ERA for the Mariners last season and surpassed the 200-inning mark for the second straight season.


    Projected Opening Day 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 Opening Day Rotation

    SP Jered Weaver
    SP C.J. Wilson
    SP Joe Blanton
    SP Jason Vargas
    SP Tommy Hanson 
    CP Ernesto Frieri

7. Atlanta Braves

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    Key Newcomers

    LF Justin Upton

    Long-rumored to be on the move, the Diamondbacks finally pulled the trigger and shipped Upton to the Braves for a package of players built around Martin Prado and Randall Delgado.

    It's hard to believe he's still only 25. Despite taking a step back last season, he still has all the tools to be a superstar. A .300 BA, 30 HR, 100 RBI season is well within reach, and a change of scenery may be exactly what he needed to take that next step.

     

    CF B.J. Upton

    Speaking of needing a change of scenery, it was clear that the older Upton brother was best suited moving on from his time in Tampa.

    He hit just .246 with a terrible .298 on-base percentage last season, but he did launch a career-high 28 home runs and steal 31 bases while playing solid defense. We'll see if the five-year, $75.25 million deal the Braves gave him was a mistake, but he seems to be in a good position for a big season.


    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    SS Andrelton Simmons
    RF Jason Heyward
    LF Justin Upton
    1B Freddie Freeman
    CF B.J. Upton
    2B Dan Uggla
    3B Juan Francisco
    C Gerald Laird 
    Pitcher 

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP Tim Hudson
    SP Kris Medlen
    SP Mike Minor
    SP Paul Maholm
    SP Julio Teheran
    CP Craig Kimbrel

6. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Key Newcomers

    SP Zack Greinke

    Looking for a frontline starter to slot behind Clayton Kershaw in their rotation, the Dodgers shelled out a six-year, $147 million deal to sign the market's top arm in Greinke.

    Last season, he went 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 212.1 innings. While he may fall just short of the game's elite arms, he'll be a major weapon in the Dodgers' rotation nonetheless.

     

    SP Hyun-Jin Ryu

    Though he is by no means Yu Darvish, Ryu was the top international arm on the market and a proven winner in Korea.

    The 25-year-old went 98-52 with a 2.80 ERA and 8.8 K/9 in seven seasons for the Hanwha Eagles. The Dodgers signed him to a six-year, $36 million deal after winning negotiating rights with a $25.7 million posting fee.

     

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    2B Mark Ellis
    LF Carl Crawford
    CF Matt Kemp
    1B Adrian Gonzalez
    SS Hanley Ramirez
    RF Andre Ethier
    3B Luis Cruz
    C A.J. Ellis 
    Pitcher

     

    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    SP Clayton Kershaw
    SP Zack Greinke
    SP Josh Beckett
    SP Hyun-Jin Ryu
    SP Chad Billingsley
    CP Brandon League

5. Cincinnati Reds

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    Key Newcomers

    CF Shin-Soo Choo

    In need of a center fielder capable of getting on base and serving as a table-setter atop the lineup, the Reds acquired Choo in a three-team trade with the Indians and Diamondbacks.

    The 30-year-old has a career .381 on-base percentage and should approach a 20/20 season. He doesn't have much experience playing center field, but if he struggles, the team can always swap him with Jay Bruce.

     

    IF Jack Hannahan

    With the departures of Scott Rolen and Miguel Cairo, the Reds needed a backup corner infielder. They signed Hannahan to a two-year, $4 million deal to fill the role.

    The 32-year-old hit .247/.323/.366 with 12 home runs and 69 RBI in 607 at-bats over the past two seasons in Cleveland. If nothing else, he is a solid defender capable of hitting a home run here and there.


    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    CF Shin-Soo Choo
    2B Brandon Phillips
    1B Joey Votto
    LF Ryan Ludwick
    RF Jay Bruce
    3B Todd Frazier
    SS Zack Cozart
    C Ryan Hanigan
    Pitcher

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP Johnny Cueto
    SP Mat Latos
    SP Bronson Arroyo
    SP Homer Bailey
    SP Aroldis Chapman
    CP Jonathan Broxton

4. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Key Newcomers

    SP R.A. Dickey

    It's not everyday that the reigning Cy Young winner is made available via trade in the offseason, and the Blue Jays jumped at the chance to acquire Dickey from the Mets when they started to shop him.

    Due $5 million this season, the 39-year-old signed a two-year, $25 million extension after arriving in Toronto. He'll front a new-look staff that also added Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle in a separate trade.

     

    SS Jose Reyes

    One of the top free agents on the market last offseason, Reyes signed a six-year, $106 million deal with the Marlins after winning the NL batting title with the Mets in 2011.

    Now a year later, he'll be suiting up for the Blue Jays following an offseason blockbuster that also landed Toronto the aforementioned Johnson and Buehrle. He'll be counted on as a table-setter ahead of sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.


    Projected Opening Day 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 Opening Day Rotation

    SP R.A. Dickey 
    SP Brandon Morrow
    SP Mark Buehrle
    SP Josh Johnson 
    SP Ricky Romero
    CP Casey Janssen

3. Washington Nationals

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    Key Newcomers

    CF Denard Span

    Long in need of a true center fielder and leadoff hitter, the Nationals shipped pitching prospect Alex Meyer to the Twins for Span.

    A .284 career hitter with 20-steal potential and Gold Glove-caliber defense in center field, Span is signed for a reasonable $11.25 million over the next two seasons, with a $9 million option for 2015. His addition filled the Nationals' only real offensive hole and made the Michael Morse trade possible.

     

    SP Dan Haren

    With Edwin Jackson gone in free agency, the Nationals signed Haren to a one-year, $13 million deal in hopes that he'll return to his once-dominant form.

    The 32-year-old won 16 games with a 3.17 ERA in 2011, but went just 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA last season as he battled injury and a dip in velocity. For a Nationals team that won't need him to be anything more than a No. 4 starter, a one-year deal was definitely a risk worth taking.


    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    CF Denard Span
    LF Bryce Harper
    3B Ryan Zimmerman
    1B Adam LaRoche
    RF Jayson Werth
    SS Ian Desmond
    2B Danny Espinosa
    C Kurt Suzuki
    Pitcher

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP Stephen Strasburg
    SP Gio Gonzalez
    SP Jordan Zimmermann
    SP Dan Haren
    SP Ross Detwiler
    CP Rafael Soriano

2. Detroit Tigers

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    Key Newcomers

    RF Torii Hunter

    One of the first big-name free agents to find a new home this offseason, Hunter signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Tigers on November 16.

    The 37-year-old is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, as he hit a career-high .313 with 16 home runs and 92 RBI for the Angels. He fills a major offensive hole for the Tigers and should see plenty of pitches to hit batting in front of Miguel Cabrera.

     

    C Brayan Pena

    Last season, backup catcher Gerald Laird was a key contributor in Detroit with a .282 average over 174 at-bats, but he left for Atlanta in free agency.

    To replace him, the team signed Pena to a one-year deal after he was waived by the Royals in November. A solid defender, Pena hit .251/.291/.355 with 12 home runs and 86 RBI in 757 at-bats during his time in Kansas City.


    Projected Opening Day 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 Opening Day Rotation

    SP Justin Verlander
    SP Doug Fister
    SP Max Scherzer
    SP Anibal Sanchez
    SP Rick Porcello
    CP Bruce Rondon

1. San Francisco Giants

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    Key Newcomers

    OF Andres Torres

    In a swap of underperforming outfielders last offseason, the Giants shipped Torres to the Mets for Angel Pagan in what turned out to be a fantastic move for San Francisco.

    Torres came out of nowhere to post a 6.9 WAR for the Giants as a 32-year-old in 2010, but had hit just .226 with a combined 3.9 WAR the past two seasons. He was brought back on a one-year, $2 million deal, and he'll platoon with Gregor Blanco in left field.

     

    RP Ramon Ramirez

    Because Pagan was viewed as the better player in the above mentioned swap, the Giants also threw in Ramirez to complete the deal. But wouldn't you know it, he's back in San Francisco as well.

    After posting a 2.62 ERA in 66 appearances with the Giants in 2011, Ramirez had a 4.24 ERA in 58 games with the Mets last season. He signed a minor league deal, but should have a good chance of earning a bullpen spot this spring.


    Projected Opening Day Lineup

    CF Angel Pagan
    2B Marco Scutaro
    3B Pablo Sandoval
    C Buster Posey
    RF Hunter Pence
    1B Brandon Belt
    SS Brandon Crawford
    LF Gregor Blanco
    Pitcher

     

    Projected Opening Day Rotation

    SP Matt Cain
    SP Madison Bumgarner
    SP Tim Lincecum
    SP Barry Zito
    SP Ryan Vogelsong
    CP Sergio Romo