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MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand, 2016 Mid-Spring Training Edition

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2016

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand, 2016 Mid-Spring Training Edition

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    How will the St. Louis Cardinals handle the Jhonny Peralta injury?
    How will the St. Louis Cardinals handle the Jhonny Peralta injury?Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    "Do we really need another updated MLB power rankings here in the middle of spring training?"

    Absolutely.

    "Has anything really changed?"

    Of course it has.

    Midway through the spring slate, teams are closing in on roster-cutting time as they look to trim things down to the best 25 guys with which to break camp.

    Injuries, troubling or encouraging individual performances and one writer's ever-changing opinion all played a role in any shifts you may see in the rankings this time around.

    The goal as always with preseason rankings is to position all 30 teams based on how they are expected to stack up when Opening Day rolls around.

    There is a light at the end of the tunnel, folks. Regular-season baseball is a few short weeks away.

30. Atlanta Braves

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    Jhoulys Chacin is still in the mix for a rotation spot in Atlanta as a non-roster invitee.
    Jhoulys Chacin is still in the mix for a rotation spot in Atlanta as a non-roster invitee.Brynn Anderson/Associated Press/Associated Press

    Spring Notes

    • The Atlanta Braves released Kyle Kendrick over the weekend, but the other veteran vying for a spot at the back of the rotation on a minor league deal, Jhoulys Chacin, is still around. The 28-year-old has pitched very well so far this spring, and as long as his shoulder holds up, there's a good chance he breaks camp as part of the staff.
    • Neither player is likely to be part of the Opening Day roster, but top prospects Ozzie Albies (8-for-25, HR, 4 RBI, 5 R) and Mallex Smith (8-for-25, 3 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R) have both turned heads this spring. Both figure to debut at some point during the upcoming season.
    • There were some who thought Hector Olivera could be headed to the minors to open the year, but he's been hitting really well (13-for-30, 2 2B, 3 RBI) this spring and looks to be on track for the everyday left field job.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • CF Mallex Smith (8-for-25, 3 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Jhoulys Chacin (5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)

29. Colorado Rockies

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    Relative unknown Jason Gurka has been one of the stars of spring for the Rockies as he pushes for a bullpen spot.
    Relative unknown Jason Gurka has been one of the stars of spring for the Rockies as he pushes for a bullpen spot.Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Spring Notes

    • With Jose Reyes on administrative leave and likely headed for a lengthy suspension once the legal process plays out on his offseason domestic violence case, the Rockies are still trying to decide on a starting shortstop. In terms of spring production, prospect Trevor Story (5-for-17, 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI) appears to have the upper hand on Cristhian Adames (4-for-19, 2 2B, 1 HR) and Daniel Descalso (3-for-15, 1 2B).
    • "The guys are doing well,” manager Walt Weiss told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post in regard to the shortstop battle. “We are just going to let it play out. They have all shown up well. It’s not like I’m going to name a starter at that spot yet. We have some time."
    • Reliever Jason Gurka, a 28-year-old who made his debut last season with a 9.39 ERA over nine appearances, has been lights out this spring with just three hits and no walks allowed while striking out 10 over four scoreless innings.
    • Tyler Chatwood (4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) and Jordan Lyles (7.1 IP, 10 H, 7 ER) are both still on track to return to the starting rotation after missing significant time to injury last year.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • 3B Nolan Arenado (12-for-21, 1 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • RP Jason Gurka (4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K)

28. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Will a big preseason be a springboard to a breakout sophomore season for Maikel Franco?
    Will a big preseason be a springboard to a breakout sophomore season for Maikel Franco?Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images

    Spring Notes

    • Injuries to Aaron Altherr (wrist surgery) and Cody Asche (oblique) leave the Phillies without a pair of projected starting outfielders. That should make Rule 5 selection Tyler Goeddel a lock for a roster spot, and he could very well play his way into a starting role.
    • Among the numerous non-roster invitees vying for a bullpen spot, Andrew Bailey (3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER) and Bobby LaFromboise (6.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER) have been by far the most impressive, with Edward Mujica and James Russell also throwing two scoreless innings each.
    • "I like that funk he offers," manager Pete Mackanin told Paul Hagen of MLB.com in regards to the soft-throwing but deceptive LaFromboise.
    • The No. 5 starter spot appears to be a battle between Brett Oberholtzer (8.0 IP, 8 H, 0 ER) and Vincent Velasquez (9.0 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 4 ER), though both players could wind up with a spot on the roster. Oberholtzer in particular appears to be a lock, as he's out of minor league options.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • 3B Maikel Franco (9-for-26, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • RP Bobby LaFromboise (6.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K)

27. Cincinnati Reds

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    Fellow prospect Jesse Winker gets all the attention, but Phillip Ervin (pictured) has been the standout so far this spring.
    Fellow prospect Jesse Winker gets all the attention, but Phillip Ervin (pictured) has been the standout so far this spring.Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • At this point, Scott Schebler (7-for-23, 2 2B, 2 HR) still looks like the favorite to win the wide-open left field battle. Prospects Jesse Winker (5-for-15, 1 2B) and Phillip Ervin (9-for-23, 1 2B, 2 HR) have impressed, but both are still likely to at least start the season in the minors considering neither has played above Double-A.
    • After failing to trade Brandon Phillips in the offseason, it will be interesting to see how the Reds use Jose Peraza. The speedy prospect has seen time in center field as well as at second base, and if Billy Hamilton struggles again, it's not out of the question to think he could push him for playing time. Peraza is 8-for-20 with a double and a home run so far this spring.
    • There's still at least an outside chance of the Reds trading Jay Bruce before the season starts, and that would obviously open up another spot in the crowded outfield picture. Regardless, he'll be moved at some point between now and the trade deadline.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • OF Phillip Ervin (9-for-23, 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Cody Reed (8.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K)

26. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Will Smith is off to a great start this spring as he looks to win the closer job.
    Will Smith is off to a great start this spring as he looks to win the closer job.Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • Will Smith has thrown three scoreless innings in his pursuit of winning the closer's role, while the other contender for the job in Jeremy Jeffress has yet to make his spring debut while battling a hamstring injury. Jeffress threw live batting practice on Saturday and could see his first spring action this coming week.
    • Outside of backup catcher Martin Maldonado, the Brewers bench is wide open. Outfielder Eric Young Jr. (6-for-17), infielder Yadiel Rivera (7-for-21, 4 2B, 2 HR) and first baseman Andy Wilkins (5-for-15, 1 2B, 2 HR) have all made a strong impression early.
    • Chase Anderson appeared to be the front-runner for the No. 5 starter job after being acquired from the Diamondbacks, but he's been crushed this spring (6.2 IP, 13 H, 11 ER), so he's far from a lock. Keep an eye on Zach Davies (6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K) to potentially win that job.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • SS Yadiel Rivera (7-for-21, 4 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • RP Will Smith (3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K)

25. San Diego Padres

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    Andrew Cashner could turn himself into a very valuable trade chip if his spring performance carries over into the regular season.
    Andrew Cashner could turn himself into a very valuable trade chip if his spring performance carries over into the regular season.Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • With Colin Rea (5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER) throwing well so far this spring, it could push either Robbie Erlin (3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) or Brandon Maurer (4.1 IP, 3 H, 6 ER) to the bullpen. Maurer pitched well in a relief role last season but was hoping to return to starting, which he did during his time in Seattle.
    • The Padres will have an interesting decision to make as far as who backs up catcher Derek Norris. Christian Bethancourt (5-for-15, 1 3B, 1 HR), who they acquired from the Braves, is out of minor league options, and he was expected to give Austin Hedges a bit more time in the minors to refine his offensive game. Hedges has gone 4-for-14 with a double and two home runs at the plate so far this spring, though, throwing a wrench into that plan.
    • Rule 5 pick Jabari Blash has some intriguing power potential, but there's also a lot of swing-and-miss to his game, as evidenced by his 11 strikeouts in 19 at-bats. Will his upside and potential be enough to earn him a spot?

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • IF Jemile Weeks (7-for-16, 2 2B, 1 3B, 4 RBI, 5 R, 3 SB)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Andrew Cashner (5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K)

24. Los Angeles Angels

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    Regular season. Spring training. It doesn't matter, Mike Trout is just really good at baseball.
    Regular season. Spring training. It doesn't matter, Mike Trout is just really good at baseball.Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • Jered Weaver is set to see a spine specialist after being diagnosed with "mild degenerative changes in his cervical spine," according to ESPN.com news services. His fastball velocity has been down this spring, even by his standards, and he's been hit hard as a result.
    • Albert Pujols hit his first home run on Saturday, and he's 4-for-17 so far this spring as he works his way back from offseason foot surgery. He's yet to play first base but should be able to DH at the very least on Opening Day.
    • The Craig Gentry (7-for-19, 1 2B)-Daniel Nava (10-for-17, 3 2B) platoon in left field may not have been the sexiest option to fill that spot this offseason, but it just might work if they can come anywhere near producing like they have this spring.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • CF Mike Trout (9-for-18, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • RP Yunesky Maya (5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)

23. Baltimore Orioles

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    Jonathan Schoop has as much offensive potential as any second baseman in the league.
    Jonathan Schoop has as much offensive potential as any second baseman in the league.Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • Pedro Alvarez doubled off the wall in his first at-bat of the spring on Sunday, finishing his Orioles debut at 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored as he looks to get up to speed in his preparation for the upcoming season.
    • Another newcomer, outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, has not made as good of a first impression so far. The former KBO standout has gone 3-for-29 so far this spring, though he has gotten the bat on the ball consistently with just three strikeouts.
    • Miguel Gonzalez (5.2 IP, 18 H, 14 ER) has been absolutely crushed this spring, and if those struggles continue, it could open things up for Tyler Wilson (6.0 IP, 9 H, 3 ER) or Vance Worley (6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER) to push their way into the starting rotation.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • 2B Jonathan Schoop (10-for-26, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • RP Oliver Drake (5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

22. Oakland Athletics

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    Sean Manaea is the A's top pitching prospect, but it's Dillon Overton (pictured) who has turned heads this spring.
    Sean Manaea is the A's top pitching prospect, but it's Dillon Overton (pictured) who has turned heads this spring.Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • Chris Bassitt (5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER) and Kendall Graveman (5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER) looked like the favorites to round out the rotation heading into camp, and unless the team does something crazy and gives Dillon Overton or Sean Manaea a spot on the Opening Day roster, it looks like those two will in fact fill out the staff.
    • All-Star Stephen Vogt will be behind the plate for the first time on Monday after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his throwing elbow in January. He's been exclusively DHing so far this spring, going 6-for-11 with three home runs.
    • The comeback efforts of Jarrod Parker came to a screeching halt Friday when an MRI revealed that he had broken his throwing elbow for the second time in the past year. He's also undergone Tommy John surgery twice, and at this point, he looks like a long shot to ever return to the mound. Awful news for the once-promising starter.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • RF Andrew Lambo (9-for-21, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Dillon Overton (6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)

21. Miami Marlins

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    A breakout performance would make the Marlins front office awfully happy they didn't pull the trigger on trading Marcell Ozuna.
    A breakout performance would make the Marlins front office awfully happy they didn't pull the trigger on trading Marcell Ozuna.Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Spring Notes

    • Losing Carter Capps for the season to Tommy John surgery was a big blow for the Marlins, and someone will need to take over the eighth-inning role. Keep an eye on rookie Kyle Barraclough there, as he posted a 2.59 ERA and 11.1 K/9 in 25 appearances last season after Miami acquired him from the Cardinals for Steve Cishek.
    • With Edwin Jackson (2.0 IP, 8 H, 5 ER) not exactly wowing so far this spring, the door is open for Adam Conley (4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER), Jose Urena (4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) or Justin Nicolino (4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER) to claim the No. 5 starter job.
    • The Marlins opted against trading Marcell Ozuna this offseason despite a rocky 2015 campaign, and that decision might pay off big if he's able to turn in a breakout performance under the tutelage of new hitting coach Barry Bonds.
    • "You just don’t find guys like him," manager Don Mattingly said of Ozuna to Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald. "The reason almost every club was calling us about him is because people see he’s that kind of talent. I’m glad he’s here with us."

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • CF Marcell Ozuna (5-for-16, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Jose Urena (4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K)

20. Chicago White Sox

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    Carlos Rodon has a chance to take a huge step forward in his second full season.
    Carlos Rodon has a chance to take a huge step forward in his second full season.Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • The Austin Jackson signing appeared to push Avisail Garcia into the fourth-outfielder role, but he's been raking so far this spring at 10-for-23 with six extra-base hits and 11 RBI. Then again, Garcia hit .324 with two home runs and 10 RBI last spring, and that didn't exactly carry over into a big regular season.
    • Jimmy Rollins was already a near-lock to be the White Sox's primary shortstop, despite signing a minor league deal. At 7-for-17 with two home runs so far this spring, it's safe to assume he'll be the guy when Opening Day rolls around.
    • Few offseason additions were as disappointing last season as Adam LaRoche, who followed up an .817 OPS and 26-homer season with a .634 OPS and 12 home runs in his first season on the South Side. As he looks to get back on track, back spasms have limited him to just five at-bats so far this spring.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • OF Avisail Garcia (10-for-23, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 6 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Carlos Rodon (7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

19. Minnesota Twins

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    Byung Ho Park may not match the 53 home runs he hit in Korea last year, but his power looks to be legit.
    Byung Ho Park may not match the 53 home runs he hit in Korea last year, but his power looks to be legit.Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    Spring Notes

    • So far, so good with Miguel Sano making the move to right field. He recorded his first outfield assist Tuesday, and he's a perfect 5-for-5 on balls hit to him so far. The focus on defense has not hurt him at the plate, either, as he's 6-for-17 with three doubles and a home run this spring.
    • What are the Twins going to do with Ricky Nolasco? Tyler Duffy has been all but assured a rotation spot, leaving Tommy Milone (5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER) and Nolasco (7.1 IP, 11 H, 6 ER) battling it out to be the No. 5 starter. Nolasco is owed $12 million this coming season, so the team will be looking to get something out of that investment.
    • Big picture: Whoever does win that job might just be keeping things warm for top prospect Jose Berrios, who's allowed two hits and three walks over 4.1 scoreless innings this spring.
    • There is no shortage of hard-throwing young relievers in camp for the Twins, and the battle for the final few bullpen spots should be a good one. Nick Burdi (3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER), J.T. Chargois (4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER), J.R. Graham (4.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER) and non-roster invitee Brandon Kintzler (3.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER) have been among the early standouts.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • DH Byung Ho Park (8-for-22, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Phil Hughes (5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K)

18. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Drew Smyly could be a major X-factor in the Rays rotation after an injury-plagued 2015.
    Drew Smyly could be a major X-factor in the Rays rotation after an injury-plagued 2015.Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • The addition of Corey Dickerson has left a crowded outfield situation in Tampa Bay, and Steven Souza could end up heading to the minors as the odd man out. Brandon Guyer is out of options and is unlikely to clear waivers, so he looks like the favorite for fourth-outfielder duties alongside Desmond Jennings, Kevin Kiermaier and Dickerson.
    • The definition of a journeyman, Dana Eveland has spent time with nine MLB teams and one Japanese League club over the course of his 12-year pro career. Now it looks like he has a solid shot of winning a bullpen job with the Rays, allowing just one hit in 4.2 innings this spring.
    • Aside from sorting out the outfield logjam and rounding out the bullpen, there's also an intriguing battle going on for the utility infield job. Tim Beckham (3-for-19, 7 K) has struggled this spring and still has a minor league option, potentially opening the door for Nick Franklin (5-for-16, 2 2B) to win a spot.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • 2B Logan Forsythe (10-for-20, 5 2B, 1 RBI, 6 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Drew Smyly (5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)

17. Seattle Mariners

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    An offseason deal between Hisashi Iwakuma and the Dodgers fell apart after health questions arose following his physical, but he's looked plenty healthy so far this spring.
    An offseason deal between Hisashi Iwakuma and the Dodgers fell apart after health questions arose following his physical, but he's looked plenty healthy so far this spring.Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Spring Notes

    • The Mariners' reworked bullpen has been hit hard by injury this spring, with Evan Scribner, Ryan Cook and Charlie Furbush all likely to start the season on the disabled list.
    • That's a less-than-ideal situation, but it will create some opportunities for non-roster players, including veteran Joel Peralta (5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER), who now looks like a virtual lock to break camp with the team.
    • While there is work to do sorting out the relief corps, the biggest battle is at the back of the rotation where James Paxton (9.0 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 4 ER) and Nate Karns (9.0 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 4 ER) are vying for the No. 5 starter gig. Both pitchers still have minor league options and Mike Montgomery will fill the swingman role, so whoever loses out is likely headed to Triple-A.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • OF Stefen Romero (9-for-20, 2 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 4 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Hisashi Iwakuma (5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)

16. Cleveland Indians

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    What are the Indians going to do with the red-hot Giovanny Urshela after signing Juan Uribe in the offseason to play third base?
    What are the Indians going to do with the red-hot Giovanny Urshela after signing Juan Uribe in the offseason to play third base?Rob Tringali/Getty Images

    Spring Notes

    • Tyler Naquin has made a strong case to break camp as the Indians' starting center fielder in place of the suspended Abraham Almonte, going 10-for-24 with two doubles and two triples. A 1-for-17 performance from non-roster invitee Will Venable also doesn't hurt his case any.
    • Michael Brantley took batting practice with teammates for the first time last Friday, as he continues his rapid return from November shoulder surgery. He's still a long shot to be cleared for Opening Day, but he's well ahead of schedule at this point.
    • "It's another step to getting closer to playing in the games," Brantley told Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. "There was a little more excitement to be with the group of guys. I like it."
    • Tom Gorzelanny (4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER) appears to have the early lead over Ross Detwiler (4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER) and Joe Thatcher (3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) among the trio of non-roster invitees in the running to win a lefty bullpen spot.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • 3B Giovanny Urshela (8-for-23, 3 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 4 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Corey Kluber (5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)

15. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Kenta Maeda has looked sharp so far this spring, and the Dodgers will need everything they can get from him with injuries already testing their depth.
    Kenta Maeda has looked sharp so far this spring, and the Dodgers will need everything they can get from him with injuries already testing their depth.Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Spring Notes

    • Alex Wood (forearm tightness) is the latest Dodgers starter to be slowed by injury this spring, as Brett Anderson already underwent back surgery and will join the rehabbing duo of Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy on the disabled list.
    • It's not just the pitchers dealing with injuries in Dodgers camp, as shortstop Corey Seager was diagnosed with a knee strain Saturday that will sideline him for one to two weeks. That's enough to bump them down a few spots in the rankings, as his status is now up in the air for Opening Day.
    • On the positive side of things, third baseman Justin Turner will make his Cactus League debut on Monday as he continues his recovery from microfracture surgery on his left knee.
    • The Dodgers still have an interesting decision to make with Alex Guerrero, who has been sidelined with a knee injury this spring. There is no clear spot for him on the bench, and he can't be optioned to the minors according to his contract, so he remains a trade/release candidate.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • OF Scott Van Slyke (9-for-22, 1 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Kenta Maeda (5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)

14. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Robbie Ray appears to be a heavy favorite to win the Diamondbacks' No. 5 starter job.
    Robbie Ray appears to be a heavy favorite to win the Diamondbacks' No. 5 starter job.Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Spring Notes

    • The Diamondbacks will have a tough decision to make finding enough playing time to keep Jean Segura (11-for-20, 1 2B, 1 HR), Chris Owings (6-for-21, 1 2B), Nick Ahmed (8-for-21, 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR) and Phil Gosselin (8-for-22, 1 2B) all happy at the two middle infield spots, and a strong spring from prospect Brandon Drury (10-for-24, 4 2B, 2 HR) has only further complicated things.
    • Robbie Ray has not yet been officially named the No. 5 starter, but he was the odds-on favorite heading into spring training and has been solid so far (9.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER), so he should have that spot more or less locked up at this point.
    • A.J. Pollock (elbow) and Yasmany Tomas (knee) have both been slowed by injuries, but at this point both players are still expected to be ready for Opening Day. Their absence has given Socrates Brito (9-for-20, 2 2B, 1 HR) a better chance to make his case for a more significant role this season.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • C Welington Castillo (7-for-17, 5 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Robbie Ray (9.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 K)

13. New York Yankees

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    It's all about staying healthy for the supremely talented Michael Pineda.
    It's all about staying healthy for the supremely talented Michael Pineda.Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • As long as he's still pitching through a partially torn UCL, there will be injury questions surrounding Masahiro Tanaka, but he's looked great so far this spring with just three hits allowed in five scoreless innings.
    • "I feel that I'm exactly where I need to be at," Tanaka told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com through an interpreter. "If I compare with my first year and my second year right around this time, I think I'm exactly where I was in the previous two spring trainings."
    • Left fielder Brett Gardner is tentatively scheduled to make his spring debut on March 16, as he continues to deal with a wrist injury suffered during the team's Wild Card Round game last season.
    • With Aroldis Chapman suspended to start the year and Andrew Miller temporarily returning to the closer's role, there is an opening for a lefty reliever to step into a key spot in the Yankees bullpen. Tyler Olson (4.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER) has made a strong push to be that guy so far.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • 2B Starlin Castro (8-for-19, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Michael Pineda (5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)

12. Boston Red Sox

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    How much playing time will Travis Shaw (pictured) steal from Pablo Sandoval?
    How much playing time will Travis Shaw (pictured) steal from Pablo Sandoval?Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • Pablo Sandoval showed up to camp out of shape, and he's gone 2-for-16 so far this spring. Travis Shaw hit the ground running, and he's gone 12-for-23 with two doubles and two home runs. Unfortunately, baseball is not always a meritocracy.
    • "The Red Sox should give Shaw the chance to compete with Ramirez, Sandoval and even left fielder Rusney Castillo for an Opening Day starting job," wrote Christopher Smith of MassLive.com.
    • On the flip side, Hanley Ramirez has drawn positive reviews for his defense at first base so far as he transitions to another position defensively, and he's gone 5-for-15 with a double and a home run at the plate.
    • Without question, the biggest concern out of Red Sox camp right now is the health of left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez's right knee, as he appears likely to start the year on the disabled list. Steven Wright, Roenis Elias and Henry Owens would be the leading candidates to replace him in the rotation.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • 3B Travis Shaw (12-for-23, 2 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • RP Matt Barnes (3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

11. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Starling Marte has picked up right where he left off after a terrific 2015 season.
    Starling Marte has picked up right where he left off after a terrific 2015 season.Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • Despite a 7-for-15 start to the spring for Alen Hanson, chances are he'll be headed back to the minors after the Pirates decided to sign veteran third baseman David Freese. Freese will start the season as the team's third baseman and Josh Harrison will move over to second base while Jung Ho Kang continues his rehab.
    • "He adds a very talented bat to our club and is an experienced winner," general manager Neal Huntington told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune of the Freese signing. "He's going to bounce around the field for us and gives us an insurance policy until Jung Ho is ready to go."
    • Speaking of Kang, who is still working his way back from a fractured leg and torn meniscus, he will officially start the year on the disabled list.
    • The other big health question in camp has been ace Gerrit Cole, who was dealing with a rib issue. He made his spring debut Sunday, allowing a pair of solo home runs in two innings of work.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • LF Starling Marte (8-for-16, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, 2 SB)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • RP Juan Nicasio (6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K)

10. Washington Nationals

22 of 31

    Tanner Roark has done everything in his power to lock down the No. 5 starter job.
    Tanner Roark has done everything in his power to lock down the No. 5 starter job.Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • Scott Sizemore appears to be playing his way into a bench spot for the Nationals, and that's bad news for Tyler Moore or Clint Robinson. Both first basemen/outfielders are out of minor league options, and from a roster standpoint, keeping the left-handed-hitting Robinson probably makes the most sense.
    • Tanner Roark is doing everything in his power to secure the No. 5 starter job, as he's allowed eight hits and one earned run in nine innings so far this spring. His main competition, non-roster veteran Bronson Arroyo, has surrendered four hits and two earned runs in five innings of work.
    • Many thought top prospect Trea Turner could make a serious push to break camp as the starting shortstop, but a 3-for-17 performance so far this spring may cement his return to the minors to start the year. He won't be there for long, though.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • IF Scott Sizemore (8-for-19, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 7 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Tanner Roark (9.0 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K)

9. Houston Astros

23 of 31

    Tyler White has emerged as a dark horse in the Astros' first base battle.
    Tyler White has emerged as a dark horse in the Astros' first base battle.John Raoux/Associated Press

    Spring Notes

    • The battle rages on for the starting first base job, and with Jon Singleton (2-for-23, 11 K) struggling, it's looking more and more like one of the rookies will get a crack. A.J. Reed (6-for-20, 2 2B) is the future at the position, but Tyler White (10-for-26, 2 2B, 1 HR) might get the first shot in 2016.
    • Evan Gattis, who underwent hernia surgery on Feb. 9, is already hitting in the cage again, and he seems to be back on track for Opening Day. According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, he could even see some time at catcher before camp is over.
    • Lance McCullers has been dealing with a sore shoulder, but an MRI came back clean on Saturday. There is still no timetable for his return to the mound, though.
    • His status will obviously impact the rest of the rotation, where the trio of Mike Fiers (5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER), Scott Feldman (5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER) and Doug Fister (8.0 IP, 10 H, 4 ER) were expected to battle it out for two spots.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • 1B/3B Tyler White (10-for-26, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Mike Fiers (5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)

8. Detroit Tigers

24 of 31

    Mike Pelfrey was not the most exciting offseason signing, but he should help bring stability to the back of the Tigers rotation.
    Mike Pelfrey was not the most exciting offseason signing, but he should help bring stability to the back of the Tigers rotation.Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • The Tigers have an intriguing trade candidate in backup catcher Bryan Holaday, who is having a great spring at 9-for-15 with three doubles and three home runs. He's out of minor league options, but after the team added Jarrod Saltalamacchia to back up James McCann, he became expendable. The New York Mets are said to be looking for a backup catcher, per Adam Rubin of ESPN.com.
    • With Alex Wilson likely headed for the disabled list with a sore shoulder, there's a spot open in the Tigers bullpen, and former Mets closer Bobby Parnell (4.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER) is among those who could take advantage of the opportunity.
    • The 2015 season was a disappointing one for prospect Steven Moya, but he's making a strong case to break camp as the team's fourth outfielder with Cameron Maybin dealing with a fractured hand. The 24-year-old Moya is 8-for-18 with four home runs and eight RBI.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • OF Steven Moya (8-for-18, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Mike Pelfrey (10.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K)

7. St. Louis Cardinals

25 of 31

    A healthy Randal Grichuk could emerge as an offensive leader for the Cardinals.
    A healthy Randal Grichuk could emerge as an offensive leader for the Cardinals.Tom Lynn/Associated Press

    Spring Notes

    • Perhaps any team's biggest injury of the spring was the Cardinals losing shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a thumb injury that will sideline him until midseason. The team has some level of interest in Nick Ahmed of the Diamondbacks, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, but they are still assessing their in-house options in Jedd Gyorko, Aledmys Diaz and Greg Garcia right now.
    • "I think I'd like to see what we have first and then determine what's next," general manager John Mozeliak said, per Mark Saxon of ESPN.com. "Obviously, our goal is to be competitive this year, and if we feel we need to go outside the organization to improve on those odds, then we will. Right now, I don't think that's something we feel we have to do at all."
    • The other big question mark is the health of catcher Yadier Molina. He made his spring debut Wednesday and hit for the first time Friday, as he's still pushing to be ready for Opening Day.
    • With Matt Adams and Brandon Moss both hitting from the left side of the plate, it will be interesting to see how the at-bats are split up at first base. Moss (7-for-21, 3 2B, 1 HR) has had the better spring so far, but Adams (4-for-16, 2 2B, 1 HR) has also produced.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • CF Randal Grichuk (9-for-16, 3 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • RP Seung Hwan Oh (3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K)

6. New York Mets

26 of 31

    Former Brewers closer Jim Henderson is looking to latch onto a spot in the Mets bullpen.
    Former Brewers closer Jim Henderson is looking to latch onto a spot in the Mets bullpen.Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • Jhonny Peralta is not the only shortstop expected to miss time early, as the Mets lost free-agent addition Asdrubal Cabrera, who has a strained patellar tendon in his left knee and is questionable for Opening Day, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN.com. That opens the door for Ruben Tejada or Matt Reynolds.
    • With Hansel Robles suspended for the first two games of the season and Erik Goeddel dealing with a lat strain, there are a couple of open spots in the bullpen. One player to watch there is former Brewers closer Jim Henderson, who has allowed just one hit and struck out five in four innings.
    • David Wright is scheduled to get one at-bat in a minor league game Monday, which would be his first game action of the spring. The Mets are being extremely cautious with their captain in an effort to mange his spinal stenosis and ensure he'll be ready for Opening Day.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • OF Travis Taijeron (8-for-19, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • RP Jim Henderson (4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

5. Texas Rangers

27 of 31

    Chi Chi Gonzalez is making a strong case to start the year as the No. 5 starter while Yu Darvish continues to rehab.
    Chi Chi Gonzalez is making a strong case to start the year as the No. 5 starter while Yu Darvish continues to rehab.Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • The Ian Desmond experiment is in full swing for the Rangers, as the former shortstop makes the transition to left field after signing a one-year, $8 million deal earlier this spring. He's 7-for-14 with a double and a home run so far this spring, and he's 2-for-2 on defensive chances.
    • Speaking out outfielders, top prospect Nomar Mazara has given Rangers fans an up-close look at his bright future with an 11-for-20 performance this spring that includes one double and one home run. There's no place for him to break camp with the team, but he'll get the call at some point in 2016 and could make an immediate impact.
    • Chi Chi Gonzalez (5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER) appears to be the early leader for the No. 5 starter job, ahead of Nick Martinez (4.0 IP, 8 H, 7 ER) and non-roster invitee Jeremy Guthrie (4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER).

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • RF Nomar Mazara (11-for-20, 1 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Chi Chi Gonzalez (5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K)

4. San Francisco Giants

28 of 31

    Mac Williamson is making a strong case to break camp with the big club, and he could play his way into a significant role in left field.
    Mac Williamson is making a strong case to break camp with the big club, and he could play his way into a significant role in left field.Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Spring Notes

    • Madison Bumgarner is dealing with a pair of minor injuries right now—a nerve condition in his left foot called neuroma and also discomfort in his right rib cage. Neither issue is expected to prevent him from starting on Opening Day, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
    • Meanwhile, fellow starter Matt Cain is being brought along slowly after a minor procedure to remove a cyst from his right upper arm. He's questionable for his first regular-season start, which is scheduled for April 8, according to Schulman.
    • Angel Pagan will likely start the season as the starting left fielder, but Jarrett Parker (8-for-30, 1 2B, 2 HR) and Mac Williamson (11-for-32, 3 2B, 4 HR) are both competing for a bench job, and it's not out of the question to think one of those guys could play their way into regular at-bats.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • OF Mac Williamson (11-for-32, 3 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 7 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • RP Sam Coonrod (3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)

3. Kansas City Royals

29 of 31

    Mike Moustakas is one of a handful of regulars having a strong spring for the Royals.
    Mike Moustakas is one of a handful of regulars having a strong spring for the Royals.Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • The Royals move into the No. 3 spot, as they've had a relatively healthy spring to this point outside of the injury to right fielder Jarrod Dyson, and there have been no real red flags as far as individual performance is concerned.
    • As for the Dyson injury, Paulo Orlando (6-for-21, 1 2B, 1 HR) and Reymond Fuentes (7-for-18, 2 2B, 1 HR) are making a strong case for early playing time in right field.
    • The Royals' deadline to add Dillon Gee to the 40-man roster is March 15, and it would be surprising if he weren't added, as he's allowed just five hits and one run in five innings so far this spring while he looks to earn the long relief role.
    • Prospect Kyle Zimmer is finally healthy, and he could be a major X-factor for the Royals in 2016 if he stays on the field. He's allowed seven hits and one run over six innings this spring, striking out five and walking none.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • 3B Mike Moustakas (9-for-18, 4 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • RP Scott Alexander (5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)

2. Toronto Blue Jays

30 of 31

    Michael Saunders missed the fun in 2015, but he could be a key component of the Blue Jays' high-powered offense this season.
    Michael Saunders missed the fun in 2015, but he could be a key component of the Blue Jays' high-powered offense this season.Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Notes

    • Michael Saunders played just nine games last season while dealing with knee issues, but he's slated to be the everyday left fielder this season and looks like the favorite to hit leadoff. A 7-for-22 performance this spring that includes three home runs has him looking like a big piece of the puzzle.
    • Aaron Sanchez (9.0 IP, 9 H, 2 ER) is probably the favorite for the No. 5 starter job right now, but don't overlook veteran Gavin Floyd (8.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER), who is starting to look like a steal at $1 million on a one-year deal. Both guys should have a roster spot locked up.
    • Marco Estrada has yet to make his spring debut while nursing a lower back injury, but he threw a simulated game Saturday and is still expected to be ready for the start of the season. If he's not, Floyd is a solid insurance policy.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • LF Michael Saunders (7-for-22, 1 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • SP Aaron Sanchez (9.0 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K)

1. Chicago Cubs

31 of 31

    Spencer Patton is trying to push his way into a crowded Cubs bullpen.
    Spencer Patton is trying to push his way into a crowded Cubs bullpen.Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Spring Notes

    • There aren't many spots up for grabs on the Cubs roster, but the bullpen still has quite a few moving parts. Rex Brothers was released last week as the team continues to narrow down its search for a second lefty to pair with Travis Wood.
    • Meanwhile, right-hander Spencer Pattonwho Chicago acquired from the Rangers in the offseason—is making his case for a roster spot, as he's struck out seven over four perfect innings of work.
    • The final bench spot is the other roster battle to watch, as Tommy La Stella and Matt Szczur compete with non-roster veteran Shane Victorino. The versatile Arismendy Alcantara (7-for-17, 1 2B) is also emerging as a potential bench option.
    • Slugger Kyle Schwarber returned to the lineup on Sunday after being out for three days with knee pain.

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Hitter

    • C Miguel Montero (7-for-15, 3 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Mid-Spring Standout Pitcher

    • RP Spencer Patton (4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K)

     

    All regular-season statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com, while spring stats come via MLB.com. All stats current through Sunday, March 13.

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