MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand, 2017 Mid-Spring Training Edition

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2017

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand, 2017 Mid-Spring Training Edition

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    Tim Warner/Getty Images

    Months have turned to weeks, baseball fans.

    There's a light at the end of the tunnel, as we're now just a few short weeks removed from Opening Day.

    Here, at what is more or less the midway point of spring training, it's time for a fresh version of our MLB power rankings, which were last updated March 1.

    Since it's tough to draw significant conclusions from a handful of spring training games and there have been very few noteworthy injuries or trades so far this preseason, the rankings are relatively unchanged.

    Instead, we'll focus on what is shaping up to be each team's biggest strength and biggest weakness for the upcoming season in an effort to better illustrate why each team is ranked in their current spot.

    Late-spring injuries and the inevitable roster crunch could pave the way for a few spring trades, so there's still time for things to change between now and Opening Day.

    As with any offseason power rankings, these are not meant to be predictions for the year ahead, but instead a look at how teams would stack up with the rosters they currently have if the season were to start today. 

     

    Note: Players listed in bold on projected rosters indicate newcomers. An (R) next to a player indicates his rookie status is intact.

30. San Diego Padres

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    Jhoulys Chacin /
    Jhoulys Chacin /Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    If Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot and Austin Hedges can make a smooth transition to the majors after standout seasons in Triple-A, it would go a long way in providing support for Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte offensively for a team that ranked 28th in the majors with a .689 OPS last season.

     

    Potential Weakness

    The patchwork starting rotation could wind up putting a lot of pressure on an otherwise solid relief corps, leaving the entire pitching staff as the team's biggest weakness. That's the risk you run when you go bargain hunting for rotation pieces.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    LF Travis JankowskiRHP Jered Weaver
    CF Manuel Margot (R)RHP Jhoulys Chacin
    1B Wil MyersLHP Clayton Richard
    3B Yangervis SolarteRHP Trevor Cahill
    RF Hunter Renfroe (R)LHP Christian Friedrich
    2B Ryan SchimpfBullpen
    C Austin HedgesRHP Paul Clemens
    SS Luis SardinasRHP Jarred Cosart
    BenchRHP Miguel Diaz (R)
    C Luis Torrens (R)RHP Kevin Quackenbush
    C/OF Christian BethancourtLHP Ryan Buchter
    IF Erick AybarLHP Brad Hand
    IF Cory SpangenbergRHP Brandon Maurer
    OF Jabari Blash 

     

    Projected DL: RP Carter Capps (Tommy John surgery), SP Colin Rea (Tommy John surgery), SP Robbie Erlin (Tommy John surgery), 1B/OF Alex Dickerson (back)

29. Cincinnati Reds

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    Amir Garrett /
    Amir Garrett /Tim Warner/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    The one-two punch of Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza atop the lineup could wreak havoc on the basepaths and provide Joey Votto with plenty of RBI opportunities. Votto hit a ridiculous .408/.490/.668 in the second half last season and could be primed for a career year.

     

    Potential Weakness

    With Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani already slated for the Opening Day disabled list, the starting rotation will be banking on a trio of inexperienced arms behind Brandon Finnegan and Scott Feldman. While it will provide those up-and-coming starters with some valuable experience, there will inevitably be some bumps along the way.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Billy HamiltonLHP Brandon Finnegan
    2B Jose PerazaRHP Scott Feldman
    1B Joey VottoRHP Robert Stephenson (R)
    LF Adam DuvallLHP Cody Reed
    RF Scott ScheblerLHP Amir Garrett (R)
    SS Zack CozartBullpen
    3B Eugenio SuarezRHP Lisalverto Bonilla
    C Devin MesoracoLHP Wandy Peralta
    BenchRHP Blake Wood
    C Tucker BarnhartRHP Drew Storen
    1B/OF Patrick Kivlehan (R)LHP Tony Cingrani
    IF/OF Arismendy AlcantaraRHP Michael Lorenzen
    IF/OF Tony RendaRHP Raisel Iglesias
    OF Ryan Raburn 

     

    Projected DL: SP Homer Bailey (elbow surgery, bone spurs), SP Anthony DeSclafani (elbow sprain)

28. Minnesota Twins

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    Byron Buxton /
    Byron Buxton /Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano have failed to live up to expectations so far, but with Buxton coming off a dynamite month of September and Sano settling back in at his natural third base position, they could both be primed for a breakout season. That would be a huge boon for the offense.

     

    Potential Weakness

    Brandon Kintzler did an admirable job stepping into the closer's role out of necessity last season, but he's far better served in a setup role. While Craig Breslow and Matt Belisle are nice low-cost additions to the relief corps, this year's pen doesn't look all that much different than the group that ranked 26th in the majors with a 4.63 ERA last season.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Brian DozierRHP Ervin Santana
    SS Jorge PolancoRHP Kyle Gibson
    1B Joe MauerLHP Hector Santiago
    3B Miguel SanoRHP Phil Hughes
    RF Max KeplerRHP Jose Berrios
    DH Kennys VargasBullpen
    C Jason CastroRHP Justin Haley (R)
    LF Eddie RosarioLHP Craig Breslow
    CF Byron BuxtonRHP Michael Tonkin
    BenchLHP Taylor Rogers
    C John Ryan MurphyRHP Matt Belisle
    IF Ehire AdrianzaRHP Ryan Pressly
    IF Eduardo EscobarRHP Brandon Kintzler
    OF Robbie Grossman 

     

    Projected DL: RP Glen Perkins (shoulder), SP Trevor May (torn UCL)

27. Chicago White Sox

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    Tim Anderson /
    Tim Anderson /Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    The Chicago White Sox finally have a clearly defined direction as rebuilding efforts have begun. The veterans know their time with the club is likely limited, and the young players know they'll get their chance in short order. They may not win a ton of games this year, but there's legitimate excitement surrounding this team for the first time in years and that can be contagious in the clubhouse.

     

    Potential Weakness

    A clear direction and fan excitement are nice, but this is a team in the early stages of a rebuild. They're going to ship off a fair amount more talent in the months to come, and their success this year won't be measured in wins and losses. That will likely result in plenty of the latter, and fans will need to be patient in trusting the process.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    SS Tim AndersonLHP Jose Quintana
    LF Melky CabreraRHP Miguel Gonzalez
    1B Jose AbreuLHP Carlos Rodon
    3B Todd FrazierRHP James Shields
    RF Avisail GarciaLHP Derek Holland
    DH Cody AscheBullpen
    C Geovany SotoRHP Dylan Covey (R)
    2B Tyler SaladinoRHP Michael Ynoa
    CF Peter BourjosLHP Cory Luebke
    BenchRHP Jake Petricka
    C Omar Narvaez (R)LHP Dan Jennings
    1B/3B Matt DavidsonRHP Nate Jones
    IF Yolmer SanchezRHP David Robertson
    IF/OF Leury Garcia 

     

    Projected DL: CF Charlie Tilson (foot)

26. Oakland Athletics

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    Jharel Cotton /
    Jharel Cotton /Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    The additions of Rajai Davis, Matt Joyce and Trevor Plouffe and a strong spring from Yonder Alonso (8-for-19, two home runs) leaves the Oakland Athletics without any glaring holes in the lineup. There are also a number of prospects poised to break through this seasonincluding Matt Chapman, Renato Nunez, Chad Pinder and Joey Wendlethat could provide further support to a quietly improved lineup.

     

    Potential Weakness

    The comeback push for ace Sonny Gray is not off to a strong start as he'll start the season on the disabled list with a lat strain. That leaves the young duo of Kendall Graveman and Sean Manaea to front a starting rotation with plenty of young depth, but limited MLB experience. The offense might be improved, but it won't be good enough to single-handedly carry the team.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Rajai DavisRHP Kendall Graveman
    C Stephen VogtLHP Sean Manaea
    DH Ryon HealyRHP Jesse Hahn
    LF Khris DavisRHP Jharel Cotton (R)
    RF Matt JoyceRHP Andrew Triggs
    SS Marcus SemienBullpen
    3B Trevor PlouffeRHP Simon Castro (R)
    1B Yonder AlonsoRHP Liam Hendriks
    2B Jed LowrieRHP John Axford
    BenchRHP Ryan Dull
    C Josh PhegleyRHP Santiago Casilla
    1B/OF Mark CanhaLHP Sean Doolittle
    IF Adam RosalesRHP Ryan Madson
    OF Jaff Decker 

     

    Projected DL: SP Sonny Gray (lat strain), SP Chris Bassitt (Tommy John surgery), SP Daniel Mengden (foot surgery), OF Jake Smolinski (shoulder surgery)

25. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Keon Broxton /
    Keon Broxton /Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    There are a lot of "ifs" with the offense, but there's also a ton of potential. If Keon Broxton plays like he did down the stretch last season, Jonathan Villar comes anywhere close to duplicating his breakout season and both Eric Thames and Travis Shaw can provide solid run production support for Ryan Braun, this lineup could score a lot more runs than expected.

     

    Potential Weakness

    The Brewers have no fewer than seven pitchers vying for a spot in the starting rotation. The trouble is, none of them even remotely resemble a staff ace. Junior Guerra and Zach Davies appear to be the two guys locked into starting jobs, and while they both had their moments last season, neither is anywhere close to a sure thing to anchor the rotation.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Jonathan VillarRHP Junior Guerra
    CF Keon BroxtonRHP Zach Davies
    LF Ryan BraunRHP Matt Garza
    1B Eric ThamesRHP Jimmy Nelson
    3B Travis ShawRHP Wily Peralta
    RF Domingo SantanaBullpen
    SS Orlando ArciaRHP Chase Anderson
    C Andrew SusacLHP Tommy Milone
    BenchRHP Jacob Barnes
    C Manny Pina (R)RHP Jhan Marinez
    1B Jesus AguilarRHP Carlos Torres
    IF Scooter GennettRHP Corey Knebel
    IF/OF Hernan PerezRHP Neftali Feliz
    OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis 

24. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Maikel Franco /
    Maikel Franco /Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    The return of Jeremy Hellickson and the addition of Clay Buchholz gives the Philadelphia Phillies a starting rotation with an interesting mix of veteran upside and intriguing youth. A repeat performance from Hellickson and a similar resurrection from Buchholz would give the team a pair of valuable trade chips, and their presence on the staff will only help in the young guys' development.

     

    Potential Weakness

    The additions of Michael Saunders and Howie Kendrick are nice, but how much of an overall difference are they going to make for a team that finished last in the majors in runs scored? Tommy Joseph, Cameron Rupp and Freddy Galvis all exceeded expectations last season and Maikel Franco is still looking to take that next step, so they could be scraping to score once again.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Cesar HernandezRHP Jeremy Hellickson
    LF Howie KendrickRHP Jerad Eickhoff
    CF Odubel HerreraRHP Aaron Nola
    3B Maikel FrancoRHP Vincent Velasquez
    RF Michael SaundersRHP Clay Buchholz
    1B Tommy JosephBullpen
    C Cameron RuppRHP Luis Garcia
    SS Freddy GalvisRHP Edubray Ramos
    BenchLHP Joely Rodriguez (R)
    C Ryan HaniganRHP Pat Neshek
    1B/OF Daniel NavaRHP Hector Neris
    IF Andres BlancoRHP Joaquin Benoit
    IF/OF Chris CoghlanRHP Jeanmar Gomez
    OF Aaron Altherr 

23. Atlanta Braves

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    Dansby Swanson /
    Dansby Swanson /G Fiume/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    Full seasons of Ender Inciarte, Matt Kemp and Dansby Swanson, along with the addition of Brandon Phillips, gives the Atlanta Braves a lineup that could make some legitimate noise in the NL East. Their starting rotation won't be confused with a stable of aces, but it should eat plenty of innings, and that's exactly what the team needs at this point. After a 12-2 finish to the 2016 season, a push toward .500 is not out of the question.

     

    Potential Weakness

    While Bartolo Colon, Jaime Garcia and R.A. Dickey should eat a ton of innings, whether they're quality innings remains to be seen. Having three guys combined for 540 innings and a 4.75 ERA isn't necessarily a good thing as far as the team's outlook is concerned. It's a more experienced rotation, but it's not a given it will be a vastly improved one.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Ender InciarteRHP Julio Teheran
    SS Dansby Swanson (R)RHP Bartolo Colon
    1B Freddie FreemanLHP Jaime Garcia
    LF Matt KempRHP R.A. Dickey
    RF Nick MarkakisRHP Mike Foltynewicz
    2B Brandon PhillipsBullpen
    3B Adonis GarciaRHP Josh Collmenter
    C Tyler FlowersLHP Kevin Chapman
    BenchRHP Chaz Roe
    C Kurt SuzukiRHP Jose Ramirez
    IF Jace PetersonLHP Ian Krol
    IF/OF Emilio BonifacioRHP Mauricio Cabrera
    IF/OF Chase d'ArnaudRHP Arodys Vizcaino
      RHP Jim Johnson

     

    Projected DL: IF Sean Rodriguez (shoulder surgery), RP Paco Rodriguez (Tommy John surgery), RP Jacob Lindgren (Tommy John surgery), RP Dan Winkler (fractured elbow), RP Armando Rivero (shoulder soreness)

22. Los Angeles Angels

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    Garrett Richards /
    Garrett Richards /Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    The Los Angeles Angels may not have made any splashy additions, but the supporting cast around Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun is vastly improved. Danny Espinosa, Luis Valbuena, Ben Revere and Cameron Maybin will all be welcome additions and could be enough to push the offensive attack from below average to above average.

     

    Potential Weakness

    The starting rotation has a chance to be solid if Garrett Richards' arm holds up and Tyler Skaggs can stay healthy. It also has a chance to be an absolute disaster if one or both of those guys misses time, as there's little in the way of viable depth while Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano continue to recover from Tommy John surgery. The back end of the bullpen is also far from a sure thing.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    LF Ben RevereRHP Garrett Richards
    RF Kole CalhounRHP Matt Shoemaker
    CF Mike TroutLHP Tyler Skaggs
    DH Albert PujolsRHP Ricky Nolasco
    1B Luis ValbuenaRHP Jesse Chavez
    3B Yunel EscobarBullpen
    2B Danny EspinosaRHP Yusmeiro Petit
    SS Andrelton SimmonsLHP Cody Ege (R)
    C Martin MaldonadoRHP Austin Adams
    BenchLHP Jose Alvarez
    C Carlos PerezRHP J.C. Ramirez
    1B C.J. CronRHP Andrew Bailey
    IF Cliff PenningtonRHP Cam Bedrosian
    OF Cameron Maybin 

     

    Projected DL: RP Huston Street (lat strain), SP Andrew Heaney (Tommy John surgery), SP Nick Tropeano (Tommy John surgery)

21. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Blake Snell /
    Blake Snell /Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    It might sound crazy after the team traded Matt Moore in July and Drew Smyly this offseason, but this year's starting rotation could once again emerge as one of the best in baseball. A potential bounce-back season from Chris Archer, a healthy campaign from Alex Cobb, another step forward from Blake Snell and the impending arrivals of Jose De Leon and Brent Honeywell leave plenty of room for optimism.

     

    Potential Weakness

    The offense will once again need to be propped up by the pitching staff. Wilson Ramos and Colby Rasmus were nice low-cost additions and prospect Casey Gillaspie could be along to help at some point, but this is still a lineup that could struggle to score runs at times, especially if Brad Miller levels off after a surprising power surge.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Kevin KiermaierRHP Chris Archer
    SS Matt DuffyRHP Jake Odorizzi
    3B Evan LongoriaRHP Alex Cobb
    2B Brad MillerLHP Blake Snell
    DH Corey DickersonRHP Matt Andriese
    LF Colby RasmusBullpen
    RF Steven SouzaRHP Erasmo Ramirez
    1B Logan MorrisonLHP Justin Marks (R)
    C Curt CasaliRHP Jumbo Diaz
    BenchRHP Danny Farquhar
    C Luke MaileLHP Xavier Cedeno
    1B/OF Rickie Weeks Jr.RHP Brad Boxberger
    IF Tim BeckhamRHP Alex Colome
    IF/OF Nick Franklin 

     

    Projected DL: C Wilson Ramos (knee surgery), SP Nathan Eovaldi (Tommy John surgery), RP Shawn Tolleson (lat soreness)

20. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    A.J. Pollock /
    A.J. Pollock /Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    Healthy seasons from A.J. Pollock and David Peralta will be huge for an offense that was already 10th in the majors in runs scored without them last year. Assuming Zack Greinke has no lingering issues with his velocity, the trio of Greinke, Robbie Ray and Taijuan Walker could surprise a lot of people fronting a rotation with plenty of depth.

     

    Potential Weakness

    Does anyone really trust Fernando Rodney to close out games for an entire season? After a brilliant start to last year, he imploded down the stretch and he'll turn 40 Saturday. Yet, the D-backs signed him to close and really didn't line up a fallback plan if he falters. 

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF A.J. PollockRHP Zack Greinke
    SS Chris OwingsLHP Robbie Ray
    1B Paul GoldschmidtRHP Taijuan Walker
    RF David PeraltaRHP Shelby Miller
    LF Yasmany TomasLHP Patrick Corbin
    3B Jake LambBullpen
    2B Brandon DruryRHP Tyler Jones (R)
    C Chris IannettaRHP J.J. Hoover
    BenchRHP Tom Wilhelmsen
    C Jeff MathisLHP Andrew Chafin
    C/OF Chris HerrmannRHP Randall Delgado
    IF Nick AhmedRHP Jake Barrett
    IF/OF Daniel DescalsoRHP Fernando Rodney
    OF Jeremy Hazelbaker 

19. Baltimore Orioles

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    Kevin Gausman /
    Kevin Gausman /Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    The offense is going to hit a ton of home runs again, and the bullpen will continue to shorten games behind the late-inning arms of Mychal Givens, Darren O'Day, Brad Brach and Zach Britton. Basically, the same things the Baltimore Orioles hung their hat on a year ago.

     

    Potential Weakness

    Making no significant additions to a starting rotation that ranked 24th in the majors with a 4.72 ERA was a risky move, to say the least. Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy are both still capable of taking another step forward, but even that might not be enough for them to have even a league-average staff. The complete lack of speed on the bases (19 SB in 2016) also went unaddressed.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    LF Hyun Soo KimRHP Kevin Gausman
    CF Adam JonesRHP Dylan Bundy
    3B Manny MachadoRHP Ubaldo Jimenez
    1B Chris DavisLHP Wade Miley
    DH Mark TrumboRHP Mike Wright
    2B Jonathan SchoopBullpen
    RF Seth SmithLHP Vidal Nuno
    C Welington CastilloRHP Oliver Drake
    SS J.J. HardyLHP Donnie Hart
    BenchRHP Mychal Givens
    C Caleb JosephRHP Darren O'Day
    IF/OF Ryan FlahertyRHP Brad Brach
    OF Craig GentryLHP Zach Britton
    OF Joey Rickard 

     

    Projected DL: Chris Tillman (platlet-rich plasma injection in shoulder), OF Anthony Santander (elbow)

18. Kansas City Royals

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    Kelvin Herrera /
    Kelvin Herrera /Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    With Danny Duffy opening the season as the clear ace and the additions of Jason Hammel and Travis Wood, the starting rotation could be improved over last year's group. A healthy Mike Moustakas and a bounce-back season from Lorenzo Cain would also go a long way toward improving the offense, while Brandon Moss and Jorge Soler add some intriguing pop.

     

    Potential Weakness

    The bullpen has been a focal point for the Royals during their recent run of success, but after trading Wade Davis to the Chicago Cubs, it no longer looks like a clear strength. Kelvin Herrera is more than capable of closing and Joakim Soria has a long track record of success, but this isn't the lights-out pen it's been in years past.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    SS Alcides EscobarLHP Danny Duffy
    3B Mike MoustakasRHP Ian Kennedy
    CF Lorenzo CainLHP Jason Vargas
    1B Eric HosmerRHP Jason Hammel
    C Salvador PerezLHP Travis Wood
    LF Alex GordonBullpen
    RF Jorge SolerLHP Mike Minor
    DH Brandon MossRHP Chris Young
    2B Raul MondesiLHP Scott Alexander
    BenchRHP Peter Moylan
    C Drew ButeraLHP Matt Strahm (R)
    IF Christian ColonRHP Joakim Soria
    IF Cheslor CuthbertRHP Kelvin Herrera
    OF Paulo Orlando 

     

    Projected DL: RP Brian Flynn (fractured rib)

17. Miami Marlins

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    Brad Ziegler /
    Brad Ziegler /Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    The bullpen! Adding Junichi Tazawa and Brad Ziegler to a relief corps that already included a valuable swingman (David Phelps), strikeout machine (Kyle Barraclough) and standout closer (A.J. Ramos) gives the Miami Marlins a pen that rivals any in baseball.

     

    Potential Weakness

    Credit the front office for thinking outside the box when they opted to make building up the relief corps the top priority as opposed to overpaying for mid-level starting pitching. The additions of Edinson Volquez, Dan Straily and Jeff Locke give the team some warm bodies to round out the staff, but don't be surprised if the Miami bullpen leads all relief corps in innings pitched.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Dee GordonLHP Wei-Yin Chen
    3B Martin PradoRHP Edinson Volquez
    CF Christian YelichLHP Adam Conley
    RF Giancarlo StantonRHP Dan Straily
    LF Marcell OzunaRHP Tom Koehler
    1B Justin BourBullpen
    C J.T. RealmutoRHP Jose Urena
    SS Adeiny HechavarriaRHP David Phelps
    BenchLHP Hunter Cervenka
    C A.J. EllisRHP Dustin McGowan
    IF Miguel RojasRHP Junichi Tazawa
    IF/OF Derek DietrichRHP Brad Ziegler
    OF Ichiro SuzukiRHP Kyle Barraclough
      RHP A.J. Ramos

     

    Projected DL: SP Jeff Locke (biceps tendinitis)

16. Colorado Rockies

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    Trevor Story /
    Trevor Story /Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    It has to be the offense, right? Even with Ian Desmond, David Dahl and Tom Murphy projected to start the season on the disabled list, this still looks like a dangerous group that should have no trouble scoring runs. The trio of Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson and Tyler Chatwood atop the staff also has a chance to be better than expected, and the young duo of Jeff Hoffman and German Marquez certainly offers intriguing upside.

     

    Potential Weakness

    The Rockies bullpen was worst in the majors with a 5.13 ERA last season, undermining a vastly improved starting rotation and accounting for 29 losses and 28 blown saves. Greg Holland and Mike Dunn are nice additions and a healthy season from Adam Ottavino will also help, but is this year's group good enough for the team to contend?

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Charlie BlackmonRHP Jon Gray
    2B DJ LeMahieuLHP Tyler Anderson
    3B Nolan ArenadoRHP Tyler Chatwood
    RF Carlos GonzalezRHP Jeff Hoffman (R)
    SS Trevor StoryRHP German Marquez (R)
    LF Gerardo ParraBullpen
    1B Mark ReynoldsRHP Jordan Lyles
    C Tony WoltersLHP Chris Rusin
    BenchRHP Scott Oberg
    C Dustin GarneauLHP Mike Dunn
    IF Cristhian AdamesRHP Jason Motte
    IF/OF Alexi AmaristaLHP Jake McGee
    OF Stephen Cardullo (R)RHP Greg Holland
      RHP Adam Ottavino

     

    Projected DL: SP Chad Bettis (chemotherapy), 1B Ian Desmond (hand fracture), LF David Dahl (stress reaction/rib), C Tom Murphy (forearm fracture), RP Chad Qualls (elbow soreness), RP Jairo Diaz (Tommy John surgery)

15. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Jameson Taillon /
    Jameson Taillon /Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    The Pittsburgh Pirates finished sixth in the NL in runs scored last year while Andrew McCutchen suffered through the worst season of his career. If he can return to All-Star form and Josh Bell makes a smooth transition into the everyday first base role, this year's lineup could be even more dangerous.

     

    Potential Weakness

    There's a ton of uncertainty surrounding the starting rotation. Gerrit Cole needs to pitch like an ace, and Ivan Nova needs to prove his two-month stint with the team was the real deal. Behind that duo, the team is relying on some combination of Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl, Drew Hutchison, Tyler Glasnow and Steven Brault. There's upside, but there's also an enormous spread between ceiling and floor for that group.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Josh HarrisonRHP Gerrit Cole
    1B Josh Bell (R)RHP Ivan Nova
    RF Andrew McCutchenRHP Jameson Taillon
    CF Starling MarteRHP Chad Kuhl
    LF Gregory PolancoRHP Drew Hutchison
    3B David FreeseBullpen
    C Francisco CervelliLHP Wade LeBlanc
    SS Jordy MercerRHP Juan Nicasio
    BenchLHP Antonio Bastardo
    C Chris StewartRHP Jared Hughes
    1B John JasoLHP Felipe Rivero
    IF Alen Hanson (R)RHP Daniel Hudson
    IF/OF Adam FrazierLHP Tony Watson
    IF/OF Phil Gosselin 

     

    Restricted List: 3B Jung Ho Kang

14. Detroit Tigers

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    Daniel Norris /
    Daniel Norris /Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    Even without an established center fielder and with defensive-minded players at the catcher and shortstop positions, the Detroit Tigers are going to score a ton of runs. That's especially true if Justin Upton can avoid another disastrously slow start and Nick Castellanos can stay healthy long enough to truly break out.

     

    Potential Weakness

    Pitching. One or both of Jordan Zimmermann and Anibal Sanchez living up to their hefty salary would go a long way in the starting rotation, but at some point, the team might need to realize that Matt Boyd is a better option. The relief corps also made no significant additions after ranking 24th in the majors with a 4.22 ERA and tallying 19 blown saves a year ago.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Ian KinslerRHP Justin Verlander
    RF J.D. MartinezRHP Michael Fulmer
    1B Miguel CabreraRHP Jordan Zimmermann
    DH Victor MartinezRHP Anibal Sanchez
    LF Justin UptonLHP Daniel Norris
    3B Nick CastellanosBullpen
    C James McCannRHP Mike Pelfrey
    CF Tyler CollinsLHP Daniel Stumpf (R)
    SS Jose IglesiasRHP Mark Lowe
    BenchRHP Bruce Rondon
    C Alex AvilaLHP Justin Wilson
    IF/OF Andrew RomineRHP Alex Wilson
    OF Mikie MahtookRHP Francisco Rodriguez
    OF Steven Moya 

13. New York Yankees

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    Greg Bird /
    Greg Bird /Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    Bringing back Aroldis Chapman and quietly trading for Tyler Clippard at the deadline gives the New York Yankees a new Big Three at the back of the bullpen, and they should again have a reliable stable of relief arms. A full season of Gary Sanchez, a healthy Greg Bird and the addition of Matt Holliday should also make for an improved offense.

     

    Potential Weakness

    Masahiro Tanaka is really the only sure thing in the starting rotation. CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda are locked into spots behind him, but consistent and reliable are not words that will be used to describe that duo anytime soon. Then there's the four-man battle for the final two spots between Luis Severino, Bryan Mitchell, Chad Green and Luis Cessaa group short on MLB experience, to say the least.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    LF Brett GardnerRHP Masahiro Tanaka
    CF Jacoby EllsburyLHP CC Sabathia
    C Gary SanchezRHP Michael Pineda
    DH Matt HollidayRHP Luis Severino
    1B Greg BirdRHP Chad Green
    2B Starlin CastroBullpen
    SS Didi GregoriusLHP Jon Niese
    3B Chase HeadleyRHP Bryan Mitchell
    RF Aaron Judge (R)RHP Adam Warren
    BenchLHP Tommy Layne
    C Austin RomineRHP Tyler Clippard
    1B Chris CarterRHP Dellin Betances
    IF Ronald TorreyesLHP Aroldis Chapman
    OF Aaron Hicks 

     

    Projected DL: 1B/OF Tyler Austin (fractured foot)

12. New York Mets

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    Jay Bruce /
    Jay Bruce /Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    Remember last offseason when the New York Mets rotation was being billed as a juggernaut and the team's ticket for a return trip to the World Series? Aside from Bartolo Colon, all of those guys are still around and with healthier, there's no reason they can't at least approach those lofty expectations.

     

    Potential Weakness

    Re-signing Yoenis Cespedes was huge, but the Mets made zero outside additions to an offense that finished 25th in the majors in runs scored. A full season of Jay Bruce, a bounce-back performance from Michael Conforto and a healthy Lucas Duda could help, but that's putting an awful lot of eggs in the pitching basket when the window to contend is open right now.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    3B Jose ReyesRHP Noah Syndergaard
    CF Curtis GrandersonRHP Jacob deGrom
    LF Yoenis CespedesRHP Matt Harvey
    RF Jay BruceLHP Steven Matz
    2B Neil WalkerRHP Robert Gsellman
    SS Asdrubal CabreraBullpen
    1B Lucas DudaRHP Rafael Montero
    C Travis d'ArnaudLHP Josh Edgin
    BenchRHP Fernando Salas
    C Rene RiveraLHP Jerry Blevins
    IF Wilmer FloresRHP Hansel Robles
    IF/OF T.J. Rivera (R)RHP Addison Reed
    OF Michael ConfortoRHP Jeurys Familia
    OF Juan Lagares 

     

    Projected DL: 3B David Wright (shoulder impingement), SP Zack Wheeler (Tommy John recovery)

11. Seattle Mariners

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    Drew Smyly /
    Drew Smyly /Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    Even with a pair of unproven rookies (Mitch Haniger and Dan Vogelbach), a question mark at catcher (Mike Zunino) and a defensive-minded center fielder (Leonys Martin), the Seattle Mariners have one of the best offenses in baseball. Speedy newcomers Jarrod Dyson and Jean Segura setting the table ahead of a trio of 30-homer sluggers will be fun to watch.

     

    Potential Weakness

    It's hard to decide what to make of the Mariners' starting rotation. On the one hand, if Felix Hernandez returns to ace form, James Paxton delivers on his breakout potential and newcomers Yovani Gallardo and Drew Smyly put mediocre 2016 seasons behind them, this could be a great staff. On the other hand, none of that is guaranteed and the rotation could wind up being what holds this team back.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    LF Jarrod DysonRHP Felix Hernandez
    SS Jean SeguraRHP Hisashi Iwakuma
    2B Robinson CanoLHP James Paxton
    DH Nelson CruzRHP Yovani Gallardo
    3B Kyle SeagerLHP Drew Smyly
    RF Mitch Haniger (R)Bullpen
    1B Dan Vogelbach (R)RHP Chris Heston
    C Mike ZuninoRHP Dan Altavilla (R)
    CF Leonys MartinRHP Evan Scribner
    BenchRHP Casey Fien
    C Carlos RuizLHP Marc Rzepczynski
    IF/OF Shawn O'MalleyRHP Nick Vincent
    IF/OF Danny ValenciaRHP Edwin Diaz
    OF Guillermo Heredia (R) 

     

    Projected DL: RP Steve Cishek (hip surgery)

10. Texas Rangers

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    Martin Perez /
    Martin Perez /Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    Bold declaration: This year's Texas Rangers will score even more runs than the team that finished seventh in the majors in that category last year. The Carlos Gomez renaissance is for real, Jurickson Profar is finally ready to deliver on his potential after a big World Baseball Classic, Mike Napoli is back (again) and Jonathan Lucroy will be around for a full season. Look out, American League.

     

    Potential Weakness

    Not-so-bold declaration: They're going to need every single one of those runs on days when Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish are not pitching. Martin Perez is a solid middle-of-the-rotation arm, but Andrew Cashner is already sidelined, leaving some combination of A.J. Griffin, Dillon Gee, Chi Chi Gonzalez and Nick Martinez to round out the staff until Tyson Ross is cleared for action.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Carlos GomezLHP Cole Hamels
    DH Shin-Soo ChooRHP Yu Darvish
    3B Adrian BeltreLHP Martin Perez
    1B Mike NapoliRHP A.J. Griffin
    2B Rougned OdorRHP Dillon Gee
    C Jonathan LucroyBullpen
    RF Nomar MazaraRHP Mike Hauschild (R)
    SS Elvis AndrusLHP Alex Claudio
    LF Jurickson ProfarRHP Keone Kela
    BenchRHP Tony Barnette
    C Robinson ChirinosRHP Matt Bush
    IF Hanser AlbertoRHP Jeremy Jeffress
    IF/OF Ryan RuaRHP Sam Dyson
    OF Delino DeShields Jr. 

     

    Projected DL: SP Tyson Ross (thoracic outlet surgery), SP Andrew Cashner (biceps tendinitis), RP Jake Diekman (ulcerative colitis surgery)

9. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Lance Lynn /
    Lance Lynn /Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    The St. Louis Cardinals improved their overall defense this offseason by signing a natural center fielder in Dexter Fowler and committing to Kolten Wong as the everyday second baseman, and that should have a positive effect on the pitching staff. As always, they have as much depth as any team in baseball on both sides of the ball.

     

    Potential Weakness

    The starting rotation could be a top-10 group when all is said and done, but it could also prove to be the team's undoing. Lance Lynn will be shaking off the rust of a season missed to Tommy John surgery, Michael Wacha has had a hard time staying healthy, Adam Wainwright is another year older, and X-factor Alex Reyes was lost for the season to his own Tommy John surgery. Luke Weaver provides some nice depth, but this staff is far from a sure thing.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Dexter FowlerRHP Carlos Martinez
    SS Aledmys DiazRHP Adam Wainwright
    1B Matt CarpenterRHP Lance Lynn
    RF Stephen PiscottyRHP Mike Leake
    C Yadier MolinaRHP Michael Wacha
    3B Jedd GyorkoBullpen
    LF Randal GrichukRHP Matt Bowman
    2B Kolten WongRHP Miguel Socolovich
    BenchRHP Jonathan Broxton
    C Eric FryerLHP Brett Cecil
    1B Matt AdamsRHP Trevor Rosenthal
    IF Greg GarciaLHP Kevin Siegrist
    IF Jhonny PeraltaRHP Seung Hwan Oh
    OF Jose Martinez (R) 

     

    Projected DL: SP Alex Reyes (Tommy John surgery), SP Marco Gonzales (Tommy John surgery), RP Zach Duke (Tommy John surgery), RP Tyler Lyons (knee surgery)

8. San Francisco Giants

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    Brandon Belt /
    Brandon Belt /Tim Warner/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    After leaning a bit more heavily on the offense in recent years, it looks like the pitching staff could once again be the driving force for the San Francisco Giants. Full seasons of Matt Moore and Will Smith along with the addition of a proven closer in Mark Melancon has the staff looking formidable; the only question mark is Matt Cain in the No. 5 starter role.

     

    Potential Weakness

    With some expected regression from Eduardo Nunez and a potential revolving door in left field, the bottom of the lineup could turn into an issue as the season progresses. And while there are some fun names in camp as non-roster invitees, this really isn't the deepest team on the position-player side of things. One key injury could prove costly.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Denard SpanLHP Madison Bumgarner
    1B Brandon BeltRHP Johnny Cueto
    C Buster PoseyRHP Jeff Samardzija
    RF Hunter PenceLHP Matt Moore
    SS Brandon CrawfordRHP Matt Cain
    3B Eduardo NunezBullpen
    2B Joe PanikRHP Cory Gearrin
    LF Jarrett ParkerRHP George Kontos
    BenchLHP Steven Okert (R)
    C Nick HundleyRHP Hunter Strickland
    1B/3B Conor GillaspieLHP Will Smith
    IF Jae-gyun Hwang (R)RHP Derek Law
    OF Gorkys HernandezRHP Mark Melancon
    OF Mac Williamson 

7. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Aaron Sanchez /
    Aaron Sanchez /Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    The team's starting rotation clearly surpassed the offense as its greatest strength last season, and that should hold true once again in 2017. Aaron Sanchez has the stuff to emerge as one of the game's truly elite starters, and Marcus Stroman is capable of considerably more than he showed last season. So even if J.A. Happ takes a step back and Marco Estrada proves to be a bit more hittable, the rotation still looks strong.

     

    Potential Weakness

    Joe Smith and J.P. Howell were nice late-offseason signings to round out the bullpen, replacing departed veterans Joaquin Benoit and Brett Cecil. That's the thing, though: They didn't necessarily improve on last year's unit but instead tried their best to replicate it. That's maybe not the best strategy when we're talking about a relief corps that ranked 22nd in the majors with a 4.11 ERA and blew 23 saves.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Kevin PillarRHP Aaron Sanchez
    3B Josh DonaldsonLHP J.A. Happ
    RF Jose BautistaRHP Marco Estrada
    DH Kendrys MoralesRHP Marcus Stroman
    SS Troy TulowitzkiLHP Francisco Liriano
    1B Justin SmoakBullpen
    C Russell MartinRHP Mike Bolsinger
    LF Ezequiel CarreraLHP Aaron Loup
    2B Darwin BarneyRHP Joe Smith
    BenchLHP J.P. Howell
    C Jarrod SaltalamacchiaRHP Joe Biagini
    IF Ryan GoinsRHP Jason Grilli
    IF/OF Steve PearceRHP Roberto Osuna
    OF Melvin Upton Jr. 

     

    Projected DL: 2B Devon Travis (knee surgery)

6. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Logan Forsythe /
    Logan Forsythe /Rob Tringali/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    A healthy Clayton Kershaw and Brandon McCarthy, as well as a full season of Rich Hill, puts the starting rotation in significantly better position. The experience gained by guys like Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart last season also provides the team with viable depth if the injury bug does strike again, and playing it safe with Julio Urias by leaving him at extended spring training seems like a smart move as well.

     

    Potential Weakness

    Will the addition of right-handed hitting Logan Forsythe and lefty masher Franklin Gutierrez be enough to solve the team's struggles against left-handed pitching? They hit just .214/.291/.333 against southpaws last season. There's also the very real question of whether they did enough to build out the bullpen after spending big to bring back Kenley Jansen.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Logan ForsytheLHP Clayton Kershaw
    SS Corey SeagerLHP Rich Hill
    3B Justin TurnerRHP Kenta Maeda
    1B Adrian GonzalezLHP Scott Kazmir
    C Yasmani GrandalRHP Brandon McCarthy
    CF Joc PedersonBullpen
    RF Yasiel PuigLHP Alex Wood
    LF Andrew TolesRHP Chris Hatcher
    BenchLHP Luis Avilan
    C/IF Austin Barnes (R)RHP Sergio Romo
    IF Chase UtleyLHP Grant Dayton
    IF/OF Kike HernandezRHP Pedro Baez
    OF Andre EthierRHP Kenley Jansen
    OF Franklin Gutierrez 

     

    Projected DL: SP Hyun-Jin Ryu (elbow surgery), RP Yimi Garcia (Tommy John surgery)

5. Houston Astros

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    Lance McCullers /
    Lance McCullers /Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    Adding a significant veteran presence to an exciting young lineup gives the Houston Astros one of the more balanced offensive attacks in baseball. Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and George Springer are both capable of taking things up another notch, and don't underestimate what Yulieski Gurriel could provide now that he's had a chance to settle in.

     

    Potential Weakness

    It's all going to boil down to starting pitching for the Astros. If Dallas Keuchel can land somewhere between his 2015 and 2016 numbers, Lance McCullers can stay healthy and someone like Joe Musgrove or Charlie Morton can step up, they should be fine. Otherwise, they'll be counting on the midseason arrival of top prospect Francis Martes or a blockbuster trade to solidify the staff.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF George SpringerLHP Dallas Keuchel
    2B Jose AltuveRHP Lance McCullers
    SS Carlos CorreaRHP Collin McHugh
    DH Carlos BeltranRHP Mike Fiers
    C Brian McCannRHP Charlie Morton
    3B Alex BregmanBullpen
    RF Josh ReddickRHP Chris Devenski
    1B Yulieski Gurriel (R)RHP Brad Peacock
    LF Nori AokiRHP Michael Feliz
    BenchLHP Tony Sipp
    C Evan GattisRHP Luke Gregerson
    IF/OF Marwin GonzalezRHP Will Harris
    OF Teoscar Hernandez (R)RHP Ken Giles
    OF Jake Marisnick 

4. Washington Nationals

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    Shawn Kelley /
    Shawn Kelley /Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    The Washington Nationals lineup has a chance to be downright scary. There might not be a better table-setting duo in the league than Trea Turner and Adam Eaton, and if Bryce Harper can return to his MVP form, their No. 1-5 hitters stack up to any in baseball. Oh, and that starting rotation should be pretty good too, especially if Stephen Strasburg can make 30 starts.

     

    Potential Weakness

    Can Shawn Kelley handle closer duties on a team with legitimate World Series aspirations? That's been the big question all offseason and it will continue to be asked on into the regular season. There are some intriguing fallback options in groundball machine Blake Treinen and flame-throwing rookie Koda Glover, but the last thing a contender needs is uncertainty in the ninth.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    SS Trea TurnerRHP Max Scherzer
    CF Adam EatonRHP Stephen Strasburg
    2B Daniel MurphyRHP Tanner Roark
    RF Bryce HarperLHP Gio Gonzalez
    3B Anthony RendonRHP Joe Ross
    LF Jayson WerthBullpen
    C Matt WietersLHP Enny Romero
    1B Ryan ZimmermanRHP Koda Glover (R)
    BenchLHP Oliver Perez
    C Jose LobatonRHP Blake Treinen
    1B Adam LindLHP Sammy Solis
    1B/OF Clint RobinsonRHP Joe Blanton
    IF Stephen DrewRHP Shawn Kelley
    OF Chris Heisey 

3. Boston Red Sox

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    Eduardo Rodriguez /
    Eduardo Rodriguez /Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    Pick one. The offense is still stacked even after the retirement of David Ortiz. The starting rotation could be a juggernaut if David Price gets healthy and Eduardo Rodriguez climbs closer to his potential. The bullpen added an elite setup man in Tyler Thornburgsomething they didn't have a year ago.

     

    Potential Weakness

    Bullpen depth is probably the one area that can be pointed to as a potential area of concern for the Boston Red Sox. Thornburg and Craig Kimbrel in the late innings should be lights out and Joe Kelly has a chance to be a major weapon, but the rest of the relief corps is average at best and there's not a ton of viable options waiting in the wings.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Dustin PedroiaLHP Chris Sale
    LF Andrew Benintendi (R)RHP Rick Porcello
    SS Xander BogaertsLHP Drew Pomeranz
    RF Mookie BettsRHP Steven Wright
    DH Hanley RamirezLHP Eduardo Rodriguez
    CF Jackie Bradley Jr.Bullpen
    3B Pablo SandovalRHP Heath Hembree
    1B Mitch MorelandLHP Fernando Abad
    C Sandy LeonRHP Matt Barnes
    BenchLHP Robbie Ross Jr.
    C Christian VazquezRHP Joe Kelly
    IF Deven MarreroRHP Tyler Thornburg
    IF/OF Brock HoltRHP Craig Kimbrel
    OF Chris Young 

     

    Projected DL: SP David Price (elbow discomfort), RP Carson Smith (Tommy John surgery)

2. Cleveland Indians

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    Michael Brantley /
    Michael Brantley /Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    If everyone is healthy and pitching up to their potential, the Cleveland Indians have the best starting rotation in baseball. That being said, injuries down the stretch last season also created some valuable depth the team didn't have in the past, as Michael Clevinger and postseason hero Ryan Merritt gained experience. This also has a chance to be a top-five offense if all goes according to plan, but it's the rotation that will drive the ship.

     

    Potential Weakness

    The injury to Jason Kipnis is kind of a bummer; does that qualify as a weakness? He's expected to start the season on the disabled list with a strained rotator cuff, and the team doesn't have a clear in-house replacement. The ongoing health concerns of Michael Brantley and potential regression of Tyler Naquin could also create some question marks in the outfield, but that's about it.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    3B Jose RamirezRHP Corey Kluber
    SS Francisco LindorRHP Carlos Carrasco
    LF Michael BrantleyRHP Danny Salazar
    1B Edwin EncarnacionRHP Trevor Bauer
    1B Carlos SantanaRHP Josh Tomlin
    RF Lonnie ChisenhallBullpen
    C Yan GomesRHP Shawn Armstrong (R)
    CF Tyler NaquinRHP Zach McAllister
    2B Erik Gonzalez (R)RHP Dan Otero
    BenchLHP Boone Logan
    C Roberto PerezRHP Bryan Shaw
    IF Michael MartinezLHP Andrew Miller
    OF Abraham AlmonteRHP Cody Allen
    OF Brandon Guyer 

     

    Projected DL: 2B Jason Kipnis (strained rotator cuff)

1. Chicago Cubs

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    Brett Anderson /
    Brett Anderson /Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Potential Strength

    Close your eyes and point. The offense could be the best in baseball with a full season of Kyle Schwarber and more of Willson Contreras behind the plate, the starting rotation was the best in baseball a year ago and returns all the big guns, and the bullpen starts the season with far more stability than it had at this time a year ago after adding Wade Davis and Koji Uehara in the offseason. This is no one-year wonder, folks.

     

    Potential Weakness

    The No. 5 starter spot is a bit sketchy as the oft-injured Brett Anderson will open the season rounding out the rotation. If he finds his way to the disabled list once again, that would likely force Mike Montgomery into the rotation, leaving the team without a lockdown lefty reliever. However, the fact that it takes a few dominoes falling to get us to what could potentially be a weakness for this Cubs team speaks volumes to just how complete a roster they have.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of March 16)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    LF Kyle SchwarberLHP Jon Lester
    3B Kris BryantRHP Jake Arrieta
    1B Anthony RizzoRHP Kyle Hendricks
    2B Ben ZobristRHP John Lackey
    SS Addison RussellLHP Brett Anderson
    RF Jason HeywardBullpen
    C Willson ContrerasLHP Brian Duensing
    CF Jon JayRHP Justin Grimm
    BenchLHP Mike Montgomery
    C Miguel MonteroRHP Carl Edwards Jr.
    IF Javier BaezRHP Pedro Strop
    OF Albert Almora Jr.RHP Koji Uehara
    OF Matt SzczurRHP Hector Rondon
     RHP Wade Davis

     

    All regular season stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, while spring stats come via MLB.com.