MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand as Spring Training Kicks Off

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2015

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand as Spring Training Kicks Off

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Spring training is finally here, or almost here anyway, as pitchers and catchers are set to report later this week.

    Opening Day is still a month-and-a-half away, but just seeing guys playing catch and running around in sunny Arizona or Florida is enough to stir up some excitement in even the most casual of baseball fans, if for no other reason than it's a sure sign spring is right around the corner.

    Now, there is still a lot left to be decided between now and the start of the season, with position battles to take place and 25-man rosters to be finalized, but we have a pretty good idea what all 30 teams are going to look like at this point.

    So with an eye specifically on how clubs are built to perform in 2015, what follows is a look at where all 30 MLB teams rank at the start of spring training.

30. Colorado Rockies

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    USA TODAY Sports

    What to Watch for This Spring

    • The health of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez remains a major question mark for the Rockies, as the two guys played just 161 games combined last season. Both are expected to be healthy entering camp, but how long will that last?
    • Adding Kyle Kendrick and David Hale to the mix gives the team more pitching depth, but the continued progression of top prospects Jon Gray and Eddie Butler will determine the future of the staff.
    • The team has outfield depth, with Brandon Barnes and Drew Stubbs in the mix along with the projected starters. With that in mind, there's a chance someone like Charlie Blackmon could still be moved for pitching.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    CF Charlie Blackmon
    RF Carlos Gonzalez
    SS Troy Tulowitzki
    1B Justin Morneau
    3B Nolan Arenado
    LF Corey Dickerson
    C Wilin Rosario
    2B DJ LeMahieu
    Pitcher

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Jorge De La Rosa
    SP Jordan Lyles
    SP Kyle Kendrick
    SP Tyler Matzek
    SP Jhoulys Chacin
    SU Rex Brothers
    SU Adam Ottavino
    CL LaTroy Hawkins

29. Philadelphia Phillies

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    What to Watch for This Spring

    • The talk all offseason surrounded Cole Hamels as a potential trade chip, and there is still a chance he's moved, but Cliff Lee could be the name to watch this spring. According to a tweet from Jayson Stark of ESPN, if Lee proves healthy, he could be moved before the start of the season.
    • Cody Asche is slated to open the year at third base, but it's only a matter of time before top prospect Maikel Franco steps into an everyday role. After struggling at the start of last season, the 22-year-old hit .309/.326/.551 after the break and earned a late-season call-up.
    • Rule 5 selection Odubel Herrera will be one to watch in the running for a bench job. The same goes for Cuban defector Miguel Gonzalez, who signed a three-year, $12 million deal in August 2013 and could be in the mix for a bullpen spot.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    CF Ben Revere
    C Carlos Ruiz

    2B Chase Utley
    1B Ryan Howard
    LF Domonic Brown
    RF Grady Sizemore

    3B Cody Asche
    SS Freddy Galvis
    Pitcher

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Cole Hamels
    SP Cliff Lee
    SP Aaron Harang

    SP Jerome Williams
    SP David Buchanan
    SU Jake Diekman
    SU Ken Giles
    CL Jonathan Papelbon

28. Minnesota Twins

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    USA TODAY Sports

    What to Watch for This Spring

    • The Minnesota Twins will be trying to turn things around after finishing with the worst starters' ERA in the league the past two seasons. Ervin Santana is the big offseason addition, but keep an eye on top prospect Alex Meyer, as he has a real shot of breaking camp with the No. 5 starter job.
    • With Danny Santana moving back to shortstop, the center field job is up for grabs while the team continues to wait on Byron Buxton's arrival. Former top prospect Aaron Hicks will likely get the first crack, but Jordan Schafer showed enough down the stretch to at least be in the running.
    • Speaking of Buxton, he'll be in major league camp along with fellow top prospect Miguel Sano. Both highly regarded players are coming off of what were essentially lost seasons due to injury, so seeing them back at 100 percent would be nice.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    SS Danny Santana
    2B Brian Dozier
    1B Joe Mauer
    DH Kennys Vargas
    RF Torii Hunter
    3B Trevor Plouffe
    LF Oswaldo Arcia
    C Kurt Suzuki
    CF Aaron Hicks

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Phil Hughes
    SP Ervin Santana
    SP Ricky Nolasco
    SP Kyle Gibson
    SP Tommy Milone
    SU Tim Stauffer
    SU Casey Fien
    CL Glen Perkins

27. Atlanta Braves

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    What to Watch for This Spring

    • With the late offseason trade that sent David Hale to the Colorado Rockies, the Atlanta Braves' No. 5 starter job is now wide open. Non-roster invitees Eric Stults and Wandy Rodriguez are low-cost veteran options, but flame-throwing prospect Mike Foltynewicz would be a far more exciting choice.
    • It will be interesting to see which Mike Minor shows up in 2015, the one who went 13-9 with a 3.21 ERA in 2013 or the one who was 6-12 with a 4.77 ERA last season. He's still only 27 years old, but this could be a make-or-break season of sorts for the left-hander.
    • Catcher Christian Bethancourt and second baseman Jose Peraza represent the next wave of position player talent in Atlanta. All signs point to Bethancourt being the everyday backstop to begin the season, while the speedy Peraza could supplant veteran Alberto Callaspo at second by the All-Star break.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    RF Nick Markakis
    2B Alberto Callaspo
    1B Freddie Freeman
    3B Chris Johnson
    LF Jonny Gomes
    SS Andrelton Simmons
    CF B.J. Upton
    C Christian Bethancourt
    Pitcher

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Julio Teheran
    SP Alex Wood
    SP Shelby Miller
    SP Mike Minor
    SP Eric Stults
    SU James Russell
    SU Jason Grilli
    CL Craig Kimbrel

26. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    What to Watch for This Spring

    • Big offseason addition Yasmany Tomas will be one of the more scrutinized players around the league this spring—and as much for his defensive prowess as his high-ceiling bat. Most viewed the 24-year-old as a corner outfielder, but the Diamondbacks will give him every chance to stick at third base.
    • The decision to trade Miguel Montero has left the team with Tuffy Gosewisch (.553 OPS, 129 AB) as its primary catcher heading into camp. The Chicago Cubs will likely still move Welington Castillo at some point, and it's hard to imagine the Diamondbacks not being interested.
    • Josh Collmenter and Jeremy Hellickson appear to be locked into rotation spots, but there are a plethora of guys looking to round out the rotation behind them. Vidal Nuno, Chase Anderson, Randall Delgado, Trevor Cahill, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa and prospects Archie Bradley and Robbie Ray all figure to get a look.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    CF A.J. Pollock
    LF David Peralta
    1B Paul Goldschmidt
    RF Mark Trumbo
    3B Yasmany Tomas
    2B Aaron Hill
    SS Chris Owings
    C Tuffy Gosewisch
    Pitcher

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Josh Collmenter
    SP Jeremy Hellickson
    SP Vidal Nuno
    SP Chase Anderson
    SP Allen Webster

    SU Oliver Perez
    SU Brad Ziegler
    CL Addison Reed

25. Tampa Bay Rays

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    What to Watch for This Spring

    • The Tampa Bay Rays have a crowded corner outfield situation to sort out, with newcomer Steven Souza likely to start in left field and some combination of Kevin Kiermaier, Mikie Mahtook, Brandon Guyer and David DeJesus manning right field.
    • Alex Colome will be given every chance to win the No. 5 starter job, and he has the stuff to do it, but if he struggles, the team could be scraping to round out the staff. Fellow prospects Nate Karns, Burch Smith and Enny Romero would likely be next in line.
    • Two key pieces of the pitching staff will likely begin the season on the disabled list, as Matt Moore continues to recover from Tommy John surgery last April and closer Jake McGee is on the mend from December elbow surgery. McGee was originally expected to miss the first month, but he's ahead of schedule and could now miss only a week or so, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    CF Desmond Jennings
    DH John Jaso
    3B Evan Longoria
    1B James Loney
    LF Steven Souza
    RF Kevin Kiermaier
    SS Asdrubal Cabrera
    C Rene Rivera
    2B Nick Franklin

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Alex Cobb
    SP Drew Smyly
    SP Chris Archer
    SP Jake Odorizzi
    SP Alex Colome
    SU Brad Boxberger
    SU Kevin Jepsen
    CL Grant Balfour

24. Houston Astros

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    USA TODAY Sports

    What to Watch for This Spring

    • After hitting just .168/.285/.335 in 310 at-bats a a rookie, Jon Singleton is by no means guaranteed to start the season at the major league level. He did have 13 doubles and 13 home runs, and the team gave him a five-year, $10 million extension shortly after his call-up, but more seasoning could do him good.
    • If Singleton is shipped to Triple-A to open the year, that would likely mean Evan Gattis or Chris Carter taking over at first base, which would open up the left field job for Jake Marisnick. The 23-year-old was one of the key pieces of the Jarred Cosart deal last July.
    • Chad Qualls, Josh Fields and Tony Sipp are all that remain from what was the worst bullpen in baseball last year (4.80 ERA). Newcomers Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek and Joe Thatcher were all teammates with Qualls back in San Diego, while Roberto Hernandez and Will Harris were also added this winter. 

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    2B Jose Altuve
    3B Luis Valbuena
    RF George Springer

    DH Chris Carter
    CF Colby Rasmus
    LF Evan Gattis
    C Jason Castro
    SS Jed Lowrie

    1B Jon Singleton

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Dallas Keuchel
    SP Collin McHugh
    SP Scott Feldman
    SP Brett Oberholtzer
    SP Dan Straily
    SU Pat Neshek
    SU Luke Gregerson
    CL Chad Qualls

23. Cincinnati Reds

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    What to Watch for This Spring

    • With Mat Latos gone, the No. 2 starter job will fall to Homer Bailey, and it's time he lives up to the $105 million extension he received last offseason. His 2014 season ended Sept. 4 with elbow surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon, but he is expected to be ready for the start of spring training.
    • The No. 5 starter job is up for grabs, with the big haul of the Latos trade, Anthony DeSclafani, looking like the front-runner. Jason Marquis, Keyvius Sampson, David Holmberg, Matt Magill and Cuban defector Raisel Iglesias will also get a look.
    • The old offensive core of Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce appears to have given way to Devin Mesoraco, Todd Frazier and Billy Hamilton, but those three high-priced veterans will still need to bounce back if the Reds are going to have any shot at contending.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

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

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Johnny Cueto
    SP Homer Bailey
    SP Mike Leake
    SP Tony Cingrani
    SP Anthony DeSclafani
    SU Manny Parra
    SU Sam LeCure
    CL Aroldis Chapman

22. Texas Rangers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    What to Watch for This Spring

    • The Texas Rangers did a nice job retooling the starting rotation this spring, but they opted against signing a left fielder after declining their option on Alex Rios. They have plenty of intriguing in-house options, though, with Ryan Rua leading a group that also includes Jake Smolinski, Michael Choice and Rule 5 pick Delino DeShields.
    • Also worth keeping an eye on for the left field job and backup outfield spots is a handful of non-roster invitees with a real shot at cracking the Opening Day roster. Kyle Blanks, Nate Schierholtz, Ryan Ludwick and Carlos Peguero are all in camp on minor league deals.
    • Injuries were obviously the big issue for the Rangers last season, so there will be plenty of guys to keep an eye on from a health standpoint. However, there are none bigger than Prince Fielder, who missed the final 120 games of the year last season after undergoing fusion surgery on his neck.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    RF Shin-Soo Choo
    SS Elvis Andrus
    1B Prince Fielder
    3B Adrian Beltre
    CF Leonys Martin
    DH Mitch Moreland
    LF Ryan Rua
    C Robinson Chirinos
    2B Rougned Odor

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Yu Darvish
    SP Derek Holland
    SP Yovani Gallardo
    SP Colby Lewis
    SP Ross Detwiler

    SU Kyuji Fujikawa
    SU Shawn Tolleson
    CL Neftali Feliz

21. New York Yankees

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    What to Watch for This Spring

    • Regardless of whether they want him there, Alex Rodriguez will be back in the mix for the New York Yankees this season, and he'll likely bring a media circus with him. Blocking that out and focusing on the season to come will be the first of many battles the Yankees must win this season.
    • The decision to sign Stephen Drew took some of the excitement out of what was expected to be a battle between prospects Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder for the second base job. That being said, one of those guys could certainly still win the gig, with Drew sliding to a utility role and Brendan Ryan released.
    • Tanaka managed to avoid Tommy John surgery on his partially torn UCL last season, even returning to make a pair of starts in September, but that doesn't mean he's out of the woods yet. Early reports have been good, according to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN), but that partial tear could turn into a bigger issue at any time and the Yankees can't afford to lose their ace.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    LF Brett Gardner
    3B Chase Headley
    CF Jacoby Ellsbury
    1B Mark Teixeira
    C Brian McCann
    RF Carlos Beltran
    DH Garrett Jones
    2B Stephen Drew
    SS Didi Gregorius

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Masahiro Tanaka
    SP Michael Pineda
    SP CC Sabathia
    SP Nathan Eovaldi
    SP Chris Capuano
    SU Adam Warren
    SU Andrew Miller
    CL Dellin Betances

20. New York Mets

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    USA TODAY Sports

    What to Watch for This Spring

    • Matt Harvey's return has Mets fans eyeing the postseason this year, and while he'll likely have some rust to shake off before he returns to his 2013 form, it's hard not to like the deep pitching staff. 
    • Speaking of that depth, the Mets have so many starting options that someone from the veteran trio of Jon Niese, Bartolo Colon and Dillon Gee will likely be moved before the start of the season. Gee has looked like the preferred option all winter, but nothing has been resolved to this point.
    • The only thing rivaling the return of Harvey as far as offseason headlines are concerned is the Mets shortstop—or lack there of. Wilmer Flores will get every chance to prove he can be the guy up the middle this season, and he has the bat to make an impact. It's just a question of whether he has the glove.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    CF Juan Lagares
    2B Daniel Murphy
    3B David Wright
    1B Lucas Duda
    RF Michael Cuddyer
    LF Curtis Granderson
    C Travis d'Arnaud
    SS Wilmer Flores
    Pitcher

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Matt Harvey
    SP Jacob deGrom
    SP Zack Wheeler
    SP Jon Niese
    SP Bartolo Colon
    SU Josh Edgin
    SU Jeurys Familia
    CL Jenrry Mejia

19. Milwaukee Brewers

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    David Maxwell/Getty Images

    What to Watch for This Spring

    • Trading Yovani Gallardo and opening up a rotation spot for Jimmy Nelson is the big story on the pitching side of things, but the bullpen is a far more pressing issue. With Francisco Rodriguez, Zach Duke and Tom Gorzelanny all gone and only Neal Cotts added this offseason, the health of Jim Henderson and Tyler Thornburg will be key.
    • The utility infield spot could be a surprisingly compelling battle to watch. Luis Sardinas was the big return in the Gallardo deal, but the 21-year-old will need to hold off Elian Herrera, Pete Orr, Hector Gomez and Yadiel Rivera if he wants to break camp with the team.
    • Last year's breakout star, Jonathan Lucroy, was diagnosed with a strained right hamstring on Feb. 11, the same injury that nagged him down the stretch last season. He's expected to miss four to six weeks, which could put his Opening Day in question, but more importantly, this can't be an issue all season.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

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

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Matt Garza
    SP Kyle Lohse
    SP Wily Peralta
    SP Mike Fiers
    SP Jimmy Nelson
    SU Will Smith
    SU Jim Henderson
    CL Jonathan Broxton

18. Oakland Athletics

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    USA TODAY Sports

    What to Watch for This Spring

    • Rule 5 selection Mark Canha has a chance to make a real impact in Oakland this season if he can win a spot on the roster. The 26-year-old hit .303/.384/.505 with 28 doubles and 20 home runs last season, and at the very least, he could play his way into a platoon with Ike Davis at first base.
    • There were plenty of position player additions this offseason, but left field was not addressed. At this point, it appears some combination of Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry will man the spot, but don't be surprised if the team scoops someone up who is released this spring.
    • Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir are a solid one-two punch, while Jesse Hahn and Drew Pomeranz both showed enough in 2014 to more or less be locks for the rotation as well, but the No. 5 starter spot is open. Jesse Chavez split last season starting and relieving, and he'll look to hold off newcomers Chris Bassitt, Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    CF Coco Crisp
    2B Ben Zobrist
    RF Josh Reddick
    DH Billy Butler
    1B Ike Davis
    3B Brett Lawrie
    C Stephen Vogt
    SS Marcus Semien
    LF Sam Fuld

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Sonny Gray
    SP Scott Kazmir
    SP Jesse Hahn
    SP Drew Pomeranz
    SP Jesse Chavez
    SU Fernando Abad
    SU Ryan Cook
    CL Tyler Clippard

17. Cleveland Indians

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    What to Watch for This Spring

    • The Cleveland Indians' two big offseason additions, Brandon Moss and Gavin Floyd, both have injury questions heading into camp. Moss had offseason hip surgery back in October, while Floyd saw his 2014 season ended with a fractured right elbow.
    • If Floyd is not ready to go for Opening Day, which is a real possibility considering he's coming off of a second major arm injury in as many years, the No. 5 starter job will be up for grabs. T.J. House pitched well enough down the stretch to be the front-runner, but Zach McAllister is out of options, so he could be the preferred choice.
    • He won't break camp with the team, but top prospect Francisco Lindor is expected to unseat shortstop Jose Ramirez at some point in 2015. The 21-year-old is an elite defender, and his offensive game has come along nicely since he was selected with the No. 8 pick in the 2011 draft.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    CF Michael Bourn
    2B Jason Kipnis
    LF Michael Brantley
    1B Carlos Santana
    RF Brandon Moss
    C Yan Gomes
    DH Nick Swisher
    SS Jose Ramirez
    3B Lonnie Chisenhall

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Corey Kluber
    SP Carlos Carrasco
    SP Danny Salazar
    SP Trevor Bauer
    SP Gavin Floyd
    SU Scott Atchison
    SU Bryan Shaw
    CL Cody Allen

16. San Francisco Giants

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    What to Watch for This Spring

    • Questions abound in the San Francisco Giants rotation behind ace Madison Bumgarner, and chief among them is Matt Cain's health. The right-hander underwent surgery to remove bone chips from his throwing elbow Aug. 12, then to remove a bone spur from his ankle Sept. 27, and he'll need to come back strong.
    • The No. 5 starter battle is an interesting one, with veterans Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong looking to hold off swingman Yusmeiro Petit. The team would no doubt prefer Lincecum to win the job given his $18 million salary, but he's been anything but consistent the past few seasons.
    • Top prospect Kyle Crick will be in big league camp, and while he's not going to make the roster, he should be fun to watch. The 22-year-old has electric stuff (11.1 K/9), but he still has a lot of work to do on his command, evidenced by a 6.1 BB/9 rate last season in Double-A.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    CF Angel Pagan
    LF Nori Aoki
    C Buster Posey
    1B Brandon Belt
    RF Hunter Pence
    2B Joe Panik
    3B Casey McGehee

    SS Brandon Crawford
    Pitcher

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

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

15. Kansas City Royals

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    Associated Press

    What to Watch for This Spring

    • The return of Luke Hochevar could potentially make a dominant Kansas City Royals bullpen even better in 2015. The former No. 1 overall pick missed all of last season with Tommy John surgery, but he had a 1.92 ERA and 10.5 K/9 in 58 appearances in 2013, earning him a two-year, $10 million extension this offseason.
    • Speaking of the bullpen, the Royals have to decide what to do with Brandon Finnegan. The 2014 first-round pick made an impact as a reliever last October, but his future is still as a starter, and given the team's lack of starter depth, he may be next in line if someone gets hurt. That's probably reason enough to stretch him out in Triple-A.
    • Second baseman Omar Infante was being shopped back in December, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, and injuries this spring could reopen potential trade talks. The team has a former top-five pick in Christian Colon capable of stepping into a larger role if he is moved.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    SS Alcides Escobar
    LF Alex Gordon
    CF Lorenzo Cain
    1B Eric Hosmer
    C Salvador Perez
    DH Kendrys Morales
    RF Alex Rios
    3B Mike Moustakas
    2B Omar Infante

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Yordano Ventura
    SP Jason Vargas
    SP Jeremy Guthrie
    SP Edinson Volquez
    SP Danny Duffy
    SU Kelvin Herrera
    SU Wade Davis
    CL Greg Holland

14. Boston Red Sox

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    Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

    What to Watch for This Spring

    • Something has to give in the Boston Red Sox outfield, with Mookie Betts, Shane Victorino, Allen Craig and Daniel Nava vying for three roster spots. Nava is out of options, so he'll either make the team or be playing elsewhere, and trading Craig or Victorino is probably the preferred solution.
    • Free-agent signing Hanley Ramirez will have a new experience playing in the outfield, as he's only ever played shortstop, third base and second base as a pro, so his defense will be under a microscope this spring. All the fungos in the world won't prepare him for left field in Fenway Park, either.
    • The Red Sox starting rotation and its perceived lack of an ace has been one of the biggest talking points of the offseason. More interesting will be who is next in if someone gets hurt or Justin Masterson struggles, as we could then see someone like top prospect Henry Owens get an extended look.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    RF Mookie Betts
    2B Dustin Pedroia

    DH David Ortiz
    LF Hanley Ramirez
    3B Pablo Sandoval
    1B Mike Napoli
    SS Xander Bogaerts
    CF Rusney Castillo

    C Christian Vazquez

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Rick Porcello
    SP Wade Miley
    SP Clay Buchholz
    SP Justin Masterson

    SP Joe Kelly
    SU Edward Mujica
    SU Junichi Tazawa
    CL Koji Uehara

13. Chicago Cubs

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    What to Watch for This Spring

    • No one will get more attention this spring than Cubs uber-prospect Kris Bryant, and understandably so after he launched 43 home runs and posted a 1.098 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A last season. He'll start the season in the minors to buy the Cubs another year of team control, but he won't be there for long.
    • The addition of Tommy La Stella gives the team someone to push Javier Baez at second base. The 22-year-old Baez has done a nice job adjusting throughout his career, but he has a lot of work to do after posting a whopping 41.5 percent strikeout rate (via FanGraphs) in 229 plate appearances as a rookie last season.
    • One way or another, Edwin Jackson probably won't be on the roster when Opening Day rolls around after going 6-15 with a 6.33 ERA last season. He's still owed $26 million over the next two years, but if the Cubs eat the bulk of that, they might be able to find a taker.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    CF Dexter Fowler
    SS Starlin Castro

    1B Anthony Rizzo
    RF Jorge Soler
    C Miguel Montero

    LF Chris Coghlan
    2B Javier Baez
    3B Tommy La Stella
    Pitcher

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Jon Lester
    SP Jake Arrieta
    SP Jason Hammel

    SP Travis Wood
    SP Kyle Hendricks

    SU Neil Ramirez
    SU Pedro Strop
    CL Hector Rondon

12. Chicago White Sox

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    Brian Kersey/Getty Images

    What to Watch for This Spring

    • Despite the return of Gordon Beckham, the Chicago White Sox are still expected to give prospects Carlos Sanchez and Micah Johnson every opportunity to win the vacant second base job. That would allow the team to use Beckham in a super-utility role, and along with Emilio Bonifacio, it would have some useful versatility off the bench.
    • Tyler Flowers cooled considerably after a hot start last season, finishing the year with a .693 OPS and 15 home runs, which, coupled with his plus defense, was good for a 2.3 WAR. That's decent production, but don't be surprised if non-roster invitee Geovany Soto not only makes the team, but pushes Flowers for playing time.
    • The back of the White Sox rotation is being pointed to as an area of concern, but top prospect Carlos Rodon figures to help in that area sooner rather than later. The No. 3 pick in last year's draft climbed three levels to Triple-A after signing, posting a combined 2.96 ERA and 14.1 K/9 in 24.1 innings, and a rotation spot out of camp is not out of the question.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    CF Adam Eaton
    LF Melky Cabrera

    1B Jose Abreu
    DH Adam LaRoche
    RF Avisail Garcia
    3B Conor Gillaspie
    SS Alexei Ramirez

    C Tyler Flowers
    2B Carlos Sanchez

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Chris Sale
    SP Jeff Samardzija

    SP Jose Quintana
    SP John Danks
    SP Hector Noesi

    SU Zach Duke
    SU Zach Putnam
    CL David Robertson

11. San Diego Padres

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    Ralph Freso/Getty Images

    What to Watch for This Spring

    • The third base position battle between Yangervis Solarte and Will Middlebrooks will be an interesting one to watch. The team would no doubt love a bounce-back season from Middlebrooks, but who hits leadoff if it's not Solarte?
    • Sticking with the third base and leadoff situations, keep an eye on prospect Cory Spangenberg this spring, as he could push his way onto the roster. The 23-year-old has the on-base skills and speed to be a table-setter, and he's capable of playing second or third.
    • Brandon Morrow is one of the more intriguing reclamation projects on a one-year, $2.5 million deal, and he'll get the first crack at the No. 5 starter job. However, he could also wind up pitching in relief, which would open things up for Robbie Erlin or Odrisamer Despaigne to round out the staff.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    3B Yangervis Solarte
    CF Wil Myers

    RF Matt Kemp
    LF Justin Upton
    1B Yonder Alonso
    2B Jedd Gyorko
    C Derek Norris
    SS Alexi Amarista
    Pitcher

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP James Shields
    SP Tyson Ross

    SP Andrew Cashner
    SP Ian Kennedy
    SP Brandon Morrow
    SU Dale Thayer
    SU Kevin Quackenbush
    CL Joaquin Benoit

10. Baltimore Orioles

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    What to Watch for This Spring

    • It's fair to assume Chris Davis is never going to match his 53-homer, 138-RBI performance from 2013, but a bounce-back season of some sort seems like a reasonable expectation. He had an .827 OPS with 33 home runs back in 2012, and if he can return to that level of production, it would help ease some big offseason losses.
    • It may have been a quiet offseason for the Baltimore Orioles, but they will be adding a pair of All-Stars back to the lineup in Manny Machado and Matt Wieters. Both players are expected to be ready for Opening Day, according to Jon Meoli of The Baltimore Sunafter an offseason of rehab.
    • After reaching the majors as a 19-year-old back in 2012, Dylan Bundy was sidetracked by Tommy John surgery and subsequent recovery the past two seasons. He returned to make nine minor league starts down the stretch last season, and if his stuff is back to 100 percent this spring, he could wind up playing a key role in Baltimore.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    LF Alejandro De Aza
    3B Manny Machado
    CF Adam Jones
    1B Chris Davis
    DH Steve Pearce
    C Matt Wieters
    SS J.J. Hardy
    RF Travis Snider
    2B Jonathan Schoop

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Chris Tillman
    SP Wei-Yin Chen
    SP Bud Norris
    SP Miguel Gonzalez
    SP Kevin Gausman
    SU Brian Matusz
    SU Darren O'Day
    CL Zach Britton

9. Detroit Tigers

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    What to Watch for This Spring

    • With the Opening Day statuses of both Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera in question heading into camp, the Detroit Tigers slide down a few spots in these rankings for now. Their recovery will be the biggest story for the Tigers this spring.
    • I haven't been shy about criticizing the Tigers' acquisition of Alfredo Simon this offseason. He's 33 years old, and he was 3-7 with a 4.52 ERA in the second half last year, and a 4.33 FIP means we can probably expect more of that moving forward. That being said, the team appears to be counting on him to hold down a rotation spot, so he'll be one to keep an eye on this spring.
    • Despite not making a major addition to the bullpen this offseason, the Tigers could get a significant boost from Joel Hanrahan and Bruce Rondon, provided both guys are healthy. They added secondary pieces in Tom Gorzelanny and Alex Wilson and will have a full season of Joakim Soria, so this could wind up being a vastly improved relief corps.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    2B Ian Kinsler
    CF Anthony Gose
    1B Miguel Cabrera
    DH Victor Martinez
    RF J.D. Martinez
    LF Yoenis Cespedes
    3B Nick Castellanos
    C Alex Avila
    SS Jose Iglesias

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP David Price
    SP Anibal Sanchez
    SP Justin Verlander
    SP Alfredo Simon
    SP Shane Greene
    SU Al Alburquerque
    SU Joakim Soria
    CL Joe Nathan

8. Miami Marlins

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    What to Watch for This Spring

    • Jose Fernandez's recovery will be well-documented this spring, but he's not expected back until June, leaving the No. 5 starter job up for grabs to open the season. Provided Dan Haren sticks to his retirement plans, left-hander Brad Hand could be the fifth guy, as he's also out of options.
    • Keep an eye on catching prospect J.T. Realmuto this spring. The 23-year-old hit .299/.369/.461 with 39 extra-base hits and 18 steals in Double-A last season, and with Jarrod Saltalamacchia coming off of a less-than-stellar season, he could unseat the incumbent before 2015 is over.
    • After signing slugger Giancarlo Stanton to a record $325 million extension, the Marlins turned their attention to other pieces of their core. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the team also made extension offers to Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, Adeiny Hechavarria and Jose Fernandez this winter, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Miami knock out at least one more in-house deal before the season starts.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    2B Dee Gordon
    LF Christian Yelich
    RF Giancarlo Stanton
    1B Michael Morse
    CF Marcell Ozuna
    3B Martin Prado

    C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    SS Adeiny Hechavarria
    Pitcher

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Henderson Alvarez
    SP Mat Latos
    SP Jarred Cosart
    SP Tom Koehler
    SP Brad Hand
    SU Mike Dunn
    SU A.J. Ramos
    CL Steve Cishek

7. Toronto Blue Jays

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    What to Watch for This Spring

    • With closer Casey Janssen gone in free agency and no significant addition made to replace him, it appears the ninth-inning job in Toronto will go to either lefty Brett Cecil (66 G, 2.70 ERA, 12.8 K/9 5-of-7 SV) or top prospect Aaron Sanchez (24 G, 1.09 ERA, 7.4 K/9, 3-of-3 SV) this coming season.
    • Making matters a bit more complicated is the fact that Sanchez is also expected to be in the running for the No. 5 starter spot, which opened after the J.A. Happ trade. His biggest competition appears to be fellow prospect Daniel Norris, who went 12-2 with a 2.53 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 124.1 minor league innings last season.
    • The second base position has been a mess since Aaron Hill was traded, and it figures to be more of the same to open the season, with Ryan Goins, Maicer Izturis and Steve Tolleson fighting for the job. The hope is that prospect Devon Travis can be the long-term answer in the near future, and he'll be in big league camp after spending 2014 in Double-A.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    SS Jose Reyes
    RF Jose Bautista
    3B Josh Donaldson
    1B Edwin Encarnacion
    C Russell Martin
    DH Dioner Navarro
    LF Michael Saunders
    2B Ryan Goins
    CF Dalton Pompey

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Mark Buehrle
    SP R.A. Dickey
    SP Marcus Stroman
    SP Drew Hutchison
    SP Daniel Norris
    SU Steve Delabar
    SU Brett Cecil
    CL Aaron Sanchez

6. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    What to Watch for This Spring

    • There might not be a more unknown commodity in the league heading into spring training than Korean infielder Jung-ho Kang. The 27-year-old posted a 1.198 OPS with 36 doubles and 40 home runs in the hitter-friendly KBO last season, but no position player has ever made that jump before. He signed a four-year, $11 million deal and will be given every chance to make an impact.
    • After employing a platoon of Gaby Sanchez and Ike Davis at first base last season, the Pirates have a decidedly more intriguing duo manning the spot this season in Pedro Alvarez and Corey Hart. Both guys are looking to bounce back from disappointing 2014 seasons, and if they can stay healthy, this could be a huge upgrade for the offense.
    • Charlie Morton has quietly posted a 3.52 ERA and 1.277 WHIP in 46 starts over the past two seasons for the Pirates. He underwent hip surgery to repair a torn labrum back in September, with an expected recovery time of six to eight months, so his status for Opening Day will be determined this spring.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    3B Josh Harrison
    RF Gregory Polanco
    CF Andrew McCutchen
    2B Neil Walker
    LF Starling Marte
    1B Pedro Alvarez
    SS Jordy Mercer
    C Francisco Cervelli
    Pitcher

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Francisco Liriano
    SP Gerrit Cole
    SP A.J. Burnett
    SP Jeff Locke
    SP Vance Worley
    SU Jared Hughes
    SU Tony Watson
    CL Mark Melancon

5. Seattle Mariners

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    What to Watch for This Spring

    • After a brilliant 2013 saw him finish third in AL Cy Young voting, Hisashi Iwakuma was in the midst of another strong performance this past season before absolutely collapsing down the stretch. The 33-year-old had a 7.88 ERA in his last seven starts, so a sharp spring performance could certainly help ease some concerns.
    • Most of the key pieces from the best bullpen in baseball last year are back, with the exception of veteran Joe Beimel. That leaves the team in search of a second left-handed reliever, with Rule 5 selection David Rollins, Lucas Luetge, Mike Kickham and ousted starter Roenis Elias looking like the top candidates.
    • A disappointing season from Brad Miller (.221 BA, .653 OPS, 1.6 WAR) has left the shortstop position as something of a question mark in Seattle. Prospect Chris Taylor hit .328/.397/.497 with 34 extra-base hits in 75 games in Triple-A last season and 21-year-old Ketel Marte was also added to the 40-man roster, so the team has options.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    CF Austin Jackson
    RF Seth Smith
    2B Robinson Cano
    DH Nelson Cruz
    3B Kyle Seager
    1B Logan Morrison
    C Mike Zunino
    LF Dustin Ackley
    SS Brad Miller

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Felix Hernandez
    SP Hisashi Iwakuma
    SP James Paxton
    SP Taijuan Walker
    SP J.A. Happ
    SU Danny Farquhar
    SU Yoervis Medina
    CL Fernando Rodney

4. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    What to Watch for This Spring

    • There are no more excuses of an outfield logjam for Joc Pederson, as the Los Angeles Dodgers traded Matt Kemp this offseason and opened up an everyday job for the top prospect. The 22-year-old hit .303/.435/.582 with 33 home runs, 30 steals and 100 walks in Triple-A last season. He may not hit for a high average as a rookie, but he has the plate discipline and power/speed mix to make a serious impact.
    • As risky as the four-year, $48 million deal the team gave Brandon McCarthy appears to be, the Dodgers' decision to rely on Brett Anderson as the No. 5 starter may be the biggest one they've taken this offseason. The 27-year-old has front-line stuff when healthy, but he's pitched a grand total of 123 innings the past three years, and a one-year, $10 million deal was a serious risk.
    • We know Kenley Jansen will be the closer again next season, but the rest of the Dodgers bullpen will likely take shape this spring. Veterans J.P. Howell and Brandon League are back, along with newcomers Joel Peralta and Chris Hatcher. However, don't be surprised if young guys like Pedro Baez and Adam Liberatore wind up playing a significant role.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    SS Jimmy Rollins
    LF Carl Crawford
    RF Yasiel Puig
    1B Adrian Gonzalez
    2B Howie Kendrick
    C Yasmani Grandal
    3B Juan Uribe
    CF Joc Pederson
    Pitcher

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Clayton Kershaw
    SP Zack Greinke
    SP Hyun-Jin Ryu
    SP Brandon McCarthy
    SP Brett Anderson
    SU Joel Peralta
    SU J.P. Howell
    CL Kenley Jansen

3. Los Angeles Angels

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    What to Watch for This Spring

    • Garrett Richards was a legitimate AL Cy Young candidate before suffering a season-ending knee injury last August, going 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA (2.60 FIP) and 1.038 WHIP over 26 starts. He's ahead of schedule in his rehab from surgery on the knee, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, but he is still expected to miss the first four to six weeks of the season.
    • The Richards injury opens up the No. 5 starter spot for newly acquired top prospect Andrew Heaney, and the 23-year-old will be looking to prove he was worth the team giving up Howie Kendrick. If it's not Heaney who fills the final spot, Nick Tropeano, Cory Rasmus and Cesar Ramos figure to be next in line.
    • Trading Kendrick, who was in the final year of his contract, leaves the team with a hole to fill at second base. Incumbent utility man Grant Green will contend with Rule 5 selection Taylor Featherston, Josh Rutledge and Johnny Giavotella in what looks to be a wide-open competition this spring.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    RF Kole Calhoun
    SS Erick Aybar
    CF Mike Trout
    1B Albert Pujols
    LF Matt Joyce
    3B David Freese
    DH C.J. Cron
    2B Josh Rutledge
    C Chris Iannetta

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Jered Weaver
    SP C.J. Wilson
    SP Matt Shoemaker
    SP Hector Santiago
    SP Andrew Heaney
    SU Fernando Salas
    SU Joe Smith
    CL Huston Street

2. St. Louis Cardinals

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    What to Watch for This Spring

    • Carlos Martinez was stretched out as a starter last spring, but he wound up losing the No. 5 starter job to Joe Kelly, despite posting a 2.81 ERA in 16 innings of work. This time around, the job is his to lose, with lefties Marco Gonzales and Tyler Lyons and swingman Carlos Villanueva looking like his biggest competition.
    • Adding Jordan Walden and Matt Belisle to the bullpen should help the relief corps as a whole, but the left-handed side of things is a question mark. Kevin Siegrist and Randy Choate both struggled last season, while Sam Freeman could be due for some regression (2.61 ERA, 3.79 FIP). With that in mind, don't be surprised if Gonzales winds up in the pen.
    • The Cardinals would not have given up a controllable young arm like Shelby Miller if they did not have full intentions of signing Jason Heyward to a long-term deal. Both sides have expressed interest in an extension, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, so a deal could still be completed before Opening Day.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

    3B Matt Carpenter
    RF Jason Heyward

    LF Matt Holliday
    1B Matt Adams
    C Yadier Molina
    SS Jhonny Peralta
    CF Jon Jay
    2B Kolten Wong
    Pitcher

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Adam Wainwright
    SP Lance Lynn
    SP John Lackey
    SP Michael Wacha
    SP Carlos Martinez
    SU Matt Belisle
    SU Jordan Walden
    CL Trevor Rosenthal

1. Washington Nationals

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    What to Watch for This Spring

    • The addition of Max Scherzer appeared to make Tanner Roark, who won 15 games and posted a 2.85 ERA last season, the odd man out in the Washington Nationals rotation. However, he will still enter spring training as a starter, according to Tom Schad of The Washington Post, so things are not set in stone just yet.
    • The upcoming free agency of Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister and Ian Desmond remains a hot topic for the Nationals. It's not out of the question to think one of those guys could be either extended or traded before the season starts.
    • With Jayson Werth questionable to start the season, the team figures to get a long look at top prospect Michael Taylor this spring. Regardless of what role he serves in 2015, Taylor looks like the obvious replacement for Denard Span in center field for 2016 and beyond. The 23-year-old hit .304/.390/.526 with 23 home runs and 37 steals between Double-A and Triple-A last season.

    Projected 2015 Lineup (as of Feb. 15)

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

    Projected 2015 Rotation (as of Feb. 15)

    SP Max Scherzer
    SP Jordan Zimmermann
    SP Stephen Strasburg
    SP Doug Fister
    SP Gio Gonzalez
    SU Matt Thornton
    SU Casey Janssen
    CL Drew Storen

    All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference, unless otherwise noted.