Power Ranking Every MLB Team's Lineup Before Spring Training 2018

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2018

Power Ranking Every MLB Team's Lineup Before Spring Training 2018

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    Willie J. Allen Jr./Associated Press

    We witnessed an offensive explosion during the 2017 MLB season, and there's no reason to think that's going to change anytime soon.

    The old adage that pitching wins championships might still ring true, but it's telling that last season's 10 playoff teams all ranked 12th or higher in runs scored.

    And it was the Houston Astros, baseball's most productive offense during the regular season, who were hoisting the World Series trophy when all was said and done.

    So which offense will reign supreme in 2018?

    We've ranked all 30 MLB lineups before spring training based on their outlook for the upcoming season alone—so sustainability and future outlook did not play a role.

    This will likely change with so many notable free agents still on the market, but it should provide a good snapshot of where things currently stand.

    Players listed in bold indicate newcomers to the roster, while italics are players not currently projected for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

30. Kansas City Royals

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    Whit Merrifield
    Whit MerrifieldOrlin Wagner/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .731 (T-23rd in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.33 (24th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    2B Whit MerrifieldC Drew Butera
    LF Alex GordonIF Ramon Torres
    RF Jorge BonifacioIF/OF Hunter Dozier (R)
    1B Brandon MossOF Billy Burns
    C Salvador Perez 
    DH Jorge Soler1B/OF Ryan O'Hearn (R)
    3B Cheslor CuthbertOF Cody Asche
    CF Paulo OrlandoOF Bubba Starling (R)
    SS Raul Mondesi 

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    The free agency of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar subtracts a good chunk of the Kansas City Royals' offensive production from a year ago:

    • H: 668 (46.5%)
    • TB: 1,060 (45.6%)
    • HR: 84 (43.5%)
    • RBI: 282 (42.7%)

    As the team gets set to kick off what could be a lengthy rebuild, no significant outside additions have been made to replace those departing core pieces.

    Even if the team winds up bringing back Eric Hosmer, it looks like runs are going to be hard to come by.

29. San Diego Padres

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    Wil Myers
    Wil MyersJohn Minchillo/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .692 (29th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 3.73 (30th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    CF Manuel MargotC Rocky Gale (R)
    3B Chase Headley3B Chrisitan Villanueva
    1B Wil MyersIF Cory Spangenberg
    LF Jose Pirela OF Travis Jankowski
    RF Hunter Renfroe OF Matt Szczur
    SS Freddy Galvis 
    2B Carlos Asuaje 1B/OF Alex Dickerson
    C Austin HedgesOF Franchy Cordero (R)

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    Adding Freddy Galvis and Chase Headley to the left side of the infield gives the San Diego Padres a pair of veteran hitters with 20-homer pop, even if they're not long-term pieces for the rebuilding club.

    However, the most consistent offensive performer on the roster was also shipped out when they traded Yangervis Solarte to the Toronto Blue Jays.

    For the sake of the future, the team will be hoping for another step forward from guys like Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, Austin Hedges and prospect Franchy Cordero. As for the present, this lineup will likely be among the lowest-scoring in the league once again in 2018.

28. Detroit Tigers

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    Nick Castellanos
    Nick CastellanosDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .748 (18th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.54 (T-18th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    CF Leonys MartinC John Hicks
    3B Jeimer Candelario IF/OF Niko Goodrum (R)
    1B Miguel CabreraIF/OF JaCoby Jones
    DH Victor MartinezOF Victor Reyes (R)
    RF Nick Castellanos  
    C James McCannC Derek Norris
    LF Mikie Mahtook IF Kody Eaves (R)
    2B Dixon MachadoOF Mike Gerber (R)
    SS Jose Iglesias 

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    With Justin Upton, J.D. Martinez, Ian Kinsler and Alex Avila all traded since last summer, the Detroit Tigers lineup has a distinctly different look heading into 2018.

    Veterans Miguel Cabrera (529 PA, .249 BA, 92 OPS+) and Victor Martinez (435 PA, .255 BA, 84 OPS+) are both coming off terrible seasons by their standards, which leaves the offense without a star-caliber bat.

    Nick Castellanos is capable of being an impact player, and young switch-hitter Jeimer Candelario will also be one to watch as he settles in at the hot corner.

    That said, this group will almost certainly slip toward the bottom of the league in most offensive categories, a necessary evil as a long-overdue rebuild gets underway.

27. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Kevin Kiermaier
    Kevin KiermaierChris O'Meara/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .739 (20th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.28 (T-25th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    CF Kevin Kiermaier C Jesus Sucre
    3B Matt DuffyIF Daniel Robertson
    RF Steven Souza Jr.IF/OF Micah Johnson
    DH Corey DickersonOF Mallex Smith
    C Wilson Ramos 
    1B Brad Miller1B/OF Jake Bauers (R)
    LF Denard SpanIF Christian Arroyo (R)
    2B Joey Wendle (R)IF Ryan Schimpf
    SS Adeiny Hechavarria 

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    When will the youth movement begin for the Tampa Bay Rays?

    Prospects Jake Bauers, Willy Adames and newly acquired Christian Arroyo could all be ready to make a significant impact in 2018.

    Add to that group a healthy Matt Duffy and a full season of Wilson Ramos, and there's plenty of room for improvement for the cost-conscious club.

    However, after trading Evan Longoria and with Logan Morrison likely headed for greener pastures in free agency, it's tough to say the Rays haven't taken a step backward offensively.

26. Miami Marlins

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    Christian Yelich
    Christian YelichJeff Roberson/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .761 (T-10th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.80 (11th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    C J.T. Realmuto C Tomas Telis
    CF Christian Yelich 1B Garrett Cooper (R)
    2B Starlin CastroIF Miguel Rojas
    1B Justin Bour OF J.B. Shuck
    LF Martin PradoOF Scott Van Slyke
    RF Derek Dietrich 
    3B Brian Anderson (R)IF/OF Johnny Giavotella
    SS JT RiddleOF Magneuris Sierra (R)

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    Here's the offense the Miami Marlins subtracted with the trades of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon:

    • H: 560 (37.4%)
    • TB: 958 (39.7%)
    • HR: 98 (50.5%)
    • RBI: 289 (38.9%)
    • R: 330 (42.4%)

    Things could conceivably get even worse if they decide to move one or both of Christian Yelich or J.T. Realmuto—popular names on the trade market since the new ownership group began dismantling the core in an attempt to trim payroll.

    Rookie third baseman Brian Anderson has a chance to be a long-term piece, and both Yelich and Realmuto are impact players if they stick around. But there's no question this lineup is a shell of the 2017 version. 

25. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Josh Bell
    Josh BellMark Tenally/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .704 (28th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.12 (28th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    2B Josh HarrisonC Elias Diaz
    LF Adam Frazier1B/3B David Freese
    CF Starling MarteIF Max Moroff
    1B Josh BellIF/OF Sean Rodriguez
    RF Gregory PolancoOF Jordan Luplow (R)
    3B Colin Moran (R) 
    C Francisco Cervelli1B/OF Jose Osuna
    SS Jordy MercerOF Austin Meadows (R)

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    The Pittsburgh Pirates went from 13th in the majors in runs scored in 2016 to 28th this past season, despite trotting out essentially the same roster.

    Starling Marte's 80-game suspension and Jung-Ho Kang's ongoing legal issues preventing his return to the States no doubt played a role in that decline.

    Now, as the team gets set to embark on the post-McCutchen era, it will be counting on emerging star Josh Bell and newly acquired Colin Moran to help shoulder more of the offensive load.

    It's worth noting that Josh Harrison could be traded before the start of spring training and prospect Austin Meadows could be manning a starting outfield spot by midseason.

24. Chicago White Sox

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    Jose Abreu
    Jose AbreuJose Juarez/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .731 (T-23rd in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.36 (23rd in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    SS Tim AndersonC Omar Narvaez
    2B Yoan Moncada 3B Matt Davidson
    1B Jose AbreuIF/OF Tyler Saladino
    RF Avisail GarciaOF Willy Garcia
    DH Nicky Delmonico 
    C Welington Castillo1B Casey Gillaspie (R)
    3B Yolmer SanchezIF Jose Rondon (R)
    LF Leury GarciaOF Adam Engel
    CF Charlie Tilson 

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    Jose Abreu (140 OPS+, 33 HR) and Avisail Garcia (137 OPS+. 18 HR) were both terrific for the Chicago White Sox last season, and the rebuilding club has resisted the urge to trade either slugger this winter.

    The middle infield duo of Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada is still capable of taking a significant step forward, particularly Moncada who is still shy of his 23rd birthday.

    Those four make up the current offensive core, while a promising debut from Nicky Delmonico (166 PA, 129 OPS+), along with new arrival Welington Castillo, gives the lineup some solid complementary pieces.

    Still, this is a team that will continue to patiently await the arrival of top prospects, most notably slugger Eloy Jimenez, who could debut next season.

    The present lineup might still be a weakness, but the future is bright.

23. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Rhys Hoskins
    Rhys HoskinsChris Szagola/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .723 (26th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.26 (27th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    2B Cesar HernandezC Cameron Rupp
    CF Odubel Herrera1B Tommy Joseph
    LF Rhys Hoskins IF Jesmuel Valentin (R)
    1B Carlos SantanaIF/OF Pedro Florimon
    RF Nick WilliamsOF Aaron Altherr
    3B Maikel Franco 
    C Jorge Alfaro (R)2B Scott Kingery (R)
    SS J.P. Crawford (R)OF Roman Quinn (R)

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    The addition of free-agent slugger Carlos Santana and full seasons from Rhys Hoskins (212 PA, 165 OPS+, 18 HR) and Nick Williams (343 PA, 113 OPS+, 12 HR) will give the Philadelphia Phillies a dynamic middle-of-the-order trio.

    Meanwhile, steady veterans Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera will once again be setting the table with their high batting averages and solid contact skills.

    The impending arrival of prospects J.P. Crawford, Jorge Alfaro and Scott Kingery will ultimately determine just how good the Phillies offense can be for the upcoming season.

    It might also be a make-or-break year for Maikel Franco, who posted a dismal 81 OPS+ over 623 plate appearances last season.

22. Atlanta Braves

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    Freddie Freeman
    Freddie FreemanKelvin Kuo/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .738 (21st in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.52 (T-20th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    CF Ender Inciarte C Kurt Suzuki
    2B Ozzie Albies IF Charlie Culberson
    1B Freddie FreemanOF Lane Adams
    C Tyler FlowersOF Preston Tucker
    RF Nick Markakis  
    LF Ronald Acuna (R)3B Rio Ruiz
    SS Dansby SwansonIF/OF Danny Santana
    3B Johan Camargo 

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    Will the young middle infield duo of Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson live up to their pedigrees?

    When will Ronald Acuna be ready, and just how good can he be in his age-20 season?

    Those are the biggest questions surrounding the Atlanta Braves offense as they look to take another step toward future contention amid an ongoing rebuild.

    As for known commodities: Freddie Freeman is a bona fide superstar, 2017 All-Star Ender Inciarte hit .304 and the catching tandem of Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki quietly combined for 31 home runs and 99 RBI.

    Adding a third baseman to bridge the gap to prospect Austin Riley would be nice, but as it stands, this is a lineup with a chance to surprise some people.

    Then again, it could be another year of growing pains.

21. San Francisco Giants

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    Buster Posey
    Buster PoseyNick Wass/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .689 (30th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 3.94 (29th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    RF Andrew McCutchenC Nick Hundley
    2B Joe Panik3B Pablo Sandoval
    3B Evan LongoriaIF Kelby Tomlinson
    C Buster PoseyOF Gorkys Hernandez
    1B Brandon BeltOF Jarrett Parker
    SS Brandon Crawford 
    LF Hunter PenceIF Ryder Jones
    CF Austin JacksonOF Austin Slater

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    Adding Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria looks good on paper.

    However, Longoria (100 OPS+) was a league-average offensive player last season, and McCutchen is no longer the MVP-caliber player of his prime, although he did bounce back with a solid 2017 season.

    In other words, the San Francisco Giants offense is not as improved as the casual observer might think from those two new names. This team will be banking on improved pitching performance if it's going to get back on track in 2018.

    Even with Austin Jackson added to the mix, the team could still look to add another outfielder before the offseason is over, as the veteran served mostly as a platoon option against left-handed pitching last season.

20. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Josh Donaldson
    Josh DonaldsonMichael Dwyer/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .724 (25th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.28 (T-25th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    LF Curtis GrandersonC Luke Maile
    3B Josh DonaldsonIF Aledmys Diaz
    1B Justin Smoak IF Yangervis Solarte
    DH Kendrys MoralesOF Ezequiel Carrera
    SS Troy Tulowitzki  
    RF Randal Grichuk1B/OF Steve Pearce
    CF Kevin PillarIF Richard Urena (R)
    C Russell MartinOF Teoscar Hernandez
    2B Devon Travis 

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    As recently as 2015, the Toronto Blue Jays were the highest-scoring team in baseball (5.50 runs per game) and nothing short of an offensive juggernaut.

    Despite a breakout season from Justin Smoak (128 OPS+, 38 HR) and continued excellence from Josh Donaldson once he was healthy, the offense is no longer the strength of the team.

    Adding Curtis Granderson and Randal Grichuk should prove to be an upgrade over last season's corner outfield situation, while fellow newcomers Aledmys Diaz and Yangervis Solarte will provide valuable insurance for the oft-injured duo of Devon Travis and Troy Tulowitzki.

    The Blue Jays will go as far as their pitching staff takes them in 2018, but the offense should show some modest improvement over a disappointing 2017 campaign.

19. New York Mets

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    Yoenis Cespedes
    Yoenis CespedesMatt Slocum/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .755 (T-13th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.54 (T-18th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    CF Brandon Nimmo C Kevin Plawecki
    3B Asdrubal CabreraIF Gavin Cecchini
    LF Yoenis Cespedes IF/OF Phillip Evans (R)
    RF Jay BruceIF/OF Matt Reynolds
    2B Wilmer FloresOF Juan Lagares
    1B Adrian Gonzalez 
    C Travis d'Arnaud 1B Dominic Smith
    SS Amed RosarioOF Zach Borenstein (R)

    DL: OF Michael Conforto, 3B David Wright, IF T.J. Rivera

         

    Analysis

    Bringing back Jay Bruce on a three-year, $39 million deal and rolling the dice on Adrian Gonzalez for a league-minimum salary were both nice moves by the New York Mets front office this offseason.

    That said, the X-factors for offensive success will be the health of Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto.

    Cespedes played just 81 games last season after re-upping with the Mets on a massive four-year, $110 million deal. Conforto underwent shoulder surgery in September and won't be ready for Opening Day.

    Ideally, Amed Rosario would break out in his first full MLB season, and Dominic Smith would force Gonzalez to the bench after getting a bit more seasoning in Triple-A. The 22-year-old hit just .198/.262/.395 over 183 plate appearances last season after raking in the minors.

    If Cespedes can stay healthy and Conforto can avoid setbacks, this offense has a chance to be dangerous. Those are big enough ifs to keep them from ranking any higher, though.

18. Oakland Athletics

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    Matt Olson
    Matt OlsonPaul Sancya/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .755 (T-13th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.56 (17th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    SS Marcus SemienC Josh Phegley
    LF Matt JoyceIF/OF Renato Nunez (R)
    2B Jed LowrieIF/OF Chad Pinder
    DH Khris DavisOF Boog Powell
    1B Matt Olson 
    RF Stephen Piscotty1B/OF Mark Canha
    3B Matt ChapmanIF Franklin Barreto (R)
    C Bruce MaxwellIF/OF Jorge Mateo (R)
    CF Jake SmolinskiOF Dustin Fowler (R)

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    The Oakland Athletics lineup has some holes—most notably at catcher and center field—but there is also a lot to like.

    Matt Olson (216 PA, 164 OPS+, 24 HR) and Matt Chapman (326 PA, 110 OPS+, 14 HR) both possess 30-homer potential, and buy-low newcomer Stephen Piscotty looked like one of the best young outfielders in the game as recently as 2016.

    They join slugger Khris Davis, who has launched 85 home runs over the past two seasons, second only to Giancarlo Stanton (86) during that span.

    And Oakland has some intriguing prospect talent knocking on the door: Franklin Barreto figures to take over as the starting second baseman at some point, and both Jorge Mateo and Dustin Fowler—acquired from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray trade—could also see the majors in 2018.

    Don't sleep on Oakland.

17. Cincinnati Reds

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    Joey Votto
    Joey VottoJohn Minchillo/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .761 (T-10th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.65 (14th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    CF Billy HamiltonC Devin Mesoraco
    SS Jose Peraza IF Alex Blandino (R)
    1B Joey Votto IF Dilson Herrera
    LF Adam Duvall OF Phillip Ervin (R)
    3B Eugenio SuarezOF Scott Schebler
    2B Scooter Gennett  
    RF Jesse Winker (R)3B Nick Senzel (R)
    C Tucker BarnhartOF Mason Williams

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    The Cincinnati Reds ranked in the upper half of MLB offenses due in part to playing their home games at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park.

    • Home: .779 OPS, 4.97 Runs Per Game
    • Road: .744 OPS, 4.33 Runs Per Game

    That said, the offense does have some solid pieces, starting with MVP runner-up Joey Votto, who hit a ridiculous .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI and many more walks (134) than strikeouts (83).

    Adam Duvall (31 HR), Scott Schebler (30 HR), Scooter Gennett (27 HR) and Eugenio Suarez (26 HR) also provided over-the-fence power, while Billy Hamilton (59 SB) and Jose Peraza (23 SB) were a handful on the bases.

    Losing Zack Cozart on the heels of a breakout offensive performance hurts, but a full season of Jesse Winkerwho hit .298/.375/.529 with seven doubles and seven home runs in 137 plate appearancescould replace some of that production.

16. Baltimore Orioles

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    Manny Machado
    Manny MachadoPhil Long/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .747 (19th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.59 (16th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    SS Tim BeckhamC Caleb Joseph
    3B Manny Machado IF Luis Sardinas
    2B Jonathan Schoop OF Joey Rickard
    CF Adam JonesOF Anthony Santander (R)
    1B Chris Davis 
    LF Trey ManciniIF Ryan Mountcastle (R)
    DH Mark Trumbo OF Jaycob Brugman
    C Chance Sisco (R) 
    RF Austin Hays (R) 

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    The Baltimore Orioles probably need to average six or seven runs per game if they want to have a realistic shot of contending in the AL East.

    With no significant additions made to the starting rotation, run prevention figures to take a backseat to out-slugging opponents. They do have some big bats, ranking fifth in the majors in home runs (232) last year.

    Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop are as formidable a one-two punch as any if they can turn in repeat performances, while young sluggers Trey Mancini and Austin Hays represent the future.

    Meanwhile, Chris Davis (.215 BA, 95 OPS+, 26 HR) and Mark Trumbo (.234 BA, 83 OPS+, 23 HR) should improve on awful seasons. If they can return to their 2016 form, the Orioles could put a lot of crooked numbers on the board.

15. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Travis Shaw
    Travis ShawDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .751 (15th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.52 (T-20th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    2B Jonathan Villar C Manny Pina
    1B Eric Thames1B Jesus Aguilar
    LF Ryan BraunIF/OF Hernan Perez
    3B Travis ShawIF/OF Eric Sogard
    RF Domingo SantanaOF Brett Phillips (R)
    C Stephen Vogt  
    SS Orlando Arcia 1B Ji-Man Choi
    CF Keon BroxtonOF Lewis Brinson (R)

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    The Milwaukee Brewers tied for the NL lead with 224 home runs in 2017.

    The offseason additions of Eric Thames (125 OPS+, 31 HR) and Travis Shaw (121 OPS+, 31 HR) plus a breakout season from Domingo Santana (126 OPS+, 30 HR) gave the team an unlikely trio of 30-homer sluggers.

    That group will look to duplicate their success this coming season, and there's more help on the way as top prospect Lewis Brinson is close to a starting spot in the outfield.

    Orlando Arcia could also be ready for a breakout in 2018 after a tremendous sophomore campaign.

    Second base is a question mark after Neil Walker was plugged in as a deadline rental, but overall, the Brewers offense is capable of making some noise.

14. Texas Rangers

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    Adrian Beltre
    Adrian BeltreTony Dejak/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .750 (16th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.93 (9th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    CF Delino DeShields Jr.C Juan Centeno
    RF Shin-Soo Choo IF/OF Jurickson Profar
    SS Elvis AndrusIF/OF Ryan Rua
    3B Adrian BeltreOF Carlos Tocci (R)
    LF Nomar Mazara  
    1B Joey GalloC Brett Nicholas
    C Robinson Chirinos 1B Ronald Guzman (R)
    2B Rougned OdorIF/OF Drew Robinson
    DH Willie Calhoun (R) 

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    The Texas Rangers offense will benefit greatly from a healthy Adrian Beltre.

    Though he was his usual dynamic self when he was on the field (.312/.383/.532) he was limited to just 94 games while nursing calf and hamstring injuries.

    A resurgent Delino DeShields Jr. reclaimed a starting spot in the outfield after the 2017 All-Star break, and he'll now be entrusted with the leadoff spot in the batting order.

    Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara are both capable of 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons, while Elvis Andrus has taken his offensive game to another level, setting career highs in doubles (44), home runs (20) and RBI (88) last season.

    With prospects Willie Calhoun and Ronald Guzman also poised to help, Texas has a solid young core in place. That gives them some intriguing upside, albeit with a healthy does of uncertainty.

13. Seattle Mariners

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    Nelson Cruz
    Nelson CruzTed S. Warren/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .749 (17th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.63 (15th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    CF Dee GordonC Mike Marjama
    SS Jean Segura IF/OF Taylor Motter
    2B Robinson CanoIF/OF Andrew Romine
    DH Nelson CruzOF Guillermo Heredia
    3B Kyle Seager  
    RF Mitch Haniger 1B Mike Ford (R)
    1B Ryon Healy1B Dan Vogelbach
    C Mike ZuninoIF Gordon Beckham
    LF Ben GamelOF Cam Perkins

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    Adding speedy Dee Gordon to the top of a lineup that already features a .300 hitter and 30-steal threat in Jean Segura and a trio of 30-homer sluggers in Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager should make for a high-powered Seattle offense this season.

    The team also acquired Ryon Healy, fresh off a 25-homer, 78-RBI season in Oakland, to serve as an upgrade at first base.

    Still, the X-factor for the Mariners offense might be catcher Mike Zunino.

    After an early-season demotion to Triple-A, he returned strong and wound up hitting .292/.378/.563 with 12 doubles and nine home runs in 164 plate appearances over the final two months of the season.

    There's still room to upgrade at a corner outfield spot, but as it stands, this group can be a top-10 offense.

12. Boston Red Sox

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    Mookie Betts
    Mookie BettsWinslow Townson/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .736 (22nd in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.85 (10th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    SS Xander Bogaerts C Sandy Leon
    LF Andrew Benintendi IF Deven Marrero
    RF Mookie BettsIF/OF Brock Holt
    DH Hanley RamirezOF Bryce Brentz (R)
    3B Rafael Devers  
    1B Mitch Moreland C/OF Blake Swihart
    CF Jackie Bradley Jr.1B Sam Travis (R)
    C Christian VazquezIF Marco Hernandez
    2B Esteban Quiroz (R) 

    DL: 2B Dustin Pedroia

         

    Analysis

    The Boston Red Sox have yet to make a notable offensive addition this offseason, aside from bringing back first baseman Mitch Moreland on a two-year, $13 million deal.

    Following the retirement of David Ortiz, the offensive attack took a noticeable downturn from 2016 to 2017:

    • OPS: .810 (1st) to .736 (22nd)
    • HR: 208 (9th) to 168 (27th)
    • RPG: 5.43 (1st) to 4.85 (10th)

    J.D. Martinez remains a logical target on the free-agent market, and adding him to the mix would certainly move then up the rankings.

    For now, a full season of Rafael Devers and another improvement from emerging star Andrew Benintendi is enough to provide some hope even without a splashy addition.

11. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Paul Goldschmidt
    Paul GoldschmidtRoss D. Franklin/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .774 (7th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 5.01 (8th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    RF David PeraltaC John Ryan Murphy
    CF A.J. PollockC/OF Chris Herrmann
    1B Paul Goldschmidt IF/OF Daniel Descalso
    3B Jake LambIF/OF Brandon Drury
    LF Yasmany TomasOF Socrates Brito (R)
    SS Ketel Marte 
    2B Chris Owings 1B/OF Christian Walker
    C Jeff MathisIF Nick Ahmed

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    The Arizona Diamondbacks offense received a shot in the arm when J.D. Martinez was acquired from the Tigers at the trade deadline.

    There's still a chance he could return after posting a 168 OPS+ with 29 home runs and 65 RBI in 62 games, but for the sake of these rankings, we'll assume he's playing elsewhere until proven otherwise.

    Also gone from last year's team is catcher Chris Iannetta who had a 114 OPS+ with 17 home runs in the more crucial part of a platoon with glove-only backstop Jeff Mathis.

    Those two losses hurt, but this is still a dangerous lineup.

    It will be interesting to see how playing time is divided among the team's middle infielders and whether Yasmany Tomas can return to a legitimate middle-of-the-order threat after an injury-plagued season.

10. Los Angeles Angels

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    Mike Trout
    Mike TroutReed Saxon/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .712 (27th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.38 (22nd in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    2B Ian KinslerC Rene Rivera
    CF Mike Trout1B C.J. Cron
    LF Justin UptonIF Luis Valbuena
    DH Shohei Ohtani (R)IF/OF Jefry Marte
    1B Albert PujolsOF Eric Young Jr.
    RF Kole Calhoun 
    3B Zack CozartC Carlos Perez
    SS Andrelton SimmonsIF/OF Kaleb Cowart
    C Martin MaldonadoOF Rymer Liriano

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    Don't look now, but the Los Angeles Angels have finally added a supporting cast around superstar Mike Trout.

    Bringing back Justin Upton on a five-year, $106 million deal will provide viable protection for Trout in the No. 3 spot, while Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani could be a real X-factor if his power potential translates.

    But the biggest upgrades might be on the infield, where Ian Kinsler and Zack Cozart will take over at second and third base, respectively.

    • 2B in 2017: .206 BA, .601 OPS
    • 3B in 2017: .238 BA, .713 OPS

    On paper, the starting lineup no longer has any glaring holes. Even Albert Pujols could conceivably improve on his brutal .241/.286/.386 line from a year ago with more help around him.

9. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Marcell Ozuna
    Marcell OzunaKurt Voigt/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .760 (12th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.70 (13th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    1B Matt CarpenterC Carson Kelly (R)
    CF Tommy Pham 1B Luke Voit
    LF Marcell Ozuna1B/OF Jose Martinez
    RF Dexter FowlerIF Greg Garcia
    SS Paul DeJong OF Harrison Bader (R)
    C Yadier Molina 
    3B Jedd Gyorko IF Yairo Munoz (R)
    2B Kolten WongOF Tyler O'Neill (R)

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    For the first time since Albert Pujols walked in free agency, the St. Louis Cardinals have a prototypical run-producing slugger penciled into the middle of their lineup.

    After whiffing in their pursuit of Giancarlo Stanton, the front office settled for acquiring his teammate Marcell Ozuna, who hit .312/.376/.548 with 37 home runs and 124 RBI last season while raising his walk rate from 7.1 to 9.4 percent.

    Beyond that acquisition, the team will be relying heavily on Tommy Pham (144 OPS+, 23 HR, 25 SB) and Paul DeJong (443 PA, 52 XBH, 121 OPS+) to duplicate out-of-nowhere seasons.

    Young outfielders Harrison Bader and Tyler O'Neill and infielder Yairo Munozwho was acquired in the Stephen Piscotty tradecould be the next youngsters called upon for an organization that always seems to find help down on the farm.

8. Minnesota Twins

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    Miguel Sano
    Miguel SanoTom Olmscheid/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .768 (9th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 5.03 (7th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    2B Brian DozierC Mitch Garver (R)
    1B Joe Mauer1B Kennys Vargas
    DH Miguel Sano IF/OF Ehire Adrianza
    LF Eddie RosarioOF Robbie Grossman
    SS Jorge Polanco  
    RF Max Kepler1B Brock Stassi
    CF Byron Buxton IF Gregorio Petit
    3B Eduardo EscobarOF Zack Granite (R)
    C Jason Castro 

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    The Minnesota Twins might not have an offense loaded with household names, but they didn't finish seventh in the majors in runs scored by accident.

    Eddie Rosario (120 OPS+, 27 HR, 78 RBI) was perhaps the biggest revelation of the 2017 season. He emerged as a legitimate middle-of-the-order threat and joined Miguel Sano (127 OPS+, 28 HR) and Brian Dozier (127 OPS+, 34 HR) as the top power threats on the roster.

    Byron Buxton was finally able to carve out his place as an everyday MLB player, while Joe Mauer proved he still has something in the tank with a .305/.384/.417 line.

    It looks like it will be the status quo as far as the lineup is concerned, but there's no reason to think this can't be a top-10 offense again in 2018.

7. Colorado Rockies

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    Charlie Blackmon
    Charlie BlackmonDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .781 (5th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 5.09 (3rd in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    CF Charlie Blackmon C Tony Wolters
    2B DJ LeMahieu IF/OF Pat Valaika
    3B Nolan Arenado OF Raimel Tapia
    RF Gerardo Parra OF Mike Tauchman (R)
    SS Trevor Story 
    1B Ryan McMahon (R)C Tom Murphy (R)
    LF Ian Desmond1B/OF Jordan Patterson
    C Chris IannettaOF David Dahl

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    A strong case can be made for Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado as the best offensive duo in baseball.

    Blackmon turned in one of the best seasons out of the leadoff spot last season, hitting .331/.399/.601 with 35 doubles, 14 triples, 37 home runs, 104 RBI and 137 runs scored.

    Not to be outdone, Arenado hit .309/.373/.586 with 43 doubles, 37 home runs and 130 RBI to give him three straight 35-homer, 130-RBI campaigns.

    There's plenty of talent around those two in the Colorado lineup, even after a poor season and the subsequent departure of longtime staple Carlos Gonzalez.

    It looks like prospect Ryan McMahon will get the first crack at the vacant first base job, and Chris Iannetta should be an upgrade at catcher, so expect to see the Rockies again among the highest-scoring teams in the league in 2018.

6. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Corey Seager
    Corey SeagerKelvin Kuo/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .771 (8th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 4.75 (12th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    CF Chris TaylorC Yasmani Grandal
    SS Corey Seager IF/OF Kike Hernandez
    3B Justin TurnerIF/OF Rob Segedin (R)
    1B Cody Bellinger OF Matt Kemp
    RF Yasiel Puig OF Trayce Thompson
    LF Joc Pederson  
    C Austin BarnesOF Andrew Toles
    2B Logan ForsytheOF Alex Verdugo (R)

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    The Los Angeles Dodgers have two of the most promising young building blocks in the game in shortstop Corey Seager (23) and first baseman Cody Bellinger (22).

    They also have a rock-solid third baseman in Justin Turner, a dynamic table-setter in Chris Taylor and a once-again relevant Yasiel Puig, who posted a 118 OPS+ with 28 home runs and 74 RBI last season.

    If Joc Pederson can build off a strong showing in the World Series (6-for-18, 2 2B, 3 HR) and Logan Forsythe (119 G) can stay healthy enough to return to his Tampa Bay levels of production, this lineup could be a juggernaut.

    If not, it's still one of the more dangerous offenses in the National League.

5. Chicago Cubs

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    Kris Bryant
    Kris BryantNick Wass/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .775 (6th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 5.07 (4th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    CF Albert Almora Jr.C Chris Gimenez
    3B Kris BryantIF Tommy La Stella
    1B Anthony RizzoIF/OF Ian Happ
    C Willson ContrerasIF/OF Ben Zobrist
    LF Kyle Schwarber 
    SS Addison RussellC Victor Caratini (R)
    RF Jason HeywardIF Chesny Young (R)
    2B Javier BaezOF Mark Zagunis (R)

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    The Chicago Cubs led the majors in runs scored after the All-Star break, plating 5.72 per game as they claimed a second straight NL Central title.

    Manager Joe Maddon will continue to tinker with his lineup on a daily basis, a luxury he's afforded thanks to the versatility of players like Javier Baez, Ben Zobrist and Ian Happ.

    Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are two of the game's brightest stars and will be perennial MVP candidates, but a case can be made the Willson Contreras is the most important player in the lineup.

    Keeping him healthy and avoiding the urge to trot him out for 155 games will be crucial to the team's success. The leadoff spot will also be a major X-factor as it turned into a revolving door following the departure of Dexter Fowler.

    More production from Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward could vault the Cubs offense to the top of these rankings, but even if they fail to live up to expectations once again, it's still an awfully good lineup.

4. Cleveland Indians

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    Jose Ramirez
    Jose RamirezTed S. Warren/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .788 (2nd in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 5.05 (6th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    SS Francisco Lindor C Yan Gomes
    2B Jason Kipnis 3B Giovanny Urshela
    3B Jose RamirezIF Erik Gonzalez
    DH Edwin Encarnacion OF Brandon Guyer
    LF Michael Brantley 
    1B Yonder AlonsoC Francisco Mejia (R)
    RF Lonnie Chisenhall IF/OF Yandy Diaz
    CF Bradley ZimmerOF Abraham Almonte
    C Roberto PerezOF Tyler Naquin

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    The emergence of Jose Ramirez as a superstar, the continued development of Francisco Lindor's offensive game and the addition of Edwin Encarnacion made the Cleveland Indians offense unstoppable at times last season.

    Replacing Carlos Santana with Yonder Alonso could wind up being a noticeable downgrade if Alonso's second-half swoon ( is indicative of his future production. That's the only major change to the lineup, though.

    Healthy seasons from Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley would be a welcome bonus, but the team is not banking on that by any means.

    Yandy Diaz and Giovanny Urshela are options on the infield if Kipnis misses time again, while Tyler Naquin could be an option in the outfield if Brantley is sidelined.

    Expect to see top prospect Francisco Mejia at some point as well, even with Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez entrenched as the backstop tandem.

3. Washington Nationals

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    Bryce Harper
    Bryce HarperPablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .782 (4th in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 5.06 (5th in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    SS Trea TurnerC Pedro Severino
    LF Adam Eaton1B Matt Adams
    RF Bryce HarperIF/OF Wilmer Difo
    1B Ryan ZimmermanIF/OF Howie Kendrick
    2B Daniel MurphyOF Brian Goodwin
    3B Anthony Rendon  
    C Matt Wieters IF Adrian Sanchez
    CF Michael TaylorOF Victor Robles (R)

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    The Washington Nationals' only notable offensive moves this offseason have been re-signing Howie Kendrick to fill a super-utility role and bringing in Matt Adams to replace Adam Lind as a power bat off the bench.

    That said, Adam Eaton almost qualifies as a newcomer.

    After being acquired in a winter meetings blockbuster trade last offseason, Eaton played just 23 games before suffering a torn ACL that ended his season. He was a 6.2 WAR player in his final season with the White Sox and could make a huge impact setting the table alongside Trea Turner.

    Hitting behind that duo, Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon are three of the best hitters in the NL, while Ryan Zimmerman is once again a relevant middle-of-the-order threat.

    The starting rotation might be the Nats' biggest strength, but the offense is not far behind.

2. New York Yankees

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    Giancarlo Stanton
    Giancarlo StantonWillie J. Allen Jr./Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .785 (3rd in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 5.30 (2nd in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    LF Brett GardnerC Austin Romine
    RF Aaron Judge1B/OF Tyler Austin
    DH Giancarlo StantonIF Tyler Wade (R)
    SS Didi GregoriusOF Jacoby Ellsbury
    C Gary Sanchez 
    1B Greg BirdIF Gleyber Torres (R)
    CF Aaron HicksOF Jabari Blash
    3B Miguel Andujar (R)OF Clint Frazier
    2B Ronald Torreyes 

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    The New York Yankees were second in the majors in runs scored (858) and first in home runs (241) last season.

    So what did they do this offseason?

    They went out and added a 59-homer, 132-RBI slugger named Giancarlo Stanton.

    Cutting ties with Starlin Castro and Chase Headley has left some mystery at second and third base this coming season. There's a good chance prospects Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar are the answer by season's end, but they might not be ready to take over on Opening Day.

    That may be a legitimate concern, but it's not big enough to keep the Yankees from ranking among the game's best offenses.

    The trio of Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez could easily hit 120-plus home runs and are surrounded by emerging stars in Didi Gregorius, Greg Bird and Aaron Hicks.

    The fact that Clint Frazier—once considered to have some of the best raw power in the minors and still just 23 years old—is essentially an afterthought, should tell you everything you need to know about the current state of the Yankees offense.

1. Houston Astros

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    Jose Altuve
    Jose AltuveKathy Willens/Associated Press

    2017 Ranks

    Team OPS: .823 (1st in MLB)

    Runs Per Game: 5.53 (1st in MLB)

         

    Projected Lineup and Bench

    LineupBench
    CF George SpringerC Evan Gattis
    3B Alex Bregman IF Tyler White
    2B Jose Altuve OF Jake Marisnick
    SS Carlos Correa  
    DH Marwin GonzalezC Max Stassi
    1B Yuli Gurriel 1B A.J. Reed
    RF Josh Reddick 1B/3B J.D. Davis (R)
    C Brian McCannIF/OF Tony Kemp
    LF Derek Fisher 

    DL: None

         

    Analysis

    Stanton to the Yankees has been the story of the offseason, but it's still not enough to bump the Houston Astros lineup out of the No. 1 spot.

    The reigning World Series champions led baseball in batting average (.282), OPS (.823) and runs scored (896) last season and there's no reason to think they can't do it again.

    Carlos Beltran is the only notable loss from last year's lineup and he was a non-factor during the team's playoff run.

    They need to sort out the left field job this spring as former top prospect Derek Fisher and slick-fielding Jake Marisnick look like the leading candidates to fill a larger role.

    With the young core of Carlos Correa, George Springer and Alex Bregman alongside face of the franchise Jose Altuve, this team is in terrific shape for 2018 and beyond.

         

    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted.