Updated Spring Training Predictions for All 30 MLB Teams' Final 25-Man Rosters
Spring training has reached that special point where it feels like there's still an eternity of exhibition games left, and yet Opening Day (April 2) is right around the corner.
What better time to get caught up on how teams' rosters are shaping up?
Ahead are 25-man roster predictions for all 30 MLB teams. On balance, they don't look too different from what the projections were going into spring training. But things like injuries and performances must be accounted for, so there are a few changes to consider.
We'll go in alphabetical order by city, and please note that all stats are current through play on Tuesday, March 7.
|C Chris Iannetta||C Jeff Mathis|
|1B Paul Goldschmidt||C/OF Chris Herrmann|
|2B Brandon Drury||INF Daniel Descalso|
|3B Jake Lamb||INF Chris Owings|
|SS Nick Ahmed||OF Jeremy Hazelbaker|
|LF Yasmany Tomas|
|CF A.J. Pollock|
|RF David Peralta|
With a solid .772 OPS this spring, Chris Owings is making a push to play either second base or shortstop. But since he still fits the Diamondbacks best as a utility player off the bench, Nick Ahmed's defensive ability and Brandon Drury's offensive upside give them the edge for now.
Elsewhere, Chris Herrmann's ability to play the outfield is as good an excuse as any for the Diamondbacks to carry three catchers. The last spot on the bench is the big question. Jeremy Hazelbaker is the de facto answer until Gregor Blanco or Socrates Brito start making a stronger push.
|RHP Zack Greinke||RHP Fernando Rodney|
|LHP Robbie Ray||RHP Randall Delgado|
|RHP Taijuan Walker||RHP Jake Barrett|
|RHP Shelby Miller||LHP Andrew Chafin|
|LHP Patrick Corbin||RHP Enrique Burgos|
|RHP Silvino Bracho|
|RHP Zack Godley|
Shelby Miller has risen to the challenge of proving himself this spring. He's dominated in two of his three starts, and he continued to show overpowering stuff in the third. This is bad news for Archie Bradley, who has struggled in two of his three outings.
Even with the assumption that Jake Barrett's shoulder will be good to go in time for Opening Day, the Diamondbacks bullpen is more of a puzzle. For now, Andrew Chafin, Enrique Burgos and Silvino Bracho are on track to ride strong springs to middle relief roles. And despite some iffy spring numbers, Zack Godley looks like a good fit as the long man.
|C Tyler Flowers||C Kurt Suzuki|
|1B Freddie Freeman||INF/OF Jace Peterson|
|2B Brandon Phillips||INF/OF Chase d'Arnaud|
|3B Adonis Garcia||INF/OF Emilio Bonifacio|
|SS Dansby Swanson|
|LF Matt Kemp|
|CF Ender Inciarte|
|RF Nick Markakis|
The Braves' starting lineup looked set going into the spring, and it hasn't been shaken up by any injuries. That leaves just the bench for manager Brian Snitker to figure out.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com reported in January that the Braves will be using just a four-man bench. That places an even greater emphasis on versatility. Sean Rodriguez's injury is a tough break in this regard.
Fortunately, Jace Peterson and Chase d'Arnaud (who's out of options) can play both the infield and the outfield. So can non-roster invitee Emilio Bonifacio, who's helping his cause with a .922 OPS this spring.
|RHP Julio Teheran||RHP Jim Johnson|
|RHP Bartolo Colon||RHP Arodys Vizcaino|
|RHP R.A. Dickey||RHP Mauricio Cabrera|
|LHP Jaime Garcia||LHP Ian Krol|
|RHP Mike Foltynewicz||RHP Chaz Roe|
|RHP Jose Ramirez|
|LHP Paco Rodriguez|
|RHP Josh Collmenter|
It's a crowded competition for the last spot in Atlanta's rotation, but Mike Foltynewicz should have the edge. He's a big-armed youngster who showed some promise last year and who isn't fumbling his opportunity this spring.
In the bullpen, being out of options should work in favor of Ian Krol, Jose Ramirez and Chaz Roe. Paco Rodriguez can reemerge as a strong lefty specialist now that he's healthy again. Josh Collmenter is a natural fit as a long man.
|C Welington Castillo||C Caleb Joseph|
|1B Chris Davis||INF/OF Ryan Flaherty|
|2B Jonathan Schoop||OF Joey Rickard|
|3B Manny Machado||INF/OF Aneury Tavarez|
|SS J.J. Hardy|
|LF Hyun Soo Kim|
|CF Adam Jones|
|RF Seth Smith|
|DH Mark Trumbo|
The big question in Baltimore's starting lineup has to do with J.J. Hardy's back. With Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun reporting that the shortstop is doing baseball activities, optimism is warranted for now.
Meanwhile, Trey Mancini's absence from this bench projection may raise some eyebrows. His problem is his lack of versatility. Rather than roll with that and use him as a pinch-hitter, the Orioles would be better served going with Aneury Tavarez's versatile glove and sending Mancini to the minors for regular at-bats.
|RHP Kevin Gausman||LHP Zach Britton|
|LHP Wade Miley||RHP Brad Brach|
|RHP Dylan Bundy||RHP Darren O'Day|
|RHP Ubaldo Jimenez||RHP Mychal Givens|
|RHP Mike Wright||LHP Donnie Hart|
|RHP Logan Verrett|
|LHP Vidal Nuno|
After having a platelet-rich plasma treatment on his shoulder, Chris Tillman likely won't be ready to go by Opening Day. That creates an opening for Mike Wright, spot starter extraordinaire, at the back end of Baltimore's rotation.
Zach Britton's oblique injury is another health matter for the Orioles to worry about. But this one seems less serious, so it's only the bottom of the depth chart that needs sorting.
For that, the out-of-options Oliver Drake isn't helping his cause with his terrible spring. That's an opening for Logan Verrett to nab a middle relief role, with Vidal Nuno sliding in as the long man.
Boston Red Sox
|C Sandy Leon||C Christian Vazquez|
|1B Mitch Moreland||INF/OF Brock Holt|
|2B Dustin Pedroia||OF Chris Young|
|3B Pablo Sandoval||INF Josh Rutledge|
|SS Xander Bogaerts|
|LF Andrew Benintendi|
|CF Jackie Bradley Jr.|
|RF Mookie Betts|
|DH Hanley Ramirez|
With a .333 average in seven games, Pablo Sandoval is so far making good on his chance to reclaim his job at third base this spring. That leaves just the bench for the Red Sox to get squared away.
On that front, Christian Vazquez is securing at least a backup catcher role with his strong showing on both sides of the ball. And while Deven Marrero is making a strong push for the final spot on the bench, he has an option left. Josh Rutledge does not.
|LHP Chris Sale||RHP Craig Kimbrel|
|RHP Rick Porcello||RHP Tyler Thornburg|
|LHP David Price||RHP Joe Kelly|
|RHP Steven Wright||LHP Robbie Ross Jr.|
|LHP Drew Pomeranz||RHP Matt Barnes|
|RHP Heath Hembree|
|LHP Fernando Abad|
With David Price's elbow still intact for now, the Red Sox's projected starting rotation looks good. But with health question marks now hanging over Price, Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz, Eduardo Rodriguez shouldn't give up hope just yet.
Going into spring training, Heath Hembree (who's out of options) and Fernando Abad didn't seem to have the strongest holds on the last two bullpen spots. But with the two of them pitching well, Robby Scott and Brandon Workman remain on the outside looking in.
|C Willson Contreras||C Miguel Montero|
|1B Anthony Rizzo||INF Javier Baez|
|2B Ben Zobrist||OF Jon Jay|
|3B Kris Bryant||OF Matt Szczur|
|SS Addison Russell|
|LF Kyle Schwarber|
|CF Albert Almora|
|RF Jason Heyward|
Surprise, surprise. The world champions have a starting lineup that's pretty much good to go. Joe Maddon only needs to figure out who will be on his bench on Opening Day.
For that, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com hinted last month that Maddon will only need four players. Miguel Montero, Javier Baez and Jon Jay are definitely in, leaving Matt Szczur and Tommy La Stella to battle for the last spot. Szczur's right-handed bat and .977 OPS this spring give him the advantage.
|LHP Jon Lester||RHP Wade Davis|
|RHP Jake Arrieta||RHP Hector Rondon|
|RHP Kyle Hendricks||RHP Pedro Strop|
|RHP John Lackey||RHP Koji Uehara|
|LHP Brett Anderson||RHP Carl Edwards Jr.|
|RHP Justin Grimm|
|LHP Brian Duensing|
|LHP Mike Montgomery|
The injury bug hasn't yet caught up to Brett Anderson. That puts him on track for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, and Mike Montgomery on track for the swingman role in the bullpen.
That leaves just one spot in Chicago's pen up for grabs. Alongside Rob Zastryzny and Caleb Smith, Brian Duensing is one of three lefties gunning for it. He's thus far helping his cause with five strong frames in spring training.
Chicago White Sox
|C Derek Norris||C Geovany Soto|
|1B Jose Abreu||INF Yolmer Sanchez|
|2B Tyler Saladino||OF Peter Bourjos|
|SS Tim Anderson||OF Cody Asche|
|3B Todd Frazier|
|LF Melky Cabrera|
|CF Charlie Tilson|
|RF Avisail Garcia|
|DH Matt Davidson|
The White Sox entered spring training with a whole bunch of questions to answer, and created yet another when they released Brett Lawrie. Let's answer them one by one:
- Catcher: The White Sox basically don't have an everyday answer at catcher, so it's easy to imagine them pouncing on Derek Norris if the Washington Nationals release him. He would be a nice piece of trade bait if he were to rebound from a bad 2016.
- Second Base: Tyler Saladino and Yolmer Sanchez (out of options) should both make the final roster, but Saladino's strong finish to 2016 and hot start this spring give him the edge to start.
- Designated Hitter: The out-of-options Matt Davidson isn't seizing the day this spring, but is still likely to get a shot to be the club's regular DH.
- Bench: Soto and Sanchez are in, and Peter Bourjos and Cody Asche are good fits to round things out. Bourjos is a good fourth outfielder, and Asche can platoon with Davidson and Avisail Garcia.
That's it for now, but stay tuned. The rebuilding White Sox have much to decide in the next few weeks.
|LHP Jose Quintana||RHP David Robertson|
|LHP Carlos Rodon||RHP Nate Jones|
|RHP James Shields||RHP Zach Putnam|
|LHP Derek Holland||RHP Jake Petricka|
|RHP Miguel Gonzalez||LHP Dan Jennings|
|LHP Giovanni Soto|
|RHP Anthony Swarzak|
Assuming Jose Quintana isn't traded, Carlos Rodon's readiness is the only unknown in Chicago's rotation. For that, Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago reports the White Sox have a solid plan mapped out.
Elsewhere, the last two spots in the bullpen look up for grabs. Giovanni Soto is a good fit to be a second left-hander alongside Dan Jennings. Anthony Swarzak, a non-roster invitee, is a natural fit as a long man.
|C Devin Mesoraco||C Tucker Barnhart|
|1B Joey Votto||C Stuart Turner|
|2B Jose Peraza||INF/OF Arismendy Alcantara|
|3B Eugenio Suarez||OF Desmond Jennings|
|SS Zack Cozart||OF Ryan Raburn|
|LF Adam Duvall|
|CF Billy Hamilton|
|RF Scott Schebler|
After playing in just 39 games over the last two seasons, Devin Mesoraco needs to show he's healthy if he wants to open the 2017 season behind the plate.
Although the Reds aren't rushing anything in that regard, it can be taken as a good sign that the 28-year-old has been making steady progress. All the same, Tucker Barnhart should be ready to see plenty of action early on this season, and Stuart Turner should be carried as a third catcher just in case.
Elsewhere on the Reds bench, Desmond Jennings will make it as a fourth outfielder and Ryan Raburn will make it as a platoon partner for Scott Schebler. Arismendy Alcantara brings versatility to the table.
|LHP Brandon Finnegan||RHP Raisel Iglesies|
|RHP Scott Feldman||RHP Michael Lorenzen|
|RHP Tim Adleman||RHP Drew Storen|
|LHP Cody Reed||LHP Tony Cingrani|
|RHP Robert Stephenson||RHP Blake Wood|
|LHP Wandy Peralta|
|RHP Sal Romano|
According to Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer, it's unlikely that Anthony DeSclafani's elbow will be good to go by Opening Day. Rather than pick one or the other, that's an excuse for the Reds to open the season with youngsters Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson in their rotation.
It's hard to even look at the Reds bullpen after what it did last year, but the top four spots are set. Blake Wood, who's out of options, is a good bet for one of the other spots. Wandy Peralta and Sal Romano, a fine swingman candidate, are pushing for the last two.
|C Yan Gomez||C Roberto Perez|
|1B Carlos Santana||OF Brandon Guyer|
|2B Jason Kipnis||OF Abraham Almonte|
|3B Jose Ramirez||INF/OF Erik Gonzalez|
|SS Francisco Lindor|
|LF Michael Brantley|
|CF Tyler Naquin|
|RF Lonnie Chisenhall|
|DH Edwin Encarnacion|
In light of his ongoing shoulder issues, we have to ask: Will Michael Brantley be ready for Opening Day?
"Now, I'm starting to get excited for him, because he's getting closer," manager Terry Francona said this week, via MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. "But, I think you have to temper it, just because, one, what he went through last year and when he got into games. And, two, I just think it's fair to him."
Brantley gets a reluctant benefit of the doubt for now, which leaves only questions about Cleveland's bench to answer. For those, Abraham Almonte looks like a good fourth outfielder choice, and Erik Gonzalez is the utility infielder the club needs.
|RHP Corey Kluber||RHP Cody Allen|
|RHP Carlos Carrasco||LHP Andrew Miller|
|RHP Danny Salazar||RHP Bryan Shaw|
|RHP Trevor Bauer||LHP Boone Logan|
|RHP Josh Tomlin||RHP Dan Otero|
|RHP Shawn Armstrong|
|RHP Zach McAllister|
As long as all the key characters stay healthy, the Indians only have one bullpen spot to figure out.
Shawn Armstrong has a strong case to emerge victorious. He's been a big-time strikeout pitcher in the minors with a career 12.2 K/9. And so far this spring, he's whiffed four batters and allowed only one hit in three innings.
|C Tony Wolters||C Tom Murphy|
|1B Ian Desmond||INF/OF Mark Reynolds|
|2B DJ LeMahieu||INF/OF Alexi Amarista|
|3B Nolan Arenado||OF Chris Denorfia|
|SS Trevor Story|
|LF Gerardo Parra|
|CF Charlie Blackmon|
|RF Carlos Gonzalez|
One of the big storylines going into Rockies camp was the impending left field competition between Gerardo Parra and David Dahl. But now that Dahl is hurt for the foreseeable future, so much for that.
The Rockies bench, meanwhile, remains largely unsettled—at least until they tab Alexi Amarista for his versatility, Mark Reynolds as Ian Desmond insurance and Chris Denorfia as a right-handed complement for their lefty-hitting outfield.
|RHP Jon Gray||RHP Greg Holland|
|RHP Chad Bettis||RHP Adam Ottavino|
|LHP Tyler Anderson||LHP Jake McGee|
|RHP Tyler Chatwood||LHP Mike Dunn|
|RHP Jeff Hoffman||RHP Jason Motte|
|RHP Chad Qualls|
|LHP Chris Rusin|
|RHP Jordan Lyles|
Prospects Jeff Hoffman and German Marquez are vying for the final spot in Colorado's starting rotation. With a 0.00 ERA through two starts this spring, Hoffman has a leg up on Marquez and his 10.80 ERA.
With them being the Rockies and everything, the real question here is how much bullpen depth they want to take into the season. A little extra is a good idea, so an eight-man pen is a safe assumption.
The top four spots are all set. After those, Jason Motte and Chad Qualls should get the nod due to their seniority. Chris Rusin and Jordan Lyles would be two solid swingmen to round things out.
|C James McCann||C Alex Avila|
|1B Miguel Cabrera||OF Tyler Collins|
|2B Ian Kinsler||INF/OF Andrew Romine|
|3B Nick Castellanos||INF Dixon Machado|
|SS Jose Iglesias|
|LF Justin Upton|
|CF Mikie Mahtook|
|RF J.D. Martinez|
|DH Victor Martinez|
Provided that Jose Iglesias recovers from a collision that knocked him out of Tuesday's action, center field is the only lineup spot the Tigers need to figure out this spring.
For that, it can't be ignored that JaCoby Jones is hitting well, while Mikie Mahtook and Tyler Collins have been largely invisible. But it's still likely that Jones will begin the year in the minors, leaving Mahtook and Collins to platoon until he's ready.
The other question has to do with the final spot on the bench. Will it go to the out-of-options Steven Moya or the out-of-options Dixon Machado? Since the latter fits the club's needs better, probably Machado.
|RHP Justin Verlander||RHP Francisco Rodriguez|
|RHP Michael Fulmer||LHP Justin Wilson|
|RHP Jordan Zimmermann||RHP Bruce Rondon|
|RHP Anibal Sanchez||RHP Alex Wilson|
|LHP Daniel Norris||RHP Mark Lowe|
|LHP Kyle Ryan|
|RHP Mike Pelfrey|
Provided he stays healthy, Anibal Sanchez's contract should ensure he gets one of the final two spots in Detroit's rotation. Mike Pelfrey probably doesn't have that luxury, and he is further hurting his cause by struggling while Daniel Norris is pitching well.
If Pelfrey takes a long relief role in the bullpen, there would be just two middle relief slots to fill. That picture is a bit of a mess at the moment, so let's shrug our shoulders and give Mark Lowe and Kyle Ryan the nod as de facto favorites.
|C Brian McCann||C Evan Gattis|
|1B Yulieski Gurriel||OF Jake Marisnick|
|2B Jose Altuve||INF/OF Marwin Gonzalez|
|3B Alex Bregman||INF/OF Tony Kemp|
|SS Carlos Correa|
|LF Nori Aoki|
|CF George Springer|
|RF Josh Reddick|
|DH Carlos Beltran|
The Astros brought a ton of depth to spring training this year, so it's no wonder they only have their final bench spot to figure out.
There are plenty of horses in that race, but Tony Kemp is the guy in the best position to win it. He has a left-handed bat to offer, and it's showing well with an .849 OPS this spring. He can also play the outfield in addition to second base.
|LHP Dallas Keuchel||RHP Ken Giles|
|RHP Collin McHugh||RHP Luke Gregerson|
|RHP Lance McCullers||RHP Will Harris|
|RHP Charlie Morton||LHP Tony Sipp|
|RHP Mike Fiers||RHP Michael Feliz|
|RHP Jandel Gustave|
|RHP Chris Devenski|
It's not a great look that all of Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh and Lance McCullers haven't pitched in a game this spring. But for now, there don't seem to be any reasons to doubt their availability for Opening Day.
This leaves just one bullpen spot for the Astros to figure out. Jandel Gustave is a good fit for it. He showed his high-octane fastball in the majors this spring and has struck out five and allowed one hit in three scoreless appearances this spring.
Kansas City Royals
|C Salvador Perez||C Drew Butera|
|1B Eric Hosmer||INF Christian Colon|
|2B Whit Merrifield||OF Paulo Orlando|
|3B Mike Moustakas||OF/DH Peter O'Brien|
|SS Alcides Escobar|
|LF Alex Gordon|
|CF Lorenzo Cain|
|RF Jorge Soler|
|DH Brandon Moss|
The competition for the Royals' starting second base gig is a bit of a dud. Neither Whit Merrifield nor Christian Colon is off to a strong start this spring. And since Merrifield is the incumbent and Colon is out of options, both are likely to make the roster anyway.
The real intrigue is over who takes the final bench spot. Cheslor Cuthbert is without options, but Peter O'Brien has a 1.002 spring OPS. He looks like the better choice to platoon with Brandon Moss.
|LHP Danny Duffy||RHP Kelvin Herrera|
|RHP Ian Kennedy||RHP Joakim Soria|
|LHP Jason Vargas||LHP Matt Strahm|
|RHP Jason Hammel||LHP Mike Minor|
|LHP Travis Wood||RHP Peter Moylan|
|RHP Josh Staumont|
|RHP Chris Young|
There's a good competition going on between Travis Wood, Nate Karns, Matt Strahm and Chris Young for the final rotation spot. But as long as things are equal, the Royals would probably prefer their $12 million investment in Wood be put to use in the rotation.
That would likely equal tough luck for Karns, who has a minor league option left. Young could be used as a long man, and Strahm can go back to the setup role he excelled at last year.
Elsewhere, Mike Minor and Peter Moylan are pitching like two guys who deserve spots. Josh Staumont's disadvantage is that he's not on the roster. His advantage is a triple-digits fastball.
Los Angeles Angels
|C Martin Maldonado||C Carlos Perez|
|1B Luis Valbuena||1B/DH C.J. Cron|
|2B Danny Espinosa||INF Cliff Pennington|
|3B Yunel Escobar||OF Ben Revere|
|SS Andrelton Simmons|
|LF Cameron Maybin|
|CF Mike Trout|
|RF Kole Calhoun|
|DH Albert Pujols|
The big unknown in Angels camp is whether Albert Pujols will be ready for Opening Day after having offseason foot surgery. However, things are looking up for the veteran slugger.
"Albert ran great," manager Mike Scioscia said after Pujols ran the bases on Monday, via MLB.com's Maria Guardado. "He came out of it great, really ran well. He's approaching readiness to play in games."
Otherwise, there's not much to see here. The one spot that could be up for grabs is the utility infielder slot, but Cliff Pennington is practically synonymous with the term "utility infielder."
|RHP Garrett Richards||RHP Cam Bedrosian|
|RHP Matt Shoemaker||RHP Andrew Bailey|
|LHP Tyler Skaggs||RHP JC Ramirez|
|RHP Ricky Nolasco||LHP Jose Alvarez|
|RHP Jesse Chavez||RHP Mike Morin|
|RHP Kirby Yates|
|RHP Yusmeiro Petit|
Although the last spot in the Angels starting rotation isn't settled, Jesse Chavez came into camp as the favorite and hasn't yet lost his grasp on the opportunity.
Rather, the big question is in the bullpen, where an opening has appeared thanks to Huston Street's latest injury.
That could work out well for Kirby Yates, who's out of options and who has dominated in four appearances this spring. And with five scoreless innings to his name, Yusmeiro Petit is emerging as a solution for the swingman role that he's handled well in the past.
Los Angeles Dodgers
|C Yasmani Grandal||C Austin Barnes|
|1B Adrian Gonzalez||INF Chase Utley|
|2B Logan Forsythe||INF/OF Enrique Hernandez|
|3B Justin Turner||OF Andre Ethier|
|SS Corey Seager||OF Franklin Gutierrez|
|LF Andrew Toles|
|CF Joc Pederson|
|RF Yasiel Puig|
Let's cut right to the chase: How are the Dodgers going to resolve their outfield logjam?
With a new batting stance that's produced an .857 OPS in six spring games, Yasiel Puig clearly wants the right field gig. If he keeps that up, it'll be a choice between Andrew Toles, Andre Ethier, Franklin Gutierrez, Trayce Thompson and Scott Van Slyke for three other spots.
Since he's still recovering from back problems, Thompson is the odd man out for now. That leaves Van Slyke and Gutierrez to battle to be Joc Pederson's platoon partner. Since Van Slyke has an option left, it'll likely be Gutierrez breaking camp with Toles and Ethier.
|LHP Clayton Kershaw||RHP Kenley Jansen|
|LHP Rich Hill||RHP Pedro Baez|
|RHP Kenta Maeda||RHP Sergio Romo|
|LHP Julio Urias||LHP Grant Dayton|
|LHP Scott Kazmir||RHP Chris Hatcher|
|LHP Luis Avilan|
|RHP Brandon McCarthy|
The back end of the Dodgers rotation is a guessing game starring Scott Kazmir, Julio Urias, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Wood. Urias is on track for one of the spots. Kazmir is probably the favorite for the other, but only as long as his hip doesn't act up again.
If so, it's easy to imagine McCarthy taking a long relief role in the bullpen. Elsewhere in the pen, Chris Hatcher and Luis Avilan are out of options. But keep an eye on Pedro Baez, whose hand is still hurting from being struck by a comebacker.
|C J.T. Realmuto||C A.J. Ellis|
|1B Justin Bour||INF Miguel Rojas|
|2B Dee Gordon||INF/OF Derek Dietrich|
|3B Martin Prado||OF Ichiro Suzuki|
|SS Adeiny Hechavarria|
|LF Marcell Ozuna|
|CF Christian Yelich|
|RF Giancarlo Stanton|
Miguel Rojas became a player to monitor on Tuesday, as he had to come out after being hit in the face by a throw. But with a 1.203 OPS, things have otherwise been going well for him this spring.
The only other thing worth discussing here is the four-man bench. It would be a case of the Marlins going against the National League norm, but it'll be necessary for them to take advantage of their considerable bullpen depth.
|LHP Wei-Yin Chen||RHP A.J. Ramos|
|RHP Edinson Volquez||RHP Brad Ziegler|
|LHP Adam Conley||RHP Kyle Barraclough|
|RHP Tom Koehler||RHP David Phelps|
|RHP Dan Straily||RHP Junichi Tazawa|
|RHP Dustin McGowan|
|RHP Jose Urena|
|LHP Jeff Locke|
Although Dan Straily is technically in a competition with Jeff Locke for the final spot in Miami's rotation, the fact that Locke has yet to pitch in a game makes Straily the de facto favorite.
Assuming Locke recovers, however, there will be a spot for him in the bullpen. And it would seem to be the only available spot, to boot. The Marlins are going to attempt to downplay a weak rotation with a deep bullpen this year, and they might actually have enough arms to pull it off.
|C Jett Bandy||C Manny Pina|
|1B Eric Thames||INF Scooter Gennett|
|2B Jonathan Villar||INF/OF Hernan Perez|
|3B Travis Shaw||OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis|
|SS Orlando Arcia||1B Jesus Aguilar|
|LF Ryan Braun|
|CF Keon Broxton|
|RF Domingo Santana|
The Brewers have three catchers to choose from in Jett Bandy, Manny Pina and Andrew Susac. Bandy and Pina have the advantage for now, as both are hitting well while Susac has struggled with a .503 OPS.
The Brewers look set elsewhere. They would surely prefer it if Eric Thames started hitting the way he did in Korea, but at least Jesus Aguilar is looking like a capable platoon partner with a 1.303 OPS this spring.
|RHP Junior Guerra||RHP Neftali Feliz|
|RHP Zach Davies||RHP Corey Knebel|
|RHP Jimmy Nelson||RHP Carlos Torres|
|RHP Matt Garza||LHP Brent Suter|
|RHP Wily Peralta||RHP Tyler Cravy|
|RHP Damien Magnifico|
|RHP Chase Anderson|
The last two spots in Milwaukee's rotation are technically up for grabs, but Matt Garza and Wily Peralta should get them in the end. Garza has a $12.5 million salary and Peralta is out of options.
That would push Chase Anderson into a long relief role, which would take care of one available bullpen spot. With 10 scoreless appearances between them, Brent Suter, Tyler Cravy and Damien Magnifico are pushing for the others. But keep an eye on Taylor Jungmann and Joba Chamberlain as well.
|C Jason Castro||C J.R. Murphy|
|1B Joe Mauer||INF/OF Eduardo Escobar|
|2B Brian Dozier||OF Robbie Grossman|
|3B Miguel Sano||INF/OF Danny Santana|
|SS Jorge Polanco|
|LF Eddie Rosario|
|CF Byron Buxton|
|RF Max Kepler|
|DH Kennys Vargas|
There are no open spots in the Twins lineup, so this is all about their bench. J.R. Murphy is locked into one spot, leaving four out-of-options players to battle for the other three: Eduardo Escobar, Robbie Grossman, Ehire Adrianza and Danny Santana.
Escobar and Grossman should get theirs. It's a tougher call between Adrianza and Santana, but Santana's advantage is that he can play the outfield in addition to the infield. Expect that to be his saving grace.
|RHP Ervin Santana||RHP Brandon Kintzler|
|LHP Hector Santiago||RHP Ryan Pressly|
|RHP Kyle Gibson||RHP Matt Belisle|
|RHP Phil Highes||LHP Taylor Rogers|
|RHP Trevor May||RHP Michael Tonkin|
|LHP Craig Breslow|
|RHP Justin Haley|
In the competition for the No. 5 spot in Minnesota's rotation, Jose Berrios carries the most intrigue due to his status as a former top prospect. But he could benefit from more time in the minors. Meanwhile, it's really now or never for Trevor May to show what he can do as a starter.
With Glen Perkins ticketed for the disabled list, there's plenty of space available in the bullpen. Michael Tonkin, who's out of options, flashed strikeout potential last year. Craig Breslow's new arm slot has worked for him this spring. Justin Haley looks like a good fit for long relief.
New York Mets
|C Travis d'Arnaud||C Rene Rivera|
|1B Lucas Duda||OF Juan Lagares|
|2B Neil Walker||OF Michael Conforto|
|3B Jose Reyes||INF Wilmer Flores|
|SS Asdrubal Cabrera||INF T.J. Rivera|
|LF Yoenis Cespedes|
|CF Curtis Granderson|
|RF Jay Bruce|
David Wright's latest run-in with the injury bug opens the door not just for Jose Reyes to take over at third base, but for T.J. Rivera to grab a spot on the Mets bench.
And now for the big question: Has Michael Conforto hit his way into the starting lineup?
With a 1.162 OPS in eight games, he's certainly trying. But the Mets figure to give Jay Bruce, a nine-year major league veteran, a long leash before taking his right field gig away. With an .833 OPS through five games, he isn't testing its limits just yet.
|RHP Noah Syndergaard||RHP Addison Reed|
|RHP Jacob deGrom||RHP Fernando Salas|
|RHP Matt Harvey||LHP Jerry Blevins|
|LHP Steven Matz||RHP Hansel Robles|
|RHP Robert Gsellman||RHP Rafael Montero|
|LHP Josh Edgin|
|LHP Sean Gilmartin|
The starting rotation picture comes with an obvious "health permitting" caveat. Otherwise, it's only the No. 5 spot that's up for grabs. It's a shame that the Mets can only choose one between Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo. For now, Gsellman is holding on to the edge he entered camp with.
In the bullpen, it must be assumed that Jeurys Familia will be suspended at the start of the year. Rafael Montero is pitching like a man who wants his spot. In four appearances, he's struck out 10 batters and allowed only two hits in seven innings.
New York Yankees
|C Gary Sanchez||C Austin Romine|
|1B Greg Bird||OF Aaron Hicks|
|2B Starlin Castro||1B/DH Chris Carter|
|3B Chase Headley||INF Ronald Torreyes|
|SS Didi Gregorius|
|LF Brett Gardner|
|CF Jacoby Ellsbury|
|RF Aaron Judge|
|DH Matt Holliday|
One of the unknowns at the start of Yankees camp was first base, where Greg Bird was returning from a year-long absence in 2016. He now has a 1.476 OPS this spring.
The other unknown was in right field, where top prospect Aaron Judge needed to hit his way into a job. With a .988 OPS to his name, he's well on his way.
And while it's a bit soon to knock Austin Romine down a peg, Kyle Higashioka is another youngster to watch. His 1.970 OPS through seven games indicates he would very much like to be Gary Sanchez's backup.
|RHP Masahiro Tanaka||LHP Aroldis Chapman|
|LHP CC Sabathia||RHP Dellin Betances|
|RHP Michael Pineda||RHP Tyler Clippard|
|RHP Luis Severino||LHP Tommy Layne|
|RHP Chad Green||RHP Luis Cessa|
|RHP Bryan Mitchell|
|RHP Adam Warren|
Luis Severino and Chad Green seem to be the ones with first dibs on the last two spots in the Yankees rotation. And while Adam Warren and Luis Cessa are challenging those dibs, Severino and Green haven't pitched poorly enough to lose their grasp just yet.
Fortunately for them, Cessa and Warren fit well in the bullpen. Ditto for fellow rotation competitor Bryan Mitchell. That narrows things down to Tommy Layne, who's a good fit to be a lefty specialist and is out of options anyway.
|C Stephen Vogt||C Josh Phegley|
|1B Yonder Alonso||INF Adam Rosales|
|2B Jed Lowrie||OF Mark Canha|
|3B Trevor Plouffe||OF Jake Smolinski|
|SS Marcus Semien|
|LF Khris Davis|
|CF Rajai Davis|
|RF Matt Joyce|
|DH Ryon Healy|
With Jed Lowrie healthy and hitting well in the early goings this spring, it looks like the A's have answered what had been the biggest question in their lineup.
There aren't many question marks elsewhere. It really only comes down to the final spot on the bench, which is tied to the health of Jake Smolinski's shoulder. If he heals up well over the next few weeks, he'll break camp as the club's fourth outfielder.
|RHP Sonny Gray||RHP Ryan Madson|
|RHP Kendall Graveman||LHP Sean Doolittle|
|LHP Sean Manaea||RHP Santiago Casilla|
|RHP Jharel Cotton||RHP Ryan Dull|
|RHP Andrew Triggs||RHP John Axford|
|RHP Liam Hendricks|
|RHP Raul Alcantara|
With Daniel Mengden out with a foot injury, Jharel Cotton and Andrew Triggs just need to pitch well to crack the back end of Oakland's rotation. Apart from some control issues on Cotton's part, they're obliging.
As for the bullpen, Raul Alcantara is emerging as a strong fit for the long relief role. Alternatively, the A's could forgo a long man and opt for a second left-hander. Ross Detwiler and Daniel Coulombe are among those trying to force the issue.
|C Cameron Rupp||C Ryan Hanigan|
|1B Tommy Joseph||INF Andres Blanco|
|2B Cesar Hernandez||OF Aaron Altherr|
|3B Maikel Franco||INF/OF Chris Coghlan|
|SS Freddy Galvis||1B Brock Stassi|
|LF Howie Kendrick|
|CF Odubel Herrera|
|RF Michael Saunders|
Todd Zolecki of MLB.com wrote last month that Phillies manager Pete Mackanin would prefer a veteran as a backup for Cameron Rupp at catcher.
That's a job for Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday. Both are hitting well but in small sample sizes, so we're in wild-guess territory for the moment. Hanigan gets the nod due to his edge in experience.
Elsewhere, there should be room on the bench for both Chris Coghlan and Brock Stassi. Coghlan has his versatility and his track record of hitting right-handed pitching. Stassi has his 1.819 spring OPS.
|RHP Jeremy Hellickson||RHP Jeanmar Gomez|
|RHP Clay Buchholz||RHP Hector Neris|
|RHP Jerad Eickhoff||RHP Joaquin Benoit|
|RHP Aaron Nola||RHP Pat Neshek|
|RHP Vince Velasquez||RHP Edubray Ramos|
|LHP Joely Rodriguez|
|LHP Adam Morgan|
None of the Phillies' projected starters have gotten hurt yet, so the only questions that need answering are in the bullpen.
That's where Adam Morgan is looking like a fit for the long relief role, as he's allowed only two runs in six and two-thirds innings this spring. Joely Rodriguez, who's had three solid outings of his own, can handle a more traditional bullpen lefty role.
|C Francisco Cervelli||C Chris Stewart|
|1B Josh Bell||INF/OF John Jaso|
|2B Josh Harrison||INF David Freese|
|3B Jung Ho Kang||INF Adam Frazier|
|SS Jordy Mercer||INF Alen Hanson|
|LF Gregory Polanco|
|CF Starling Marte|
|RF Andrew McCutchen|
This is assuming the Pirates won't discipline Jung Ho Kang following a DUI arrest, his third, over the winter. This could be a long shot, but Pirates president Frank Coonelly's statement on the matter seemed to leave the door open for light discipline.
If Kang does make the Pirates' Opening Day roster, there will be room for Adam Frazier and Alen Hanson on the bench. The former made a strong impression in 2016. The latter is out of options.
|RHP Gerrit Cole||LHP Tony Watson|
|RHP Jameson Taillon||RHP Daniel Hudson|
|RHP Ivan Nova||LHP Felipe Rivero|
|RHP Chad Kuhl||RHP Jaun Nicasio|
|RHP Drew Hutchison||LHP Antonio Bastardo|
|RHP Jared Hughes|
|LHP Wade LeBlanc|
Tyler Glasnow, one of the top right-handed prospects in baseball, raised eyebrows when he struck out six of the seven men he faced in his spring debut. He then fell back to earth in his second outing, a reminder that there's still work to do for him to live up to his talent.
That's one less roadblock in the way of Chad Kuhl and Drew Hutchison, who are having strong springs anyway. If both of them slide into the rotation, the out-of-options Wade LeBlanc can slide into the bullpen as a long reliever.
San Diego Padres
|C Austin Hedges||C/OF/P Christian Bethancourt|
|1B Wil Myers||C Luis Torrens|
|2B Ryan Schimpf||OF Travis Jankowski|
|3B Yangervis Solarte||INF/OF Cory Spangenberg|
|SS Luis Sardinas||INF Erick Aybar|
|LF Alex Dickerson|
|CF Manuel Margot|
|RF Hunter Renfroe|
Technically speaking, the Padres are holding competitions at second base and in center field.
In reality, the foursome of Ryan Schimpf, Cory Spangenberg, Manuel Margot and Travis Jankowski should make the roster regardless. Right now, the only upset pictured here is Margot starting over Jankowski, who's rocking with a 1.059 OPS this spring.
The only other question mark is the final spot on the bench. As a veteran infielder who might turn into trade bait, Erick Aybar is a better fit for it than Allen Cordoba, who has yet to play above rookie ball.
|LHP Clayton Richard||RHP Brandon Maurer|
|RHP Jered Weaver||LHP Brad Hand|
|RHP Jhoulys Chacin||LHP Ryan Buchter|
|RHP Luis Perdomo||RHP Carter Capps|
|RHP Trevor Cahill||RHP Jarred Cosart|
|RHP Paul Clemens|
|RHP Miguel Diaz|
With a rotation this weak, carrying only a seven-man bullpen is arguably too risky. That's where Christian Bethancourt can help, as he actually looks capable of handling part-time pitching duty on top of his catching and outfield duties.
Meanwhile, the good news on the rotation front is that Trevor Cahill is seizing his opportunity to start. He's allowed one hit and no runs in five innings so far this spring.
If Carter Capps is indeed good to go by Opening Day, there will be one less bullpen spot available. Rule 5 pick Miguel Diaz should get one spot with another two going to Jarred Cosart and Paul Clemens, who are out of options.
San Francisco Giants
|C Buster Posey||C Nick Hundley|
|1B Brandon Belt||INF Conor Gillaspie|
|2B Joe Panik||OF Gorkys Hernandez|
|3B Eduardo Nunez||INF Kelby Tomlinson|
|SS Brandon Crawford||OF Mac Williamson|
|LF Jarrett Parker|
|CF Denard Span|
|RF Hunter Pence|
Left field was the big question going into Giants camp, but Jarrett Parker has taken that race in hand. In eight games, he has a 1.028 OPS and a pair of homers.
Where things really get tricky is on the Giants bench. There are spots for Nick Hundley, Conor Gillaspie and Gorkys Hernandez, but the other two are wide open.
Kelby Tomlinson and Mac Williamson make sense as a spare middle infielder and a platoon partner for Parker. But the Giants could just as easily pick from Aaron Hill, Jae Gyun Hwang and Michael Morse. It's anyone's guess for now, and figures to be a tough decision for Bruce Bochy and company later.
|LHP Madison Bumgarner||RHP Mark Melancon|
|RHP Johnny Cueto||RHP Hunter Strickland|
|RHP Jeff Samardzija||RHP Derek Law|
|LHP Matt Moore||LHP Will Smith|
|LHP Ty Blach||RHP George Kontos|
|LHP Steven Okert|
|RHP Matt Cain|
Matt Cain has seniority and his contract working in his favor in the race for the No. 5 spot in the Giants rotation. However, he hasn't been a reliable starter in years and isn't inspiring confidence with his spring training performance. Good news for Ty Blach, who is continuing his intriguing rise.
Cain can slide into a long relief role if Blach edges him in the rotation race. With three scoreless appearances this spring, Steven Okert would appear to have the inside track at the only other available spot in the bullpen.
|C Mike Zunino||C Carlos Ruiz|
|1B Dan Vogelbach||INF/OF Danny Valencia|
|2B Robinson Cano||INF/OF Shawn O'Malley|
|3B Kyle Seager||OF Guillermo Heredia|
|SS Jean Segura|
|LF Jarrod Dyson|
|CF Leonys Martin|
|RF Mitch Haniger|
|DH Nelson Cruz|
The Mariners entered camp needing to see something from Dan Vogelbach at first and Mitch Haniger in right field. Their wish has been granted. Vogelbach is hitting .333 with a solid .777 OPS. Haniger has a 1.278 OPS and two homers.
Of course, Danny Valencia will platoon with Vogelbach and see time elsewhere as well. Guillermo Heredia, a switch-hitter, is seizing the fourth outfielder role with a 1.439 OPS this spring.
|RHP Felix Hernandez||RHP Edwin Diaz|
|RHP Hisashi Iwakuma||RHP Dan Altavilla|
|LHP James Paxton||RHP Nick Vincent|
|LHP Drew Smyly||RHP Evan Scribner|
|RHP Yovani Gallardo||LHP Marc Rzepczynski|
|RHP Casey Fien|
|RHP Chris Heston|
Seattle's rotation is all set, barring any injuries. And apart from the last two spots, the club's bullpen looks mostly set as well.
With five strikeouts in three scoreless appearances, Casey Fien is staking his claim to one of the bullpen spots. With four scoreless frames of his own, Chris Heston is gunning for the long man role.
St. Louis Cardinals
|C Yadier Molina||C Eric Fryer|
|1B Matt Carpenter||1B Matt Adams|
|2B Kolten Wong||INF Greg Garcia|
|3B Jhonny Peralta||OF Tommy Pham|
|SS Aledmys Diaz||INF Jedd Gyorko|
|LF Randal Grichuk|
|CF Dexter Fowler|
|RF Stephen Piscotty|
Going into camp, maybe the only question regarding the Cardinals lineup was whether it would be Jhonny Peralta or Jedd Gyorko at third base.
With a .974 OPS through seven games, Gyorko is making his push. And with a 1.018 OPS through six games, Peralta is holding him off. Which is probably just as well. Gyorko serves the Cardinals better as a roving slugger than an everyday player at one position.
Otherwise, only the backup catcher slot may inspire surprise. Carson Kelly is a young up-and-comer who's showed well this spring, but it's too soon to bury him behind Yadier Molina. That's a role for Eric Fryer.
|RHP Adam Wainwright||RHP Seung Hwan Oh|
|RHP Carlos Martinez||LHP Brett Cecil|
|RHP Mike Leake||LHP Kevin Siegrist|
|RHP Lance Lynn||RHP Trevor Rosenthal|
|RHP Michael Wacha||RHP Matt Bowman|
|RHP Jonathan Broxton|
|RHP Miguel Socolovich|
With top prospect Alex Reyes out of the picture, the No. 5 slot in the Cardinals rotation is Michael Wacha's to lose. So far, so good. The right-hander has pitched five scoreless innings this spring.
Provided Kevin Siegrist and Trevor Rosenthal are healthy, the Cardinals bullpen is also set. Matt Bowman and Jonathan Broxton are holding on to their spots with seven clean innings between them. Miguel Socolovich, who's out of options, has also pitched well.
Tampa Bay Rays
|C Curt Casali||C Luke Maile|
|1B Logan Morrison||INF Nick Franklin|
|2B Brad Miller||INF Tim Beckham|
|3B Evan Longoria||OF Mallex Smith|
|SS Matt Duffy|
|LF Colby Rasmus|
|CF Kevin Kiermaier|
|RF Steven Souza|
|DH Corey Dickerson|
The notable absence here is Wilson Ramos, who won't be ready to return from a torn ACL until well after Opening Day. It'll be up to Curt Casali and Luke Maile to cover for him.
Seemingly the only spot up for grabs is the final spot on the Rays bench. It would be best served going to a fourth outfield type. Mallex Smith fits the description and should see his share of playing time in what's likely to be a shape-shifting lineup.
|RHP Chris Archer||RHP Alex Colome|
|RHP Alex Cobb||RHP Brad Boxberger|
|RHP Jake Odorizzi||LHP Xavier Cedeno|
|LHP Blake Snell||RHP Erasmo Ramirez|
|RHP Matt Andriese||RHP Danny Farquhar|
|RHP Shawn Tolleson|
|RHP Chase Whitley|
Jose De Leon was the other big addition the Rays made this winter. But he was an underdog for the No. 5 spot in the rotation to begin with, and set himself back by getting rocked in his spring debut.
Matt Andriese is the top pick for the No. 5 spot now, and Chase Whitley can be the club's swingman if that's how things work out. That would take care of one of the two spots in the Tampa Bay pen not filled by out-of-options arms. Shawn Tolleson, the former Texas Rangers closer, can fill the other.
|C Jonathan Lucroy||C Robinson Chirinos|
|1B Mike Napoli||INF/OF Ryan Rua|
|2B Rougned Odor||OF Delino DeShields Jr.|
|3B Adrian Beltre||INF Hanser Alberto|
|SS Elvis Andrus|
|LF Jurickson Profar|
|CF Carlos Gomez|
|RF Nomar Mazara|
|DH Shin-Soo Choo|
When Josh Hamilton re-signed with the Rangers this winter, he had a chance to reestablish himself as a designated hitter.
Not anymore. Hamilton had to go in for knee surgery. That opens up the DH spot for Shin-Soo Choo, right field for Nomar Mazara and left field for Jurickson Profar, who will finally get his chance to play every day.
The one red flag here is that they're all right-handed hitters on the Rangers' projected bench. But with three left-handed hitters and a switch-hitter in their starting lineup, that's not a deal-breaker.
|LHP Cole Hamels||RHP Sam Dyson|
|RHP Yu Darvish||RHP Matt Bush|
|LHP Martin Perez||RHP Jeremy Jeffress|
|RHP Andrew Cashner||RHP Tony Barnette|
|RHP A.J. Griffin||RHP Keone Kela|
|LHP Alex Claudio|
|RHP Dillon Gee|
There are two big question marks after the front three in the Rangers rotation. And Andrew Cashner and A.J. Griffin aren't the most inspiring answers to those questions.
It would thus behoove the Rangers to carry a reliable swingman with them in their bullpen rather than a second left-hander to go with Alex Claudio. Dillon Gee has done that kind of work in the past, and is hinting with a strong beginning to his spring that he can do it again.
Toronto Blue Jays
|C Russell Martin||C Jarrod Saltalamacchia|
|1B Justin Smoak||INF/OF Steve Pearce|
|2B Brett Lawrie||OF Melvin Upton Jr.|
|3B Josh Donaldson||INF Darwin Barney|
|SS Troy Tulowitzki|
|LF Ezequiel Carrera|
|CF Kevin Pillar|
|RF Jose Bautista|
|DH Kendrys Morales|
In speaking with reporters (including Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star) on Tuesday, Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons didn't sound optimistic about second baseman Devon Travis being ready for Opening Day.
Meanwhile, ESPN's Jim Bowden reports that the Blue Jays have interest in old friend Brett Lawrie. Since he could also spell Josh Donaldson, who's recovering from a calf injury, at third base, that's a fit that works.
Otherwise, the Blue Jays are set with the rest of their lineup and bench.
|RHP Aaron Sanchez||RHP Roberto Osuna|
|LHP J.A. Happ||RHP Jason Grilli|
|RHP Marco Estrada||LHP J.P. Howell|
|RHP Marcus Stroman||RHP Joe Smith|
|LHP Francisco Liriano||RHP Joe Biagini|
|LHP Aaron Loup|
|RHP Mike Bolsinger|
Health permitting, the Blue Jays are all set with their rotation. And with no options remaining, Mike Bolsinger should make it into the bullpen as a long man.
Two other spots in the bullpen seem to be open. Joe Biagini is grabbing hold of one of them with his strong work this spring. Aaron Loup's track record against left-handers makes him a candidate for the other.
|C Matt Wieters||C Jose Lobaton|
|1B Ryan Zimmerman||1B Adam Lind|
|2B Daniel Murphy||INF Stephen Drew|
|3B Anthony Rendon||OF Chris Heisey|
|SS Trea Turner||1B/OF Clint Robinson|
|LF Jayson Werth|
|CF Adam Eaton|
|RF Bryce Harper|
The Nationals put themselves in an awkward spot with Derek Norris when they signed Matt Wieters. As Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported, they could release Norris if they don't find a trading partner for him.
That would give the backup catcher role to Jose Lobaton, who's a better fit for it anyway. The only other question is whether the Nationals will reward Michael A. Taylor's hot spring with a roster spot. Since he has an option and Clint Robinson doesn't, the answer's probably no.
|RHP Max Scherzer||RHP Shawn Kelley|
|RHP Stephen Strasburg||RHP Blake Treinen|
|RHP Tanner Roark||RHP Joe Blanton|
|LHP Gio Gonzalez||LHP Oliver Perez|
|RHP Joe Ross||RHP Koda Glover|
|LHP Enny Romero|
|RHP Vance Worley|
Max Scherzer has been out of action with a finger injury, but things are looking up. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, the two-time Cy Young winner was able to face live batters for the first time on Tuesday.
"Things looked right," Scherzer said, "and that's what I'm going to just hang my hat on."
Scherzer being healthy would allow the Nationals to keep their projected rotation intact. That would allow Vance Worley to slide into the same swingman role that he performed well in Baltimore last year. Koda Glover and Enny Romero, who's out of options, are pitching their way into roles.