MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand, Mid-Spring Training Edition

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2014

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand, Mid-Spring Training Edition

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    We are now just a week from the start of the 2014 MLB regular season, as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks kick off the year in Australia on March 22 and 23. The rest of the league gets underway the following week, with Opening Night/Day scheduled for March 30-31.

    Close as we are to the start of the season, there is still a lot to be decided from a roster standpoint for all 30 MLB clubs. Whether it is filling out the back of the bench or the bullpen, or making a significant decision in a major position battle, every team has something that has yet to be determined.

    With that in mind, things could certainly change between now and Opening Day, but here is a look at where all 30 MLB teams rank as things stand today.

30. Houston Astros

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Projected Opening Day Roster (new additions in bold)

    LineupPitching Staff
    CF Dexter FowlerSP Scott Feldman
    2B Jose AltuveSP Jarred Cosart
    C Jason CastroSP Brett Oberholtzer
    1B Chris CarterSP Jerome Williams
    DH Marc KraussSP Dallas Keuchel
    LF Robbie GrossmanSU Matt Albers
    3B Matt DominguezSU Josh Fields
    RF L.J. HoesCL Chad Qualls
    SS Jonathan Villar 

     

    Spring Training Notes

    The Houston Astros are likely still at least a couple years from legitimate contention, but they have added enough pieces this offseason that avoiding a fourth straight season with 100-plus losses seems realistic.

    The team's projected starters have pitched well so far this spring, outside of Brett Oberholtzer, and an improved rotation would certainly be a boost. Top prospects George Springer and Jonathan Singleton have struggled this spring, and it may be longer than anticipated before they arrive in Houston, but there's no reason to rush them at this point.

29. Chicago Cubs

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    Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Opening Day Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    SS Starlin CastroSP Jeff Samardzija
    3B Luis ValbuenaSP Travis Wood
    1B Anthony RizzoSP Edwin Jackson
    RF Nate SchierholtzSP Jason Hammel
    LF Junior LakeSP James McDonald
    CF Justin RuggianoSU James Russell
    C Welington CastilloSU Pedro Strop
    2B Darwin BarneyCL Jose Veras

     

    Spring Training Notes

    It was another quiet offseason for the Chicago Cubs, and it looks like they could have some trouble scoring runs this year. Getting Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo back on track will be key, and another step forward by catcher Welington Castillo could make him a key piece of the corps as well.

    The team still needs to figure out its No. 5 starter spot, as both James McDonald and Chris Rusin have struggled and Jake Arrieta has dealt with shoulder issues. A potential trade of Nate Schierholtz and figuring out who starts at third base between Luis Valbuena and Mike Olt are also on the offseason to-do list.

28. Minnesota Twins

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Projected Opening Day Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    CF Alex PresleySP Ricky Nolasco
    2B Brian DozierSP Kevin Correia
    1B Joe MauerSP Phil Hughes
    LF Josh WillinghamSP Mike Pelfrey
    RF Oswaldo ArciaSP Vance Worley
    3B Trevor PlouffeSU Brian Duensing
    DH Jason KubelSU Jared Burton
    C Kurt SuzukiCL Glen Perkins
    SS Pedro Florimon 

     

    Spring Training Notes

    The focus of the Minnesota Twins' offseason was improving their starting rotation, as they signed Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes to the two largest free-agent deals in team history and rightfully so after an MLB-worst 5.26 ERA from their rotation last year.

    Despite those additions, there are still some questions to be answered surrounding the rotation, namely the fact that Vance Worley and Scott Diamond are both out of options. The team will also need to decide if non-roster invitee Jason Kubel is the best option at DH, as he has struggled at the plate this spring.

27. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Opening Day Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    CF Ben RevereSP Cliff Lee
    SS Jimmy RollinsSP A.J. Burnett
    2B Chase UtleySP Kyle Kendrick
    1B Ryan HowardSP Roberto Hernandez
    RF Marlon ByrdSP Jeff Manship
    LF Domonic BrownSU Brad Lincoln
    3B Cody AscheSU Antonio Bastardo
    C Carlos RuizCL Jonathan Papelbon

     

    Spring Training Notes

    It's been a rough spring for the Philadelphia Phillies already, as left-hander Cole Hamels is likely to start the season on the disabled list, and veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins has found himself in manager Ryne Sandberg's doghouse.

    They are an aging team that likely would have been best served blowing things up and starting to rebuild this offseason, but instead they re-signed veterans Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz and brought in two more veterans in Marlon Byrd and Roberto Hernandez as they look to make one last run at contention.

    Non-roster invitee Jeff Manship has been the surprise of the spring so far, as he looks like the front-runner to replace Hamels in the early going.

26. Chicago White Sox

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Projected Opening Day Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    CF Adam EatonSP Chris Sale
    LF Alejandro De AzaSP Jose Quintana
    1B Jose Abreu (R)SP John Danks
    DH Adam DunnSP Erik Johnson (R)
    RF Avisail GarciaSP Andre Rienzo
    SS Alexei RamirezSU Scott Downs
    3B Conor GillaspieSU Matt Lindstrom
    2B Gordon BeckhamCL Nathan Jones
    C Tyler Flowers 

     

    Spring Training Notes

    After dealing Jake Peavy and Alex Rios in August, the Chicago White Sox continued the rebuilding process this offseason with the additions of Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton and Matt Davidson. The offense is starting to form with some promising young pieces, but the pitching staff is still a big question mark behind ace Chris Sale.

    The White Sox traded closer Addison Reed to acquire Davidson, leaving Nathan Jones to step into the ninth-inning role. Roles will need to be established in the bullpen with Scott Downs, Ronald Belisario and Mitchell Boggs all new to the team. They will also need to decide if Felipe Paulino is worth giving a rotation spot over young right-hander Andre Rienzo and others.

25. Miami Marlins

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    Projected Opening Day Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    2B Rafael FurcalSP Jose Fernandez
    LF Christian YelichSP Jacob Turner
    RF Giancarlo StantonSP Henderson Alvarez
    1B Garrett JonesSP Nathan Eovaldi
    C Jarrod SaltalamacchiaSP Tom Koehler
    CF Marcell OzunaSU A.J. Ramos
    3B Casey McGeheeSU Mike Dunn
    SS Adeiny HechavarriaCL Steve Cishek

     

    Spring Training Notes

    A year after dealing a number of veterans and trimming the payroll down to nothing, the Miami Marlins assumed the role of buyer once again this offseason, adding veterans Rafael Furcal, Garrett Jones, Casey McGehee, Jeff Baker and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in an effort to boost what was the league's lowest-scoring offense.

    The outfield needs to be sorted out this spring, as both Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich have struggled and non-roster invitee Reed Johnson may be playing his way into a roster spot. A healthy season from Giancarlo Stanton would trump any offensive addition they've made, but the young pitching staff should be even better with another year of experience under their belts.

24. Colorado Rockies

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Projected Opening Day Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    CF Corey DickersonSP Jorge De La Rosa
    RF Michael CuddyerSP Tyler Chatwood
    LF Carlos GonzalezSP Brett Anderson
    SS Troy TulowitzkiSP Jordan Lyles
    1B Justin MorneauSP Juan Nicasio
    C Wilin RosarioSU Matt Belisle
    3B Nolan ArenadoSU Rex Brothers
    2B DJ LeMahieuCL LaTroy Hawkins

     

    Spring Training Notes

    Pitching is always the question mark in Colorado, and the team looked to improve its staff this offseason with the additions of Brett Anderson, Jordan Lyles, Franklin Morales, Boone Logan and LaTroy Hawkins. They also signed veteran first baseman Justin Morneau to replace the retired Todd Helton.

    Ace Jhoulys Chacin has dealt with shoulder problems this spring and looks to be ticketed for the disabled list to start the season. A healthy Anderson could be a huge addition though, as he's pitched well this spring, and the injury to Chacin will open things up for right-hander Juan Nicasio, who is out of options.

23. New York Mets

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    Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Opening Day Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    LF Eric Young Jr.SP Jon Niese
    2B Daniel MurphySP Bartolo Colon
    3B David WrightSP Zack Wheeler
    RF Curtis GrandersonSP Dillon Gee
    1B Ike DavisSP John Lannan
    CF Chris YoungSU Scott Rice
    C Travis d'Arnaud (R)SU Kyle Farnsworth
    SS Ruben TejadaCL Bobby Parnell

     

    Spring Training Notes

    Many expected the Mets to be among the busier teams this offseason with a good deal of money to spend, and they did in fact make a pair of significant signings in Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon. Still, with Matt Harvey sidelined and question marks at shortstop, first base and at the back of the rotation, they look to be on the outside looking in for an NL playoff spot.

    Sorting out first base looks like the biggest decision this spring, as Ike Davis and Lucas Duda have both struggled. The No. 5 starter spot is up for grabs too, with veterans John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka looking like the front-runners at this point.

22. San Diego Padres

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Projected Opening Day Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    SS Everth CabreraSP Andrew Cashner
    CF Will VenableSP Ian Kennedy
    3B Chase HeadleySP Josh Johnson
    LF Carlos QuentinSP Tyson Ross
    1B Yonder AlonsoSP Eric Stults
    2B Jedd GyorkoSU Alex Torres
    RF Seth SmithSU Joaquin Benoit
    C Nick HundleyCL Huston Street

     

    Spring Training Notes

    The Padres may lack a true superstar talent, but they have quietly assembled a solid roster top-to-bottom, and they could surprise some teams in 2014. Their rotation already looked to be in better shape thanks to the emergence of Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross in the second half last year, and if Ian Kennedy and Josh Johnson can get back on track, it could be a legitimate strength.

    The bullpen will be strong once again with the additions of Alex Torres and Joaquin Benoit offsetting the loss of Luke Gregerson, who the Padres traded to Oakland. Healthy seasons from Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso, a bounce back from Chase Headley and another step forward by Jedd Gyorko could make the offense a plus as well. There is a lot of potential here but also a lot of ifs.

21. Seattle Mariners

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    Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Opening Day Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    LF Dustin AckleySP Felix Hernandez
    3B Kyle SeagerSP Scott Baker
    2B Robinson CanoSP Erasmo Ramirez
    RF Corey HartSP James Paxton (R)
    1B Justin SmoakSP Blake Beavan
    DH Logan MorrisonSU Tom Wilhelmsen
    CF Michael SaundersSU Danny Farquhar
    C Mike ZuninoCL Fernando Rodney
    SS Brad Miller 

     

    Spring Training Notes

    Looking to take the big step from rebuilding to contending, the Seattle Mariners opened up their payroll this offseason and made the biggest splash of the winter, signing Robinson Cano to a massive 10-year, $240 million deal.

    However, the key will be how the rest of the lineup around Cano performs, as newcomers Corey Hart and Logan Morrison will be counted on to be run producers and incumbents Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders could be in make-or-break seasons. Injuries to Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker this spring leave their rotation in flux and bump them down the rankings.

20. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Rob Foldy/Getty Images

    Projected Opening Day Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    SS Jose ReyesSP R.A. Dickey
    RF Jose BautistaSP Mark Buehrle
    1B Edwin EncarnacionSP Brandon Morrow
    DH Adam LindSP J.A. Happ
    CF Colby RasmusSP Drew Hutchison
    3B Brett LawrieSU Steve Delabar
    LF Melky CabreraSU Sergio Santos
    C Dioner NavarroCL Casey Janssen
    2B Ryan Goins (R) 

     

    Spring Training Notes

    After adding what seemed like an entirely new roster last offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays were as quiet as anyone this winter, with the addition of catcher Dioner Navarro to replace J.P. Arencibia the only transaction of note.

    The team opted against adding a starter behind R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle, as it will instead bank on three guys from a handful of incumbent options to step forward. Candidates J.A. Happ, Brandon Morrow, Todd Redmond and Kyle Drabek have all been hit hard in the early going this spring, while Drew Hutchison looks to have an early bead on a rotation job.

19. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Opening Day Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    SS Jean SeguraSP Yovani Gallardo
    CF Carlos GomezSP Matt Garza
    RF Ryan BraunSP Kyle Lohse
    3B Aramis RamirezSP Marco Estrada
    C Jonathan LucroySP Wily Peralta
    LF Khris DavisSU Brandon Kintzler
    1B Juan FranciscoSU Francisco Rodriguez
    2B Scooter GennettCL Jim Henderson

     

    Spring Training Notes

    Similar to the Kyle Lohse signing last offseason, the Milwaukee Brewers waited until late in the offseason to sign right-hander Matt Garza at a lower price than most expected him to command. His addition gives the team a solid-looking rotation top-to-bottom that could be a legitimate strength.

    The real story will be the offense though, as it went from the highest-scoring team in the NL in 2012 to struggling to score runs last year. The return of Ryan Braun will be a big factor, and he is off to a hot start this spring. A healthy season from Aramis Ramirez and the potential emergence of Khris Davis and Scooter Gennett could also give them a big boost.

18. Los Angeles Angels

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Opening Day Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    RF Kole CalhounSP Jered Weaver
    CF Mike TroutSP C.J. Wilson
    1B Albert PujolsSP Garrett Richards
    LF Josh HamiltonSP Hector Santiago
    3B David FreeseSP Tyler Skaggs
    DH Raul IbanezSU Sean Burnett
    2B Howie KendrickSU Joe Smith
    SS Erick AybarCL Ernesto Frieri
    C Chris Iannetta 

     

    Spring Training Notes

    After watching the back end of their rotation struggle last year, the Los Angeles Angels pulled the trigger on a big deal this offseason, shipping slugger Mark Trumbo to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-team trade for left-handers Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs.

    Who fills out the bench this spring will be interesting to watch, as the team brought in veterans Carlos Pena, Brennan Boesch and Chad Tracy among others to contend for a spot. The health of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton remains a major question mark, as those two will need to live up to their big salaries if the team hopes to contend in the AL West.

17. Baltimore Orioles

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Opening Day Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    RF Nick MarkakisSP Chris Tillman
    3B Ryan FlahertySP Ubaldo Jimenez
    1B Chris DavisSP Wei-Yin Chen
    CF Adam JonesSP Bud Norris
    DH Nelson CruzSP Miguel Gonzalez
    C Matt WietersSU Ryan Webb
    SS J.J. HardySU Darren O'Day
    LF David LoughCL Tommy Hunter
    2B Jemile Weeks 

     

    Spring Training Notes

    After failing to make a splash addition for most of the offseason, the Baltimore Orioles struck late with the signings of Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez. Cruz will bring some much-needed pop to a DH spot that saw little production last year, while Jimenez gives the team a potential staff ace in a collection of No. 3 starter types.

    The health of Manny Machado is still up in the air, as he has yet to make his spring debut while recovering from knee surgery. Prospect Jonathan Schoop is also making a strong case to be the Opening Day second baseman, while presumed starter Jemile Weeks has struggled at the plate.

16. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    Projected Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    CF Gerardo ParraSP Randall Delgado
    2B Aaron HillSP Trevor Cahill
    1B Paul GoldschmidtSP Wade Miley
    C Miguel MonteroSP Brandon McCarthy
    LF Mark TrumboSP Archie Bradley (R)
    3B Martin PradoSU David Hernandez
    RF Cody RossSU J.J. Putz
    SS Didi GregoriusCL Addison Reed

     

    Spring Training Notes

    The Arizona Diamondbacks pulled the trigger on some big trades this offseason, acquiring a much-needed second power bat to complement Paul Goldschmidt in Mark Trumbo and shoring up the bullpen with a good, young closer in Addison Reed.

    The starting rotation remained a question mark even after the team signed Bronson Arroyo near the end of the offseason, as the staff lacked a true ace. With Arroyo battling a bulging disc in his back, and now ace Patrick Corbin potentially headed for Tommy John surgery (as reported by Nick Piecoro of azcentral), the staff is far from locked in.

    Right-hander Randall Delgado is out of options, but he will be the replacement for Corbin to open the year. Top prospect Archie Bradley has pitched well this spring and could play his way onto the roster if he keeps it up as well, especially with Arroyo's status unclear.

15. Cleveland Indians

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Projected Opening Day Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    CF Michael BournSP Justin Masterson
    1B Nick SwisherSP Corey Kluber
    2B Jason KipnisSP Zach McAllister
    DH Carlos SantanaSP Danny Salazar
    LF Michael BrantleySP Carlos Carrasco
    SS Asdrubal CabreraSU Vinnie Pestano
    RF David MurphySU Cody Allen
    C Yan GomesCL John Axford
    3B Lonnie Chisenhall 

     

    Spring Training Notes

    The surprise postseason team of 2013, the Cleveland Indians lost a pair of key arms in free agency this offseason in Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir. That said, another step forward from the very underrated Corey Kluber and a breakout campaign from Danny Salazar could go a long way in making up for those departures.

    Perhaps the biggest story of spring has been Carlos Santana and his attempted move to third base. Chances are he'll still spend the bulk of his time at DH and first base, but if he can provide the Indians with an occasional start at the hot corner, it makes them that much more versatile. It will be an uphill battle, but this team still has enough talent to return to the postseason.

14. San Francisco Giants

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    Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Opening Day Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    CF Angel PaganSP Madison Bumgarner
    2B Marco ScutaroSP Matt Cain
    1B Brandon BeltSP Tim Lincecum
    C Buster PoseySP Tim Hudson
    RF Hunter PenceSP Ryan Vogelsong
    3B Pablo SandovalSU Jeremy Affeldt
    LF Michael MorseSU Santiago Casilla
    SS Brandon CrawfordCL Sergio Romo

     

    Spring Training Notes

    With essentially the same team that won it all in 2012 back last year, the San Francisco Giants entered the season with lofty expectations, but a drop-off by the starting rotation left them battling to avoid a last-place finish in the NL West.

    The focus this offseason was re-signing their own free agents, but they did add veteran Tim Hudson to replace Barry Zito in the rotation and bounce-back candidate Michael Morse to provide some pop in left field. Their top four starters have thrown the ball well this spring, but Ryan Vogelsong has struggled, and the team has very little in the way of rotational depth if he's not able to hold down that job. 

13. Kansas City Royals

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    Projected Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    RF Norichika AokiSP James Shields
    2B Omar InfanteSP Jason Vargas
    1B Eric HosmerSP Bruce Chen
    DH Billy ButlerSP Jeremy Guthrie
    LF Alex GordonSP Yordano Ventura (R)
    C Salvador PerezSU Aaron Crow
    3B Mike MoustakasSU Kelvin Herrera
    CF Lorenzo CainCL Greg Holland
    SS Alcides Escobar 

     

    Spring Training Notes

    The Kansas City Royals filled the three clear needs on their roster when they signed free agents Jason Vargas and Omar Infante and dealt for Norichika Aoki in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers. They took a step forward last year with their first winning season since 2003, and now they're looking to make their first trip to the playoffs since 1985.

    The back of the rotation is the only major question to be sorted out this spring, as Danny Duffy and Wade Davis are looking to beat out hard-throwing prospect Yordano Ventura for the No. 5 spot.

    Adding Aoki and Infante to the top of the lineup gives the offense a completely different look, as Alex Gordon can slide down into a run-production slot. If the Royals can avoid another slow start at the plate, they should be able to hang around all season.

12. Atlanta Braves

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    RF Jason HeywardSP Julio Teheran
    LF Justin UptonSP Ervin Santana
    1B Freddie FreemanSP Freddy Garcia
    C Evan GattisSP Alex Wood
    3B Chris JohnsonSP David Hale
    SS Andrelton SimmonsSU Luis Avilan
    2B Dan UgglaSU David Carpenter
    CF B.J. UptonCL Craig Kimbrel

     

    Spring Training Notes

    The No. 6 team last time these rankings were put together, the Atlanta Braves slide down significantly due to bevy of issues with their starting rotation. Projected Opening Day starter Kris Medlen may be headed for a second Tommy John surgery, while Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy are also dealing with arm issues and could open the season on the DL as well.

    Atlanta signed Ervin Santana to help the situation, but the team will still likely be relying on non-roster veteran Freddy Garcia and a pair of young arms in Alex Wood and David Hale to start the year. The Braves are still legitimate contenders in the NL East looking at the 2014 season as a whole, but as far as where things stand right now, they are not a top-10 team.

11. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Projected Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    LF Starling MarteSP Francisco Liriano
    SS Jordy MercerSP Gerrit Cole
    CF Andrew McCutchenSP Wandy Rodriguez
    3B Pedro AlvarezSP Charlie Morton
    2B Neil WalkerSP Edinson Volquez
    C Russell MartinSU Tony Watson
    1B Gaby SanchezSU Mark Melancon
    RF Jose TabataCL Jason Grilli

     

    Spring Training Notes

    Losing veteran starter A.J. Burnett in free agency is a serious blow for the Pittsburgh Pirates. While full seasons from Gerrit Cole, Wandy Rodriguez and Charlie Morton should help offset his departure, the No. 5 starter spot could be a major hole given the early struggles of newcomer Edinson Volquez this spring.

    Top prospect Jameson Taillon could help plug that hole in the rotation once he arrives, and fellow prospect Gregory Polanco could unseat Jose Tabata in right field by midseason. The Pirates will have to battle to make it back to the postseason, but this is a team with a wealth of young talent, and they should be right in the thick of things in the NL for the foreseeable future.

10. Texas Rangers

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    LF Shin-Soo ChooSP Yu Darvish
    SS Elvis AndrusSP Alexi Ogando
    1B Prince FielderSP Martin Perez
    3B Adrian BeltreSP Tommy Hanson
    RF Alex RiosSP Joe Saunders
    DH Mitch MorelandSU Tanner Scheppers
    C Geovany SotoSU Neftali Feliz
    2B Jurickson ProfarCL Joakim Soria
    CF Leonys Martin 

     

    Spring Training Notes

    Adding Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder this offseason immediately gives the Texas Rangers one of the most dangerous lineups in all of baseball, especially if Jurickson Profar can turn in a breakout season with a position to call his own in 2014.

    That said, the starting rotation is a major issue once again behind a bona fide staff ace in Yu Darvish and left-hander Martin Perez. Expected No. 2 starter Derek Holland is out until midseason following a freak knee injury, and Matt Harrison looks like he will start the year on the DL as well.

    That leaves oft-injured Alexi Ogando to battle it out with veterans Tommy Hanson, Joe Saunders and Colby Lewis to fill out the staff. It certainly does not look like a staff capable of contending for an AL pennant, at least here in the early going.

9. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Projected Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    LF David DeJesusSP David Price
    2B Ben ZobristSP Alex Cobb
    3B Evan LongoriaSP Matt Moore
    RF Wil MyersSP Chris Archer
    1B James LoneySP Jake Odorizzi (R)
    DH Matt JoyceSU Jake McGee
    CF Desmond JenningsSU Joel Peralta
    SS Yunel EscobarCL Grant Balfour
    C Ryan Hanigan 

     

    Spring Training Notes

    The offseason came and went, and ace David Price is still wearing a Tampa Bay Rays jersey, despite the fact that many viewed him as a sure thing to be moved this winter. With him fronting a terrific rotation, the Rays look like serious contenders in the AL East.

    The Rays will once again have a retooled bullpen, as Jamey Wright and Fernando Rodney will be replaced by Heath Bell and Grant Balfour, but they have proven time and again that they know how to make it work in the late innings. A full season of Wil Myers in the middle of the lineup should help boost the offense, and this team has a real shot at making its fifth postseason appearance in the past seven years.

8. Cincinnati Reds

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Projected Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    CF Billy Hamilton (R)SP Johnny Cueto
    2B Brandon PhillipsSP Mat Latos
    1B Joey VottoSP Homer Bailey
    RF Jay BruceSP Mike Leake
    LF Ryan LudwickSP Tony Cingrani
    3B Todd FrazierSU J.J. Hoover
    C Devin MesoracoSU Sean Marshall
    SS Zack CozartCL Aroldis Chapman

     

    Spring Training Notes

    The Cincinnati Reds lost a pair of key pieces in Shin-Soo Choo and Bronson Arroyo to free agency this offseason, and they both will be replaced with in-house guys in Billy Hamilton and Tony Cingrani. Whether or not the speedy Hamilton is capable of replacing on-base machine Choo atop the lineup may be their biggest question mark, but his wheels are a serious weapon if he can get on enough.

    New manager Bryan Price takes over a talented team that has struggled to get out of the first round of the playoffs, and with their window to contend slowly closing, the Reds will need to put it all together this season in a tough NL Central.

    Catcher Devin Mesoraco is a serious breakout candidate, as the everyday catcher job is finally his with Ryan Hanigan dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays.

7. Oakland Athletics

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Projected Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    CF Coco CrispSP Jarrod Parker
    3B Josh DonaldsonSP Scott Kazmir
    SS Jed LowrieSP Sonny Gray
    LF Yoenis CespedesSP Tommy Milone
    1B Brandon MossSP Dan Straily
    RF Josh ReddickSU Luke Gregerson
    DH John JasoSU Ryan Cook
    2B Alberto CallaspoCL Jim Johnson
    C Derek Norris 

     

    Spring Training Notes

    As usual, the Oakland Athletics didn't make any splashy moves this offseason, with the biggest addition being the signing of Scott Kazmir to replace the departed Bartolo Colon in the rotation. They did add a handful of complementary pieces though, and manager Bob Melvin does as a good a job as anyone in getting the most out of all 25 guys.

    They may suddenly need to make some big decisions at the front and back of their rotation this spring, however. Jarrod Parker is injured, though thankfully the A's believe it isn't structural at this time, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Kazmir and Sonny Gray look to be locked into spots, but the other two are up for grabs. Dan Straily, Tommy Milone, Drew Pomeranz and possibly Jesse Chavez are all in the running to crack the rotation.

    A.J. Griffin was once believed to be a contender as well, but he will be shut down (according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle) and will start the season on the DL.

6. New York Yankees

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Projected Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    CF Jacoby EllsburySP CC Sabathia
    SS Derek JeterSP Hiroki Kuroda
    RF Carlos BeltranSP Masahiro Tanaka (R)
    1B Mark TeixeiraSP Ivan Nova
    C Brian McCannSP David Phelps
    DH Alfonso SorianoSU Matt Thornton
    3B Kelly JohnsonSU Dellin Betances
    2B Brian RobertsCL David Robertson
    LF Brett Gardner 

     

    Spring Training Notes

    No one spent more or added more talent this offseason than the New York Yankees, as they missed the playoffs for just the second time since 1994 and were in desperate need of some impact additions. They won 85 games with an injury-riddled team last year, so it's hard to not envision them making a run at the AL East title in 2014.

    The starting rotation is still a question, as CC Sabathia is not the force he once was, Hiroki Kuroda showed signs of age down the stretch and Masahiro Tanaka is still an unknown commodity. Infield depth could also be an issue, with the team relying on Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson to hold down everyday jobs. Still, there is plenty of reason for optimism in the Bronx right now.

5. Washington Nationals

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    Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    CF Denard SpanSP Stephen Strasburg
    RF Jayson WerthSP Gio Gonzalez
    LF Bryce HarperSP Jordan Zimmermann
    3B Ryan ZimmermanSP Doug Fister
    1B Adam LaRocheSP Ross Detwiler
    SS Ian DesmondSU Drew Storen
    C Wilson RamosSU Tyler Clippard
    2B Anthony RendonCL Rafael Soriano

     

    Spring Training Stats 

    After posting the best record in the NL in 2012, the Washington Nationals looked like serious contenders for the NL pennant last year, but they stumbled out of the gates and were just one game over .500 heading into the All-Star break.

    The talent is still there, and they are arguably a better team after adding a terrific No. 4 starter in Doug Fister, as well as Jerry Blevins, Mike Gonzalez and Nate McLouth. The No. 5 starter job is still up for grabs between Ross Detwiler, Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan, while Fister has also dealt with elbow issues this spring. However, this looks like a team that could make a run at the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals in the National League.

4. Boston Red Sox

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    Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    RF Shane VictorinoSP Jon Lester
    LF Daniel NavaSP John Lackey
    2B Dustin PedroiaSP Clay Buchholz
    DH David OrtizSP Jake Peavy
    1B Mike NapoliSP Felix Doubront
    C A.J. PierzynskiSU Junichi Tazawa
    SS Xander Bogaerts (R)SU Edward Mujica
    CF Grady SizemoreCL Koji Uehara
    3B Will Middlebrooks 

     

    Spring Training Notes 

    The reigning champs lost some key pieces this offseason in Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew, but they still look like the team to beat in a talented AL East. Boston signed A.J. Pierzynski to replace Salty, and top prospect Xander Bogaerts is set to take over at shortstop, but center field is still up in the air.

    Most expected prospect Jackie Bradley to seize the job, but he has struggled this spring, and veteran Grady Sizemore has hit well enough that it may be worth giving him a shot at the job to open the season. If Sizemore can make an unexpected impact and third baseman Will Middlebrooks can return to his 2012 form, Boston's high-powered offense could be as good or perhaps even better than last season.

3. Detroit Tigers

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    David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    2B Ian KinslerSP Justin Verlander
    RF Torii HunterSP Max Scherzer
    1B Miguel CabreraSP Anibal Sanchez
    DH Victor MartinezSP Rick Porcello
    CF Austin JacksonSP Drew Smyly
    3B Nick Castellanos (R)SU Joba Chamberlain
    C Alex AvilaSU Bruce Rondon
    LF Don KellyCL Joe Nathan
    SS Jose Iglesias 

     

    Spring Training Notes

    Trading Prince Fielder and Doug Fister this offseason certainly changes the look of the Detroit Tigers' roster, but they should be in a good position to capture the AL Central title and make a run at the AL pennant once again.

    Drew Smyly is more than capable of stepping into the rotation for Fister, and the addition of Ian Kinsler gives the lineup a completely different look. They are an improved defensive team and have far more speed top to bottom, and that could make them dangerous.

    Andy Dirks will be lost for 12 weeks to back surgery, so the Tigers need to figure out left field, and they are counting on Nick Castellanos to make a serious impact at the plate, but top to bottom this is a talented team.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    Projected Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    RF Yasiel PuigSP Clayton Kershaw
    LF Carl CrawfordSP Hyun-Jin Ryu
    SS Hanley RamirezSP Zack Greinke
    1B Adrian GonzalezSP Dan Haren
    CF Matt KempSP Paul Maholm
    3B Juan UribeSU Brian Wilson
    C A.J. EllisSU Chris Perez
    2B Dee GordonCL Kenley Jansen

     

    Spring Training Notes 

    The Los Angeles Dodgers used a phenomenal second-half push to run away with the NL West title last year, and with their new, free-spending ownership and an incredibly talented roster already in place, it looks like they will be in the running for the NL pennant for the foreseeable future.

    Second base is the biggest question this spring, as Cuban defector Alex Guerrero was originally expected to man the position but could now open the season in the minors, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:

    Although Cuban Alex Guerrero was signed to a four-year, $28 million deal with the expectation it would be him (who started at second base), his slow adaptation from a natural shortstop position to second base makes it likely he will open the season in the Minor Leagues.

    That leaves Dee Gordon as the likely Opening Day second baseman, though he too is a natural shortstop. Aside from second base, the team will need to decide between Paul Maholm and Josh Beckett for the No. 5 starter spot and needs to sort out bullpen roles with Jamey Wright and Chris Perez added to the mix.

1. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Projected Roster

    LineupPitching Staff
    3B Matt CarpenterSP Adam Wainwright
    CF Peter BourjosSP Shelby Miller
    LF Matt HollidaySP Michael Wacha
    RF Allen CraigSP Lance Lynn
    1B Matt AdamsSP Joe Kelly
    C Yadier MolinaSU Kevin Siegrist
    SS Jhonny PeraltaSU Carlos Martinez (R)
    2B Kolten Wong (R)CL Trevor Rosenthal

     

    Spring Training Notes

    The Cardinals moved quickly this offseason to fill their one glaring hole, signing shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a four-year, $53 million deal back in November. They then added Peter Bourjos in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels, opening up an everyday spot for Kolten Wong in the process.

    They have some decisions to make in the bullpen with Edward Mujica and John Axford gone from last year's team, and they also need to decide who fills out the final two rotation spots between Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Carlos Martinez and currently sidelined Jaime Garcia. Even with those decisions to be made, the Cardinals look like the most complete team in baseball right now and the rightful recipient of the top spot here.