Power Ranking All 30 MLB Lineups Entering Opening Day

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2015

Power Ranking All 30 MLB Lineups Entering Opening Day

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Dominant pitching is still the most valuable weapon in contending for a World Series title, but with offense down around the league, having a potent lineup can go a long way as well.

    Just how important is a productive offense?

    Of the 10 teams that reached the playoffs last year, seven ranked in the top 10 in runs scored, and only the St. Louis Cardinals averaged less than four runs per game.

    With that in mind, let's take a look at how all 30 offenses around the league stack up with a power ranking of each team's lineup.

    Teams were ranked based on the offensive pieces at their disposal to open the season.

    That means teams like the Washington Nationals, which will be without Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and Denard Span, will rank significantly lower than they would were they at full strength.

    Beyond that, past performance served as a jumping-off point, but potential for the upcoming season ultimately trumped what a team accomplished last year.

    Also, since this was about the construction of each team's lineup as a whole, overall depth won out over having a few star-caliber players.

    Note: The "2014 rank" referenced next to each team refers to where it ranked in runs scored last season relative to the entire league.

30. Atlanta Braves (2014 Rank: 29)

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    Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    Cutting ties with Justin Upton, Evan Gattis and Jason Heyward will mean fewer strikeouts for the Atlanta Braves this season, as those three combined for 366 whiffs in 2014.

    However, they also accounted for 62 of the team's 123 home runs (50.4 percent), 192 of its 573 runs scored (33.5 percent) and 11.8 of its 14.0 WAR among position players (84.3 percent).

    Freddie Freeman remains one of the game's best young hitters, while rookies Jace Peterson and Christian Bethancourt both look to have solid futures, but this lineup is undoubtedly worse than the group that ranked 29th in runs scored a year ago.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. CF Eric Young Jr.
    2. 2B Jace Peterson
    3. RF Nick Markakis
    4. 1B Freddie Freeman
    5. LF Jonny Gomes
    6. 3B Chris Johnson
    7. SS Andrelton Simmons
    8. C Christian Bethancourt
    9. Pitcher

    Projected Bench

    C A.J. Pierzynski
    1B/OF Joey Terdoslavich
    IF Alberto Callaspo
    IF/OF Kelly Johnson
    OF Todd Cunningham

29. Tampa Bay Rays (2014 Rank: 27)

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    Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

    Lineup Outlook

    Gone from the Tampa Bay Rays lineup are Ben Zobrist, Wil Myers, Matt Joyce and Sean Rodriguez, leaving Evan Longoria as the only established threat in the lineup.

    Rene Rivera and Asdrubal Cabrera should be offensive upgrades at catcher and shortstop, and young outfielders Steven Souza and Kevin Kiermaier offer some solid upside, but really, what reason do teams have to pitch to Longoria?

    Once their starting rotation gets healthy, the Rays have an outside chance at contending, but it will be in spite of their offense. They'll need to win a lot of 2-1 games.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. LF Desmond Jennings
    2. DH John Jaso
    3. SS Asdrubal Cabrera
    4. 3B Evan Longoria
    5. 1B James Loney
    6. RF Steven Souza
    7. CF Kevin Kiermaier
    8. C Rene Rivera
    9. 2B Logan Forsythe

    Projected Bench

    C Curt Casali
    IF Tim Beckham
    OF David DeJesus
    OF Brandon Guyer

28. Philadelphia Phillies (2014 Rank: 23)

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    Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    It's going to be a rough year for the Philadelphia Phillies—there is really no other way to look at it.

    Arguably their most productive hitter last season, Marlon Byrd, was traded to the Cincinnati Reds. Jimmy Rollins was also traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Chase Utley is another year older and his hot start last year masked a rough second half (.235 BA, .674 OPS).

    That's not to say trading away Byrd and Rollins was not exactly what the team needed to do, as it has finally begun the rebuilding process, but the lineup is a mess for 2015.

    Ben Revere (.306 BA, 184 H, 49 SB) should again be a bright spot atop the lineup, and Rule 5 pick Odubel Herrera looks to have some solid potential. Top prospect Maikel Franco will join the lineup at some point as well, but for now, there's not much reason to be excited about this group.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. LF Ben Revere
    2. C Carlos Ruiz
    3. 2B Chase Utley
    4. 1B Ryan Howard
    5. RF Grady Sizemore
    6. 3B Cody Asche
    7. CF Odubel Herrera
    8. SS Freddy Galvis
    9. Pitcher

    Projected Bench

    C Cameron Rupp
    1B/OF Darin Ruf
    IF/OF Cesar Hernandez
    OF Brian Bogusevic
    OF Jeff Francoeur

27. Oakland Athletics (2014 Rank: 4)

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    This may seem like quite a fall for a team that ranked first in the league in scoring for a good chunk of last season, but this is a completely different Oakland Athletics lineup, with only four holdovers from last season, including the bench.

    The team has a lot riding on productive seasons from Ike Davis and Billy Butler, as well young third baseman Brett Lawrie finally reaching his potential. That trio will go a long way in deciding just how good the offense can be.

    Getting Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp back healthy could conceivably bump the A's up a few spots in the rankings, and the same goes for a productive start from Marcus Semien, but overall, this looks like an incredibly weak offensive bunch.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. LF Craig Gentry
    2. CF Sam Fuld
    3. RF Ben Zobrist
    4. DH Billy Butler
    5. 1B Ike Davis
    6. 3B Brett Lawrie
    7. C Stephen Vogt
    8. SS Marcus Semien
    9. 2B Eric Sogard

    Projected Bench

    C Josh Phegley
    1B/OF Mark Canha
    IF/OF Tyler Ladendorf
    OF Billy Burns

26. Washington Nationals (2014 Rank: 9)

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    Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    With Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and Denard Span all injured to begin the season, this Washington Nationals lineup is a shell of what it figures to be once the team is back to full strength.

    However, since we're ranking teams based on the lineups they'll break camp with, the Nationals have to be knocked down the rankings a significant amount.

    Still, the trio of Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman is capable of providing plenty of run support on their own, and top prospect Michael Taylor will be fun to watch, even if it's only for a few weeks filling in for Span.

    This could once again be a top-10 offense once it's healthy, but right now, the Nats are missing three guys who received MVP votes a year ago.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. 2B Yunel Escobar
    2. SS Ian Desmond
    3. RF Bryce Harper
    4. 1B Ryan Zimmerman
    5. C Wilson Ramos
    6. LF Tyler Moore
    7. 3B Danny Espinosa
    8. CF Michael Taylor
    9. Pitcher

    Projected Bench

    C Jose Lobaton
    1B Clint Robinson
    IF Dan Uggla
    OF Matt den Dekker
    OF Reed Johnson

25. Arizona Diamondbacks (2014 Rank: 25)

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Lineup Outlook

    The Arizona Diamondbacks lineup certainly has potential, but until that turns into production, it has to be ranked near the bottom.

    Provided Mark Trumbo can stay healthy and Yasmany Tomas can live up to the hype, those two could join MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt to form one of the better middle-of-the-order trios in baseball this season.

    A.J. Pollock is also a potential breakout candidate atop the lineup entering his age-27 season, and the D-backs have other young talent in the likes of Chris Owings and Jake Lamb.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. CF A.J. Pollock
    2. 2B Aaron Hill
    3. 1B Paul Goldschmidt
    4. RF Mark Trumbo
    5. 3B Jake Lamb
    6. LF Yasmany Tomas
    7. SS Chris Owings
    8. C Tuffy Gosewisch
    9. Pitcher

    Projected Bench

    C Gerald Laird
    C/IF Jordan Pacheco
    IF Cliff Pennington
    OF David Peralta
    OF Cody Ross

24. New York Mets (2014 Rank: 21)

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    Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    The addition of Michael Cuddyer and a healthy season from David Wright could go a long way in bolstering the New York Mets offense, but if this team is going to make a run at the postseason, it will be on the strength of its pitching staff.

    Lucas Duda will be one to watch coming off of a breakout season (.830 OPS, 30 HR, 92 RBI). The team will need similar production from him out of the cleanup spot.

    Meanwhile, up-and-coming center fielder Juan Lagares and catcher Travis d'Arnaud will also be counted on as significant pieces of the offense, and the same goes for new shortstop Wilmer Flores.

    The Mets' ceiling is fairly high offensively if everything clicks, but their floor is also very low if Cuddyer and Wright miss time again and the young guys don't pull their weight.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. CF Juan Lagares
    2. RF Curtis Granderson
    3. 3B David Wright
    4. 1B Lucas Duda
    5. LF Michael Cuddyer
    6. C Travis d'Arnaud
    7. SS Wilmer Flores
    8. 2B Matt Reynolds
    9. Pitcher

    Projected Bench

    C Anthony Recker
    1B/OF Eric Campbell
    1B/OF John Mayberry Jr.
    IF Ruben Tejada
    OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis

23. Kansas City Royals (2014 Rank: 14)

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    The Kansas City Royals entered the offseason with two key pieces to replace in right fielder Nori Aoki and designated hitter Billy Butler, and they did that by signing Alex Rios and Kendrys Morales in free agency. Both are capable of being upgrades at their respective positions and come relatively cheap at a combined $17.5 million for the upcoming season.

    The X-factor will be Eric Hosmer, who has all the talent in the world but has yet to emerge as a consistent run producer in the middle of the lineup. A big postseason (.351 BA, .983 OPS, 12 RBI) could be a jumping-off point for a breakout year.

    Lorenzo Cain will also be one to watch, as he was terrific last season but could have trouble hitting over .300 again given his .380 BABIP and 4.8 percent walk rate from a year ago (via FanGraphs).

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. SS Alcides Escobar
    2. LF Alex Gordon
    3. CF Lorenzo Cain
    4. 1B Eric Hosmer
    5. C Salvador Perez
    6. DH Kendrys Morales
    7. RF Alex Rios
    8. 3B Mike Moustakas
    9. 2B Omar Infante

    Projected Bench

    C Erik Kratz
    IF Christian Colon
    OF Jarrod Dyson
    OF Paulo Orlando

22. Minnesota Twins (2014 Rank: 7)

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    The Minnesota Twins were perhaps the most surprising offense in baseball last year, though a starting rotation that was again the worst in the majors effectively offset their run-scoring prowess.

    Adding the still-productive Torii Hunter to the mix shores up the outfield while the team continues to wait on top prospect Byron Buxton to arrive. Joe Mauer looks like a prime bounce-back candidate after hitting just .277 last year.

    One player who likely won't enjoy the same level of success is Danny Santana, as his .405 BABIP (via FanGraphs) is nowhere near sustainable over a full season. That said, he still has the offensive tools to make an impact out of the leadoff spot.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. SS Danny Santana
    2. 2B Brian Dozier
    3. 1B Joe Mauer
    4. DH Kennys Vargas
    5. RF Torii Hunter
    6. 3B Trevor Plouffe
    7. LF Oswaldo Arcia
    8. C Kurt Suzuki
    9. CF Jordan Schafer

    Projected Bench

    C Josmil Pinto
    IF Eduardo Escobar
    IF/OF Eduardo Nunez
    OF Shane Robinson

21. San Francisco Giants (2014 Rank: 12)

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    Ralph Freso/Getty Images

    Lineup Outlook

    Health figures to be a major factor for the San Francisco Giants lineup in 2015, and the Giants are already without one of their most important bats, as Hunter Pence is sidelined with a fractured forearm to begin the season.

    Angel Pagan (96 games played) and Brandon Belt (61 games) both missed significant time last season, and they will be counted on as key pieces of the offense this year. Buster Posey should once again be among the NL MVP front-runners, and it will be interesting to see what Joe Panik does over a full season of at-bats.

    All of that said, pitching has been the driving force behind the Giants' recent run of success, and they'll only go as far as their rotation allows.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. CF Angel Pagan
    2. 2B Joe Panik
    3. 1B Brandon Belt
    4. C Buster Posey
    5. 3B Casey McGehee
    6. LF Gregor Blanco
    7. RF Nori Aoki
    8. SS Brandon Crawford
    9. Pitcher

    Projected Bench

    C Hector Sanchez
    IF Ehire Adrianza
    IF Joaquin Arias
    IF Matt Duffy
    OF Justin Maxwell

20. Baltimore Orioles (2014 Rank: 8)

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    With Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis gone in free agency and Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy sidelined to begin the season, the Baltimore Orioles offense does not look nearly as strong as it did a year ago. The return of Manny Machado certainly helps, and alongside Adam Jones the team does have a pair of superstars, but a quiet offseason could really burn the O's in their efforts to repeat as AL East champs.

    The X-factors will be Chris Davis and Steve Pearce. If Davis can land somewhere between his monster 2013 and dismal 2014 and Pearce can come anywhere close to duplicating his out-of-nowhere breakout numbers, this lineup has a chance to be near the top of the AL. But those are big ifs.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. LF Alejandro De Aza
    2. 3B Manny Machado
    3. CF Adam Jones
    4. 1B Chris Davis
    5. DH Steve Pearce
    6. RF Travis Snider
    7. SS Everth Cabrera
    8. C Caleb Joseph
    9. 2B Jonathan Schoop

    Projected Bench

    C Steve Clevenger
    IF/OF Ryan Flaherty
    IF/OF Jimmy Paredes
    OF Delmon Young

19. Milwaukee Brewers (2014 Rank: 15)

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    Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    The Milwaukee Brewers have a pair of bona fide stars in their lineup in Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy, but it's slugger Ryan Braun who could be the key to their season.

    Braun hit a career-worst .266/.324/.453 with 19 home runs and 81 RBI last season, as a nagging thumb injury cut into his production. Healthy once again, he's looking to get back to the dynamic numbers he posted pre-suspension.

    "The challenge in this game is consistency and longevity," Braun told Tom Pipines of Fox 6 Milwaukee. "You see a lot of guys that are really good for a year, two years, five years, but the true test is doing it over a 10- or 15-year period. Hopefully I have another good six, eight, 10 really good years left in me and it starts this year."

    Aside from Braun, the addition of Adam Lind at first base should be a significant upgrade, and a bounce-back season of some sort from shortstop Jean Segura would also go a long way.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. CF Carlos Gomez
    2. C Jonathan Lucroy
    3. RF Ryan Braun
    4. 3B Aramis Ramirez
    5. 1B Adam Lind
    6. LF Khris Davis
    7. 2B Scooter Gennett
    8. SS Jean Segura
    9. Pitcher

    Projected Bench

    C Martin Maldonado
    1B/3B Luis Jimenez
    IF Hector Gomez
    OF Gerardo Parra
    OF Logan Schafer

18. Houston Astros (2014 Rank: 21)

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    This may be a bullish ranking for a Houston Astros team that has yet to really prove anything, but after adding Evan Gattis, Luis Valbuena, Colby Rasmus and Jed Lowrie this offseason, the Astros look like a significantly improved group.

    Anchoring the lineup will be 25-year-old George Springer, who looks like a superstar in the making. He had 20 home runs and an .804 OPS in 295 at-bats last season but missed significant time with a quad injury.

    Even with some regression, Jose Altuve figures to pile up the hits and stolen bases atop the lineup, while Chris Carter has some of the best power in the game if only he can make enough consistent contact to utilize it.

    There's a lot of talent here. It's just a matter of whether everything falls into place, as this is another high-ceiling and low-floor lineup.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. 2B Jose Altuve
    2. 3B Luis Valbuena
    3. RF George Springer
    4. 1B Chris Carter
    5. LF Colby Rasmus
    6. DH Evan Gattis
    7. C Jason Castro
    8. SS Jed Lowrie
    9. CF Jake Marisnick

    Projected Bench

    C Hank Conger
    IF Marwin Gonzalez
    IF Jonathan Villar
    OF Robbie Grossman

17. San Diego Padres (2014 Rank: 30)

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Lineup Outlook

    The San Diego Padres offense was an absolute disaster last season, as the Padres ranked last in team batting average (.226), OPS (.634) and runs per game (3.30), but new GM A.J. Preller quickly set to work rectifying that situation.

    Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks were all added via trade, and they figure to occupy four of the first five slots in the batting order to begin the season.

    The infield as a whole is still a weakness, and young players like Yonder Alonso and Jedd Gyorko will need to play up to their potential. Perhaps some newfound talent around them will be the spark they need to produce.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. CF Wil Myers
    2. 1B Yonder Alonso
    3. RF Matt Kemp
    4. LF Justin Upton
    5. 3B Will Middlebrooks
    6. 2B Jedd Gyorko
    7. C Derek Norris
    8. SS Alexi Amarista
    9. Pitcher

    Projected Bench

    C Wil Nieves
    1B/OF Carlos Quentin
    IF Clint Barmes
    OF Cameron Maybin
    OF Will Venable

16. Texas Rangers (2014 Rank: 17)

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    David Maxwell/Getty Images

    Lineup Outlook

    The Texas Rangers were beaten down by the injury bug last season, and the lineup was by no means immune, as key offseason acquisitions Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo both missed significant time and combined for a minus-0.1 WAR.

    Healthy campaigns from those two alongside Adrian Beltre could make for a dangerous middle of the lineup, while up-and-comers Leonys Martin, Ryan Rua and Rougned Odor provide some solid upside as well.

    This group is still far from the dynamic offenses the team featured during their consecutive World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011, but it should be improved from a year ago.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. CF Leonys Martin
    2. SS Elvis Andrus
    3. RF Shin-Soo Choo
    4. 3B Adrian Beltre
    5. 1B Prince Fielder
    6. DH Mitch Moreland
    7. LF Ryan Rua
    8. 2B Rougned Odor
    9. C Robinson Chirinos

    Projected Bench

    C Carlos Corporan
    IF Adam Rosales
    OF Delino DeShields
    OF Jake Smolinski

15. Chicago Cubs (2014 Rank: 26)

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    Brian Kersey/Getty Images

    Lineup Outlook

    Once uber-prospect Kris Bryant enters the fold shortly after the start of the season, the Chicago Cubs could potentially be a top-10 offensive team, but expectations should be tempered with so many young players.

    For all that has been made of the Jon Lester signing, the team also added a pair of key bats in high on-base leadoff man Dexter Fowler and All-Star catcher Miguel Montero. They join budding superstar Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro to give the team four established bats.

    While Bryant receives the bulk of the hype, and understandably so, don't be surprised if Jorge Soler finishes with the better overall numbers in 2015, as his advanced approach at the plate should make for fewer growing pains.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. CF Dexter Fowler
    2. SS Starlin Castro
    3. 1B Anthony Rizzo
    4. RF Jorge Soler
    5. C Miguel Montero
    6. 3B Mike Olt
    7. LF Chris Coghlan
    8. 2B Tommy La Stella
    9. Pitcher

    Projected Bench

    C Welington Castillo
    C David Ross
    IF/OF Arismendy Alcantara
    OF Ryan Sweeney
    OF Matt Szczur

14. New York Yankees (2014 Rank: 20)

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    Considering new shortstop Didi Gregorius is their only player under 30, the New York Yankees lineup could be a fragile one in 2015. For the time being, though, everyone is healthy, and this looks like a potentially dangerous group.

    Carlos Beltran (.703 OPS, 15 HR, 49 RBI), Mark Teixeira (.711 OPS, 22 HR, 62 RBI) and Brian McCann (.692 OPS, 23 HR, 75 RBI) were all wildly disappointing for various reasons last year, and they will have to pull their weight this time around.

    Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner provide plenty of speed and table-setting skills at the top, but it will be up to the high-priced bats in the middle to determine just how good this offense can be.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
    2. LF Brett Gardner
    3. RF Carlos Beltran
    4. 1B Mark Teixeira
    5. C Brian McCann
    6. 3B Chase Headley
    7. DH Alex Rodriguez
    8. 2B Stephen Drew
    9. SS Didi Gregorius

    Projected Bench

    C J.R. Murphy
    1B/OF Garrett Jones
    IF Brendan Ryan
    OF Chris Young

13. Seattle Mariners (2014 Rank: 18)

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Lineup Outlook

    The Seattle Mariners offense has been mediocre at best since the days of Bret Boone, John Olerud and Edgar Martinez, but it looks like it could be a legitimate weapon in 2015.

    Adding slugger Nelson Cruz to slot between Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager was the big move, and while he probably won't hit 40 home runs again, even something like an .800 OPS and 25-30 long balls would be significant.

    The team also shored up its corner outfield production with the additions of Seth Smith, Justin Ruggiano and Rickie Weeks. Add to that the continued progression of Mike Zunino and Brad Miller and a full season of Austin Jackson, and this looks like the best Seattle lineup in years.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. CF Austin Jackson
    2. RF Seth Smith
    3. 2B Robinson Cano
    4. DH Nelson Cruz
    5. 3B Kyle Seager
    6. 1B Logan Morrison
    7. C Mike Zunino
    8. LF Dustin Ackley
    9. SS Brad Miller

    Projected Bench

    C Jesus Sucre
    IF/OF Willie Bloomquist
    IF/OF Rickie Weeks
    OF Justin Ruggiano

12. Cincinnati Reds (2014 Rank: 28)

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    Looking at their lineup on paper, it's hard to believe the Cincinnati Reds were 28th in runs scored last season, but a lot of that had to do with injury-plagued years from Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce.

    If those three veteran stars can bounce back and the All-Star duo of Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco can build off of their breakout years, this could be the most improved offense in baseball despite the only notable change being the addition of Marlon Byrd in left field.

    It will be interesting to see what steps forward Billy Hamilton takes in his second season. The speedster stole 56 bases and played Gold Glove-caliber defense last season, but he also hit just .250/.292/.355 out of the leadoff spot, struck out 117 times and was caught stealing 23 times.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. CF Billy Hamilton
    2. 1B Joey Votto
    3. 2B Brandon Phillips
    4. C Devin Mesoraco
    5. RF Jay Bruce
    6. 3B Todd Frazier
    7. LF Marlon Byrd
    8. SS Zack Cozart
    9. Pitcher

    Projected Bench

    C Bryan Pena
    1B/OF Chris Dominguez
    2B/OF Skip Schumaker
    IF/OF Kris Negron
    OF Brennan Boesch

11. Cleveland Indians (2014 Rank: 11)

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    Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    On the strength of breakout performances from Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes, both of whom took home Silver Slugger honors, the Cleveland Indians managed to rank 11th in runs scored last season.

    The lineup returns essentially intact, with the one notable addition being Brandon Moss. The 31-year-old was an All-Star last season when he posted an .878 OPS with 21 home runs in the first half, but torn cartilage in his hip sapped his production after the break and he hit just .173 with four home runs.

    The biggest difference could be a healthy Jason Kipnis, who went from an MVP candidate in 2013 to a non-factor last season.

    "He has so many ways to beat you," manager Terry Francona said about Kipnis, per Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer. "He is a very good bunter. He can steal a base. He is back to hitting the ball with authority to the opposite field, and he can pull the ball with power."

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. CF Michael Bourn
    2. SS Jose Ramirez
    3. LF Michael Brantley
    4. 1B Carlos Santana
    5. RF Brandon Moss
    6. C Yan Gomes
    7. 2B Jason Kipnis
    8. DH David Murphy
    9. 3B Lonnie Chisenhall

    Projected Bench

    C Roberto Perez
    1B Jesus Aguilar
    IF/OF Mike Aviles
    OF Ryan Raburn

10. Chicago White Sox (2014 Rank: 13)

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    Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    The Chicago White Sox enjoyed watching Jose Abreu emerge as one of the most feared sluggers in baseball last season, then added some significant pieces to help shoulder the offensive load this coming season.

    Breakout candidate Adam Eaton, hit machine Melky Cabrera, Abreu, left-handed run producer Adam LaRoche and a healthy Avisail Garcia might be the most underrated 1-5 in the majors.

    What keeps the White Sox from being ranked any higher is the back of the order.

    Conor Gillaspie is no lock to duplicate his surprisingly productive 2014, Alexei Ramirez dropped off significantly in the second half and is another year older, Tyler Flowers is a below-average hitter, and Micah Johnson is unproven.

    All of that said, this offense should make plenty of noise in the AL Central, and it earns a spot in the top 10 largely on overall potential.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. CF Adam Eaton
    2. LF Melky Cabrera
    3. 1B Jose Abreu
    4. DH Adam LaRoche
    5. RF Avisail Garcia
    6. 3B Conor Gillaspie
    7. SS Alexei Ramirez
    8. C Tyler Flowers
    9. 2B Micah Johnson

    Projected Bench

    C Geovany Soto
    IF Gordon Beckham
    IF Carlos Sanchez
    UT Emilio Bonifacio
    OF J.B. Shuck

9. Miami Marlins (2014 Rank: 16)

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    Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    The Miami Marlins kicked off the offseason by handing Giancarlo Stanton a record extension and set to work from there, rebuilding the roster around him as they look to make the jump from fringe contender to legitimate playoff team.

    Incumbent shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria will be surrounded by three new infield-mates in Michael Morse, Dee Gordon and Martin Prado. Gordon provides game-changing speed at the top, Morse will be tasked with protecting Stanton, and Prado continues to be the National League version of Ben Zobrist by doing a little bit of everything.

    However, the strength of this team is its outfield, where a pair of emerging stars in Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna join Stanton to form the best trio in baseball.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. 2B Dee Gordon
    2. LF Christian Yelich
    3. RF Giancarlo Stanton
    4. 1B Michael Morse
    5. 3B Martin Prado
    6. CF Marcell Ozuna
    7. C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    8. SS Adeiny Hechavarria
    9. Pitcher

    Projected Bench

    C Jeff Mathis
    IF Donovan Solano
    IF/OF Jeff Baker
    IF/OF Don Kelly
    OF Ichiro Suzuki

8. Pittsburgh Pirates (2014 Rank: 10)

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    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Lineup Outlook

    The Pittsburgh Pirates ranked third in baseball with a .330 team on-base percentage last season, and while losing the .402 OBP of Russell Martin hurts, they should be formidable once again.

    Moving Pedro Alvarez to first base and pairing him with bounce-back candidate Corey Hart could make a huge difference. The position, manned primarily by Ike Davis and Gaby Sanchez, provided a .226/.314/.374 line with 17 home runs and 65 RBI last year.

    Andrew McCutchen is one of the game's truly elite talents, and with Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco flanking him in the outfield, the Pirates could challenge the Miami Marlins for the title of best outfield before the season is over.

    Throw in Josh Harrison, who figures to make an impact even with some regression, and Neil Walker, who is one of the most underrated players in the National League, and this offense has a chance to be rock solid in 2015.

    Starting Starting Lineup

    1. 3B Josh Harrison
    2. RF Gregory Polanco
    3. CF Andrew McCutchen
    4. 2B Neil Walker
    5. LF Starling Marte
    6. 1B Pedro Alvarez
    7. SS Jordy Mercer
    8. C Francisco Cervelli
    9. Pitcher

    Projected Bench

    C Tony Sanchez
    1B/OF Corey Hart
    1B/OF Andrew Lambo
    IF Jung Ho Kang
    IF/OF Sean Rodriguez

7. Los Angeles Dodgers (2014 Rank: 6)

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    It will be a different-looking offense for the Los Angeles Dodgers this season after Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Dee Gordon departed in the offseason, but it has a chance to be every bit as dangerous.

    The veteran middle infield duo of Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins takes over, and as long as they can stay healthy, they should be one of the more productive tandems in the league.

    It will be up to Yasiel Puig to help make up for the lost run production, and while he certainly has the tools, he'll need to find a way to avoid the prolonged slumps that plagued him last season.

    The biggest X-factor would seemingly be rookie Joc Pederson, and his strong spring (.368 BA, 1.154 OPS, 6 HR, 12 RBI) has him looking poised for a big first season stepping into the starting lineup in place of Kemp.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. SS Jimmy Rollins
    2. LF Carl Crawford
    3. RF Yasiel Puig
    4. 1B Adrian Gonzalez
    5. C Yasmani Grandal
    6. 2B Howie Kendrick
    7. CF Joc Pederson
    8. 3B Juan Uribe
    9. Pitcher

    Projected Bench

    C A.J. Ellis
    1B/OF Scott Van Slyke
    IF Alex Guerrero
    IF Justin Turner
    OF Andre Ethier
    OF Chris Heisey

6. Los Angeles Angels (2014 Rank: 1)

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    Ed Zurga/Getty Images

    Lineup Outlook

    The highest-scoring team in baseball last season, the Los Angeles Angels should again rank near the top of that category in 2015, though it's hard to see them claiming the top spot again.

    Losing Howie Kendrick, who hit .293/.347/.397 with 75 RBI, 85 runs scored and 14 stolen bases, is going to hurt more than some people realize. Andrew Heaney was a terrific return in the trade that sent Kendrick to the Dodgers, but he was a glue guy for this team.

    Mike Trout deservedly received the accolades, but it's the contributions of guys like Kole Calhoun and Chris Iannetta that made this the league's top offense.

    Keep an eye on C.J. Cron as a breakout candidate. The 25-year-old did nothing but hit in the minors, posted a .739 OPS with 11 home runs in 242 at-bats as a rookie last season and has been mashing this spring (.407 BA, 1.185 OPS, 13 XBH).

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. RF Kole Calhoun
    2. CF Mike Trout
    3. 1B Albert Pujols
    4. LF Matt Joyce
    5. 3B David Freese
    6. SS Erick Aybar
    7. DH C.J. Cron
    8. C Chris Iannetta
    9. 2B Johnny Giavotella

    Projected Bench

    C Drew Butera
    1B/OF Efren Navarro
    IF Taylor Featherston
    OF Collin Cowgill

5. St. Louis Cardinals (2014 Rank: 23)

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Lineup Outlook

    Saying the St. Louis Cardinals offense underperformed last season would be a massive understatement, but it managed to get hot at the right time, and odds are it is a more consistent unit this coming season.

    "I find it hard to believe they'll be as frustrating offensively as last year, especially if Jason Heyward shores up the No. 2 spot," wrote Anthony Castrovince of Sports on Earth.

    Heyward has yet to live up to his vast potential offensively, but he has still been a consistent on-base threat and decent base stealer. A change of scenery and a contract year may add up to the breakout season we've all be waiting for.

    To put it simply, there are no holes in this lineup. The team even found a platoon partner for Matt Adams against tough left-handers, signing Mark Reynolds to a one-year, $2 million deal that already looks like a steal.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. 3B Matt Carpenter
    2. RF Jason Heyward
    3. LF Matt Holliday
    4. 1B Matt Adams
    5. C Yadier Molina
    6. SS Jhonny Peralta
    7. 2B Kolten Wong
    8. CF Jon Jay
    9. Pitcher

    Projected Bench

    C Tony Cruz
    1B/3B Mark Reynolds
    IF Pete Kozma
    OF Peter Bourjos
    OF Randal Grichuk

4. Colorado Rockies (2014 Rank: 3)

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    Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

    Lineup Outlook

    The Colorado Rockies were the highest-scoring offense in the National League last season, and with essentially the same lineup returning and another 81 games in Coors Field, they should have a great chance of defending that title.

    Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are both healthy, at least for the time being, and when they're at their best they are still as dynamic a one-two punch as any in baseball.

    Chances are Justin Morneau won't match his NL batting title-winning performance, but look for Nolan Arenado to make up the difference. The 23-year-old is a superstar in the making and would have broken out last season if not for a fractured finger.

    At some point, trading one of their five productive outfielders for more pitching help would make sense, but for now, the Rockies will again have terrific depth and the ability to play matchups because of it.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. CF Charlie Blackmon
    2. LF Corey Dickerson
    3. SS Troy Tulowitzki
    4. RF Carlos Gonzalez
    5. 1B Justin Morneau
    6. 3B Nolan Arenado
    7. C Nick Hundley
    8. 2B DJ LeMahieu
    9. Pitcher

    Projected Bench

    C Michael McKenry
    C/1B Wilin Rosario
    IF Daniel Descalso
    IF Rafael Ynoa
    OF Drew Stubbs

3. Detroit Tigers (2014 Rank: 2)

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Lineup Outlook

    There are some legitimate questions to be answered about their pitching staff, but the Detroit Tigers should again have one of the best offenses in baseball backing it.

    Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez are still working their way back to 100 percent after offseason surgeries, but in the case of Cabrera, the Tigers should be better off for it in the long run.

    Those two all-world hitters will be joined again by J.D. Martinez as well as newcomer Yoenis Cespedes, giving the Tigers a foursome of power hitters that stacks up to any in baseball.

    Anthony Gose is the X-factor. The 24-year-old never played up to his potential in sporadic action for the Toronto Blue Jays, but he'll get every chance to be the everyday center fielder, and he has the speed to be a real weapon if he can hit enough.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. CF Anthony Gose
    2. 2B Ian Kinsler
    3. 1B Miguel Cabrera
    4. DH Victor Martinez
    5. RF J.D. Martinez
    6. LF Yoenis Cespedes
    7. C Alex Avila
    8. 3B Nick Castellanos
    9. SS Jose Iglesias

    Projected Bench

    C James McCann
    IF Hernan Perez
    IF/OF Andrew Romine
    OF Rajai Davis

2. Toronto Blue Jays (2014 Rank: 5)

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Lineup Outlook

    For my money, the Toronto Blue Jays have the best 1-5 of any lineup in baseball, with newcomers Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin joining the incumbent trio of Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.

    Keeping all of those guys healthy will be key, and that may be easier said than done given the injury histories of some of them, Reyes and Bautista and in particular. However, they're healthy right now, and until that changes, this looks like a lineup that is potent enough to propel the Blue Jays into contention, even with some questions about their pitching staff.

    The game-changer would be steady production from rookies Devon Travis and Dalton Pompey at the bottom of the lineup. Both rank among the league's top 10 prospects at their respective positions (Pompey: No. 7 OF, Travis: No. 7 2B), according to MLB.com Prospect Watch, so the potential is certainly there.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. SS Jose Reyes
    2. C Russell Martin
    3. RF Jose Bautista
    4. 1B Edwin Encarnacion
    5. 3B Josh Donaldson
    6. DH Dioner Navarro
    7. LF Kevin Pillar
    8. 2B Devon Travis
    9. CF Dalton Pompey

    Projected Bench

    C Josh Thole
    1B Justin Smoak
    IF/OF Steve Tolleson
    IF/OF Danny Valencia

1. Boston Red Sox (2014 Rank: 18)

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Lineup Outlook

    The 2014 season was a rough one for the Boston Red Sox, but they could very well be in line for another worst-to-first run this coming season.

    The additions of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval were obviously the headline-grabbing moves, but they are far from the only reason the offense figures to be vastly improved in 2015. Dustin Pedroia should be back to 100 percent after undergoing surgery on the wrist that nagged him for most of last season, while Shane Victorino is healthy for the time being.

    The biggest X-factor could be the dynamic Mookie Betts, who will open the season as the everyday center fielder and could give the team one of the better table setters in the league.

    All of that, combined with incumbents David Ortiz and Mike Napoli and a possible step forward from Xander Bogaerts, gives Boston the No. 1 offense heading into the season.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    1. CF Mookie Betts
    2. 2B Dustin Pedroia
    3. DH David Ortiz
    4. LF Hanley Ramirez
    5. 3B Pablo Sandoval
    6. 1B Mike Napoli
    7. RF Shane Victorino
    8. SS Xander Bogaerts
    9. C Ryan Hanigan

    Projected Bench

    C Sandy Leon
    1B/OF Allen Craig
    IF/OF Brock Holt
    OF Daniel Nava

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