Although the results and statistics don't count, spring training games can still provide valuable information for regular season games.
Dr. Lineup: The Marlins, Royals, Cubs & Cards
Saturday March 31st, 2012
Everyday regulars may only have a few at-bats during spring games, but reviewing the starting lineup can provide some keys to the lineup order come April. Looking for advantages on early season trends will likely help owners on draft day.
With the final games of spring training wrapping up, we get a glimpse of a few teams rolling out their Opening Day lineups.
For the first time this spring, the Marlins had their Opening Day lineup on display. Thanks to injuries and scheduling multiple games, the Marlins regular nine haven't played a single game together during the month of the March. In fact, this marked the first time this spring that Logan Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton were in the same lineup together.
The first thing that jumps out is Jose Reyes hitting from the leadoff spot. As a fantasy owner and Marlins' fan, you've got to be excited at the possibility of Reyes stealing 40 bases, having a batting average close to .300, and scoring close to 100 runs. As it is with any player, health will play a major role with Reyes' production. However, a new stadium and a new team could bring big fantasy numbers.
Here's how the Marlins will likely look to open the 2012 season. As you can see, this lineup has a lot of potential, and they'll need it, as they play in a tough National League East division.
Kansas City Royals
After big years from Alex Gordon and prospect Eric Hosmer least season, the Royals look to take another step forward in 2012. Most of the lineup is the same from 2011, but there a few changes, especially with the emergence of outfielder Lorenzo Cain and injury to catcher Salvador Perez.
Speaking of Lorenzo Cain, you have to like him as a fantasy "sleeper" to start the 2012 season. By now, many fantasy owners have either jumped on the Cain Train, or let someone else take a chance on him. For Cain, you should expect 20-30 stolen bases along with a decent batting average. As an added bonus, if the Royals continue to hit him in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, he could see 70-90 runs scored in 2012.
Here's how the Royals took the field against the White Sox on March 30. With the exception of second base and catcher (potential platoon positions), this is how the Royals could look on Opening Day.
I've covered the Chicago Cubs earlier during a Dr. Lineup post, so I'll be brief with my comments here. Cubs manager Dale Sveum revealed his Opening Day lineup earlier this week. It looks a lot like the suggested one I posted at the beginning of the month in March, but has a few exceptions.
The biggest impact from a fantasy standpoint is the value that Bryan LaHair will have. LaHair, 29, has posted big power numbers in the minor leagues, but has only played in 65 career big-league games.
Here is what the Cubs will look like for their opener against the Washington Nationals on April 5.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals have used many different lineups this spring, but seem to have figured out a potential Opening Day lineup. The biggest question mark surrounds shortstop Rafael Furcal and his horrible spring. The team will either bat him in the leadoff spot or from the No. 8 hole.
Tyler Greene appears to be the favorite to start and be the everyday second baseman for the Cardinals in 2012. Greene, 28, is a career .218/.307/.313 hitter, but has only appeared in 150 big-league games. He's impressed the Cardinals this spring, posting a .349 on-base percentage with 5 stolen bases. In addition to Greene starting, the Cardinals could also use Daniel Descalso in some capicity in Furcal continues to struggle.
With the exception of a few changes, here's what the Cardinals' Opening Day lineup could look like when they take on the Miami Marlins.
These are just a few of the many storylines happening in spring training thus far. Be sure to check out all the lineups on Baseball Press and be sure to also check out our Lineup Application for Android phone users.
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