MLB Power Rankings: Where Teams Stand at Start of 2016 Spring Training Games

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 29, 2016

MLB Power Rankings: Where Teams Stand at Start of 2016 Spring Training Games

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    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Spring training is finally underway, and games are set to begin this week in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues, so let's kick things off with another updated version of our MLB power rankings.

    We last updated these rankings Feb. 22, so any transactions or injuries that have taken place between then and now were factored into the changes you'll see in the following rankings.

    Notable additions during that span include: OF Ian Desmond (TEX), OF Dexter Fowler (CHC), IF/OF Chris Coghlan (OAK), OF Will Venable (CLE), OF Shane Victorino (CHC), OF Drew Stubbs (TEX), OF Domonic Brown (TOR), 1B/3B Casey McGehee (DET) and RP Rafael Soriano (TOR).

    We also saw Abraham Almonte (CLE) suspended, Jose Reyes (COL) put on administrative leave and Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) ticketed for the disabled list.

    There were also a few simple shifts in opinion on how some teams stack up to others.

    There's obviously no game action to justify shuffling these rankings at this point, but here in the offseason, the more you think about teams, the more your opinion is likely to change.

    Call it analysis or call it overanalysis, it's just a part of these preseason rankings—and 400-plus comments on the last version of these rankings gave me plenty to think about.

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

    Keep that in mind when considering where your favorite team falls in the following rankings, as a lot can still change between now and Opening Day.

    Note: This time around, we've included a projected 25-man Opening Day roster for each club. The roster projections from Roster Resource served as an invaluable starting point in this exercise, though I made changes based on my own opinions.

    In the following projected rosters, (R) indicates a player with rookie eligibility remaining, while a bold player is a newcomer to the team.

30. Atlanta Braves

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    Michael Bourn
    Michael BournKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    The Atlanta Braves have a number of roster decisions to make this spring, but tops on that list may be deciding what to do if they're unable to unload either Nick Swisher or Michael Bourn, which is looking more and more likely at this point.

    Unless someone such as Hector Olivera or Adonis Garcia begins the season in Triple-A or someone from the recently signed trio of Emilio Bonifacio, Gordon Beckham and Kelly Johnson is released, there's a fairly obvious roster crunch on the position player side of things.

    As for the pitchers, the No. 5 starter job and a few bullpen spots will be available.

    Non-roster invitees Kyle Kendrick, Jhoulys Chacin, Alexi Ogando, Carlos Torres, David Carpenter and Alex Torres are all in the mix there if one or more of them can turn in a strong spring.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Ender InciarteRHP Julio Teheran
    SS Erick AybarRHP Matt Wisler
    RF Nick MarkakisLHP Manny Banuelos
    1B Freddie FreemanRHP Bud Norris
    LF Hector Olivera (R)RHP Williams Perez
    3B Adonis GarciaBullpen
    C A.J. PierzynskiLHP Evan Rutckyj (R)
    2B Jace PetersonRHP Chris Withrow
    BenchRHP Jim Johnson
    C Tyler FlowersLHP Ian Krol
    1B/OF Nick SwisherRHP Arodys Vizcaino
    IF Gordon BeckhamRHP Jason Grilli
    IF/OF Emilio Bonifacio 
    IF/OF Kelly Johnson 
    OF Michael Bourn 

29. Colorado Rockies

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    Trevor Story
    Trevor StoryMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    The Colorado Rockies have placed shortstop Jose Reyes on paid administrative leave pending the resolution of his ongoing domestic violence case.

    Once the case is finally resolved, he could still face further discipline from the league, so at this point, it's clear the Rockies will need to explore alternatives at the position.

    Daniel Descalso, Cristhian Adames and Rafael Ynoa are all options with previous MLB experience, but prospect Trevor Story is capable of emerging as the winner after posting an .863 OPS with 40 doubles, 10 triples, 20 home runs, 80 RBI and 22 steals between Double-A and Triple-A last year.

    "I think I had a good year last year, and I think I'm ready to compete up here," Story told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.

    Sorting out the back of the rotation and final few bullpen spots will also be on the docket, but the Reyes story is the major headline at this point.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Charlie BlackmonLHP Jorge De La Rosa
    2B DJ LeMahieuRHP Chad Bettis
    RF Carlos GonzalezRHP Jon Gray (R)
    3B Nolan ArenadoRHP Jordan Lyles
    LF Gerardo ParraRHP Tyler Chatwood
    C Nick HundleyBullpen
    1B Ben PaulsenLHP Chris Rusin
    SS Trevor Story (R)RHP Jairo Diaz (R)
    BenchLHP Boone Logan
    C Tom Murphy (R)RHP Chad Qualls
    1B/3B Mark ReynoldsRHP Justin Miller
    IF Cristhian AdamesRHP Jason Motte
    IF Daniel DescalsoLHP Jake McGee
    OF Brandon Barnes 

28. Cincinnati Reds

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    Raisel Iglesias
    Raisel IglesiasBenny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    The projected starting rotation shown below for the Cincinnati Reds features five pitchers with a combined 493.0 MLB innings under their belts.

    While there is no clear-cut future ace in that group, one player to keep an eye on this spring is Raisel Iglesias. The former Cuban defector posted a 3.13 ERA, 0.896 WHIP and 10.2 K/9 over the final two months last season, and he could emerge as the leader in that staff ace role.

    Settling upon a starting left fielder looks like Cincinnati's biggest yet-to-be-made decision, with Scott Schebler, Adam Duvall and Yorman Rodriguez identified as the leading candidates but top prospect Jesse Winker also in the running, per C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer

    Finally, not since Josh Hamilton and Jared Burton in 2007 has a Rule 5 selection earned a spot on the Reds' roster, according to Mark Sheldon of They could break camp with a pair of them this season in outfielder Jake Cave and reliever Chris O'Grady, so that will be worth watching as well.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    SS Zack CozartRHP Anthony DeSclafani
    1B Joey VottoRHP Raisel Iglesias
    2B Brandon PhillipsLHP Brandon Finnegan
    RF Jay BruceRHP Michael Lorenzen
    3B Eugenio SuarezRHP Jon Moscot
    C Devin MesoracoBullpen
    LF Scott Schebler (R)RHP Carlos Contreras
    CF Billy HamiltonLHP Chris O'Grady (R)
    BenchRHP Caleb Cotham (R)
    C Tucker BarnhartRHP Blake Wood
    IF/OF Ivan DeJesus Jr.LHP Tony Cingrani
    IF/OF Adam DuvallRHP Jumbo Diaz
    OF Jake Cave (R)RHP J.J. Hoover
    OF Yorman Rodriguez (R)

27. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Jeremy Jeffress
    Jeremy JeffressCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    Just because spring training is underway, it doesn't mean the trade market is closed. One name to keep an eye on is Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

    "There’s still buzz in the scouting community that Lucroy could be moved in spring training," wrote Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. "There are plenty of teams looking for a catcher, and Lucroy is the best available at the moment. The Brewers are exploring moving Lucroy for prospects."

    That would just be the latest in a string of moves by the rebuilding Brewers, as they will enter camp with a number of low-cost additions vying for significant spots on the roster. The projected 25-man group below features 11 newcomers.

    Among other holes that will need to be filled is the closer's job, as the Brewers dealt All-Star Francisco Rodriguez to the Detroit Tigers this winter. Incumbents Jeremy Jeffress (72 G, 2.65 ERA, 1.265 WHIP, 8.9 K/9) and Will Smith (76 G, 2.70 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 12.9 K/9) will battle for the job, according to Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Scooter GennettRHP Jimmy Nelson
    C Jonathan LucroyRHP Wily Peralta
    LF Ryan BraunRHP Matt Garza
    1B Chris CarterRHP Taylor Jungmann
    RF Domingo SantanaRHP Chase Anderson
    3B Will Middlebrooks
    CF Kirk NieuwenhuisLHP Sean Nolin (R)
    SS Jonathan VillarRHP Zack Jones (R)
    BenchRHP Tyler Thornburg
    C Martin MaldonadoRHP Michael Blazek
    IF Aaron HillRHP Corey Knebel
    IF/OF Colin Walsh (R)LHP Will Smith
    OF Ramon Flores (R)RHP Jeremy Jeffress
    OF Rymer Liriano (R) 

26. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Tyler Goeddel
    Tyler GoeddelElsa/Getty Images

    Spring Focus

    The Philadelphia Phillies will begin the season with a number of place-holders occupying spots on the 25-man roster while they continue to wait on a wave of prospect talent to arrive at the MLB level.

    Among the veteran names worth keeping an eye on are starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, reliever David Hernandez and outfielder Peter Bourjos, as all three players are free agents at the end of the season. The team would presumably love nothing more than for them to turn into viable trade chips by July.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, top prospects J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams, Jake Thompson, Mark Appel, Jorge Alfaro, Andrew Knapp and Roman Quinn are all in big league camp and expected to debut at some point in 2016.

    There are also a number of non-roster relievers vying for what appears to be one spot in the bullpen, with Edward Mujica, James Russell, Bobby LaFromboise, Ernesto Frieri, Yoervis Medina and Andrew Bailey the most notable names among the 10 non-roster bullpen arms.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Cesar HernandezRHP Aaron Nola
    CF Odubel HerreraRHP Jeremy Hellickson
    3B Maikel FrancoRHP Charlie Morton
    1B Ryan HowardRHP Jerad Eickhoff
    LF Aaron AltherrRHP Vincent Velasquez
    C Carlos RuizBullpen
    SS Freddy GalvisLHP Brett Oberholtzer
    RF Peter BourjosLHP Daniel Stumpf (R)
    BenchRHP Jeanmar Gomez
    C Cameron Rupp (R)RHP Dalier Hinojosa (R)
    1B/OF Darin RufRHP Edward Mujica
    IF Andres BlancoRHP Luis Garcia
    3B/OF Cody AscheRHP David Hernandez
    OF Tyler Goeddel (R) 

25. San Diego Padres

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    Jabari Blash
    Jabari BlashCharlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Spring Focus

    The expectations surrounding the San Diego Padres will be significantly different this spring after a much more low-key offseason where the focus was on rebuilding the farm system and plugging holes with low-cost additions.

    The bullpen will have a significantly different look and will rely heavily on Fernando Rodney still having enough in the tank to hold down the closer's role. To his credit, the 38-year-old posted a 0.75 ERA in 14 appearances after joining the Chicago Cubs last August.

    Rule 5 picks Jabari Blash, Luis Perdomo and Josh Martin all have a chance at winning a job, and Blash could actually work his way into significant playing time as the primary left fielder with a strong spring.

    "From a starting position, (Blash) probably comes in behind the veterans we have in the outfield," manager Andy Green told Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune, "but if he shows the bat we think he has, anything is possible."

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Cory SpangenbergRHP Tyson Ross
    3B Yangervis SolarteRHP James Shields
    1B Wil MyersRHP Andrew Cashner
    RF Matt KempRHP Brandon Maurer
    C Derek NorrisLHP Robbie Erlin
    SS Alexei RamirezBullpen
    LF Jabari Blash (R)RHP Luis Perdomo (R)
    CF Melvin Upton Jr.RHP Josh Martin (R)
    BenchRHP Nick Vincent
    C Christian BethancourtRHP Carlos Villanueva
    1B Brett WallaceRHP Kevin Quackenbush
    IF/OF Alexi AmaristaLHP Drew Pomeranz
    IF/OF Skip SchumakerRHP Fernando Rodney
    OF Jon Jay

24. Los Angeles Angels

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    Andrew Heaney
    Andrew HeaneyJayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    Some people were displeased with how low the Los Angeles Angels were in these rankings the last time around, but it's hard to justify putting them any higher with their current offensive outlook.

    After all, this is a team that ranked 20th in the majors and 12th in the AL last year at 4.08 runs per game, and they'll now likely be without slugger Albert Pujols to begin the season following offseason foot surgery.

    Keep in mind these rankings are based on where teams stand right now.

    And right now, a starting lineup that features Daniel Nava, Craig Gentry, Carlos Perez, Andrelton Simmons and Johnny Giavotella might be the worst in the American League.

    That means the pitching staff will need to do a lot of the heavy lifting, and deciding on who fills two rotation spots between the trio of Andrew Heaney, Matt Shoemaker and Hector Santiago becomes that much bigger of a decision as a result.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    3B Yunel EscobarRHP Garrett Richards
    RF Kole CalhounRHP Jered Weaver
    CF Mike TroutLHP C.J. Wilson
    1B C.J. CronLHP Andrew Heaney
    LF Daniel NavaRHP Matt Shoemaker
    SS Andrelton SimmonsBullpen
    C Carlos PerezLHP Hector Santiago
    DH Craig GentryRHP Deolis Guerra (R)
    2B Johnny GiavotellaRHP Al Alburquerque
    BenchLHP Jose Alvarez
    C Geovany SotoRHP Fernando Salas
    1B Ji-Man Choi (R)RHP Joe Smith
    IF/OF Cliff PenningtonRHP Huston Street
    OF Todd Cunningham 

23. Miami Marlins

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    Carter Capps
    Carter CappsCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    Even after signing Wei-Yin Chen to provide some support for Jose Fernandez at the top of the rotation, there is still a serious question as to whether the Miami Marlins have enough starting pitching to contend.

    They do have plenty of depth in that department, though, as young arms like Justin Nicolino, Adam Conley, Kendry Flores and Jose Urena all saw time in the majors last season and will push free-agent addition Edwin Jackson for the No. 5 starter job.

    On the other side of the ball, the offense has a chance to be a real strength.

    Healthy seasons from Giancarlo Stanton and Martin Prado, a bounce-back performance by Marcell Ozuna and a potential breakout by catcher J.T. Realmuto all contribute to the offense's potential upside.

    For now, though, this team still looks to be closer to the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves at the bottom in the NL East than it is to the Washington Nationals and New York Mets at the top.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Dee GordonRHP Jose Fernandez
    LF Christian YelichLHP Wei-Yin Chen
    RF Giancarlo StantonRHP Jarred Cosart
    1B Justin BourRHP Tom Koehler
    CF Marcell OzunaRHP Edwin Jackson
    3B Martin PradoBullpen
    C J.T. RealmutoRHP David Phelps
    SS Adeiny HechavarriaLHP Brad Hand
    BenchRHP Kyle Barraclough (R)
    C Jeff MathisRHP Bryan Morris
    1B/3B Chris JohnsonLHP Mike Dunn
    IF Miguel RojasRHP Carter Capps
    IF/OF Derek DietrichRHP A.J. Ramos
    OF Ichiro Suzuki 

22. Oakland Athletics

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    Eric Sogard
    Eric SogardKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    The Oakland Athletics went from 88 wins and a wild-card berth in 2014 to 68 wins and a last-place finish in the AL West last season. As a result, they once again find themselves in a position to sneak up on some people this year.

    Adding slugger Khris Davis to the middle of the lineup should help provide some much-needed run production support for Josh Reddick, while the versatile Chris Coghlan also looks like a good fit on a team that likes to shuffle lineups.

    That said, his arrival could mean fan-favorite Eric Sogard is ticketed for Triple-A.

    An improved bullpen figures to be the most significant difference after last year's relief corps ranked 28th in the league with a 4.63 ERA and converted just 28 of 53 save chances.

    That led to the offseason additions of Marc Rzepczynski, John Axford, Liam Hendriks and Ryan Madson, but the biggest addition could be a healthy Sean Doolittle after he was slowed by arm issues last season.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Billy BurnsRHP Sonny Gray
    2B Jed LowrieRHP Jesse Hahn
    RF Josh ReddickLHP Rich Hill
    LF Khris DavisRHP Chris Bassitt
    C Stephen VogtRHP Kendall Graveman
    3B Danny ValenciaBullpen
    DH Billy ButlerLHP Felix Doubront
    1B Yonder AlonsoRHP Fernando Rodriguez
    SS Marcus SemienLHP Marc Rzepczynski
    BenchRHP John Axford
    C Josh PhegleyRHP Liam Hendriks
    1B/OF Mark CanhaRHP Ryan Madson
    IF/OF Chris CoghlanLHP Sean Doolittle
    OF Coco Crisp 

21. Baltimore Orioles

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    Mark Trumbo
    Mark TrumboRob Carr/Getty Images

    Spring Focus

    Although it appeared the Baltimore Orioles were set to sign Dexter Fowler, the veteran outfielder changed course last week and signed with the Chicago Cubs, once again leaving the outfield with a hole to fill.

    Mark Trumbo is an option to serve as the team's primary right fielder, but with minus-12 DRS and a minus-8.5 UZR/150 in his career as an outfielder, the slugger is best served as the team's primary designated hitter.

    Big picture: The offense isn't the issue here. It's the starting rotation, which still looks to be a middle-of-the-road group at best even after the addition of Yovani Gallardo.

    A step forward by Kevin Gausman and some semblance of consistency from Ubaldo Jimenez would go a long way, but right now, a last-place finish in the AL East seems more likely than a run at contention.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    LF Hyun Soo Kim (R)RHP Chris Tillman
    3B Manny MachadoRHP Yovani Gallardo
    1B Chris DavisRHP Ubaldo Jimenez
    CF Adam JonesRHP Miguel Gonzalez
    C Matt WietersRHP Kevin Gausman
    DH Mark TrumboBullpen
    2B Jonathan SchoopRHP Dylan Bundy (R)
    SS J.J. HardyRHP Vance Worley
    RF Nolan ReimoldRHP Mychal Givens (R)
    BenchLHP Brian Matusz
    C Caleb JosephRHP Brad Brach
    IF/OF Ryan FlahertyRHP Darren O'Day
    OF Jimmy ParedesLHP Zach Britton
    OF Joey Rickard (R) 

20. Chicago White Sox

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    Mat Latos
    Mat LatosJoe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    Some view the Chicago White Sox as serious contenders for the AL Central crown this season, but an uphill battle awaits them if they're going to make that leap after a 76-win season a year ago.

    Adding Brett Lawrie and Todd Frazier shores up the infield both offensively and defensively, and the new catching tandem of Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro should do a solid job handling the pitching staff.

    That staffled by the lefty trio of Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Carlos Rodonhas a chance to be a strength, but the organization has a troubling lack of starting pitching depth should the injury bug strike.

    That's by no means the only area of concern, either.

    Can the White Sox count on anything out of Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche, Avisail Garcia, John Danks and Mat Latos after how bad they were last season? The optimist would say they can't be worse, but the realist might say there's no reason to think they'll be better.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Adam EatonLHP Chris Sale
    LF Melky CabreraLHP Jose Quintana
    1B Jose AbreuLHP Carlos Rodon
    3B Todd FrazierLHP John Danks
    DH Adam LaRocheRHP Mat Latos
    2B Brett LawrieBullpen
    RF Avisail GarciaRHP Jacob Turner
    C Dioner NavarroLHP Dan Jennings
    SS Jimmy RollinsRHP Zach Putnam
    BenchLHP Zach Duke
    C Alex AvilaRHP Matt Albers
    IF Tyler SaladinoRHP Nate Jones
    IF/OF Mike OltRHP David Robertson
    OF J.B. Shuck 

19. Minnesota Twins

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    Tyler Duffey
    Tyler DuffeyTim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    The Minnesota Twins were significantly better than expected last season when they went 83-79 to post their first winning record since 2010. It's incredibly difficult to nail down just how good they can be heading into 2016, though.

    A 30-19 start last season made their final record a bit deceiving, as they went 53-60 the rest of the way.

    The starting rotation was the big weakness, and with no significant additions made to the staff this winter, it's a question mark once again.

    However, if Tyler Duffey can pitch like he did down the stretch, Ervin Santana can pitch up to his potential and top prospect Jose Berrios can make an immediate impact, it could be a significantly improved group.

    Offensively, Byron Buxton and Byung Ho Park could both provide a significant spark, while a full season of Miguel Sano should also make a difference.

    There are a lot of ifs with this Twins team, enough to rank them in the No. 19 spot for now. But if things fall into place, they could climb quickly.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Byron Buxton (R)RHP Phil Hughes
    2B Brian DozierRHP Ervin Santana
    1B Joe MauerRHP Kyle Gibson
    RF Miguel SanoLHP Tommy Milone
    3B Trevor PlouffeRHP Tyler Duffey
    LF Eddie RosarioBullpen
    DH Byung Ho Park (R)RHP Ricky Nolasco
    C Kurt SuzukiRHP Michael Tonkin
    SS Eduardo EscobarRHP Casey Fien
    BenchLHP Fernando Abad
    C John Ryan MurphyRHP Trevor May
    IF/OF Eduardo NunezRHP Kevin Jepsen
    IF/OF Danny SantanaLHP Glen Perkins
    OF Oswaldo Arcia 

18. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Matt Moore
    Matt MooreKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    Scoring runs could once again be an issue for a Tampa Bay Rays team that ranked 25th in the league at 3.98 runs per game last year, but the starting rotation is capable of making up for those shortcomings.

    Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and Drew Smyly give them a rock-solid trio at the top, while Matt Moore and Alex Cobb are both major rebound candidates after being slowed by injuries last season.

    The bullpen has a different look after the team dealt Jake McGee, and someone will need to emerge as the primary setup man for All-Star closer Brad Boxberger, but no franchise has been better at cobbling together a relief corps in recent years.

    Still, how big of an impact offseason pickups Corey Dickerson, Logan Morrison and Brad Miller can make offensively could ultimately determine whether the Rays make a serious push in the AL East.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Kevin KiermaierRHP Chris Archer
    2B Logan ForsytheRHP Jake Odorizzi
    3B Evan LongoriaLHP Drew Smyly
    RF Corey DickersonRHP Erasmo Ramirez
    1B James LoneyLHP Matt Moore
    LF Desmond JenningsBullpen
    DH Logan MorrisonLHP Enny Romero (R)
    C Curt CasaliRHP Steve Geltz
    SS Brad MillerRHP Ryan Webb
    BenchLHP Xavier Cedeno
    C Hank CongerRHP Danny Farquhar
    1B/OF Steve PearceRHP Alex Colome
    IF Tim BeckhamRHP Brad Boxberger
    OF Brandon Guyer 

17. Cleveland Indians

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    Tyler Naquin
    Tyler NaquinGregg Forwerck/Getty Images

    Spring Focus

    Just how good can the Cleveland Indians' starting rotation be? That question will ultimately determine whether they're playing in October, because the offense is not going to be the driving force.

    That's not to knock the additions of Rajai Davis, Mike Napoli and Juan Uribe, as the Indians are never one to make a splash in free agency, and they did well to add those three on reasonable one-year deals.

    The big question is who will be the third starting outfielder alongside Davis and Lonnie Chisenhall, as Michael Brantley will begin the year on the disabled list and projected center fielder Abraham Almonte received an 80-game suspension for a failed performance-enhancing drug test.

    Collin Cowgill and Joey Butler are options on the 40-man roster, and veteran Will Venable was recently added on a minor league deal, but keep an eye on former first-round pick Tyler Naquin.

    Injuries have slowed his development since going No. 15 overall in 2012, but he hit .300/.381/.446 while reaching Triple-A last year and is a solid defender with a cannon arm.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    LF Rajai DavisRHP Corey Kluber
    SS Francisco LindorRHP Carlos Carrasco
    2B Jason KipnisRHP Danny Salazar
    DH Carlos SantanaRHP Trevor Bauer
    1B Mike NapoliRHP Josh Tomlin
    C Yan GomesBullpen
    RF Lonnie ChisenhallRHP Jeff Manship
    3B Juan UribeLHP Joe Thatcher
    CF Tyler Naquin (R)RHP Dan Otero
    BenchRHP Shawn Armstrong (R)
    C Roberto PerezRHP Zach McAllister
    IF Jose RamirezRHP Bryan Shaw
    OF Joey ButlerRHP Cody Allen
    OF Will Venable 

16. Seattle Mariners

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    Nate Karns
    Nate KarnsCharlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Spring Focus

    New general manager Jerry DiPoto was not shy about putting his mark on the Seattle Mariners' roster this offseason.

    Of the 59 players currently in big league camp, 30 joined the team this offseason, according to Roster Resource.

    That's an outrageous amount of turnover, but it could be exactly what the franchise needed after a disappointing 2015 season where it saw its win total shrink by 11 games despite adding Nelson Cruz to the lineup.

    The battle for the No. 5 starter job between Nate Karns and James Paxton will be one of the more compelling position battles of the spring, and with so many non-roster additions, at least a few guys are bound to make a surprise push for a 25-man spot as well.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    LF Nori AokiRHP Felix Hernandez
    SS Ketel MarteRHP Hisashi Iwakuma
    2B Robinson CanoRHP Taijuan Walker
    DH Nelson CruzLHP Wade Miley
    3B Kyle SeagerRHP Nate Karns
    1B Adam LindBullpen
    RF Seth SmithLHP Mike Montgomery
    C Chris IannettaRHP Evan Scribner
    CF Leonys MartinRHP Justin De Fratus
    BenchRHP Tony Zych (R)
    C Steve ClevengerLHP Charlie Furbush
    1B Jesus MonteroRHP Joaquin Benoit
    IF/OF Shawn O'Malley (R)RHP Steve Cishek
    OF Franklin Gutierrez 

15. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Jake Lamb
    Jake LambMatt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    It's easy to get excited about the Arizona Diamondbacks' potential this season after their all-in approach to the winter.

    The additions of Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller and Tyler Clippard will no doubt be a significant boost to the pitching staff, while the offense is once again anchored by the terrific trio of Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock and David Peralta.

    For now, we'll take a cautiously optimistic approach and rank them in the No. 15 spot, but they're capable of emerging as a top-10 team if everything falls into place.

    The question marks that breed that cautious approach?

    Rubby De La Rosa and Robbie Ray showed flashes last season, but they are far from sure things at the back of the rotation. Meanwhile, Chris Owings, Jean Segura and Jake Lamb were all below-average contributors offensively relative to their positions, while Yasmany Tomas will be tasked with replacing standout Ender Inciarte after a disappointing rookie season. 

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF A.J. PollockRHP Zack Greinke
    SS Jean SeguraRHP Shelby Miller
    1B Paul GoldschmidtLHP Patrick Corbin
    RF David PeraltaRHP Rubby De La Rosa
    C Welington CastilloLHP Robbie Ray
    LF Yasmany TomasBullpen
    3B Jake LambRHP Josh Collmenter
    2B Chris OwingsRHP Daniel Hudson
    BenchRHP Silvino Bracho (R)
    C Tuffy GosewischLHP Andrew Chafin
    C/OF Chris HerrmannRHP Randall Delgado
    IF Nick AhmedRHP Tyler Clippard
    IF/OF Phil GosselinRHP Brad Ziegler
    OF Socrates Brito (R) 

14. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Alex Wood
    Alex WoodChris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    Without a doubt, the biggest gripe with these rankings the last time they were released was the placement of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the No. 14 spot.

    Your complaints were heard, but I'm not budging on this one.

    Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher on the planet, and the starting pitching crop is much deeper than it was a year ago. However, the Giants and Diamondbacks both look to have better rotations from top to bottom this year, and losing Zack Greinke is going to hurt a lot, no matter what fans try to tell themselves.

    The bullpen ranked 19th in the league last year with a 3.91 ERA while blowing 21 saves, and the underwhelming additions of Joe Blanton and Louis Coleman don't inspire much confidence that they'll improve on that performance.

    Offensively, there might not be two bigger question marks among position players than Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig. Both are capable of playing at an All-Star level or struggling to the point of being benched.

    This was a team that ranked 19th in the majors at 4.12 runs per game in 2015, so it was by no means an offensive juggernaut a year ago.

    Could the Dodgers win the NL West for a fourth straight season? Absolutely. Would it be surprising to see them finish third in the division and miss the playoffs? Not really.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Howie KendrickLHP Clayton Kershaw
    SS Corey Seager (R)LHP Scott Kazmir
    3B Justin TurnerLHP Brett Anderson
    1B Adrian GonzalezRHP Kenta Maeda (R)
    RF Yasiel PuigLHP Alex Wood
    LF Andre EthierBullpen
    C Yasmani GrandalRHP Joe Blanton
    CF Joc PedersonLHP Luis Avilan
    BenchRHP Louis Coleman
    C A.J. EllisRHP Pedro Baez
    1B/OF Scott Van SlykeLHP J.P. Howell
    IF Chase UtleyRHP Chris Hatcher
    IF/OF Enrique HernandezRHP Kenley Jansen
    OF Carl Crawford 

13. New York Yankees

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    Aroldis Chapman
    Aroldis ChapmanKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    No starting rotation in baseball has more boom-or-bust potential than the New York Yankees' group.

    Masahiro Tanaka could be a Cy Young contender or his arm could explode tomorrow. Luis Severino was great last season, but he has just 62.1 innings under his belt. Michael Pineda is always one start away from throwing a gem or landing on the disabled list. Nathan Eovaldi is still transitioning from thrower with plus stuff to pitcher. Then there's CC Sabathia, who's by far the biggest question mark on the roster.

    Their offense is old and will need to stay healthy once again after avoiding significant injuries last season, but they were terrific in 2015, finishing second in the majors at 4.72 runs per game. If Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner can rebound from their abysmal second-half performances and Starlin Castro can make the most of his change of scenery, they could be even better in 2016.

    It will all hinge on health and starting pitching, because the bullpen will be a force and the lineup is capable of piling up runs if everyone is present.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Jacoby EllsburyRHP Masahiro Tanaka
    LF Brett GardnerRHP Luis Severino
    RF Carlos BeltranRHP Michael Pineda
    1B Mark TeixeiraRHP Nathan Eovaldi
    DH Alex RodriguezLHP CC Sabathia
    C Brian McCannBullpen
    2B Starlin CastroRHP Ivan Nova
    3B Chase HeadleyRHP Nick Rumbelow (R)
    SS Didi GregoriusLHP Chasen Shreve
    BenchRHP Branden Pinder
    C Austin RomineLHP Andrew Miller
    IF Pete KozmaRHP Dellin Betances
    IF/OF Dustin AckleyLHP Aroldis Chapman
    OF Aaron Hicks 

12. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Gerrit Cole
    Gerrit ColeCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    It's not been a good start to spring training for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Gerrit Cole.

    The ace didn't take kindly to the team's decision to renew his salary at the same $541,000 he made last year, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune.

    Of course, the flip side of that argument is that if the Pirates were to have given Cole a respectable raise this year, would it have helped them at all in arbitration negotiations with Cole and agent Scott Boras next winter? Probably not.

    On top of the salary issue, Cole is also dealing with rib inflammation that has him behind schedule to start the spring.

    Meanwhile, the team figures to get a long look at prospects Tyler Glasnow and Alen Hanson this spring. Glasnow could join the rotation sooner than later, and Hanson looks like the favorite to win the vacated second base job.

    It's a different-looking Pirates team, but the pieces are all still in place for the squad to contend in the NL Central.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    RF Gregory PolancoRHP Gerrit Cole
    3B Josh HarrisonLHP Francisco Liriano
    CF Andrew McCutchenLHP Jon Niese
    LF Starling MarteRHP Ryan Vogelsong
    1B John JasoLHP Jeff Locke
    C Francisco CervelliBullpen
    2B Alen Hanson (R)RHP Juan Nicasio
    SS Jordy MercerRHP Neftali Feliz
    BenchLHP Eric O'Flaherty
    C Chris StewartRHP Arquimedes Caminero
    1B/OF Michael MorseRHP Jared Hughes
    IF Pedro FlorimonLHP Tony Watson
    IF/OF Sean RodriguezRHP Mark Melancon
    OF Matt Joyce 

11. Boston Red Sox

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    Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval
    Hanley Ramirez and Pablo SandovalMichael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    Spring Focus

    The arrival of David Price and Craig Kimbrel and the potential for an improved pitching staff is the big positive for the Boston Red Sox looking ahead to the start of the season.

    However, the presence of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval and the questions about what exactly they can provide this season remains the big story of the spring.

    "We need them to produce, there’s no doubt about that," manager John Farrell told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe in December. "And talking to both guys, they’re working extremely hard right now to get back to the years of performance that they’ve had in the past."

    Those two are not the only question marks on the roster, though. Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rusney Castillo are both potential X-factors in the outfield, and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez might be the key to the starting rotation.

    For now, the No. 11 spot in these rankings puts them on the outside looking in for the second AL wild-card spot, but there is definitely postseason potential here.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    RF Mookie BettsLHP David Price
    2B Dustin PedroiaRHP Clay Buchholz
    SS Xander BogaertsLHP Eduardo Rodriguez
    DH David OrtizRHP Rick Porcello
    1B Hanley RamirezRHP Joe Kelly
    3B Pablo SandovalBullpen
    LF Rusney CastilloRHP Steven Wright
    C Blake SwihartLHP Tommy Layne
    CF Jackie Bradley Jr.RHP Junichi Tazawa
    BenchLHP Robbie Ross Jr.
    C Ryan HaniganRHP Carson Smith
    1B/3B Travis ShawRHP Koji Uehara
    IF/OF Brock HoltRHP Craig Kimbrel
    OF Chris Young 

10. Washington Nationals

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    Trea Turner
    Trea TurnerJon Barash/Associated Press

    Spring Focus

    Count me among the many who were burned by the wildly disappointing Washington Nationals last season, as they began the year at No. 1 in these power rankings and were my pick to win the World Series.

    Here at No. 10 overall, they're currently lined up as the No. 2 wild card in the National League, and the talent is certainly there once again for them to make a run.

    Ben Revere and Daniel Murphy were the big offseason additions to the offense, but a healthy season from Anthony Rendon could prove to be the biggest difference-maker by far.

    Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister are gone from the rotation, but Joe Ross (5-5, 3.64 ERA, 1.109 WHIP) showed front-line potential as a rookie, and the team has some interesting depth in the form of veteran Bronson Arroyo as a non-roster invitee.

    Overhauling the bullpen should also make a difference. It ranked 10th in the league with a 3.46 ERA but converted just 41 of 64 save chances and went 22-22 in one-run games.

    Don't look now, but manager Dusty Baker recently referred to Jonathan Papelbon as a "leader" , for the team this spring, per's Eddie Matz.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Ben RevereRHP Max Scherzer
    3B Anthony RendonRHP Stephen Strasburg
    RF Bryce HarperLHP Gio Gonzalez
    1B Ryan ZimmermanRHP Joe Ross
    2B Daniel MurphyRHP Tanner Roark
    LF Jayson WerthBullpen
    C Wilson RamosRHP Yusmeiro Petit
    SS Danny EspinosaLHP Felipe Rivero
    BenchRHP Blake Treinen
    C Jose LobatonRHP Trevor Gott
    1B/OF Tyler MooreLHP Oliver Perez
    1B/OF Clint RobinsonRHP Shawn Kelley
    IF Stephen DrewRHP Jonathan Papelbon
    OF Michael Taylor 

9. Houston Astros

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    Scott Feldman
    Scott FeldmanAnthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    The Houston Astros didn't add a ton this winter, acquiring Ken Giles to anchor the bullpen and signing veteran Doug Fister to prove some starting pitching depth, but they should get a big boost from their incumbent talent.

    Consider the following:

    • Carlos Correa was called up in June, so they'll have two extra months of him.
    • Lance McCullers was called up in May and limited to 22 starts with an innings limit, so he should also be able to provide more.
    • George Springer was limited to 102 games after fracturing his hand, and he's back to 100 percent.
    • Carlos Gomez was acquired at the deadline in July and was dealing with a nagging hamstring issue, so he'll be around for a full season and back at 100 percent.

    These could wind up being bigger additions than anything the team did this offseason. While the Astros still appear to be chasing the Texas Rangers at this point, they're more than capable of a return trip to the postseason and an improvement on their 86 wins from a year ago.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    RF George SpringerLHP Dallas Keuchel
    2B Jose AltuveRHP Collin McHugh
    SS Carlos CorreaRHP Lance McCullers
    LF Colby RasmusRHP Mike Fiers
    CF Carlos GomezRHP Doug Fister
    DH Preston TuckerBullpen
    3B Luis ValbuenaRHP Scott Feldman
    1B Jon SingletonRHP Josh Fields
    C Jason CastroRHP Pat Neshek
    BenchLHP Tony Sipp
    C Max Stassi (R)RHP Will Harris
    1B/3B Matt Duffy (R)RHP Luke Gregerson
    IF Marwin GonzalezRHP Ken Giles
    OF Jake Marisnick 

8. Detroit Tigers

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    Cameron Maybin
    Cameron MaybinReinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    The Detroit Tigers will need to prove their 2015 struggles are behind them before they can be considered a legitimate threat to the Kansas City Royals for AL Central supremacy, but they appear ready to make another postseason push.

    Looking up and down the roster, it's hard to find a clear weakness after a busy offseason from new general manager Al Avila.

    The Tigers added Justin Upton to an offense that would also benefit greatly from an healthy season out of Victor Martinez, while Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Aviles and Cameron Maybin were also great pickups from a depth standpoint.

    Adding Jordan Zimmermann and Mike Pelfrey gives the team a passable rotation with plenty of upside. The biggest difference could be in the bullpen, where the team finally made upgrading a priority with the additions of Mark Lowe, Justin Wilson and Francisco Rodriguez.

    Healthy seasons from Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera and Anibal Sanchez would also go a long way, while Justin Verlander may be Detroit's biggest X-factor. He'll look to keep rolling after finishing the 2015 season with a 2.12 ERA in his final 11 starts.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Ian KinslerRHP Justin Verlander
    LF Justin UptonRHP Jordan Zimmermann
    1B Miguel CabreraRHP Anibal Sanchez
    RF J.D. MartinezRHP Mike Pelfrey
    DH Victor MartinezLHP Daniel Norris
    3B Nick CastellanosBullpen
    C James McCannRHP Drew VerHagen
    SS Jose IglesiasLHP Blaine Hardy
    CF Anthony GoseRHP Bruce Rondon
    BenchRHP Alex Wilson
    C Jarrod SaltalamacchiaLHP Justin Wilson
    IF Mike AvilesRHP Mark Lowe
    IF/OF Andrew RomineRHP Francisco Rodriguez
    OF Cameron Maybin 

7. New York Mets

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    David Wright
    David WrightSteve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    The New York Mets solidified their place as NL East favorites when they managed to re-sign Yoenis Cespedes to a three-year, $75 million deal, but they have work to do if they hope to defend their NL pennant.

    There are not many roster spots up for grabs this spring, but there is a spot in the bullpen to start the year with Hansel Robles suspended for the first two games after throwing at Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp at the end of last season.

    Beyond that, the roster appears to be more or less set at this point.

    The question marks come from whether David Wright and Travis d'Arnaud can stay healthy, whether Michael Conforto can emerge as a star and whether the young starting rotation will show any lingering effects of the heavy workload they put on their arms last season.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    RF Curtis Granderson RHP Jacob deGrom
    3B David Wright RHP Matt Harvey
    1B Lucas Duda RHP Noah Syndergaard
    CF Yoenis Cespedes LHP Steven Matz
    2B Neil Walker RHP Bartolo Colon
    C Travis d'Arnaud Bullpen
    LF Michael Conforto LHP Sean Gilmartin
    SS Asdrubal Cabrera RHP Logan Verrett
    Bench LHP Jerry Blevins
    C Kevin Plawecki RHP Erik Goeddel
    IF Wilmer FloresLHP Antonio Bastardo
    IF Ruben Tejada RHP Addison Reed
    OF Alejandro De Aza RHP Jeurys Familia
    OF Juan Lagares  

6. Kansas City Royals

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    Ian Kennedy
    Ian KennedyCharlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Spring Focus

    Betting against the Kansas City Royals has proved to be a foolish move the past two seasons, and there's no reason to think things will be any different in 2016.

    They're not the traditional 21st-century baseball team, as they've built a contender on the strength of defense, speed and relief pitching as opposed to front-line starting pitching and a juggernaut offense.

    Those three areas should be a strength once again, and that should make Kansas City a contender, but the starting rotation will likely be key for them to make a return trip to the World Series.

    Kris Medlen, Chris Young and Danny Duffy are battling for the final two spots in the rotation, while Ian Kennedy will try to prove he was worth the five-year, $70 million deal he signed that also cost the team a draft pick.

    Unless the team makes a late signing, it appears Jarrod Dyson will get his first crack at regular playing time. He could be a 50-plus steal threat as a result, but will he hit enough to justify everyday at-bats?

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    SS Alcides EscobarRHP Yordano Ventura
    3B Mike MoustakasRHP Edinson Volquez
    CF Lorenzo CainRHP Ian Kennedy
    1B Eric HosmerRHP Chris Young
    DH Kendrys MoralesRHP Kris Medlen
    LF Alex GordonBullpen
    C Salvador PerezRHP Dillon Gee
    2B Omar InfanteLHP Scott Alexander (R)
    RF Jarrod DysonRHP Luke Hochevar
    BenchLHP Danny Duffy
    C Tony CruzRHP Kelvin Herrera
    IF Christian ColonRHP Joakim Soria
    OF Reymond Fuentes (R)RHP Wade Davis
    OF Paulo Orlando 

5. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Matt Adams
    Matt AdamsScott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    For all of the attention heaped on the New York Mets' rotation, and understandably so, it was the St. Louis Cardinals who led the majors with a 2.99 starters' ERA last season.

    And that was with ace Adam Wainwright making a grand total of four starts.

    The big question this offseason has been whether they will score enough runs, but that's been a question the past few seasons, and it hasn't stopped them from being perennial contenders:

    • 2014: 3.82 runs per game (T-23rd in MLB), 90 wins
    • 2015: 3.99 runs per game (24th in MLB), 100 wins

    Piling up runs is not how the Cardinals have built a sustainable winner. They've done it with terrific pitching and impressive depth, which has allowed them to overcome injuries better than most teams.

    There's no reason to think they won't be able to do it again in 2016, and breakout offensive seasons from Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty and a rebound campaign by Matt Adams could quickly put the offensive concerns to rest.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    3B Matt Carpenter RHP Adam Wainwright
    RF Stephen Piscotty RHP Michael Wacha
    LF Matt Holliday RHP Carlos Martinez
    CF Randal Grichuk RHP Mike Leake
    1B Matt Adams LHP Jaime Garcia
    SS Jhonny PeraltaBullpen
    C Yadier Molina LHP Tyler Lyons
    2B Kolten Wong RHP Seth Maness
    BenchRHP Seung Hwan Oh (R)
    C Brayan Pena RHP Jonathan Broxton
    1B/OF Brandon Moss RHP Jordan Walden
    IF Greg Garcia LHP Kevin Siegrist
    IF Jedd Gyorko RHP Trevor Rosenthal
    OF Tommy Pham  

4. San Francisco Giants

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    Matt Cain
    Matt CainMatt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    We're roughly a week into spring training, and Matt Cain has already gone under the knife again for the San Francisco Giants.

    This time it was just a minor procedure to remove a cyst from his throwing arm, and he's expected to resume throwing in 10 days, but it's not a good start for the veteran as he looks to prove he's healthy and capable of holding down a rotation spot.

    And that's exactly why the Giants broke the bank to go out and sign Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija this offseason. Cain is currently penciled in as the No. 5 starter, but with Chris Heston waiting in the wings, the team is not necessarily counting on anything from Cain.

    The big battle to watch this spring will be in left field, where Jarrett Parker will look to unseat the oft-injured Angel Pagan as the starter.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Denard Span LHP Madison Bumgarner
    2B Joe Panik RHP Johnny Cueto
    C Buster PoseyRHP Jeff Samardzija
    1B Brandon Belt RHP Jake Peavy
    RF Hunter Pence RHP Matt Cain
    3B Matt DuffyBullpen
    SS Brandon Crawford RHP Chris Heston
    LF Angel Pagan LHP Josh Osich
    Bench RHP George Kontos
    C Andrew Susac LHP Javier Lopez
    IF Ehire Adrianza RHP Hunter Strickland
    IF/OF Kelby Tomlinson RHP Sergio Romo
    OF Gregor Blanco RHP Santiago Casilla
    OF Jarrett Parker (R) 

3. Texas Rangers

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    Ryan Rua
    Ryan RuaKevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    After a relatively quiet offseason, the Texas Rangers made a splash over the weekend when they signed Ian Desmond to a one-year, $8 million deal to play left field.

    Jim Bowden of ESPN was not shy about sharing his thoughts on that deal on MLB Network radio (via the Washington Post):

    What a great job by (Rangers GM) Jon Daniels to hang around long enough to get Desmond for one year at eight. 

    You talk about the worst negotiated contract that we’ve seen in the last five years. Is there a worse deal that we have ever seen, EVER? I have never seen a worse contract, ever. Ever, for a player. You can’t tell me you can’t even get $10 million on a one-year deal? You can’t get (Howie) Kendrick’s (two-year, $20 million) deal? Wow. That’s a stunner.

    The signing makes it pretty clear the Rangers are not counting on anything out of Josh Hamilton, who is already sidelined with a knee injury and expected to start the year on the disabled list.

    Deciding who will round out the rotation until Yu Darvish returns between Nick Martinez, Chi Chi Gonzalez and non-roster invitee Jeremy Guthrie now looks like the one big choice the Rangers will have to make this spring.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Delino DeShields Jr. LHP Cole Hamels
    RF Shin-Soo Choo LHP Derek Holland
    DH Prince Fielder RHP Colby Lewis
    3B Adrian Beltre LHP Martin Perez
    1B Mitch Moreland RHP Nick Martinez
    LF Ian DesmondBullpen
    SS Elvis AndrusRHP Tony Barnette (R)
    2B Rougned Odor LHP Sam Freeman
    C Robinson Chirinos RHP Tom Wilhelmsen
    Bench LHP Jake Diekman
    C Chris Gimenez RHP Keone Kela
    IF Hanser Alberto RHP Sam Dyson
    OF Ryan Rua RHP Shawn Tolleson
    OF Justin Ruggiano 

2. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Kevin Pillar
    Kevin PillarTim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    The Toronto Blue Jays should pile up runs once again in 2016, but first they will need to decide who will be batting leadoff.

    With Ben Revere traded to the Washington Nationals for reliever Drew Storen, there's a hole at the top of the lineup and no traditional fit to replace him.

    Gregor Chisholm of provided some clarity on the situation last week when he tweeted manager John Gibbons said he prefers Troy Tulowitzki in the No. 5 spot and that the leadoff job is between Kevin Pillar and Michael Saunders.

    That's far from the only decision facing the team this spring, though, as Storen and Roberto Osuna will battle for the closer's job, and Drew Hutchison will look to hold off Aaron Sanchez and Jesse Chavez to be the No. 5 starter.

    Even with those significant decisions on the to-do list, this still looks like the team to beat in the American League thanks to its juggernaut offense and quietly improved pitching staff.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Kevin Pillar RHP Marcus Stroman
    3B Josh Donaldson RHP R.A. Dickey
    RF Jose Bautista RHP Marco Estrada
    DH Edwin Encarnacion LHP J.A. Happ
    SS Troy Tulowitzki RHP Drew Hutchison
    1B Chris Colabello Bullpen
    C Russell MartinRHP Jesse Chavez
    LF Michael Saunders LHP Aaron Loup
    2B Ryan Goins RHP Steve Delabar
    Bench LHP Brett Cecil
    C Josh Thole RHP Aaron Sanchez
    1B Justin Smoak RHP Roberto Osuna
    IF Darwin BarneyRHP Drew Storen
    OF Ezequiel Carrera  

1. Chicago Cubs

30 of 30

    Dexter Fowler
    Dexter FowlerMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Focus

    As though the hype train wasn't already flying down the tracks at full speed, the Chicago Cubs shocked the baseball world last week when they swooped in and re-signed outfielder Dexter Fowler just as he was nearing a deal with the Baltimore Orioles.

    The immediate question became what the team would do with Jorge Soler, and it's not yet clear how the Cubs will utilize four everyday-caliber outfielders.

    That said, nobody is better at shuffling lineups and getting the most out of all 25 guys than manager Joe Maddon, and quality depth is never a bad thing over the course of a long season.

    In a smaller-scale move, the team also signed veteran outfielder Shane Victorino to a minor league deal. He'll compete with Matt Szczur and Tommy La Stella for the final bench spot.

    Sorting out the bullpen will be the biggest decision of the spring, and there's a good chance the team will break camp with 13 pitchers as a result.

    Aside from the eight relievers listed below, the team will also take long looks at Rex Brothers, C.J. Riefenhauser, Carl Edwards Jr. and Spencer Patton, as well as non-roster invitees Jean Machi, Brandon Gomes, Manny Parra and Edgar Olmos. There is no shortage of options to round out the relief corps.

    Projected 25-Man Roster

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Dexter Fowler RHP Jake Arrieta
    2B Ben Zobrist LHP Jon Lester
    1B Anthony RizzoRHP John Lackey
    3B Kris Bryant RHP Jason Hammel
    LF Kyle Schwarber RHP Kyle Hendricks
    RF Jason HeywardBullpen
    C Miguel Montero RHP Adam Warren
    SS Addison Russell LHP Clayton Richard
    Bench RHP Trevor Cahill
    C David Ross RHP Neil Ramirez
    IF Javier Baez RHP Justin Grimm
    IF/OF Tommy La Stella LHP Travis Wood
    OF Jorge Soler RHP Pedro Strop
      RHP Hector Rondon

    All stats courtesy of unless otherwise noted.