Ranking All 30 MLB Lineups Ahead of Opening Day 2022

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2022

Ranking All 30 MLB Lineups Ahead of Opening Day 2022

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    The old adage says that pitching wins championships, but it's awfully difficult to even reach the postseason without a productive offensive attack.

    A high-powered lineup can take a lot of pressure off the hurlers, and last year, the highest-scoring team in baseball reached the World Series as the Houston Astros plated 5.3 runs per game during the regular season to alleviate some of the burden on a young pitching staff.

    After a busy offseason of roster shuffling, it's worth taking an updated look at how all 30 lineups stack up heading into the 2022 season.

    Lineups are ranked based on star power, lack of holes, depth and recent production, with each team's projected Opening Day lineup used as the baseline for these rankings.

Nos. 30-26

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    Ketel Marte
    Ketel MarteJason O. Watson/Getty Images

    30. Oakland Athletics

    After trading Matt Olson and Matt Chapman while letting Mark Canha and Starling Marte walk in free agency, the Oakland lineup has been stripped to the studs. A middle of the order of Sean Murphy, Seth Brown and Jed Lowrie is not going to strike fear into the hearts of many opposing pitchers.

        

    29. Pittsburgh Pirates

    The Pirates have a pair of rising stars in Bryan Reynolds and Ke'Bryan Hayes, and it's only a matter of time before top prospect Oneil Cruz joins them. That said, this is still largely the same group that finished 30th in runs scored and 28th in team OPS a year ago.

        

    28. Baltimore Orioles

    The outfield of Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander is sneaky-good, and first baseman Ryan Mountcastle hit 33 home runs last year as a rookie. The rest of the infield remains a work in progress, but they'll receive a major boost once future face of the franchise Adley Rutschman takes over as the starting catcher.

        

    27. Arizona Diamondbacks

    The D-backs locked up star Ketel Marte with a five-year, $76 million extension, and they have some promising young MLB pieces to build around him in Daulton Varsho, Josh Rojas, Pavin Smith and Seth Beer. They are likely still a couple of years away from making any sort of real noise in the NL West, though.

         

    26. Miami Marlins

    The Marlins added Jorge Soler and Avisail Garcia in free agency while also acquiring catcher Jacob Stallings and infielder Joey Wendle via trade. Those new additions, coupled with the continued development of Jazz Chisholm Jr., Jesus Sanchez and others should make this an improved offensive unit, but they still have a long way to go.

Nos. 25-21

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    Jose Ramirez
    Jose RamirezJustin K. Aller/Getty Images

    25. Cincinnati Reds

    The Reds lost two of their top hitters in Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker and replaced them with Tommy Pham and Colin Moran. There's no way to spin that other than a significant step backward for the offense, though they do still have reigning NL Rookie of the Year Jonathan India, rising catcher Tyler Stephenson and the ageless Joey Votto.

        

    24. Cleveland Guardians

    Backup catcher Luke Maile is the only position player the Guardians added to the 40-man roster this offseason, which is less than ideal for a team that ranked 18th in runs scored and 21st in OPS last year. How much longer will star third baseman Jose Ramirez be playing in Cleveland after extension talks broke down?

          

    23. Kansas City Royals

    Adding Bobby Witt Jr. to a group that already featured Salvador Perez and Andrew Benintendi in the middle and contact hitters Whit Merrifield and Nicky Lopez setting the table gives the Royals a lineup that could surprise some people this year. How long before we see Nick Pratto and MJ Melendez in the majors?

        

    22. Colorado Rockies

    Kris Bryant should thrive in Coors Field, Ryan McMahon and Brendan Rodgers are both solid young offensive players, and re-signing C.J. Cron was a solid move by a usually bumbling front office. This still looks like an average-at-best offense, though, and they don't have the pitching to pick up the slack.

         

    21. Chicago Cubs

    Can journeyman Frank Schwindel, Patrick Wisdom and Rafael Ortega duplicate the unexpected success they had last year following the summer fire sale? Can young contact hitters Nick Madrigal and Nico Hoerner stay healthy after injury-plagued seasons? How will Seiya Suzuki adjust to the MLB game? With so many huge questions, it's tough to rank the Cubs any higher, but this group has plenty of potential.

Nos. 20-16

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    Juan Soto
    Juan SotoThe Washington Post/Getty Images

    20. Detroit Tigers

    With shortstop Javier Baez signed to a six-year, $140 million contract and elite prospects Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene expected to be among the AL Rookie of the Year front-runners, the Tigers are an offense on the rise. Patience will be the key, though, as there are still plenty of holes in the lineup.

            

    19. Milwaukee Brewers

    The Brewers ranked 12th in runs scored and 20th in OPS last year, and their postseason hopes were quickly dashed when they were shut out twice by the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS. They responded by signing Andrew McCutchen to serve as the primary DH and acquiring Hunter Renfroe to replace Avisail Garcia in right field. Did they do enough?

        

    18. Washington Nationals

    With Cesar Hernandez, Juan Soto, Nelson Cruz and Josh Bell penciled into the first four spots in the batting order, the Nationals are going to score runs. It's the rest of their lineup that keeps them from climbing any higher in these rankings. Keibert Ruiz and Lane Thomas are both major X-factors for their offense.

       

    16. San Francisco Giants

    The Giants do a great job mixing and matching while platooning at several positions, and guys like Darin Ruf, LaMonte Wade Jr. and Wilmer Flores don't always get the credit they deserve. At the same time, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt are both coming off career years that could be tough to duplicate, while Buster Posey has been replaced by rookie Joey Bart.

         

    15. San Diego Padres

    With Fernando Tatis Jr. sidelined following wrist surgery and Luke Voit the only notable addition to the starting lineup, this might actually be a worse San Diego offense than the one that ranked 14th in runs scored last year. A smooth return to health from Tatis and the impending arrival of CJ Abrams will help, but this is still a middle-of-the-pack group.

Nos. 15-11

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    Mike Trout
    Mike TroutElaine Thompson/Associated Press

    15. Texas Rangers

    The Rangers added Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Kole Calhoun and Brad Miller in free agency while also trading for one of the best offensive catchers in baseball in Mitch Garver. That should completely transform an offense that was led by rookie Adolis Garcia and slugger Nathaniel Lowe a year ago.

          

    14. Seattle Mariners

    Young outfielders Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez have long been the future of the Seattle lineup, and the future has arrived here in 2022. Adam Frazier, Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez were added via trade to plug three significant roster holes, while a return to health for 2020 AL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis will provide a significant in-house addition.

       

    13. Los Angeles Angels

    With Mike Trout (36 games) and Anthony Rendon (58 games) both healthy and ready to go for Opening Day, the Angels lineup stands to be vastly improved. Young outfielders Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh are also both capable of emerging as core pieces alongside that duo and reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani.

       

    12. Minnesota Twins

    The Twins had the second-highest scoring offense in baseball in 2019, but they have been closer to the middle of the road the past two years. Adding Carlos Correa, Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela should provide a boost, while the outfield trio of Alex Kirilloff, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler will be the X-factor in a potential return to the top 10.

        

    11. St. Louis Cardinals

    A breakout season from Tyler O'Neill and a strong debut from Dylan Carlson have given the Cardinals a significantly improved offensive outlook, with that duo joining established superstars Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt in the middle of the order. Top prospect Nolan Gorman will give the team another impact bat once he arrives.

Nos. 10-6

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    Aaron Judge
    Aaron JudgeLynne Sladky/Associated Press

    10. New York Yankees

    There is plenty of star power in the Yankees lineup, but they also have Gleyber Torres, Aaron Hicks, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Kyle Higashioka occupying the bottom four spots in the batting order. That said, bounce-back seasons from DJ LeMahieu and Torres would once again make this a top-tier offensive group.

        

    9. Tampa Bay Rays

    The Rays finished second in the majors with 857 runs scored last season, and while they didn't make any key additions, a full year of young phenom Wander Franco will go a long way after he played in 70 games as a rookie. Vidal Brujan and Josh Lowe should provide in-house reinforcement as the season progresses.

         

    8. Philadelphia Phillies

    The Phillies spent $179 million to add Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber in free agency, and they join Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Rhys Hoskins and Jean Segura to form one of the most potent offenses in the National League. Young players Bryson Stott, Alec Bohm, Matt Vierling and Mickey Moniak could push them even higher up these rankings.

        

    7. Houston Astros

    Even after losing George Springer and Carlos Correa the past two offseasons, the Astros lineup is still loaded with young stars Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez leading the way alongside steady veterans Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley. Can third baseman Alex Bregman return to the MVP-level production he showed in 2019?

         

    6. New York Mets

    A year after acquiring Francisco Lindor in a blockbuster deal, the Mets went all-in on the free-agent market, adding Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar on the offensive side of things. If Jeff McNeil can bounce back, Robinson Cano can prove he has something left in the tank and Brandon Nimmo can stay healthy, this could be an elite offensive group. Those are significant ifs, though.

5. Atlanta Braves

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    Matt Olson
    Matt OlsonLynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Projected Offense

    1. RF Eddie Rosario
    2. 2B Ozzie Albies
    3. 1B Matt Olson
    4. 3B Austin Riley
    5. LF Marcell Ozuna
    6. DH Alex Dickerson
    7. CF Adam Duvall
    8. SS Dansby Swanson
    9. C Travis d'Arnaud

    Bench: C Manny Pina, IF/OF Orlando Arcia, OF Guillermo Heredia

    The Braves effectively addressed the biggest hole in the roster by acquiring Matt Olson and promptly signing him to an eight-year, $168 million extension, turning the page from Freddie Freeman with a player who is four-and-a-half years younger and every bit as productive.

    Bringing back Eddie Rosario and signing Alex Dickerson will help bridge the gap in the outfield until Ronald Acuna Jr. returns to the lineup, and midseason acquisition Adam Duvall is also back for another year.

    Shortstop Dansby Swanson is one to watch as he enters a contract year.

4. Boston Red Sox

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    Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts
    Rafael Devers and Xander BogaertsDouglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

    Projected Offense

    1. CF Enrique Hernandez
    2. 3B Rafael Devers
    3. SS Xander Bogaerts
    4. DH J.D. Martinez
    5. LF Alex Verdugo
    6. 2B Trevor Story
    7. 1B Bobby Dalbec
    8. RF Jackie Bradley Jr.
    9. C Christian Vazquez

    Bench: C Kevin Plawecki, 1B/3B Travis Shaw, IF/OF Christian Arroyo, OF Rob Refsnyder

    Adding perennial 20/20 threat Trevor Story to a lineup that already featured Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez gives the Boston Red Sox plenty of star power, and young players Alex Verdugo and Bobby Dalbec are capable of pushing their way into that core group.

    Verdugo hit .289/.351/.426 for a 106 OPS+ with 47 extra-base hits in his first full season in the majors, while Dalbec posted a 1.053 OPS with 14 home runs and 38 RBI in 48 games over the final two months of the 2021 season.

    All of that should more than make up for the offensive downgrade from Hunter Renfroe to Jackie Bradley Jr. in right field.

3. Chicago White Sox

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    Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez
    Luis Robert and Eloy JimenezNam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Projected Offense

    1. SS Tim Anderson
    2. CF Luis Robert
    3. 1B Jose Abreu
    4. 3B Yoan Moncada
    5. LF Eloy Jimenez
    6. C Yasmani Grandal
    7. RF AJ Pollock
    8. DH Gavin Sheets
    9. 2B Josh Harrison

    Bench: C Reese McGuire, 1B/OF Andrew Vaughn, IF/OF Leury Garcia, OF Micker Adolfo, OF Adam Engel

    After Eloy Jimenez (55 games), Luis Robert (68 games) and Yasmani Grandal (93 games) all missed time to injury last year, the Chicago White Sox are an improved group simply thanks to a clean bill of health in the starting lineup.

    The platoon of left-handed-hitting Gavin Sheets and right-handed-hitting Andrew Vaughn in the designated hitter role could be extremely productive, while Jake Burger and Adam Haseley provide MLB-ready depth at Triple-A.

    If they can stay healthy and the young guys can continue to develop as hoped, this group could make a serious run at being the No. 1 offense in baseball.

2. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette
    Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo BichetteMark Blinch/Getty Images

    Projected Offense

    1. CF George Springer
    2. 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
    3. RF Teoscar Hernandez
    4. SS Bo Bichette
    5. DH Alejandro Kirk
    6. LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
    7. 3B Matt Chapman
    8. 2B Cavan Biggio
    9. C Danny Jansen

    Bench: 1B Greg Bird, IF Santiago Espinal, OF Raimel Tapia

    Even with Marcus Semien and his 133 OPS+ and 45 home runs now playing for the Texas Rangers, the Toronto Blue Jays still have a stacked lineup.

    The 1-2-3-4 of George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Teoscar Hernandez and Bo Bichette stacks up to any offensive core in baseball, and they added another 30-homer bat when they acquired Matt Chapman from the Oakland Athletics.

    Cavan Biggio still has plenty of upside, Alejandro Kirk will be turned loose in the starting DH role, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is capable of star-caliber production if he can just find a bit more consistency over the course of a 162-game season.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Freddie Freeman
    Freddie FreemanCharlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Projected Offense

    1. RF Mookie Betts
    2. 1B Freddie Freeman
    3. SS Trea Turner
    4. DH Max Muncy
    5. 3B Justin Turner
    6. C Will Smith
    7. LF Chris Taylor
    8. CF Cody Bellinger
    9. 2B Gavin Lux

    Bench: C Austin Barnes, IF Hanser Alberto, IF/OF Edwin Rios, OF Kevin Pillar

    The Los Angeles Dodgers found a built-in replacement for Corey Seager when they acquired Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals last summer, and then they went out and signed Freddie Freeman in free agency to provide another superstar presence in the lineup.

    Gavin Lux hit .360/.467/.500 in 60 plate appearances last September, and trading AJ Pollock now clears a path for him to seize the everyday job at second base. He is still only 24 years old and more than capable of living up to his top-prospect pedigree.

    Even before the Freeman signing, this was an elite offensive team, and that was enough to push it over the top and into the No. 1 spot entering the year.

        

    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.

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