Total Pageviews

Thursday, March 30, 2023




pening Day is upon us as we speak. Yes, it’s March 30 the day all baseball fans have been waiting for since the World Series ended in October. And, of course, with Day One comes the celebration of a new Major League season. One of the biggest questions surrounding each of the 30 MLB clubs heading into Thursday's season opener is: What will the very first starting lineup of the regular season look like?

For the first season in a long while all 30 MLB teams will open the season on the same day--TODAY!

With the help of each beat writer, here's a look at the projected Opening Day starting lineup for each team: 

National League West 


Xander Bogaerts, SS Juan Soto, LF Manny Machado, 3B Jake Cronenworth, 1B Matt Carpenter, DH Ha-Seong Kim, 2B Trent Grisham, CF Austin Nola, C David Dahl, RF SP: Blake Snell, LHP CL: Josh Hader, LHP 

The Padres are still awaiting the return of Fernando Tatis Jr. In the meantime, they'll platoon at DH and in right field. Facing Rockies righty German Marquez, Carpenter starts over Nelson Cruz and Dahl starts over Jose Azocar. -- AJ Cassavell 


Mookie Betts, RF Freddie Freeman, 1B Will Smith, C Max Muncy, 3B J.D. Martinez, DH David Peralta, LF Miguel Vargas, 2B James Outman, CF Miguel Rojas, SS SP: Julio Ur√≠as, LHP CL: Evan Phillips, RHP From Betts to Martinez, there's a very good chance that's how the Dodgers stack up their lineup at the top. The bottom of the order could look a little different, but this allows the Dodgers to stay neutral in the lineup. -- Juan Toribio 


Corbin Carroll, CF Ketel Marte, 2B Lourdes Gurriel Jr., LF Christian Walker, 1B Evan Longoria, 3B Gabriel Moreno, C Kyle Lewis, DH Nick Ahmed, SS Jake McCarthy, RF SP: Zac Gallen, RHP CL: Scott McGough/Miguel Castro, RHP Alek Thomas will get a majority of the playing time in center field with Carroll in left, and Josh Rojas will get the bulk of the playing time at third base. But against Dodgers lefty Julio Urias, it would not be a surprise to see manager Torey Lovullo try to get more right-handed bats in there. -- Steve Gilbert 


LaMonte Wade Jr., 1B Michael Conforto, RF David Villar, 3B Joc Pederson, DH Thairo Estrada, 2B Brandon Crawford, SS Mike Yastrzemski, CF Blake Sabol, LF Joey Bart, C SP: Logan Webb, RHP CL: Camilo Doval, RHP With Mitch Haniger (Grade 1 left oblique strain) and Austin Slater (left hamstring strain) both iffy for Opening Day, the Giants seem likely to carry Sabol, a Rule 5 Draft pick who can split time between catcher and the outfield. -- Maria Guardado 


Jurickson Profar, LF Kris Bryant, RF Ryan McMahon, 2B C.J. Cron, 1B Charlie Blackmon, DH Elehuris Montero, 3B Elias Diaz, C Yonathan Daza, CF Ezequiel Tovar, SS SP: German Marquez, RHP CL: Daniel Bard, RHP The late spring addition of Profar gives the lineup a proven bat at the top -- and Profar has a chance to go against his old club in the opener at San Diego's Petco Park. -- Thomas Harding 

 National League Central 


Christian Yelich, LF Willy Adames, SS Jesse Winker, DH William Contreras, C Rowdy Tellez, 1B Luis Urias, 2B Brian Anderson, 3B Garrett Mitchell, CF Joey Wiemer, RF SP: Corbin Burnes, RHP CL: Devin Williams, RHP The Brewers have great starting pitching and will go as far as their bullpen and lineup can carry them. -- Adam McCalvy 


Brendan Donovan, 2B Tyler O'Neill, CF Paul Goldschmidt, 1B Nolan Arenado, 3B Willson Contreras, C Nolan Gorman, DH Jordan Walker, LF Lars Nootbaar, RF Tommy Edman, SS SP: Miles Mikolas, RHP CL: Ryan Helsley, RHP If O'Neill and platoon outfielder Dylan Carlson have big bounce-back seasons, Goldschmidt and Arenado continue to resemble the best 1-2 punch in baseball and top prospect Jordan Walker flashes his five-tool arsenal, the Cardinals might have the NL's deepest and most dynamic offense. But will they pitch well enough? -- John Denton 


Nico Hoerner, 2B Dansby Swanson, SS Ian Happ, LF Cody Bellinger, CF Trey Mancini RF Edwin Rios DH Patrick Wisdom, 3B Eric Hosmer, 1B Tucker Barnhart, C SP: Marcus Stroman, RHP CL: Michael Fulmer, RHP This version of the revamped Cubs' nine features six free agents reeled in over a busy winter, while the bullpen will be anchored by veteran free-agent additions Fulmer and Brad Boxberger without the "closer" label officially applied to either. -- Jordan Bastian 


Oneil Cruz, SS Bryan Reynolds, CF Carlos Santana, DH Andrew McCutchen, RF Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B Jack Suwinski, LF Ji-Man Choi, 1B Rodolfo Castro, 2B Austin Hedges, C SP: Mitch Keller, RHP CL: David Bednar, RHP The Pirates feature their most intriguing blend of young talent and established veterans in years, and if all goes well, they could add even more youth to their lineup by the end of the summer. -- Justice delos Santos 


Jonathan India, 2B Jake Fraley, DH Wil Myers, RF Tyler Stephenson, C Spencer Steer, 3B TJ Friedl, LF Jason Vosler, 1B Jose Barrero, SS Will Benson, CF SP: Hunter Greene, RHP CL: Alexis D√≠az, RHP. As he works his way back from August left shoulder surgery, Votto will start the season on the IL, leaving Vosler to get the nod at first base. -- Mark Sheldon 

 National League East 


Ronald Acuna Jr., RF Matt Olson, 1B Austin Riley, 3B Marcell Ozuna, DH Ozzie Albies, 2B Michael Harris II, CF Sean Murphy, C Eddie Rosario, LF Orlando Arcia, SS SP: Max Fried, LHP CL: A.J. Minter, RHP. The Padres are the only NL team that can come close to rivaling Atlanta's top-of-the-lineup power potential. -- Mark Bowman 


Luis Arraez, 2B Jorge Soler, DH Jazz Chisholm Jr., CF Garrett Cooper, 1B Avisal Garcia, RF Jesus Sanchez, LF Jean Segura, SS Joey Wendle, 3B Jacob Stallings, C SP: Sandy Alcantara, RHP CL: Matt Barnes, RHP/A.J. Puk, LHP Newcomer Arraez, the 2022 AL batting champion, fits in nicely at the top of the order for a club that didn't have a traditional table-setter last season. As of now, Miami seems content mixing and matching in late-inning situations. -- Christina De Nicola 


Brandon Nimmo, CF Starling Marte, RF Francisco Lindor, SS Pete Alonso, 1B Jeff McNeil, 2B Mark Canha, LF Daniel Vogelbach, DH Eduardo Escobar, 3B Omar Narvarez, C SP: Max Scherzer, RHP CL: David Robertson, RHP. This is essentially the same lineup the Mets used in the playoffs last season, with free-agent acquisition Narvaez splitting catching duties with incumbent Tomas Nido. -- Anthony DiComo 


Lane Thomas, RF Dominic Smith, 1B Joey Meneses, DH Corey Dickerson, LF Jeimer Candelario, 3B Luis Garcia, 2B Keibert Ruiz, C CJ Abrams, SS Victor Robles, CF SP: Patrick Corbin, LHP CL: Kyle Finnegan, RHP. The Nationals are looking to be athletic with a focus on extra-base hits, and the leadoff hitter could vary throughout the season as they do so. -- Jessica Camerato 


Trea Turner, SS Kyle Schwarber, LF J.T. Realmuto, C Darick Hall, 1B Nick Castellanos, RF Bryson Stott, 2B Alec Bohm, 3B Brandon Marsh, CF Josh Harrison, DH SP: Aaron Nola, RHP CL: Seranthony Dominguez, RHP. Don't be surprised if the lineup looks completely different on Opening Day, other than Turner in the leadoff spot. Phillies manager Rob Thomson can go different ways, especially with Rhys Hoskins lost for the season. -- Todd Zolecki 

American League East 

Blue Jays: 

RF George Springer SS Bo Bichette 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. DH Brandon Belt C Alejandro Kirk LF Daulton Varsho 3B Matt Chapman 2B Whit Merrifield CF Kevin Kiermaier SP: RHP Alek Manoah, RHP CL: RHP Jordan Romano, RHP. This lineup will change almost daily, with Santiago Espinal, Cavan Biggio and Danny Jansen all earning regular reps while giving manager John Schneider some very useful bench options from game to game. -- Keegan Matheson 


Cedric Mullins, CF Adley Rutschman, C Ryan Mountcastle, 1B Anthony Santander, RF Gunnar Henderson, 3B Austin Hays, LF Adam Frazier, 2B Jorge Mateo, SS Kyle Stowers, DH SP: Kyle Gibson, RHP CL: Felix Bautista, RHP. The O's will rotate the DH spot around this season, but it makes sense to use it to get Kyle Stowers' left-handed bat in the lineup on Opening Day, when the Red Sox will send right-hander Corey Kluber to the hill. -- Jake Rill 


Yandy Diaz, 1B Wander Franco, SS Randy Arozarena, LF Brandon Lowe, 2B Harold Ramerez, DH Isaac Paredes, 3B Manuel Margot, RF Christian Bethancourt, C Jose Siri, CF SP: Shane McClanahan, LHP CL: Pete Fairbanks, RHP. The Rays used 158 different batting orders each of the last two years, and few teams use their entire roster like Tampa Bay, so expect plenty of mixing and matching all season long. Manager Kevin Cash will use his relievers based on matchups, with Fairbanks and Jason Adam getting the most high-leverage work. -- Adam Berry 

 Red Sox: 

Alex Verdugo, RF Rafael Devers, 3B Justin Turner, DH Masataka Yoshida, LF Adam Duvall, CF Triston Casas, 1B Christian Arroyo, 2B Reese McGuire, C Kiki Hernandez, SS SP: Corey Kluber, RHP CL: Kenley Jansen, RHP. Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he won't go with a set leadoff hitter, at least early in the season, but Verdugo will get the nod against righties out of the gate. -- Ian Browne 


DJ LeMahieu, DH Aaron Judge, CF Anthony Rizzo, 1B Giancarlo Stanton, RF Josh Donaldson, 3B Gleyber Torres, 2B Aaron Hicks, LF Anthony Volpe, SS Jose Trevino, C SP: Gerrit Cole, RHP CL: Clay Holmes, RHP.  Harrison Bader is not expected to return to center field until at least late April, which will prompt manager Aaron Boone to be creative with his outfield alignment. Judge could see starts at all three positions. Volpe has outperformed Oswald Peraza and Isiah Kiner-Falefa this spring, but it remains to be seen if he'll get the nod at shortstop for Opening Day. -- Bryan Hoch 

 AL Central 


Steven Kwan, LF Amed Rosario, SS Jose Ramirez, 3B Josh Bell, DH Josh Naylor, 1B Oscar Gonzalez, RF Andres Giminez, 2B Mike Zunino, C Myles Straw, CF SP: Shane Bieber, RHP CL: Emmanuel Clase, RHP. The only question is whether the Guardians will have Bell or Naylor at first base. The other will DH. Outside of that, the club has very few questions when it comes to its starting lineup. -- Mandy Bell Royals: Bobby Witt Jr., SS MJ Melendez, LF Salvador Perez, C Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B Franmil Reyes, DH Michael Massey, 2B Hunter Dozier, 3B Jackie Bradley Jr., RF Kyle Isbel, CF SP: Zack Greinke, RHP CL: Scott Barlow, RHP The bottom of the lineup is flexible, as manager Matt Quatraro will utilize his bench often, and it still isn't confirmed whether Bradley (or Reyes, also a non-roster invitee) is going to make the team -- or at which position. Edward Olivares could also start in the corner outfield on Opening Day. -- Anne Rogers Tigers: Matt Vierling, LF Riley Greene, CF Javier B√°ez, SS Austin Meadows, RF Spencer Torkelson, 1B Miguel Cabrera, DH Eric Haase, C Jonathan Schoop, 3B Cesar Hernandez, 2B SP: Matthew Boyd, RHP CL: Alex Lange/Jos√© Cisnero, RHP Expect this lineup to change often, with a likely platoon in left field and a potential three-man platoon at second and third base. -- Jordan Beck Twins: Joey Gallo, 1B Carlos Correa, SS Byron Buxton, DH Max Kepler, RF Jose Miranda, 3B Trevor Larnach, LF Christian Vazquez, C Nick Gordon, 2B Michael A. Taylor, CF SP: Pablo Lopez, RHP CL: Jhoan Duran, RHP There's some question as to whether Miranda will be ready to play third base in time for Opening Day; if not, expect Kyle Farmer to man the hot corner. -- Do-Hyoung Park White Sox: Tim Anderson, SS Luis Robert Jr., CF Andrew Benintendi, LF Eloy Jiminez, DH Yoan Moncada, 3B Andrew Vaughn, 1B Yasmani Grandal, C Oscar Colas, RF Elvis Andrus, 2B SP: Dylan Cease, RHP CL: Multiple relievers Vaughn is working with lower back stiffness, but the team doesn't seem concerned about his Opening Day readiness. Liam Hendriks continues his treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, so manager Pedro Grifol intends to go closer by committee in Hendriks' absence, without specifically using that phrase. -- Scott Merkin AL West Angels: Taylor Ward, LF Mike Trout, CF Shohei Ohtani, DH Anthony Rendon, 3B Hunter Renfroe, RF Brandon Drury, 1B Luis Rengifo, 2B Max Stassi, C David Fletcher, SS SP: Shohei Ohtani, RHP CL: Carlos Estevez, RHP The Angels face a lefty on Opening Day, so regular first baseman Jared Walsh isn't expected to be in the lineup. Gio Urshela will also see plenty of time around the infield. The closer spot isn't set after Estevez struggled this spring. -- Rhett Bollinger Astros: Jeremy Pena, SS Alex Bregman, 3B Yordan Alvarez, DH Kyle Tucker, RF Jose Abreu, 1B Chas McCormick, LF David Hensley, 2B Jake Meyers, CF Martin Maldonado, C SP: Framber Valdez, LHP CL: Ryan Pressly, RHP Injuries to second baseman Jose Altuve (broken thumb) and left fielder Michael Brantley (recovering from shoulder surgery) have opened a couple of slots in the lineup, and that's assuming Tucker (sprained ankle) and Alvarez (hand soreness) will be ready to go. -- Brian McTaggart Athletics: Tony Kemp, 2B Aledmys Diaz, SS Seth Brown, LF Jesus Aguilar, DH Jace Peterson, 3B Ramen Laureano, RF Shea Langeliers, C Ryan Noda, 1B Esteury Ruiz, CF SP: Kyle Muller, LHP CL: Domingo Acevedo, RHP Versatility will be a theme for the A's this season, with left-right platoon situations likely at first base, second base and the corner outfield spots. -- Martin Gallegos Mariners: Julio Rodriguez, CF Kolten Wong, 2B Ty France, 1B Teoscar Hernandez, RF Cal Raleigh, C Eugenio Suarez, 3B Jarred Kelenic, LF Cooper Hummel, DH J.P. Crawford, SS SP: Luis Castillo, RHP CL: Andres Munoz, RHP The Mariners used 129 different lineups last year, and that diversity will probably continue as the club deploys its deepest roster since manager Scott Servais arrived in 2016. -- Daniel Kramer Rangers: Marcus Semien, 2B Corey Seager, SS Nathaniel Lowe, 1B Adolis Garcia, RF Robbie Grossman, LF Josh Jung, 3B Mitch Garver, DH Jonah Heim, C Bubba Thompson, CF SP: Jacob deGrom, RHP CL: Jonathan Hernandez, RHP An oblique injury will likely keep center fielder Leody Taveras from starting on Opening Day, but the rest of the lineup falls perfectly behind the core four of Semien, Seager, Lowe and Garcia. -- Kennedi Landry 

No comments:

Post a Comment