MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand 1 Month from Spring Training

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2014

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand 1 Month from Spring Training

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    We are coming down the home stretch of the MLB offseason here in the middle of January, as pitchers and catchers are set to report roughly a month from now, but there is still a lot to be determined.

    Once Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka chooses a team, it will likely trigger a domino effect of sorts for the rest of the pitching market, as Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana and Bronson Arroyo all remain unsigned at this point.

    On the position player side of things, a trio of qualifying offer recipients in Nelson Cruz, Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales have yet to sign as well, and all three could certainly help bolster someone's lineup.

    All that said, here is an updated look at where all 30 MLB teams stand one month from the start of spring training.

     

    *Projected lineups and rotations courtesy of MLBDepthCharts.com and reflect how the roster is currently expected to look on Opening Day. Offseason acquisitions are bolded.

30. Houston Astros

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    C Jason Castro
    C Jason CastroScott Halleran/Getty Images

    Team Outlook

    The Astros have had a busy offseason, and while they are likely still headed for a last-place finish in the AL West, they are no doubt an improved team.

    Their bullpen is substantially improved, and they brought aboard veteran Scott Feldman to front a promising young rotation. On the offensive side of things, Dexter Fowler joins Jason Castro and Jose Altuve as veteran pieces to build around, while top prospects Jonathan Singleton and George Springer should make an impact at some point as well.

     

    Projected Lineup

    CF Dexter Fowler
    2B Jose Altuve
    C Jason Castro
    DH Chris Carter
    1B Brett Wallace
    LF Robbie Grossman
    3B Matt Dominguez
    RF L.J. Hoes
    SS Jonathan Villar

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Scott Feldman
    SP Jarred Cosart
    SP Brett Oberholtzer
    SP Brad Peacock
    SP Paul Clemens
    SU Matt Albers
    SU Chad Qualls
    CL Jesse Crain

29. Chicago Cubs

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    1B Anthony Rizzo
    1B Anthony RizzoUSA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    It's been a quiet offseason for the Cubs, as the front office continues to be patient in its efforts to rebuild from the ground up. A few pieces have been added to the bullpen, and the Cubs acquired outfielder Justin Ruggiano from the Marlins, but for the most part, they've stood pat this winter.

    As a result, 2014 will likely be another long season on the North Side, but there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel. The minor league system has quickly become one of the best in baseball; combined with a significant amount of payroll room, that has put the team in a very good position moving forward.

     

    Projected Lineup

    SS Starlin Castro
    3B Luis Valbuena
    1B Anthony Rizzo
    RF Nate Schierholtz
    LF Junior Lake
    CF Ryan Sweeney
    C Welington Castillo
    2B Darwin Barney

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Jeff Samardzija
    SP Edwin Jackson
    SP Travis Wood
    SP Jake Arrieta
    SP Chris Rusin
    SU James Russell
    SU Pedro Strop
    CL Jose Veras

28. Miami Marlins

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    SP Jose Fernandez
    SP Jose FernandezMarc Serota/Getty Images

    Team Outlook

    After tearing apart their roster last offseason, the Marlins are now working to make their way back to contention, and they have a good young core in place with which to do it.

    Signing veterans Rafael Furcal, Garrett Jones, Casey McGehee and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to fill out their lineup should make them a better team in 2014. The strength of the team, though, is their impressive young starting rotation, led by breakout star Jose Fernandez.

    They've still got a ways to go, but they should be able to tack a decent number of wins onto last year's total of 62.

     

    Projected Lineup

    2B Rafael Furcal
    LF Christian Yelich
    RF Giancarlo Stanton
    1B Garrett Jones
    C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    CF Marcell Ozuna
    3B Casey McGehee
    SS Adeiny Hechavarria

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Jose Fernandez
    SP Jacob Turner
    SP Nathan Eovaldi
    SP Henderson Alvarez
    SP Tom Koehler
    SU A.J. Ramos
    SU Mike Dunn
    CL Steve Cishek

27. Minnesota Twins

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    1B Joe Mauer
    1B Joe MauerJesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    It came as no surprise that the Twins' biggest focus this offseason has been the starting rotation, as that group posted an MLB-worst 5.26 ERA last season. Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes received the two richest free-agent deals in team history, and the team also re-signed Mike Pelfrey. As a result, the Twins should at least have a bit more stability in the rotation this year.

    The big story on the offensive side of things is Joe Mauer making the move from catcher to first base, as the team looks to protect its biggest investment. The lineup, as a whole, is still relatively weak, but the impending debuts of top prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano could quickly turn things around.

     

    Projected Lineup

    CF Alex Presley
    2B Brian Dozier
    1B Joe Mauer
    LF Josh Willingham
    RF Oswaldo Arcia
    3B Trevor Plouffe
    DH Jason Kubel
    C Kurt Suzuki
    SS Pedro Florimon

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Ricky Nolasco
    SP Kevin Correia
    SP Phil Hughes
    SP Mike Pelfrey
    SP Vance Worley
    SU Michael Tonkin
    SU Jared Burton
    CL Glen Perkins

26. Milwaukee Brewers

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    RF Ryan Braun
    RF Ryan BraunChristopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

    Team Outlook

    The 2013 season was a tough one for the Milwaukee Brewers, as what was the NL's highest-scoring offense in 2012 stumbled due to injuries and the suspension of superstar Ryan Braun. On the pitching side of things, the rotation was subpar from top to bottom, and the bullpen was again in flux for much of the season.

    If Aramis Ramirez can stay healthy and Ryan Braun can return to his usually dominant form, the offense should be dangerous once again, as those two will join breakout stars Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez.

    The pitching staff remains a question, but another step forward by Wily Peralta and Tyler Thornburg could actually make it a strength. They may be a step behind the top three in the NL Central, but they should be able to improve upon a rough 2013.

     

    Projected Lineup

    SS Jean Segura
    2B Scooter Gennett
    RF Ryan Braun
    3B Aramis Ramirez
    C Jonathan Lucroy
    CF Carlos Gomez
    1B Juan Francisco
    LF Khris Davis

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Yovani Gallardo
    SP Kyle Lohse
    SP Marco Estrada
    SP Wily Peralta
    SP Tyler Thornburg
    SU Rob Wooten
    SU Brandon Kintzler
    CL Jim Henderson

25. Chicago White Sox

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    SP Chris Sale
    SP Chris SaleRick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    The White Sox seem to have finally committed to the idea of rebuilding, starting with their trades of Jake Peavy and Alex Rios during the season and continuing with a handful of moves this winter.

    Avisail Garcia, Jose Abreu, Matt Davidson and Adam Eaton give them a solid offensive core to build around, and they will again have one of the best in the business atop their rotation in Chris Sale. The farm system is still relatively thin, and there are question marks at catcher and in the rotation, but it has been a very successful offseason for the White Sox.

     

    Projected Lineup

    CF Adam Eaton
    LF Alejandro De Aza
    1B Jose Abreu
    DH Adam Dunn
    RF Avisail Garcia
    SS Alexei Ramirez
    2B Gordon Beckham
    3B Matt Davidson
    C Tyler Flowers

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Chris Sale
    SP Jose Quintana
    SP John Danks
    SP Erik Johnson
    SP Felipe Paulino
    SU Scott Downs
    SU Matt Lindstrom
    CL Nathan Jones

24. San Diego Padres

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    SP Andrew Cashner
    SP Andrew CashnerChristopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

    Team Outlook

    The Padres lack a legitimate superstar talent—or even a face of the franchise, for that matter—but they have quietly assembled a talented roster and could be in a position to surprise some people in 2014 as a result.

    The offense lacks any major holes from top to bottom, and it will just be a matter of everyone staying healthy and guys like Yonder Alonso and Jedd Gyorko continuing their development. On the pitching side, Andrew Cashner emerged as one of the better pitchers in the NL during the second half of 2014, but the team is banking heavily on bounce-back seasons from Ian Kennedy and Josh Johnson.

     

    Projected Lineup

    SS Everth Cabrera
    CF Will Venable
    3B Chase Headley
    LF Carlos Quentin
    1B Yonder Alonso
    2B Jedd Gyorko
    RF Seth Smith
    C Nick Hundley

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Ian Kennedy
    SP Andrew Cashner
    SP Josh Johnson
    SP Tyson Ross
    SP Cory Luebke
    SU Dale Thayer
    SU Joaquin Benoit
    CL Huston Street

23. Philadelphia Phillies

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    SP Cliff Lee
    SP Cliff LeeHoward Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    The Phillies have opted against rebuilding this offseason, instead re-signing veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz and also adding Marlon Byrd and Roberto Hernandez on the free-agent market to shore up right field and the back of the rotation, respectively.

    The one-two punch of Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels atop the rotation is still as good as any in baseball, and if their offense can stay healthy, the Phillies should be able to score some runs. However, it looks like a third-place finish in the NL East is their best-case scenario, and they'd be wise to begin rebuilding soon.

     

    Projected Lineup

    CF Ben Revere
    SS Jimmy Rollins
    2B Chase Utley
    1B Ryan Howard
    RF Marlon Byrd
    LF Domonic Brown
    C Carlos Ruiz
    3B Cody Asche

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Cliff Lee
    SP Cole Hamels
    SP Kyle Kendrick
    SP Miguel Gonzalez
    SP Roberto Hernandez
    SU Brad Lincoln
    SU Antonio Bastardo
    CL Jonathan Papelbon

22. New York Mets

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    LF Curtis Granderson
    LF Curtis GrandersonDavid Manning-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    With a ton of money coming off the books, the Mets were expected to be busy this offseason, and they have indeed made a pair of major additions with the signings of Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon to multi-year deals.

    There are still significant holes at shortstop and in the bullpen, and this looks like a team that is still at least a year away from taking a major step forward with Matt Harvey sidelined and a handful of top prospects still on the cusp. Things are looking up for the Mets, though, and their pitching could soon be among the best in the game.

     

    Projected Lineup

    RF Chris Young
    2B Daniel Murphy
    3B David Wright
    LF Curtis Granderson
    1B Ike Davis
    CF Juan Lagares
    C Travis d'Arnaud
    SS Ruben Tejada

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Bartolo Colon
    SP Jon Niese
    SP Dillon Gee
    SP Zack Wheeler
    SP Jenrry Mejia
    SU Scott Rice
    SU Gonzalez Germen
    CL Bobby Parnell

21. Colorado Rockies

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    CF Carlos Gonzalez
    CF Carlos GonzalezChris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    The Rockies got off to a hot start last season but eventually came back to earth and wound up with a second consecutive last-place finish in the NL West. The roster will be without the retired Todd Helton for the first time since 1997, but as a whole, they look to have improved this offseason.

    Colorado signed Justin Morneau to replace Helton, and he should at least be able to match his production from last year. The offense should be a plus as long as Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki can stay healthy—and that has been a big "if" of late. The question, as always, is the pitching staff, but if Brett Anderson can make 30 starts and the bullpen can hold up, the Rockies could surprise some people.

     

    Projected Lineup

    LF Corey Dickerson
    3B Nolan Arenado
    CF Carlos Gonzalez
    SS Troy Tulowitzki
    RF Michael Cuddyer
    1B Justin Morneau
    C Wilin Rosario
    2B Josh Rutledge

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Jorge De La Rosa
    SP Jhoulys Chacin
    SP Brett Anderson
    SP Tyler Chatwood
    SP Franklin Morales
    SU Matt Belisle
    SU Rex Brothers
    CL LaTroy Hawkins

20. Seattle Mariners

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    2B Robinson Cano
    2B Robinson CanoJoe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    The Mariners have made the biggest splash of the offseason so far, signing the market's top bat in Robinson Cano to a massive 10-year, $240 million deal. They then signed Corey Hart and traded for Logan Morrison at the winter meetings. As a result, the offense should certainly be improved.

    Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma are back atop the rotation, and they will be joined by arguably the top rookie pitcher entering the year in Taijuan Walker. They may not be ready to contend with the Rangers and A's for the AL West title, but they are loaded with young talent and should be able to make a run at their first winning season since 2009.

     

    Projected Lineup

    CF Dustin Ackley
    3B Kyle Seager
    2B Robinson Cano
    DH Corey Hart
    1B Justin Smoak
    LF Logan Morrison
    RF Michael Saunders
    C Mike Zunino
    SS Brad Miller

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Felix Hernandez
    SP Hisashi Iwakuma
    SP Taijuan Walker
    SP Erasmo Ramirez
    SP James Paxton
    SU Yoervis Medina
    SU Tom Wilhelmsen
    CL Danny Farquhar

19. Baltimore Orioles

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    1B Chris Davis
    1B Chris DavisKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    After a surprise run to the postseason in 2012, the Orioles stayed in the hunt for a playoff spot for much of the 2013 season as well, and they likely won't take anyone by surprise in 2014. That said, they look to have their work cut out for them at this point if they hope to be playing in October.

    The offense should again be a plus, even with newly-acquired David Lough and Jemile Weeks ranking as below-average options at their respective positions. However, the team has done nothing to address a starting rotation that was a major issue last year. If top prospects Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy can make an impact, the Orioles could be dangerous—but that remains a big "if."

     

    Projected Lineup

    RF Nick Markakis
    3B Manny Machado
    1B Chris Davis
    CF Adam Jones
    C Matt Wieters
    SS J.J. Hardy
    DH Nolan Reimold
    LF David Lough
    2B Jemile Weeks

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Chris Tillman
    SP Wei-Yin Chen
    SP Bud Norris
    SP Miguel Gonzalez
    SP Kevin Gausman
    SU Ryan Webb
    SU Darren O'Day
    CL Tommy Hunter

18. Cleveland Indians

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    SP Justin Masterson
    SP Justin MastersonDavid Richard-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    Thanks to some offseason additions to the lineup and a surprise performance by their starting rotation, the Indians were undoubtedly the biggest surprise team of the 2013 playoffs, earning the No. 1 wild-card spot in the AL.

    Their offense returns intact, and it should benefit from the addition of David Murphy and a full season of Yan Gomes at catcher. However, the rotation lost a pair of key arms in Ubaldo Jimenez (still a free agent but unlikely to re-sign) and Scott Kazmir. The bullpen still looks like a weakness as well, though the addition of John Axford was a nice move.

    They'll be competitive, but a return to the playoffs looks like a long shot at this point.

     

    Projected Lineup

    CF Michael Bourn
    1B Nick Swisher
    2B Jason Kipnis
    DH Carlos Santana
    LF Michael Brantley
    SS Asdrubal Cabrera
    RF David Murphy
    C Yan Gomes
    3B Lonnie Chisenhall

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Justin Masterson
    SP Corey Kluber
    SP Zach McAllister
    SP Danny Salazar
    SP Carlos Carrasco
    SU Vinnie Pestano
    SU Cody Allen
    CL John Axford

17. Toronto Blue Jays

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    1B Edwin Encarnacion
    1B Edwin EncarnacionTim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    For as disappointing as the Blue Jays were in 2013, they still have all the pieces to contend for a playoff spot this coming year if they can just avoid injury and their pitching staff can perform up to its potential. The Jays are still in the market for a frontline starter, but for the most part, they will employ the same roster as last year.

    Healthy seasons from Brandon Morrow, J.A. Happ and Kyle Drabek would go a long way in turning things around, as those three managed just 149.1 combined innings last year. Signing Dioner Navarro to be an everyday catcher was a risky move, but regardless, he'll have a hard time being worse than J.P. Arencibia was last year.

    Expectations will be tempered this time around, but the talent is still there in Toronto.

     

    Projected Lineup

    SS Jose Reyes
    RF Jose Bautista
    1B Edwin Encarnacion
    DH Adam Lind
    CF Colby Rasmus
    LF Melky Cabrera
    3B Brett Lawrie
    C Dioner Navarro
    2B Ryan Goins

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP R.A. Dickey
    SP Mark Buehrle
    SP Brandon Morrow
    SP J.A. Happ
    SP Kyle Drabek
    SU Steve Delabar
    SU Sergio Santos
    CL Casey Janssen

16. Los Angeles Angels

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    CF Mike Trout
    CF Mike TroutGary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    Disappointing seasons from the high-priced duo of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, along with a disastrous back end of the rotation, left the Angels a distant third in the AL West once again last year. They've made some nice moves this offseason, though, as they try to chase down the A's and Rangers.

    The Angeles dealt slugger Mark Trumbo at the winter meetings in a three-team trade that brought Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs to the team. Another starter could yet be signed to allow Skaggs to open the year in the minors, but if not, the rotation still looks to be improved. Kole Calhoun could be in for a big first full season, and if Pujols and Hamilton can produce alongside all-world talent Mike Trout, the offense could be one of the best around.

     

    Projected Lineup

    SS Erick Aybar
    CF Mike Trout
    1B Albert Pujols
    LF Josh Hamilton
    3B David Freese
    DH Raul Ibanez
    2B Howie Kendrick
    RF Kole Calhoun
    C Chris Iannetta

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Jered Weaver
    SP C.J. Wilson
    SP Garrett Richards
    SP Hector Santiago
    SP Tyler Skaggs
    SU Sean Burnett
    SU Joe Smith
    CL Ernesto Frieri

15. Tampa Bay Rays

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    3B Evan Longoria
    3B Evan LongoriaSteve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    The Rays continue to find ways to win despite one of the lowest payrolls in the game, as they have reached the postseason four times in the past six seasons. Their biggest question at this point regards if and when they will trade staff ace David Price and just how much that will affect the team.

    Prospect Jake Odorizzi is ready to step into the rotation should the Rays move Price before the season starts, but losing the big left-hander would undoubtedly hurt their playoff chances.

    The bullpen may be the weakest point as things stand now, though, with the team ready to lean on Heath Bell as the closer. Then again, people also doubted Kyle Farnsworth, Rafael Soriano and Fernando Rodney in that role, and things worked out all right in those situations.

     

    Projected Lineup

    LF David DeJesus
    2B Ben Zobrist
    3B Evan Longoria
    RF Wil Myers
    DH Matt Joyce
    1B James Loney
    CF Desmond Jennings
    SS Yunel Escobar
    C Ryan Hanigan

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP David Price
    SP Alex Cobb
    SP Matt Moore
    SP Chris Archer
    SP Jeremy Hellickson
    SU Jake McGee
    SU Joel Peralta
    CL Heath Bell

14. San Francisco Giants

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    SP Madison Bumgarner
    SP Madison BumgarnerAnthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

    Team Outlook

    The Giants looked to be in a great position to defend their 2012 World Series title heading into last year, as they returned essentially the same roster. Instead, their starting rotation fell well short of expectations, and the team's below-average offensive attack was unable to pick up the slack.

    San Francisco signed Tim Hudson to replace Barry Zito in the rotation, and Michael Morse should provide some added pop as the new left fielder. Aside from those two pickups, though, the team will count on more or less the same group as last year. A return to form for Matt Cain and a healthy Angel Pagan could go a long way in getting the team back on track.

     

    Projected Lineup

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

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Matt Cain
    SP Madison Bumgarner
    SP Tim Lincecum
    SP Tim Hudson
    SP Ryan Vogelsong
    SU Jeremy Affeldt
    SU Santiago Casilla
    CL Sergio Romo

13. Kansas City Royals

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    LF Alex Gordon
    LF Alex GordonPeter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    There were three clear needs for the Royals when the offseason began: upgrade at second base, upgrade in right field and replace Ervin Santana in the starting rotation. They accomplished all three before Christmas, and they now look to be in a good position to make a run at their first playoff appearance since 1985.

    Norichika Aoki and Omar Infante not only represent significant upgrades at their respective positions, but they should help the lineup as a whole by hitting first and second. Jason Vargas may not be the same impact arm that Santana was last year, but he's an innings eater and is more than capable of a sub-4.00 ERA.

    If the rotation can hold up until top prospects Kyle Zimmer and Yordano Ventura are ready, and if the offense can avoid the slow start that plagued it last year, the Royals could be legitimate playoff contenders.

     

    Projected Lineup

    RF Norichika Aoki
    2B Omar Infante
    1B Eric Hosmer
    DH Billy Butler
    LF Alex Gordon
    C Salvador Perez
    3B Mike Moustakas
    CF Lorenzo Cain
    SS Alcides Escobar

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP James Shields
    SP Jeremy Guthrie
    SP Jason Vargas
    SP Wade Davis
    SP Danny Duffy
    SU Kelvin Herrera
    SU Luke Hochevar
    CL Greg Holland

12. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    1B Paul Goldschmidt
    1B Paul GoldschmidtMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    The Diamondbacks filled a pair of major needs this offseason, as they landed a big bat to protect Paul Goldschmidt in Mark Trumbo and improved their bullpen by trading for White Sox closer Addison Reed.

    Their starting rotation remains a question mark, though, as the team lacks a true staff ace and instead possesses a collection of middle-of-the-rotation arms. Patrick Corbin was a stud in the first half last year but fell off significantly in the second half.

    Catching the Los Angeles Dodgers looks like a long shot at this point, but if things break right, the Diamondbacks could contend for a wild-card spot.

     

    Projected Lineup

    CF Gerardo Parra
    2B Aaron Hill
    1B Paul Goldschmidt
    C Miguel Montero
    LF Mark Trumbo
    3B Martin Prado
    RF Cody Ross
    SS Didi Gregorius

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Patrick Corbin
    SP Brandon McCarthy
    SP Wade Miley
    SP Trevor Cahill
    SP Randall Delgado
    SU David Hernandez
    SU J.J. Putz
    CL Addison Reed

11. New York Yankees

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    CF Jacoby Ellsbury
    CF Jacoby EllsburyNoah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    Until they address the back end of their rotation and the bullpen, the Yankees will remain outside the top 10 in these rankings, but that's not to say it hasn't been a busy offseason in New York. The signings of Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann, among others, should make the offense one of the best around.

    However, CC Sabathia is not the pitcher he once was, and Hiroki Kuroda is another year older. Getting something from Michael Pineda would be a plus, and Ivan Nova looks like a solid No. 3 option, but the rotation as a whole is a major weakness. David Robertson should be able to hold his own replacing Mariano Rivera, but the team now needs to replace him in the eighth inning.

     

    Projected Lineup

    CF Jacoby Ellsbury
    SS Derek Jeter
    RF Carlos Beltran
    1B Mark Teixeira
    C Brian McCann
    DH Alfonso Soriano
    LF Brett Gardner
    3B Kelly Johnson
    2B Brian Roberts

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP CC Sabathia
    SP Hiroki Kuroda
    SP Ivan Nova
    SP David Phelps
    SP Michael Pineda
    SU Matt Thornton
    SU Shawn Kelley
    CL David Robertson

10. Cincinnati Reds

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    1B Joey Votto
    1B Joey VottoFrank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    The losses of Shin-Soo Choo and Bronson Arroyo can't be understated for the Reds, even with Billy Hamilton and Tony Cingrani ready to step into their spots as solid in-house options. Choo was a dynamic table setter atop the lineup, and Arroyo was a reliable innings eater, if nothing else.

    Without any major additions, the team appears to have gotten worse this offseason with the loss of those two guys. Healthy seasons from Johnny Cueto and Ryan Ludwick could certainly help offset those losses, though, and the team has no clear-cut weakness. The NL Central will be tough once again, but the Reds should be right in the thick of things for a playoff spot.

     

    Projected Lineup

    CF Billy Hamilton
    SS Zack Cozart
    1B Joey Votto
    2B Brandon Phillips
    RF Jay Bruce
    LF Ryan Ludwick
    3B Todd Frazier
    C Devin Mesoraco

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Johnny Cueto
    SP Mat Latos
    SP Homer Bailey
    SP Mike Leake
    SP Tony Cingrani
    SU Sean Marshall
    SU J.J. Hoover
    CL Aroldis Chapman

9. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    CF Andrew McCutchen
    CF Andrew McCutchenCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    The Pirates finally broke through and reached the postseason in 2013, snapping a playoff drought that went all the way back to 1992. They've turned the franchise around thanks to a good mix of homegrown talent and good free-agent signings, highlighted by the additions of Francisco Liriano and Russell Martin last offseason.

    Whether or not A.J. Burnett retires remains a big question mark this offseason, and relying on Edinson Volquez to potentially replace him is risky. First base and right field are areas that could be upgraded as well, but the impeding arrival of top prospects Gregory Polanco and Jameson Taillon could go a long way in shoring up the roster.

    Last year was no fluke; this is a team that should be able to contend for the foreseeable future.

     

    Projected Lineup

    LF Starling Marte
    SS Jordy Mercer
    CF Andrew McCutchen
    3B Pedro Alvarez
    2B Neil Walker
    C Russell Martin
    1B Gaby Sanchez
    RF Jose Tabata

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Francisco Liriano
    SP Gerrit Cole
    SP Wandy Rodriguez
    SP Charlie Morton
    SP Edinson Volquez
    SU Tony Watson
    SU Mark Melancon
    CL Jason Grilli

8. Oakland Athletics

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    SP Jarrod Parker
    SP Jarrod ParkerKyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    With back-to-back division titles to their credit, the A's are no longer the overlooked, under-appreciated team they were a few years ago. The front office continues to make the most of a bad situation from a payroll standpoint, and manager Bob Melvin does as good a job of utilizing his entire roster as any manager in the game.

    The lineup returns essentially the same players, with Craig Gentry acquired to replace Chris Young as the fourth outfielder. On the pitching side of things, Scott Kazmir replaces Bartolo Colon as the elder statesman of what is a talented young rotation, and Sonny Gray could be a breakout star after a terrific postseason.

    Swapping Jim Johnson for Grant Balfour at the closer spot could be viewed as a downgrade, but with Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook and Luke Gregerson as setup options, there is enough depth to offset any potential struggles. 

     

    Projected Lineup

    CF Coco Crisp
    3B Josh Donaldson
    SS Jed Lowrie
    LF Yoenis Cespedes
    1B Brandon Moss
    RF Josh Reddick
    2B Alberto Callaspo
    DH John Jaso
    C Derek Norris

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Jarrod Parker
    SP Scott Kazmir
    SP Sonny Gray
    SP Daniel Straily
    SP A.J. Griffin
    SU Luke Gregerson
    SU Ryan Cook
    CL Jim Johnson

7. Atlanta Braves

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    1B Freddie Freeman
    1B Freddie FreemanHoward Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    The Braves took full advantage of a slow start by the Washington Nationals last year, building their NL East lead to as many as 15.5 games in August on their way to a division title. It appears the Nationals will again be their biggest competition in the division, and things likely won't be nearly as easy this time around.

    The Braves have assembled a terrific core of homegrown players, with the likes of Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Andrelton Simmons, Mike Minor, Kris Medlen, Julio Teheran and Craig Kimbrel all coming up through the system.

    Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton are the two biggest question marks, as both are capable of making an impact offensively and are being paid big money, but both are also both coming off seasons in which they hit under .200. 

     

    Projected Lineup

    RF Jason Heyward
    LF Justin Upton
    1B Freddie Freeman
    C Evan Gattis
    3B Chris Johnson
    SS Andrelton Simmons
    2B Dan Uggla
    CF B.J. Upton

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Mike Minor
    SP Kris Medlen
    SP Julio Teheran
    SP Brandon Beachy
    SP Alex Wood
    SU Luis Avilan
    SU David Carpenter
    CL Craig Kimbrel

6. Texas Rangers

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    1B Prince Fielder
    1B Prince FielderRonald Martinez/Getty Images

    Team Outlook

    Not too long ago, the Rangers had the most feared lineup in baseball, and with the offseason additions of Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder, they could regain that title in 2014 as they look to unseat the Oakland A's atop the AL West.

    The team suffered a blow when No. 2 starter Derek Holland suffered a freak knee injury last week, and he is now expected to be out until midseason. That leaves the team with a rotation made up of injury-returnees Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis, the injury-prone Alexi Ogando and Martin Perez, and their depth could be tested.

    Still, with a dynamic offense and deep bullpen, the Rangers look like one of the top teams in the AL as things stand right now.

     

    Projected Lineup

    LF Shin-Soo Choo
    SS Elvis Andrus
    1B Prince Fielder
    3B Adrian Beltre
    RF Alex Rios
    DH Mitch Moreland
    C Geovany Soto
    2B Jurickson Profar
    CF Leonys Martin

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Yu Darvish
    SP Matt Harrison
    SP Alexi Ogando
    SP Martin Perez
    SP Colby Lewis
    SU Tanner Scheppers
    SU Joakim Soria
    CL Neftali Feliz

5. Boston Red Sox

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    DH David Ortiz
    DH David OrtizH. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    The defending World Series champion Red Sox have had to deal with some roster turnover this offseason, and they will rely on unproven commodities Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley to fill everyday roles this coming season.

    It's also questionable whether their veteran rotation will hold up, but they have some depth with Felix Doubront and a wealth of high-end prospects, so they should be fine. Their bullpen should be more stable from the get-go than it was last year, and as long as they avoid injury, the lineup could again be one of the best around.

    The Red Sox are still the class of the AL East at this point and should have a chance to defend their AL pennant.

     

    Projected Lineup

    RF Shane Victorino
    LF Daniel Nava
    2B Dustin Pedroia
    DH David Ortiz
    1B Mike Napoli
    SS Xander Bogaerts
    C A.J. Pierzynski
    3B Will Middlebrooks
    CF Jackie Bradley

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Jon Lester
    SP John Lackey
    SP Clay Buchholz
    SP Jake Peavy
    SP Ryan Dempster
    SU Junichi Tazawa
    SU Edward Mujica
    CL Koji Uehara

4. Washington Nationals

28 of 31

    LF Bryce Harper
    LF Bryce HarperJoe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    A popular pick to win the NL pennant last year, the Nationals instead found themselves just one game over .500 at the All-Star break. A late-season push made things interesting, but in the end, they missed the playoffs.

    Replacing Dan Haren with Doug Fister gives them arguably the best rotation in all of baseball, and if the offense can avoid another horrible start, the Nats should be able to push the Braves in the NL East. A healthy Bryce Harper is the key to everything, as he is the catalyst for the entire offense and the face of the franchise.

     

    Projected Lineup

    CF Denard Span
    3B Ryan Zimmerman
    LF Bryce Harper
    RF Jayson Werth
    1B Adam LaRoche
    SS Ian Desmond
    C Wilson Ramos
    2B Anthony Rendon

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Stephen Strasburg
    SP Gio Gonzalez
    SP Jordan Zimmermann
    SP Doug Fister
    SP Ross Detwiler
    SU Drew Storen
    SU Tyler Clippard
    CL Rafael Soriano

3. Detroit Tigers

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    SP Justin Verlander
    SP Justin VerlanderEzra Shaw/Getty Images

    Team Outlook

    Despite the fact that they traded a pair of key pieces in Doug Fister and Prince Fielder, the Tigers still look like the team to beat in the American League at this point in the offseason. Their rotation stacks up to any in baseball, even without Fister, as Drew Smyly should more than hold his own taking over the No. 5 starter spot.

    Offensively, Ian Kinsler gives the team a legitimate leadoff hitter and allows it to move Austin Jackson down in the lineup. Losing Prince Fielder as protection for Miguel Cabrera hurts, but it's worth noting that Victor Martinez led all of baseball with a .361 average in the second half last year.

    Throw in the fact that the Tigers added one of the best in the business in Joe Nathan to the back of the bullpen, and they should be able to defend their AL Central title.

     

    Projected Lineup

    2B Ian Kinsler
    RF Torii Hunter
    1B Miguel Cabrera
    DH Victor Martinez
    CF Austin Jackson
    LF Andy Dirks
    C Alex Avila
    3B Nick Castellanos
    SS Jose Iglesias

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Justin Verlander
    SP Max Scherzer
    SP Anibal Sanchez
    SP Rick Porcello
    SP Drew Smyly
    SU Joba Chamberlain
    SU Bruce Rondon
    CL Joe Nathan

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

30 of 31

    SP Clayton Kershaw
    SP Clayton KershawScott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

    Team Outlook

    It's been a significantly quieter offseason for the Dodgers this year compared to last, though that could all change if the team lands Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.

    They have made some moves, re-signing the likes of Juan Uribe, Brian Wilson and J.P. Howell while also adding Dan Haren and Chris Perez to the staff and taking a chance on Cuban defector Alex Guerrero as the starting second baseman. They appear to be willing to do whatever it takes to win it all, and they have to be among the favorites to do so entering the season.

     

    Projected Lineup

    LF Carl Crawford
    RF Yasiel Puig
    SS Hanley Ramirez
    1B Adrian Gonzalez
    CF Matt Kemp
    3B Juan Uribe
    C A.J. Ellis
    2B Alex Guerrero

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Clayton Kershaw
    SP Zack Greinke
    SP Hyun-Jin Ryu
    SP Josh Beckett
    SP Dan Haren
    SU Chris Perez
    SU Brian Wilson
    CL Kenley Jansen

1. St. Louis Cardinals

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    SP Adam Wainwright
    SP Adam WainwrightJayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    Team Outlook

    The Cardinals came up short in the World Series last year, but as things stand right now, they look like the best team in baseball from top to bottom, and they should have a very good chance to redeem themselves in 2014.

    St. Louis signed Jhonny Peralta to upgrade the offensive black hole at shortstop, and with some defensive shuffling, the team essentially replaced David Freese and Carlos Beltran with Kolten Wong and Matt Adams. The pitching staff should benefit from a full season of Michael Wacha and the return of Jaime Garcia, and the Cardinals have a good problem on their hands with too many worthy starting candidates.

     

    Projected Lineup

    3B Matt Carpenter
    CF Peter Bourjos
    LF Matt Holliday
    RF Allen Craig
    1B Matt Adams
    C Yadier Molina
    SS Jhonny Peralta
    2B Kolten Wong

     

    Projected Rotation

    SP Adam Wainwright
    SP Shelby Miller
    SP Michael Wacha
    SP Jaime Garcia
    SP Joe Kelly
    SU Kevin Siegrist
    SU Carlos Martinez
    CL Trevor Rosenthal

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