With spring training in full swing and almost complete, some teams have displayed their potential everyday lineup, while other teams are currently searching for answers before Opening Day.
Dr. Lineup: Spring Training Lineup Notes
Saturday March 16th, 2013
Teams such as the Los Angeles Angels, Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals, and Toronto Blue Jays (to name a few) have already shown their everyday "go-to" lineup this spring, giving fans a glimpse of what their off-season moves will look like on a regular basis in 2013 and beyond.
However, other teams, such as the New York Mets and New York Yankees are still searching for a regular lineup as we approach Opening Day 2013.
Right out of the gates, the Detroit Tigers wasted no time placing their Opening Day lineup on the field, likely due to the fact that Miguel Cabrera could potentially miss most of the month of March due to the World Baseball Classic.
Much like the Tigers, the Toronto Blue Jays unveiled what could be a likely Opening Day lineup early on. As you can see below, the Blue Jays lineup is loaded with talent, thanks to many of their off-season moves, especially the trade with the Miami Marlins that landed shortstop Jose Reyes. I suspect the top of order is pretty much set, but the No.5-No.8 hitters could flip-flop depending on the starting pitcher.
For the most part, the Angels lineup resembles that of the 2012 version, but with an upgrade, as the team now has Josh Hamilton in right field. Albert Pujols didn't make a spring appearance until early March, thanks to off-season knee surgery, but has seen at-bats as the designated hitter. Mark Trumbo is no stranger to playing first base, and could see plenty of action at first, while splitting time between the outfield and the DH.
The Nationals acquired outfielder Denard Span during the off-season, which really gives them a solid leadoff hitter, something the team has lacked over the past few seasons. Bryce Harper is developing into the top prospect everyone thought he would become, and will likely bat in the No. 3 spot most of the season. With the exception of Ryan Zimmerman at the designated hitter spot during spring (He'll play third base during the regular season) - the Nationals have flashed their everyday lineup a few times this spring, but could still change players at the catching spot, as the team has two healthy options in Wilson Ramos and Kurt Suzuki.
The Atlanta Braves were also very busy in the off-season, highlighted by moves to acquire the Upton brothers (Justin Upton and B.J. Upton). Although they traded away Martin Prado, the team figures to have Chris Johnson and Juan Francisco split time at third base. With Michael Bourn leaving via free agency, the team is going to give young shortstop Andrelton Simmons a shot at the leadoff spot. Brian McCann is recovering from off-season surgery and likely won't be available to start the season, so the Braves will use a few combinations until he returns.
Remaining in the National League East, the New York Mets were hoping to acquire Michael Bourn during the off-season, but were unsuccessful, and now have decisions to make at the leadoff spot. The team will likely platoon the center field and leadoff spot between Jordany Valdespin(vs. RHP) and Collin Cowgill (vs. LHP). Here's a potential Opening Day lineup against the San Diego Padres and lefthanded starting pitcher Clayton Richard. Obviously this is assuming that David Wright and Daniel Murphy are both healthy by April, however, both are questionable to start the season. If Wright is out, expect Justin Turner to start at third base. The Mets could also use Marlon Byrd in some fashion in the outfield.
Across town, the New York Yankees have been struggling since the off-season to fill an Opening Day lineup with major league talent. Their struggles continued into spring training, as Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira were both lost for significant time due to injury. However, it appears that Derek Jeter will be ready for Opening Day after recovering from a nasty ankle injury during the 2012 postseason. Still, the lineup to start the season will consist of sub-par talent, such as Juan Rivera, Matt Diaz, and newly acquired Brennan Boesch. A potential look to an everyday lineup, minus a platoon in the outfield for starting pitchers.
These are just a few of the notes on spring training lineups. As always, be sure to check our MLB Daily Lineups page and monitor the playing time and potential lineups that managers could use as we inch closer towards Opening Day 2013.