Predicting the 2012 Opening Day Lineup for Every MLB Team

Robert Knapel@@RobertKnapel_BRCorrespondent ISeptember 26, 2011

Predicting the 2012 Opening Day Lineup for Every MLB Team

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    For some MLB teams, their Opening Day lineup in 2012 will look very similar to the one that they trotted out towards the end of the 2011 season. However, for many others, their lineup could undergo a number of drastic changes.

    The biggest questions on fans' minds surround where elite free agents such as Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Jose Reyes will end up. There are also a number of players who could be traded this winter. Top prospects will be given a chance in 2012 as well.

    What does your favorite team's lineup look like for next season?

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    1) Ryan Roberts - 3B

    2) Mark Ellis - 2B

    3) Justin Upton - RF

    4) Stephen Drew - SS

    5) Chris Young - CF

    6) Paul Goldschmidt - 1B

    7) Miguel Montero - C

    8) Josh Willingham - LF

    9) Ian Kennedy - SP

    The Arizona Diamondbacks will likely have a new second baseman as well as a new left fielder next season. Mark Ellis is more of a short-term solution, while Josh Willingham would be a fantastic bat to add to the Diamondbacks lineup.

Atlanta Braves

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    1) Michael Bourn - CF

    2) Martin Prado - LF

    3) Chipper Jones - 3B

    4) Brian McCann - C

    5) Dan Uggla - 2B

    6) Freddie Freeman - RF

    7) Jason Heyward - RF

    8) Tyler Pastornicky - SS

    9) Tim Hudson - SP

    On paper, it looks as if the Atlanta Braves will have a very strong team next season. The one question mark is at shortstop, and Tyler Pastornicky will likely be given a chance to prove he is ready for the majors.

Baltimore Orioles

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    1) J.J. Hardy - SS

    2) Nick Markakis - RF

    3) Adam Jones - CF

    4) Matt Wieters - C

    5) Chris Davis - DH

    6) Brian Roberts - 2B

    7) J.D. Drew - LF

    8) Mark Reynolds - 1B

    9) Josh Bell - 3B

    SP) Zach Britton

    The Baltimore Orioles likely will not bring Vladimir Guerrero back after this season. They will need a veteran presence in the clubhouse and on the field to mentor their young lineup. They could sign a player like J.D. Drew to do this.

Boston Red Sox

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    1) Jacoby Ellsbury - CF

    2) Dustin Pedroia - 2B

    3) Adrian Gonzalez - 1B

    4) Kevin Youkilis - 3B

    5) David Ortiz - DH

    6) Carl Crawford - LF

    7) Michael Cuddyer - RF

    8) Ryan Lavarnway - C

    9) Jose Iglesias - SS

    SP) Josh Beckett

    The top of the Boston Red Sox's batting order should look very similar next year. It is hard to see them letting David Ortiz go anywhere. However, the back part of the Red Sox's lineup will be very different from the ones that the team put out this year.

Chicago Cubs

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    1) Starlin Castro - SS

    2) Darwin Barney - 2B

    3) Alfonso Soriano - LF

    4) Prince Fielder - 1B

    5) Geovany Soto - C

    6) D.J. LeMahieu - 3B

    7) Brett Jackson - CF

    8) Bryan LaHair - RF

    9) Edwin Jackson - SP

    The Chicago Cubs will be signing one player away from the St. Louis Cardinals this winter; however, it will not be Albert Pujols. Signing Prince Fielder will be the biggest move the Cubs make this offseason.

Chicago White Sox

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    1) Coco Crisp - CF

    2) Alexei Ramirez - SS

    3) Paul Konerko - 1B

    4) Dayan Viciedo - RF

    5) Adam Dunn - DH

    6) A.J. Pierzynski - C

    7) Alex Rios - LF

    8) Brent Morel - 3B

    9) Gordon Beckham - 2B

    SP) Mark Buehrle

    Adam Dunn will be a key part of the Chicago White Sox next season. If he gets out of his season-long funk, the White Sox can have a chance to contend next season.

Cincinnati Reds

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    1) Drew Stubbs - CF

    2) Brandon Phillips - 2B

    3) Joey Votto - 1B

    4) Jay Bruce - RF

    5) Yonder Alonso - LF

    6) Devin Mesoraco - C

    7) Juan Francisco - 3B

    8) Zack Cozart - SS

    9) Johnny Cueto - SP

    The Cincinnati Reds are filled with young talent. As opposed to looking for big-name free agents to fill the holes in their lineup, the Reds will let the youngsters play. They will likely look to improve their rotation via free agency.

Cleveland Indians

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    1) Kosuke Fukudome - RF

    2) Jason Kipnis - 2B

    3) Asdrubal Cabrera - SS

    4) Carlos Santana - C

    5) Shin-Soo Choo - LF

    6) Matt LaPorta - 1B

    7) Travis Hafner - DH

    8) Lonnie Chisenhall - 3B

    9) Michael Brantley - CF

    SP) Ubaldo Jimenez

    The Cleveland Indians made the move of the year when they traded for Ubaldo Jimenez this summer. However, they will not make another big splash this offseason. Grady Sizemore likely will not be back with the team for next season.

Colorado Rockies

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    1) Dexter Fowler - CF

    2) Charlie Blackmon - RF

    3) Carlos Gonzalez - LF

    4) Todd Helton - 1B

    5) Troy Tulowitzki - SS

    6) Wilin Rosario - C

    7) Eric Chavez - 3B

    8) Adam Kennedy - 2B

    9) Alex White - SP

    The Colorado Rockies will be able to bring back a number of players from their 2011 squad. Once again, it appears the Rockies will have a number of players to choose from for their three outfield spots.

Detroit Tigers

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    1) Austin Jackson - CF

    2) Ryan Raburn - 2B

    3) Delmon Young - LF

    4) Miguel Cabrera - 1B

    5) Victor Martinez - DH

    6) Aramis Ramirez - 3B

    7) Alex Avila - C

    8) Johnny Peralta - SS

    9) Andy Dirks - RF

    SP) Justin Verlander

    The Detroit Tigers will once again be a very intimidating team next year because of their ability to produce offensively, as well as the fact that they have a solid starting rotation.

Florida Marlins

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    1) Nate McLouth - CF

    2) Clint Barmes - 2B

    3) Hanley Ramirez - SS

    4) Mike Stanton - LF

    5) Gaby Sanchez - 1B

    6) Matt Dominguez - 3B

    7) Chris Coghlan - RF

    8) John Buck - C

    9) Josh Johnson - SP

    The Florida Marlins will likely move Logan Morrison after this season. He does not fit in with the team, which was made clear when he was demoted to the minors. It would be hard to believe the Marlins would get full value for Morrison.

Houston Astros

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    1) Jordan Schafer - CF

    2) Jose Altuve - 2B

    3) J.D. Martinez - RF

    4) Brett Wallace - 1B

    5) Chris Johnson - 3B

    6) Alex Gonzalez - SS

    7) J.B. Shuck - LF

    8) Luis Exposito - C

    9) Bud Norris - SP

    The Boston Red Sox have a number of catchers in their system. A deal that includes the Houston Astros trading Wandy Rodriguez for Luis Exposito makes sense for both organizations.

Kansas City Royals

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    1) Lorenzo Cain - CF

    2) Jeff Francoeur - RF

    3) Billy Butler - DH

    4) Eric Hosmer - 1B

    5) Alex Gordon - LF

    6) Mike Moustakas - 3B

    7) Johnny Giavotella - 2B

    8) Salvador Perez - C

    9) Alcides Escobar -SS

    SP) Jason Marquis

    The Kansas City Royals' youth movement will continue next season. They will likely sign one veteran pitcher to come in and help mentor what will be a very young pitching staff next season.

Los Angeles Angels

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    1) Maicer Izturis - 3B

    2) Howie Kendrick - 2B

    3) Kendrys Morales - DH

    4) Mark Trumbo - 1B

    5) Mike Trout - LF

    6) Erick Aybar -SS

    7) Torii Hunter - RF

    8) Hank Conger - C

    9) Peter Bourjos - CF

    SP) Jered Weaver

    The Los Angeles Angels will be happy to have Kendrys Morales back in their lineup next year. It does create a logjam in the outfield if the Angels are to have Morales and Mark Trumbo playing every day since Bobby Abreu would no longer be able to DH.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    1) Dee Gordon - SS

    2) Craig Counsell - 2B

    3) Matt Kemp - CF

    4) James Loney - 1B

    5) Andre Ethier - LF

    6) Jerry Sands - RF

    7) Greg Dobbs - 3B

    8) Tim Federowicz - C

    9) Clayton Kershaw -SP

    The Los Angeles Dodgers have two of the best players in the National League yet were unable to make the playoffs in 2011. That trend may continue in 2012 if they do not have money to spend in the winter because of Frank McCourt's financial issues.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    1) Corey Hart - RF

    2) Nyjer Morgan - CF

    3) Ryan Braun - LF

    4) Rickie Weeks - 2B

    5) Casey McGehee - 3B

    6) Mat Gamel - 1B

    7) Ramon Hernandez - C

    8) Yuniesky Betancourt - SS

    9) Yovani Gallardo - SP

    The Milwaukee Brewers will be hurt without Prince Fielder next season. Without such an important bat in the middle of their lineup, the Brewers will need to make a few improvements if they want to repeat as NL Central champions.

Minnesota Twins

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    1) Denard Span - CF

    2) Ben Revere - RF

    3) Joe Mauer - C

    4) Justin Morneau - 1B

    5) Logan Morrison - RF

    6) Vladimir Guerrero - DH

    7) Brian Dinkelman - 2B

    8) Danny Valencia - 3B

    9) Tsuyoshi Nishioka - SS

    SP) Francisco Liriano 

    Acquiring Logan Morrison from the Florida Marlins will be the biggest move the Minnesota Twins make this offseason. They will also try to bring in one or two free-agent bats to help their offense.

New York Mets

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    1) Jose Reyes - SS

    2) Justin Turner - 2B

    3) Ike Davis - 1B

    4) David Wright - 3B

    5) Lucas Duda - RF

    6) Jason Bay - LF

    7) Grady Sizemore - CF

    8) Josh Thole - C

    9) Johan Santana - SP

    The two biggest stories of the offseason for the New York Mets will be that they bring back Jose Reyes and that they seriously toy with the idea of trading David Wright. The Mets will keep their core together and hope for better results in 2012. New York will also take a chance on Grady Sizemore if he is cheap enough for them to sign.

New York Yankees

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    1) Derek Jeter - SS

    2) Curtis Granderson - CF

    3) Mark Teixeira - 1B

    4) Alex Rodriguez - 3B

    5) Robinson Cano - 2B

    6) Jesus Montero - DH

    7) Nick Swisher - RF

    8) Russell Martin - C

    9) Brett Gardner - LF

    SP) CC Sabathia

    Seeing a New York Yankees Opening Day lineup without Jorge Posada's name in it is certainly an odd sight, but it will likely happen next year. Once again, the Yankees lineup will be absolutely stacked with talent.

Oakland Athletics

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    1) Jemile Weeks - 2B

    2) Cliff Pennington - SS

    3) Carlos Lee - LF

    4) Chris Carter - RF

    5) Brandon Allen - 1B

    6) David DeJesus - DH

    7) Grant Green - CF

    8) Kurt Suzuki - C

    9) Scott Sizemore - 3B

    SP) Gio Gonzalez

    The Oakland Athletics will likely not make the playoffs in 2012. They will have a fairly young team that has the potential to grow into a team that could challenge for the AL West title within a year or two.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    1) Rafael Furcal - SS

    2) Shane Victorino - CF

    3) Chase Utley - 2B

    4) Ryan Howard - 1B

    5) Hunter Pence - RF

    6) John Mayberry Jr. - LF

    7) Placido Polanco - 3B

    8) Ryan Doumit - C

    9) Roy Halladay - SP

    The Philadelphia Phillies should get slightly better next season. By letting Jimmy Rollins go and picking up Rafael Furcal to replace him, the Phillies lineup has a whole new dynamic at the top. Furcal gives the Phillies a lot of speed.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    1) Jose Tabata - LF

    2) Neil Walker - 2B

    3) Andrew McCutchen - CF

    4) Garrett Jones - RF

    5) Chris Snyder - C 

    6) Xavier Nady - 1B

    7) Pedro Alvarez - 3B

    8) Nick Punto - SS

    9) Jeff Karstens - SP

    It seemed as if 2011 might finally be the year the Pittsburgh Pirates broke through their losing ways and finished over .500. After a strong start, the team faded, but if anything, it should show that there is hope for the 2012 squad.

San Diego Padres

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    1) Will Venable - LF

    2) Jason Bartlett - SS

    3) Cameron Maybin - CF

    4) Chase Headley - 3B

    5) Anthony Rizzo - 1B

    6) Kyle Blanks - 3B

    7) Orlando Hudson - 2B

    8) Jose Molina - C

    9) Mat Latos - SP

    San Diego will be a very young team in 2012. In fact, it may end up being the youngest team in the National League. The Padres will have a lot of potential, and it should be interesting to see how their players continue to develop.

San Francisco Giants

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    1) Andres Torres - CF

    2) Jeff Keppinger - 2B

    3) Pablo Sandoval - 3B

    4) Buster Posey - C

    5) Jimmy Rollins - SS

    6) Brandon Belt - LF

    7) Brett Pill - 1B

    8) Francisco Peguero - RF

    9) Tim Lincecum - SP

    The San Francisco Giants will make a hard push for Jose Reyes, but he will ultimately end up back with the New York Mets. The Giants will need to go with their second option at shortstop, Jimmy Rollins, who ultimately fits well into their lineup.

Seattle Mariners

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    1) Ichiro Suzuki - RF

    2) Kyle Seager - SS

    3) Dustin Ackley - 2B

    4) Justin Smoak - 1B

    5) Mike Carp - LF

    6) Trayvon Robinson - CF

    7) Miguel Olivo - C

    8) Alex Liddi - 3B

    9) Casper Wells - DH

    SP) Felix Hernandez

    There are a number of players on the Seattle Mariners that fans should be getting excited about next year. Most of the Mariners' acquisitions this offseason will likely be pitchers that improve either the back end of their rotation or their bullpen.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    1) Edgar Renteria - SS

    2) John Jay - CF

    3) Albert Pujols - 1B

    4) Lance Berkman - RF

    5) Matt Holliday - LF

    6) Zack Cox - 3B

    7) Yadier Molina - C

    8) Daniel Descalso - 2B

    9) Chris Carpenter - SP

    The most important part of this list is that Albert Pujols' name is still on it. The St. Louis Cardinals can't let him go, and they will have their hands tied until he re-signs with them. It will prevent them from making some of the other moves they want to make.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    1) Desmond Jennings - CF

    2) Omar Infante - 2B

    3) Evan Longoria - 3B

    4) Ben Zobrist - RF

    5) Matt Joyce - LF

    6) Jim Thome - DH

    7) Casey Kotchman - 1B

    8) Wilson Ramos - C

    9) Sean Rodriguez - SS

    SP) David Price

    The Washington Nationals were in pursuit of B.J. Upton earlier this year. They may finally be able to acquire him this offseason. A deal involving Upton and Wilson Ramos makes sense for both teams and could happen this offseason.

Texas Rangers

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    1) Ian Kinsler - 2B

    2) Elvis Andrus - SS

    3) Josh Hamilton - LF

    4) Michael Young - 1B

    5) Adrian Beltre - 3B

    6) Nelson Cruz - RF

    7) Mike Napoli - C

    8) Carlos Beltran - DH

    9) Julio Borbon - CF

    SP) Colby Lewis

    Last offseason the Texas Rangers lost their top starter, and it would not be surprising to see that happen again this offseason. If C.J. Wilson ends up with another team, the Rangers could make Neftali Feliz a starter. They would also look to improve their offense and could have an outstanding lineup that lacks an easy out.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    1) Yunel Escobar - SS

    2) Kelly Johnson - 2B

    3) Jose Bautista - LF

    4) Adam Lind - DH

    5) Colby Rasmus - CF

    6) Brett Lawrie - 3B

    7) J.P. Arencibia - C

    8) Travis Snider - RF

    9) David Cooper - 1B

    SP) C.J. Wilson

    The Toronto Blue Jays will be looking to spend cash this offseason, and they should be able to land a top player. They will likely miss out on Prince Fielder, but if they make a serious run at C.J. Wilson, they should be able to bring him aboard.

Washington Nationals

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    1) Ian Desmond - SS

    2) B.J. Upton - CF

    3) Ryan Zimmerman - 3B

    4) Mike Morse - LF

    5) Jayson Werth - RF

    6) Danny Espinosa - SS

    7) Derrek Lee - 1B

    8) Jesus Flores - C

    9) Stephen Strasburg - SP

    The most exciting thing about Opening Day for the Washington Nationals is the fact that they will have Stephen Strasburg on the mound. It would not be surprising if Bryce Harper breaks into this lineup just a few months later.