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Inbox: Who'll round out Astros' 2019 rotation?

Beat reporter Brian McTaggart fields questions from fans
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- It's hard to believe Astros pitchers and catchers will be working out in West Palm Beach, Fla., in less than a month. A year ago at this time, the Astros were coming off a World Series title, but the expectations haven't changed heading into 2019.

So let's open the Inbox to see what's on your mind about the Astros as we plow closer to the pitchers and catchers report date:

HOUSTON -- It's hard to believe Astros pitchers and catchers will be working out in West Palm Beach, Fla., in less than a month. A year ago at this time, the Astros were coming off a World Series title, but the expectations haven't changed heading into 2019.

So let's open the Inbox to see what's on your mind about the Astros as we plow closer to the pitchers and catchers report date:

Let's assume the Astros go into Spring Training without having made a significant addition to the rotation. Who could be a dark horse to make the starting rotation out of ST? Assuming that Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Collin McHugh are locks with Josh James, Brad Peacock, Framber Valdez, Forrest Whitley and Corbin Martin as the main candidates for the 4 and 5 spots.

Your assumptions are spot on. Barring another addition to the rotation -- and let the record show I still think the Astros will acquire another veteran arm -- the final two spots in the rotation will be between the kids, as well as Peacock. I think you can rule out Whitley and Martin starting the season in the big league rotation, but James and Valdez will have great shots to win a starting rotation spot. Peacock might be too valuable of a weapon in the bullpen at this point, but his success as a starter in 2017 (10-2, 3.22 ERA in 21 starts) remains fresh in the memory.

:: Submit a question to the Astros Inbox ::

What are the chances you see the Astros' front office re-signing both Verlander and Cole to extensions?
-- Christopher S., San Antonio

They're both free agents after the 2019 season, as you know, which is why the team's window to win another championship remains wide open this year. But I think it would be very difficult for the Astros to come up with enough payroll flexibility to pay both of them the huge contracts they're going to demand. Jose Altuve gets a raise in 2020 that will pay him $29 million a year, and George Springer could push $20 million a season by then in his final year before free agency.

The point is the Astros are facing some impact contract decisions coming up with some of their core players and won't have the luxury of signing a pair of starting pitchers to massive deals. The Astros don't operate like that, anyway. They could let Verlander and Cole walk and try to make another deal like they did a year ago with Cole, getting an up-and-coming star in a trade a couple of years prior to becoming a free agent.

Which Astros arbitration candidates will get their full asking price in their hearings?
-- Allen A., Bay City, Texas

It's hard to say. The arbitration process is something that's difficult to predict. The Astros have three former All-Stars headed to arbitration -- shortstop Carlos Correa, Cole and relief pitcher Chris Devenski. Correa is asking for $5 million, and the Astros have countered with $4.25 million; Devenski is asking for $1.65 million, and the Astros have countered for $1.4 million; and Cole is asking for $13.5 million, and the Astros countered with $11.425 million.

I certainly wouldn't want to make a case against Cole coming off the year he had, but the Astros are hoping to save more than $2 million in arbitration in his deal. Correa seems like a bargain for $5 million, especially if healthy, but he didn't have a great season. The Devenski difference is only $250,000, but the Astros will be aiming to win arbitration cases after losing last year to McHugh and Ken Giles.

Will Lance McCullers Jr. be a full go this time next year?
-- Marc A., Benton, Ark.

If not, then he'll be really close, barring a setback. He had Tommy John surgery on Nov. 6, and the timetable for a full recovery is typically 18 months, though it can be shorter. He'll miss the entire 2019 season and should be ready for game action around the start of the 2020 season. McCullers is a bulldog competitor, so he'll attack his rehab as hard as he can.

Video: McCullers discusses Tommy John rehab on High Heat

With the realistic possibility now that either Tyler White or Tony Kemp could begin the season in Triple-A again after bouncing between there and the big leagues for the past three seasons and seemingly proving some of their worth at the big league level last year, can that begin to have a negative effect on those players in the near future?
-- Logan K., Valley Mills, Texas

The roster, in its current composition, wouldn't seem to support a spot for both White and Kemp, especially following the addition of Michael Brantley. Both men have bounced between Triple-A and the big leagues in the past couple of years and made the most of their opportunities with nothing left to prove in the Minors. Sure, not making the big league club is certainly going to affect a players' psyche, but White and Kemp are both professional enough to approach it with the proper mindset.

Do you believe the Astros will trade Kyle Tucker and Max Stassi for J.T. Realmuto? If the Astros trade for a starting pitcher, who do you believe it might be?
-- Roland L., Houston

I think if the Astros were going to acquire Realmuto from the Marlins in a package that included top position-player prospect Tucker they would have done it already. Either they've decided not to trade Tucker, or the Marlins have said "No thanks." Of course, if they decided not to trade Tucker, they could always change their minds. Stay tuned.

A couple of names to keep an eye on in terms of starting pitchers: Sonny Gray of the Yankees and Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays.

Hot Stove Tracker

Any news on Correa's back progress? Do you think he will be a long-term Astro?
-- David W., Houston

Correa has laid low this offseason so we haven't had any updates, but we were told rest was going to be the best medicine for back issues which led to a long DL stint last season. He's likely gotten plenty of that.

The Astros would definitely love to tie up Correa long term, but he'll be a free agent at 27 years old in 2022. He could command Manny Machado-Bryce Harper money, whatever that might be. Will the Astros be able to afford it? We will have to wait to find out.

Tags, given the dysfunction of the FA market these days, what do you think are the chances that either Dallas Keuchel or Marwin Gonzalez re-signs with the Astros?
-- Lance P., Houston

I think the closer we get to the start of the season and the longer they're unsigned, the chances grow higher. That's probably true more for Keuchel, because the Astros are still in need for a starting pitcher. Maybe if the market for Keuchel isn't what he thought in a month, he'd decide to come back to Houston. The Astros traded for Aledmys Diaz as the supposed replacement for Gonzalez, so I think it's less likely he returns.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros

30 best defensive prospects -- 1 for each team

MLB.com

MLB Pipeline recently unveiled its annual All-Defense Team, but there were only so many spots to fill. It made us realize there were so many outstanding defenders across all 30 organizations.

Evaluating defense is still very much subjective, with metrics measuring fielding still imperfect. Still, each system has glovework that stands out more than others, and we considered many to present one best defender from each organization.

MLB Pipeline recently unveiled its annual All-Defense Team, but there were only so many spots to fill. It made us realize there were so many outstanding defenders across all 30 organizations.

Evaluating defense is still very much subjective, with metrics measuring fielding still imperfect. Still, each system has glovework that stands out more than others, and we considered many to present one best defender from each organization.

American League East

Orioles: Cadyn Grenier, SS, No. 9
Grenier's stellar glovework at shortstop was key in helping Oregon State win the 2018 College World Series, and in the process, he established himself as one of the best defensive prospects in the Draft before going to the Orioles as the No. 37 overall pick. With good hands, plus arm strength and plenty of range, Grenier has all the ingredients needed to stick at the position long term.

Red Sox: Bobby Dalbec, 3B, No. 6
Dalbec has always possessed a strong arm and has worked hard to improve his agility and range at third base, with several Red Sox officials rating him as a plus defender and scouts outside the organization grading him more as solid. He also owns prodigious raw power and ranked second in the Minors in extra-base hits (70) and RBIs (109) last year, and fourth in homers (32).

Yankees: Estevan Florial, OF, No. 1 (MLB No. 45)
Florial has some of the best all-around tools in the Minors, with well-above-average raw power, speed and arm strength. He continues to improve as a center fielder, projecting as a plus defender, and has an exceptionally strong arm for the position.

Rays: Lucius Fox, SS, No. 9
While there's no shortage of standout defenders in the highly athletic Rays system, Fox, a top-flight athlete with plus-plus speed, could be the best. He's played shortstop exclusively as a pro and committed 15 errors in 105 games last season while reaching Double-A at age 21. His athleticism makes him an electrifying defender, and he has the requisite physical tools to remain at the position for the long haul.

Video: EAST@WEST: Fox showcases range, slick glove in 3rd

Blue Jays: Kevin Vicuna, SS, unranked
The Blue Jays felt so good about Vicuna's defense in 2017 that they had the then-19-year-old handle shortstop duties for Class A Advanced Dunedin from April 23-June 1, even though Vicuna previously had never played above the Rookie Gulf Coast League. He's an athletic and, at times, flashy defender, with quick, twitchy hands that help him absorb anything hit his way and a quick release that causes his average arm strength to play up across the infield.

AL Central

White Sox: Nick Madrigal, 2B, No. 5 (MLB No. 49)
The White Sox may try Madrigal at shortstop, because he has the hands and actions to thrive there, but his average arm makes him a better fit at second base. With his quickness and instincts, he could be a Gold Glove Award winner at the keystone, and he also rated as the best pure hitter in the 2018 Draft, where he went No. 4 overall.

Video: Top Prospects: Nick Madrigal, 2B, White Sox

Indians: Eric Haase, C, No. 27
Haase reached the Majors for the first time late last season, seven years after the Indians took him in the seventh round of the 2011 Draft. Though he's blossomed on both sides of the ball during the past two seasons, it's been Haase's defensive gains that have helped him climb the Tribe's depth chart. After throwing out 37 percent of attempted basestealers in 2017, Haase improved that mark to nearly 49 percent in '18 (33 of 68).

Tigers: Jake Rogers, C, No. 12
The Tigers got Rogers as part of the Justin Verlander deal, and in Rogers' first full season with the organization, he cemented himself as the game's best defensive catching prospect, earning a spot on MLB Pipeline's All-Defense Team for the second year in a row. He threw out 55.6 percent of potential basestealers in 2018, upping his career rate to 48.5 percent.

Royals: Sebastian Rivero, C, unranked
M.J. Melendez is very athletic for a catcher and has a chance to become a plus defender with an arm to match. Yet South Atlantic League managers rated Rivero, his teammate at Lexington last summer, the low Class A circuit's best defensive backstop in a Baseball America survey last year. The Royals liken Rivero to a young Salvador Perez, and in addition to his physical ability, Rivero also draws raves for his leadership skills, intelligence and work ethic.

Twins: Gilberto Celestino, OF, No. 14
Signed by the Astros for $2.5 million in 2015, Celestino made his United States debut in '17, then got dealt to the Twins in the Ryan Pressly trade last season. He's drawn comparisons to Albert Almora Jr. for his instincts in center, and coaches in Elizabethton feel he's one of the best defenders they've ever seen.

AL West

Astros: Myles Straw, OF, No. 15
Straw has double-plus speed that gives him tremendous range in center field, where his plus arm also stands out at a position not noted for strong throwers. That quickness also plays well on the bases (he topped the Minors with 70 steals in only 79 attempts in 2018) and allows him to beat out hits (he led the Minors with a .358 batting average in '16).

Angels: Jordyn Adams, OF, No. 6
The Angels signed Adams away from playing football and baseball at North Carolina, and he immediately put his tools on display during his pro debut and during instructs. He's still raw, but the Angels feel he has elite range and the highest ceiling as a defender in the organization.

A's: Nick Allen, SS, No. 15
Allen was viewed by many scouts as perhaps the best defensive prospect available in the 2017 Draft, and he's done nothing to diminish that reputation after signing for more than double slot value as the A's third-round pick. There is no doubt among scouts that Allen can stick at shortstop. He's already a plus defender there, with outstanding range that leads to many highlight-reel plays and plus arm strength that allows him to make throws from all over the diamond.

Mariners: Evan White, 1B, No. 5
It's not often a first baseman is mentioned as one of the premier defensive players in the Minors, but that's the reality with White, who recently was named to the All-Defense Team. All signs point to him becoming a Gold Glove Award winner at the position, as he's athletic with outstanding footwork, a strong arm and plus range. His ability to pick throws is elite, and he makes every infielder on his team better as a result.

Video: Top Prospects: Evan White, 1B, Mariners

Rangers: Jose Trevino, C, No. 28
Trevino won Rawlings Minor League Gold Gloves in both 2016 and '17, before surgery on his non-throwing shoulder last July squashed any chances of a three-peat. He's an outstanding receiver and blocker, gets the most out of his strong arm with a quick release and accurate throws and also earns high marks for his ability to run a pitching staff.

National League East

Braves: Cristian Pache, OF, No. 6  (MLB No. 68)
Pache is generally considered to be the best defender in the Minor Leagues, leading our All-Defense Prospect Team. He has the speed and instincts to be a Gold Glove center fielder to go along with a right fielder's arm.

Video: Mayo looks at MLB Pipeline's 2019 All-Defense Team

Marlins: Jose Devers, SS/2B, No. 13
The cousin of Red Sox third basemen Rafael Devers, Jose was acquired by the Marlins last offseason in the blockbuster trade that sent Giancarlo Stanton to the Bronx. While he doesn't have his cousin's offensive profile, Devers is a far superior defender, with the soft hands, slick footwork and strong arm needed to be a big league shortstop. He showcased his defensive prowess last season, committing only seven errors and posting a .971 fielding percentage as an 18-year-old in full-season ball.

Mets: Andres Gimenez, SS, No. 1 (MLB No. 55)
The shortstop on our All-Defense Team, Gimenez reached Double-A in 2018 as a teenager. While he needs to add strength offensively, he has everything he needs to play shortstop defensively in the big leagues. He has plus hands, range and the internal clock to allow him to slow the game down.

Phillies: Luis Garcia, SS, No. 14
Signed for $2.5 million in July 2017, Garcia had a tremendous debut in the Gulf Coast League in '18 on both sides of the ball. He has a strong arm to go along with terrific hands and feet, and speed that gives him excellent range to stay at shortstop long term. He's only going to get better as he matures.

Nationals: Victor Robles, OF, No. 1 (MLB No. 4)
Revered as one of the top defenders in the Minor Leagues and a member of MLB Pipeline's All-Defense Team, Robles has game-changing abilities in center field. His near top-of-the-scale speed gives him range for days in center field, and he's made strides in improving both his reads and routes in the past two years. His plus-plus arm is among the strongest in the Minors, and he totaled 29 outfield assists from 2016-17 before an injury-plagued campaign in '18.

Video: Top Prospects: Victor Robles, OF, Nationals

NL Central

Cubs: Miguel Amaya, C, No. 1 (MLB No. 87)
Amaya's defensive ability and makeup led the Cubs to sign him for $1.25 million out of Panama in 2015, and he continues to impress even though he has been pushed aggressively in the Minors. His aptitude to frame and block pitches is advanced for a teenager, and his arm strength has improved to at least solid and plays up because of his quick transfer and accuracy.

Reds: Mike Siani, OF, No. 9
The Reds' fourth-round pick got first-round money to sign because of his all-around tools. But his defensive skills have long stood out, and he might have been the best defensive outfielder in the 2018 Draft class, with the ability to cover a ton of ground in center and an arm that allowed him to throw low-90s fastballs from the mound in high school.

Brewers: Payton Henry, C, No. 11
A sixth-round pick in 2016 who signed for nearly twice his slot value, Henry threw out nearly 44 percent (46 of 105) of attempted basestealers and had only six passed balls in his first full season. A quick release and a strong, accurate arm help Henry to combat the running game, and evaluators have been impressed with how he's developed a receiving style that utilizes his big, athletic frame. Henry is also praised for his energy and leadership skills.

Pirates: Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B, No. 2 (MLB No. 48)
Hayes was the third baseman on our All-Defense Team, and for good reason. He entered pro ball as one of the better defenders at the hot corner, but he's gotten even better as he's committed himself to his conditioning, adding to his agility and range to make him the best in the Minors at the position.

Cardinals: Delvin Perez, SS, No. 28
The Cardinals' first-round pick in 2016 has had trouble finding any traction offensively, but there are no concerns about his defensive chops. He gets plus grades on his arm and his overall fielding, thanks to a plus arm when he needs it, above-average hands and plus speed that helps him cover a lot of ground.

NL West

D-backs: Geraldo Perdomo, SS, No. 21
Perdomo's United States debut in 2018 was solid all-around, and he even earned a promotion from the Arizona Rookie League to the Pioneer League in the process. Tall and rangy, the teenager has shown the tools to stay at shortstop long term with outstanding range, actions and hands to go with a strong arm.

Rockies: Yonathan Daza, OF, No. 18
Thanks to his plus speed and fine instincts, Daza covers a lot of ground in center field, and he possesses a plus-plus arm that stands out at his position. He's also a career .310 hitter who won the Class A Advanced California League batting title in 2017 with a .341 mark.

Dodgers: Will Smith, C, No. 5
An outstanding athlete for a catcher, Smith has already shown that he's capable of playing third base and filling in at second. He has very soft hands and impressive agility, making him a fine receiver and framer, and he has a solid arm that plays better than that because of his fast footwork.

Padres: Buddy Reed, OF, No. 13
A member of MLB Pipeline's All-Defense Team, Reed's 70-grade speed and long, gliding strides allow him to cover huge swaths of territory in center field -- and he showcased that with his catch in last year's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. Reed also has a strong arm and recorded 12 outfield assists in 2018, surpassing his combined total from his first two seasons.

Video: WLD@USA: Reed wired up, makes great grab at the wall

Giants: Joey Bart, C, No. 1 (MLB No. 23)
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 Draft, Bart draws more attention with his bat, but his work behind the plate is impressive as well. He has improved markedly since high school, when scouts wondered if he could stay at catcher, enhancing his agility and receiving and improving the accuracy of his strong arm.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Correa shows strength with weightlifting sesh

Baseball players are strong. This is not surprising. However, it may shock you to learn that a certain lithe and agile middle infielder is built like a brick house. Enter: Carlos Correa. 

Berkman's numbers make interesting Hall case

Former Astros great 'mildly curious' to see how he fares in this month's voting
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- As one of the most feared hitters of the 2000s and clutch playoff performers of his time -- in addition to being one of the game's greatest switch-hitters -- former Astros and Cardinals slugger Lance Berkman built a terrific career through a decade-plus of consistency.

Berkman performed at a Hall of Fame caliber at his peak in the mid-2000s and played in 1,879 regular-season games in 15 seasons, amassing a .293 batting average, 422 doubles, 366 home runs, 1,234 RBIs and a .943 OPS that ranks 27th all-time in Major League history. He's on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year and brings an interesting case.

HOUSTON -- As one of the most feared hitters of the 2000s and clutch playoff performers of his time -- in addition to being one of the game's greatest switch-hitters -- former Astros and Cardinals slugger Lance Berkman built a terrific career through a decade-plus of consistency.

Berkman performed at a Hall of Fame caliber at his peak in the mid-2000s and played in 1,879 regular-season games in 15 seasons, amassing a .293 batting average, 422 doubles, 366 home runs, 1,234 RBIs and a .943 OPS that ranks 27th all-time in Major League history. He's on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year and brings an interesting case.

Video: OAK@TEX: Berkman's two-run shot puts Rangers on board

The results of this year's Hall of Fame voting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America will be revealed Jan. 22 on MLB Network, and Berkman admits he's "mildly curious" to see how he fares, though he says he won't make the Hall of Fame.

"When you start out playing, it's beyond your wildest dreams that someday you'd be at least named on a Hall of Fame ballot," he said. "It's exciting to make it that far, and I guess you never know what can happen, so we'll just see how it plays out."

Berkman blended power and batting average from both sides of the plate while building a reputation as a clutch player. He anchored the lineup of the Astros' first World Series team in 2005 and led the Cardinals to the World Series title in '11. In 52 postseason games, he hit .317 with nine home runs and had 41 RBIs while posting a .949 OPS that includes a .410 average and 1.084 OPS in 11 World Series games.

Video: 2005 NLDS Gm4: Berkman's slam starts Astros comeback

In the 2000s, Berkman ranked in the top five in the National League in multiple categories, including second in RBIs (1,026), third in total bases (2,887), walks (968), doubles (357) and runs (959), fourth in homers (309), OBP (.413) and OPS (.972) and sixth in slugging (.559). In those 10 seasons, he posted an OPS higher than .900 nine times and higher than 1.000 three times.

Among switch-hitters, Berkman ranks second all-time in OPS and slugging (.537), third in OBP (.406) and sixth in homers. His 52.1 WAR ranks 10th among switch-hitters but is tops among switch-hitters that have fewer than 1,900 games played. Still, Berkman admits he probably didn't play quite long enough to build a Hall of Fame resume.

"It seems like that one of the things that the voters value is longevity," he said. "Really, I only had about 12 healthy years out of my 15 that I ended up playing. For a guy that didn't have much of a defensive metric -- I didn't play a premium defensive position -- you've got to have a lot of home runs, a lot of RBIs, and I don't know if I've got enough to get in."

Berkman, who played outfield early in his career before switching to first base in 2005 to replace the injured Jeff Bagwell, reached the 100-RBIs mark six times, hit 30 or more homers six times and had two 40-plus homer seasons. He also reached 90 walks 10 times and 100 runs five times. A six-time All Star, he finished third in the voting for the NL MVP Award twice (2002, '06) and fifth twice ('01, '08).

Video: WS2011 Gm6: Berkman homers, ties game with a single

Last month's election of Harold Baines to the 2019 Hall of Fame class by the Today's Game Era Committee could force some voters to give players like Berkman a closer look. Berkman didn't play nearly as long as Baines to amass huge cumulative numbers, but bests Baines in OPS (.943 to .820), OPS+ (144 to 121) and WAR (52.1 to 38.7).

"I know that it's such a subjective process and subjective criteria," Berkman said. "There may be voters out there that don't care about longevity, but I'm assuming there's at least a few that do care about it. If I manage to say on the ballot somehow and over the course of time, if some of the less-traditional numbers are looked at, you could make a case based on OPS and those kinds of things that I have a pretty good candidacy. I'm definitely curious to see how that all shakes out, but I'm not sitting here holding my breath."

Berkman's long-time teammate, pitcher Roy Oswalt, is also on the ballot for the first time this year. Ultimately, Oswalt is likely in the same category as Berkman, having perhaps a Hall of Fame peak but lacking longevity.

In 13 seasons, Oswalt was 163-102 with a 3.36 ERA, 20 complete games and 1,852 strikeouts against just 520 walks. In the 2000s, he led the NL in wins, was third in ERA (3.23), fourth in innings pitched (1,803 1/3) and fifth in complete games (18). Oswalt also proved to be a clutch performer in the postseason with a 3.73 ERA in 13 appearances, and was named the MVP of the 2005 NL Championship Series.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros

First Spring Training workout dates for all clubs

MLB.com @mattkellyMLB

Major League Baseball has revealed the first Spring Training workout dates for pitchers and catchers and those for the full squads for all 30 clubs. MLB also announced game times for all Cactus and Grapefruit League action in February and March.

Major League Baseball has revealed the first Spring Training workout dates for pitchers and catchers and those for the full squads for all 30 clubs. MLB also announced game times for all Cactus and Grapefruit League action in February and March.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The A's, fresh off their surprise run to the 2018 American League Wild Card Game, will be the first club to have its pitchers and catchers report. They'll do so on Monday, Feb. 11, followed by the Indians and Mariners on Feb. 12 and the remainder of MLB clubs in the days following. Oakland and Seattle will travel to Tokyo to stage two exhibition games each against Japanese teams on March 17-18, followed by the first two games of the 2019 regular season on March 20-21 at Tokyo Dome.

Complete Spring Training schedule

Oakland and Seattle will hold their first full-squad workouts on Saturday, Feb. 16, in Arizona, with the rest of MLB following suit in the days after. The Braves will be the last club to hold its first full-squad workout, doing so on Thursday, Feb. 21. The A's and Mariners open Cactus League action with a matchup on Feb. 21, and the Rays and Phillies open up Grapefruit League action the following day. The Red Sox and Tigers will play exhibition games against college teams on Feb. 22.

Here are first-workout dates for pitchers and catchers and full squads for each team:

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Angels: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Astros: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
Athletics: Feb. 11/Feb. 16
Blue Jays: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
Indians: Feb. 12/Feb. 18
Mariners: Feb. 12/Feb. 16
Orioles: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Rangers: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Rays: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Red Sox: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Royals: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Tigers: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Twins: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
White Sox: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Yankees: Feb. 14/Feb. 19

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Braves: Feb. 16/Feb. 21
Brewers: Feb. 14/Feb. 19
Cardinals: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Cubs: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Diamondbacks: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Dodgers: Feb. 13/Feb. 19
Giants: Feb. 14/Feb. 19
Marlins: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Mets: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
Nationals: Feb. 14/Feb. 19
Padres: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Phillies: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Pirates: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Reds: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Rockies: Feb. 13/Feb. 18

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

The MLB.com Hall of Fame ballot results are ...

MLB.com

Six MLB.com writers were among those eligible to cast ballots in the 2019 Hall of Fame vote conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

• Complete Hall of Fame coverage

Six MLB.com writers were among those eligible to cast ballots in the 2019 Hall of Fame vote conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

• Complete Hall of Fame coverage

As many as four candidates -- and possibly more -- could be elected, according to the public ballots amassed online. Here's a look at how the six voted, and at the bottom you can see what the totals look like among this group:

T.R. Sullivan
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Fred McGriff
6. Mike Mussina
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Billy Wagner
9. Larry Walker
10. Michael Young

There are many offensive players who could/should be elected based on their career numbers. I strongly believe McGriff is unfairly overlooked because he was one of the last great hitters before the offensive explosion of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Mussina also thrived as a starting pitcher in the American League right in the thick of that era. It should not have taken him this long to be elected. I'm not big on comparables, but Wagner was every bit as good of a reliever as Rivera or Trevor Hoffman.

Video: MLB Tonight on Mike Mussina's Hall of Fame case

Mark Feinsand
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Mike Mussina
6. Manny Ramirez
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Curt Schilling
9. Gary Sheffield
10. Omar Vizquel

Three of the players I voted for a year ago -- Vladimir Guerrero, Chipper Jones and Jim Thome -- were inducted into the Hall, so the holdovers (Bonds, Clemens, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling and Sheffield) took up the first seven spots on my ballot.

That left me with up to three open spots to fill. Rivera was an obvious choice for one of them in his first time on the ballot, as was Halladay, who, despite a modest win total (203), was one of the most dominant pitchers of his generation. Although I delved into their statistics to confirm what I already knew, these two were no-brainers.

Video: Roy Halladay's case for the Hall of Fame

The final spot was a little more difficult. After a first examination of the 26 players, I narrowed down my choice to Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Fred McGriff, Andy Pettitte, Scott Rolen, Vizquel, Larry Walker and Vernon Wells. (OK, Wells wasn't really on my list, but he was one of my favorite players I ever covered, so I considered using my last spot for him for about 30 seconds.)

Although I probably would have voted for five or six of these players had the ballot been open-ended and without the 10-man limit, my choice ultimately came down to two: Pettitte and Vizquel.

Pettitte is viewed by many as a borderline candidate, a take I can't argue with. While his candidacy might be seen differently by voters, I think he belongs in the conversation. (Based on my voting history, I'm obviously not holding his HGH admission against him.) Having seen similar players such as Jorge Posada, Kenny Lofton and Johan Santana fall off the ballot in their first years, I considered voting for Pettitte in an effort to help him get the requisite 5 percent for him to be on the ballot again next year.

Ultimately, Vizquel's excellence in the field (he took home 11 Gold Gloves and is in the conversation as the best defensive shortstop ever) won out. He might not have been an offensive force, but Vizquel was far from an automatic out, finishing his career with 2,877 hits. Pettitte had a great career and will likely be in the mix for my vote again next year, but my belief that Vizquel should be in the Hall outweighed my hopes of seeing Pettitte remain on the ballot.

Jeffrey Flanagan
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Andruw Jones
5. Edgar Martinez
6. Mike Mussina
7. Manny Ramirez
8. Mariano Rivera
9. Curt Schilling
10. Larry Walker

It was difficult leaving off McGriff and Rolen, but we only get 10 spots, which is why I've always favored a binary system -- simply yes or no to each candidate. As for the PED issue, my stance hasn't really changed: If what they did (or didn't) do is so egregious, the Hall of Fame should take those players off the ballot. Don't make us be the morality judges.

Video: MLB Network debates Bonds, Clemens' merits for HOF

Richard Justice
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Mike Mussina
6. Mariano Rivera
7. Scott Rolen
8. Curt Schilling
9. Billy Wagner
10. Larry Walker

Easy calls on nine of the 10. All belong in the Hall. As for Wagner, he's one of greatest closers ever, and if they're part of the game (same for DHs), the best of them should be in the Hall. I didn't like leaving off Andruw Jones, Todd Helton, Jeff Kent, Omar Vizquel, Andy Pettitte, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield, who at least deserve to be in the conversation longer.

Jon Paul Morosi
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Fred McGriff
6. Mike Mussina
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Scott Rolen
9. Curt Schilling
10. Larry Walker

I voted for Bonds and Clemens, as I have every year. For now, at least, my policy regarding players tied to PED use remains unchanged: I do not vote for players suspended under MLB's drug policy from 2005 to present, but I support the best all-around players from the complicated era that preceded it.

Rivera is one of the clearest first-ballot Hall of Famers in history, and Halladay's dominant peak (in a hitter-friendly ballpark, against AL East competition) makes him worthy of the Hall. McGriff, overlooked for far too long, hit more home runs -- with a better adjusted OPS -- than first-ballot Hall of Famers Dave Winfield and Carl Yastrzemski; McGriff is eminently qualified for Cooperstown.

My toughest decision came among Rolen, Vizquel and Sheffield for the last of my 10 spots. I opted for Rolen, given the overall quality of his career, at a position underrepresented in the Hall. Rolen is one of only three third basemen in history with at least seven Gold Gloves and seven All-Star appearances. The others are Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt.

Video: MLB Network on Edgar Martinez's case for the HOF

Chris Haft
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Jeff Kent
5. Edgar Martinez
6. Mike Mussina
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Curt Schilling
9. Omar Vizquel
10. Larry Walker

Rivera's career forestalls debate. And if you feel free to vote for closers, you should feel free to vote for other specialists, such as Martinez the designated hitter. I dismounted my moral high horse regarding Bonds and Clemens two or three years ago. I needed some persuasion to vote for Walker; by contrast, I remained stubbornly loyal to Kent. Mussina embodied consistency; Schilling dominated the postseason and Halladay finished 98 games above .500 in just 390 starts. As for Vizquel, I pity those who can't or won't comprehend his excellence.

Vote totals of the 6 MLB.com writers

With 75 percent of the vote needed for entry to the Hall, Bonds, Martinez, Rivera, Mussina, Clemens, Halladay, Schilling and Walker received enough support -- the first six appearing on all six ballots, and the other two appearing on five of six ballots (83 percent) -- from MLB.com writers.

Barry Bonds -- 6 votes
Roger Clemens -- 6
Roy Halladay -- 6
Edgar Martinez -- 6
Mike Mussina -- 6
Mariano Rivera -- 6
Curt Schilling -- 5
Larry Walker -- 5
Fred McGriff -- 2
Manny Ramirez -- 2
Scott Rolen -- 2
Omar Vizquel -- 2
Billy Wagner -- 2
Andruw Jones -- 1
Jeff Kent -- 1
Gary Sheffield -- 1
Michael Young -- 1

Each team's lineup if season started today

MLB.com

We're less than a month away from Spring Training, so it's a good time to project what each club's Opening Day lineup will look like, or at least what it would look like if the season started today. With the help of all 30 MLB.com beat writers, here's a roundup of how they might shake out.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

We're less than a month away from Spring Training, so it's a good time to project what each club's Opening Day lineup will look like, or at least what it would look like if the season started today. With the help of all 30 MLB.com beat writers, here's a roundup of how they might shake out.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays
Initially, the Jays will be looking for a healthy, bounce-back year from second baseman Devon Travis and continued growth from shortstop Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and left fielder Teoscar Hernandez to support a lineup anchored by first baseman Justin Smoak, right fielder Randal Grichuk and designated hitter Kendrys Morales. But at some point soon, the real fun begins when the next wave of Jays stars reach Toronto -- outfielder Vladimir Guerrero Jr., infielder Bo Bichette and catcher Danny Jansen are all expected to arrive in 2019. Jansen likely will start the season with the Jays, and the other two won't be far behind. -- Gregor Chisholm

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Devon Travis, 2B
2. Justin Smoak, 1B
3. Kendrys Morales, DH
4. Randal Grichuk, RF
5. Teoscar Hernandez, LF
6. Kevin Pillar, CF
7. Brandon Drury, 3B
8. Danny Jansen, C
9. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., SS

Video: Bo Bichette discusses his goals for 2019, Vlad Jr.

Orioles
For years, the Orioles were anchored by a core group of positions players who Buck Showalter would regularly arrange into one of baseball's most powerful offensive units. Now with the O's fully in rebuilding mode, the only guarantee about new manager Brandon Hyde's first lineup is that it will look very different.

Seven of the nine members of last year's Opening Day lineup are out of the organization, but the fact that dozens of free agents remain on the market gives the Orioles ample time to bolster a roster that, as of now, projects to be only a fraction as productive as it was a year ago. The current group could receive a boost if Mark Trumbo recovers from offseason knee surgery in time for late March. Top prospects Yusniel Diaz or Ryan Mountcastle could also play their way into the mix, should they impress enough in camp to crack the club's Opening Day roster. -- Joe Trezza

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Cedric Mullins, CF
2. Jonathan Villar, 2B
3. Trey Mancini, DH
4. Chris Davis, 1B
5. DJ Stewart, RF
6. Renato Nunez, 3B
7. Joey Rickard, LF
8. Richie Martin, SS
9. Chance Sisco, C

Rays
Due to the team's versatility, manager Kevin Cash will have a lot of quality options with his lineup card. Mallex Smith, who had a .357 on-base percentage in the leadoff spot in 2018, was traded to Seattle in November, which creates a hole at the top of the lineup for the Rays. With Smith gone, outfielder Kevin Kiermaier could be the first in line to get a crack at the leadoff spot. Kiermaier struggled at the plate to begin last season and then was sidelined for two months with a torn ligament in his right thumb. The 28-year-old outfielder finished the season with a .217 batting average, but had an encouraging end to his season, posting a .306/.371/.597 slash line in September.

In this lineup, Tommy Pham would hit third with designated hitter Ji-Man Choi hitting cleanup. In just 25 at-bats in the cleanup role last season, Choi posted a .450/.520/.850 slash line. Willy Adames and Yandy Diaz provide a good combination of contact and power in the fifth and sixth spots, while Meadows, who hit .250 in 10 games with the Rays last season, provides some power from the left-hand side in the seventh slot. Mike Zunino and Joey Wendle (or Daniel Robertson, depending on the pitcher) would round out the team's lineup. -- Juan Toribio

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Kevin Kiermaier, CF
2. Matt Duffy, 3B
3. Tommy Pham, LF
4. Ji-Man Choi, DH
5. Willy Adames, SS
6. Yandy Diaz, 1B
7. Austin Meadows, RF
8. Mike Zunino, C
9. Joey Wendle, 2B

Red Sox
The World Series champs are in the enviable position of returning their entire allotment of position players, except for Ian Kinsler. But there's good news on that front also, as the hope is that second baseman and veteran leader Dustin Pedroia can return to the lineup after missing all but three games last season due to a left knee injury.

This lineup is deep and balanced, with power and speed, and has the ability to put the ball in play consistently. Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez should again present major headaches to the opposition on a near nightly basis. Andrew Benintendi and Betts will be flip-flopped from their spots from a year ago, with the hope it will create more RBI opportunities for the latter. This could be a big growth year for the 22-year-old Rafael Devers. -- Ian Browne

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Andrew Benintendi, LF
2. Mookie Betts, RF
3. J.D. Martinez, DH
4. Xander Bogaerts, SS
5. Mitch Moreland, 1B
6. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
7. Rafael Devers, 3B
8. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
9. Christian Vazquez, C

Yankees
One year after the Yankees became the first team to have a dozen players reach double digits in the home run department, the Bronx Bombers again appear primed to boast impressive power, even without adding a megastar like Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. The projected order skews heavily toward right-handed bats, which is odd considering Yankee Stadium's configuration, but most have the ability to power the ball to right-center field. Troy Tulowitzki will have first crack at shortstop, but DJ LeMahieu provides a capable option at second base, shortstop and third base. -- Bryan Hoch

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Brett Gardner, LF
2. Aaron Judge, RF
3. Aaron Hicks, CF
4. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
5. Gary Sanchez, C
6. Miguel Andujar, 3B
7. Gleyber Torres, 2B
8. Luke Voit, 1B
9. Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Video: MLB Tonight on how LeMahieu fits in with Yankees

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

Indians
The Indians' lineup will feature plenty of new names in 2019, but one familiar face will be back with the Tribe. After spending last season with the Phillies, Carlos Santana was traded to the Mariners briefly before coming back home to Cleveland in exchange for Edwin Encarnacion.

Despite the team's high turnover rate, Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez will return to the Indians' infield, providing leadership to the young roster. Both Ramirez and Lindor are coming off standout seasons, placing third and sixth in American League MVP voting, respectively. -- Mandy Bell

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Francisco Lindor, SS
2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
3. Jose Ramirez, 3B
4. Carlos Santana, DH
5. Jake Bauers, 1B
6. Tyler Naquin, RF
7. Leonys Martin, CF
8. Jordan Luplow, LF
9. Roberto Perez, C

Video: Jose Ramirez is the No. 1 third baseman right now

Royals
Of course, the big question regarding the batting order is where manager Ned Yost will fit in speedster Billy Hamilton, who primarily hit toward the bottom of the order while with the Reds. Yost could go for the speed trifecta at 9-1-2 with Hamilton hitting ninth, and then Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi at the top. -- Jeffrey Flanagan

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Whit Merrifield, 2B
2. Adalberto Mondesi, SS
3. Alex Gordon, LF
4. Jorge Soler, DH
5. Salvador Perez, C
6. Ryan O'Hearn,1B
7. Hunter Dozier, 3B
8. Jorge Bonifacio, RF
9. Billy Hamilton, CF

Tigers
The Tigers have work to do before they can put together a lineup of young talent to go with their promising pitching prospects. But their 2019 lineup shows some promise. With Jeimer Candelario at third base and Christin Stewart likely in left field, Detroit has a pair of young run producers. On the flip side, the Tigers get veteran Miguel Cabrera back after he missed most of last season due to biceps surgery. If Nicholas Castellanos isn't traded, Detroit has a decent core to the batting order if it can identify another run producer for the fifth spot. -- Jason Beck

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
2. Christin Stewart, LF
3. Nick Castellanos, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Niko Goodrum, 2B
6. John Hicks, DH
7. Grayson Greiner, C
8. JaCoby Jones, CF
9. Jordy Mercer, SS

Twins:
Minnesota finished 23rd in the Majors with 166 homers in 2018, but added a trio of right-handed sluggers with 30-homer power -- C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop and Nelson Cruz -- to address the power concerns and fill the needs at first base, second base and designated hitter on manager Rocco Baldelli's first Twins roster. -- Do-Hyoung Park

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Jorge Polanco, SS
2. Eddie Rosario, LF
3. Miguel Sano, 3B
4. Nelson Cruz, DH
5. C.J. Cron, 1B
6. Max Kepler, RF
7. Jonathan Schoop, 2B
8. Jason Castro, C
9. Byron Buxton, CF

White Sox
This lineup on Jan. 15 could change by the end of the month or the end of the week or even the end of the day, as the White Sox continue their strong pursuit of premium free agent infielder Machado and possibly even premium free agent outfielder Harper. If they get one, let alone fulfill the long shot of reaching a deal with both, their lineup immediately looks quite different. Even if they miss out on both, the White Sox still have made significant changes to balance their lineup with the additions of left-handed hitting Yonder Alonso and Jon Jay. They also brought in catcher James McCann, who probably won't split time with Welington Castillo, but will get more than backup playing time. -- Scott Merkin

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Jon Jay, RF
2. Yoan Moncada, 2B
3. Jose Abreu, 1B
4. Yonder Alonso, DH
5. Welington Castillo, C
6. Daniel Palka, LF
7. Tim Anderson, SS
8. Yolmer Sanchez, 3B
9. Adam Engel, CF

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

Angels
The Angels are expected to be without designated hitter Shohei Ohtani to begin the season, as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, which means Albert Pujols will open the year as DH. Manager Brad Ausmus said he'd like to see Mike Trout hit No. 2 in the lineup, while Zack Cozart served as leadoff hitter early last season until suffering a season-ending labrum tear in his left shoulder. There remains a competition in the infield among David Fletcher, Taylor Ward and Tommy La Stella and it'll be determined in Spring Training. -- Rhett Bollinger

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Zack Cozart, 3B
2. Mike Trout, CF
3. Justin Upton, LF
4. Justin Bour, 1B
5. Albert Pujols, DH
6. Andrelton Simmons, SS
7. Kole Calhoun, RF
8. David Fletcher, 2B
9. Jonathan Lucroy, C

Astros
The Astros made a huge addition to their lineup last month when they signed free agent outfielder Michael Brantley, who brings a much-needed presence from the left side of the plate while being difficult to strike out. The core of Houston's powerful lineup is all right-handed --Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and George Springer -- and the addition of Brantley gives them a top five in the lineup that's perhaps the deepest in baseball, when healthy. -- Brian McTaggart

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. George Springer, CF
2. Alex Bregman, 3B
3. Jose Altuve, 2B
4. Carlos Correa, SS
5. Michael Brantley, LF
6. Yuli Gurriel, 1B
7. Josh Reddick, RF
8. Tyler White, DH
9. Robinson Chirinos, C

Video: AJ Hinch on Brantley's veteran approach, preparation

Athletics 
One of baseball's most potent offenses will feature many of the same bats that helped the A's into the postseason last year. Homer-happy Khris Davis isn't the only power hitter residing in this lineup: Matt Olson, Stephen Piscotty, Matt Chapman and Marcus Semien also routinely hit the ball out of the park, and they're flanked by productive complementary pieces, including on-base machine Nick Martini and the dynamic Ramon Laureano. -- Jane Lee

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Nick Martini, LF
2. Matt Chapman, 3B
3. Matt Olson, 1B
4. Khris Davis, DH
5. Stephen Piscotty, RF
6. Jurickson Profar, 2B
7. Ramon Laureano, CF
8. Marcus Semien, SS
9. Chris Herrmann, C

Mariners
Only four of last season's Opening Day position starters are still on the roster, though it's likely that a fifth -- Ichiro Suzuki -- will be added before the season begins. But gone are Seattle stalwarts Robinson Cano, Cruz and Jean Segura, who batted in the 2-3-4 spots in the lineup in last year's 2-1 Opening Day win over the Indians. Also gone is 2018 Opening Day catcher Mike Marjama, who was filling in for an injured Zunino, who has also been traded.

That leaves returning starters Dee Gordon -- who is shifting from center field to second base -- along with right fielder Mitch Haniger, third baseman Kyle Seager and first baseman Ryon Healy. -- Greg Johns

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Mallex Smith, CF
2. Dee Gordon, 2B
3. Mitch Haniger, RF
4. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
5. Kyle Seager, 3B
6. Domingo Santana, LF
7. Ryon Healy, 1B
8. Omar Narvaez, C
9. Tim Beckham, SS

Rangers
The Rangers are loaded with young left-handed power with Nomar Mazara, Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor and Ronald Guzman, but are still susceptible to the strikeout. They could also use more help from the right side and depth at both catcher and third base. They also need a full and healthy season from Delino DeShields in the leadoff spot. -- T.R. Sullivan

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Delino DeShields, CF
2. Elvis Andrus, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, DH
4. Nomar Mazara, RF
5. Joey Gallo, LF
6. Rougned Odor 2B
7. Ronald Guzman 1B
8. Patrick Wisdom 3B
9. Jeff Mathis C

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves
The Braves feel good about having three MVP candidates at the top of their lineup, but uncertainty about who will be the third outfielder leaves a glaring hole in the cleanup spot. If an outfielder is not acquired and Adam Duvall is given a starting spot, manager Brian Snitker could address the top-heavy nature of his lineup by moving Ender Inciarte to the leadoff spot and dropping either Ronald Acuna Jr. or Josh Donaldson to the fourth spot. The offense's success will be influenced by Ozzie Albies' adjustments against left-handers and Dansby Swanson's attempt to expand his plate coverage. -- Mark Bowman

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Ronald Acuna Jr., LF
2. Josh Donaldson, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. TBD
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Ozzie Albies, 2B
7. Ender Inciarte, CF
8. Dansby Swanson, SS

Marlins
The Marlins continue to explore the market for a left-handed power bat to play either first base or a corner outfield spot, and there is the on-going saga of whether All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto will be traded or not. With so much up in the air, projecting the Marlins' Opening Spring Training lineup remains highly speculative. But based on how the roster is constructed as of now, there are a number of directions the organization can go. A year ago, Lewis Brinson was the Opening Day leadoff hitter, and unless a more traditional table-setter is added, Brinson again could get a look at the top of the order, in hopes of getting him on track. -- Joe Frisaro

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Lewis Brinson, CF
2. J.T. Realmuto, C
3. Starlin Castro, 2B
4. Brian Anderson, RF
5. Peter O'Brien, 1B
6. Martin Prado, 3B
7. Austin Dean, LF
8. JT Riddle / Miguel Rojas SS

Mets
The addition of Jed Lowrie gives the Mets an obvious No. 2 hitter, though they'll skew left-handed at the top of the order for as long as Yoenis Cespedes remains sidelined. A greater issue is where Lowrie fits on defense; given his lack of experience at first base, he may push Todd Frazier to that position early in the season. -- Anthony DiComo

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Brandon Nimmo, RF
2. Jed Lowrie, 3B
3. Robinson Cano, 2B
4. Wilson Ramos C
5. Michael Conforto, LF
6. Todd Frazier, 1B
7. Juan Lagares, CF
8. Amed Rosario, SS

Video: Jon Heyman discusses the Jed Lowrie signing for Mets

Nationals
There is still so much speculation about whether Harper will ultimately wind up back in the middle of this batting order, but the Nationals feel confident in this lineup even without their homegrown star at the center. Thanks to a boost at catcher, a new second baseman and the infusion of rookie Victor Robles, this new-look Nats lineup has a chance to remain one of the most productive in the National League. -- Jamal Collier

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Adam Eaton, RF
2. Trea Turner, SS
3. Anthony Rendon, 3B
4. Juan Soto, LF
5. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
6. Brian Dozier, 2B
7. Victor Robles, CF
8. Yan Gomes / Kurt Suzuki, C

Phillies 
The Phillies have upgraded their lineup from 2018, with the additions of outfielder Andrew McCutchen and shorstop Segura. But they hope to make one more major move before Opening Day. If the Phillies sign Harper or Machado to a multiyear contract, it changes everything. -- Todd Zolecki

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Jean Segura, SS
3. Andrew McCutchen, LF
4. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
5. Odubel Herrera, CF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Nick Williams, RF
8. Jorge Alfaro, C

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

Brewers
The Brewers are returning the bulk of the roster that played to within one game of the World Series in 2018, with second base representing the only real hole after the team signed catcher Yasmani Grandal. Right now, a Hernan Perez/Cory Spangenberg platoon is possible, though general manager David Stearns is likely to either sign or trade for a player to fill that position, or find a third baseman and move Travis Shaw to second. -- Adam McCalvy

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Lorenzo Cain, CF
2. Christian Yelich, RF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Travis Shaw, 3B
5. Jesus Aguilar, 1B
6. Yasmani Grandal, C
7. Hernan Perez / Cory Spangenberg, 2B
8. Orlando Arcia, SS

Video: MLB Now analyzes Grandal's deal with the Brewers

Cardinals
The top of the Cardinals' order became instantly more formidable with the December acquisition of Paul Goldschmidt. He'll likely hit behind one of the best leadoff hitters in the game and ahead of the club's two biggest power threats. With an element of speed at the bottom of the order, the Cardinals' lineup is positioned to be more dynamic than it was a year ago. -- Jenifer Langosch

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Matt Carpenter, 3B
2. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
3. Paul DeJong, SS
4. Marcell Ozuna, LF
5. Dexter Fowler, RF
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Kolten Wong, 2B
8. Harrison Bader, CF

Cubs
Cubs manager Joe Maddon cycled through 152 lineup variations in 2018, so this alignment is definitely written in pencil. At least 10 players appeared in each lineup spot for Chicago, which featured one of MLB's top offenses until a two-month slump to end last season. The Cubs are banking on a return to health from slugger Kris Bryant, among other things, to help this group get back on track in '19. -- Jordan Bastian

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Ben Zobrist, 2B
2. Kris Bryant, 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Javier Baez, SS
5. Kyle Schwarber, LF
6. Willson Contreras, C
7. Jason Heyward, RF
8. Albert Almora Jr., CF

Pirates
The Pirates haven't officially settled on a shortstop, and it's unclear how they'll use Colin Moran and Jung Ho Kang at third base. The look of their lineup will also change when right fielder Gregory Polanco, their most productive hitter last season, comes off the disabled list. Manager Clint Hurdle will look for the right configuration, but it's fair to assume that Adam Frazier, Starling Marte and Corey Dickerson will be involved atop the order with Josh Bell getting another shot in the cleanup spot. -- Adam Berry

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Adam Frazier, 2B
2. Starling Marte, CF
3. Corey Dickerson, LF
4. Josh Bell, 1B
5. Francisco Cervelli, C
6. Colin Moran/Jung Ho Kang, 3B
7. Lonnie Chisenhall, RF
8. Erik Gonzalez / Kevin Newman, SS

Reds
The front office has signaled more improvements to the club are coming in the final month before Spring Training. There is still a need for a regular center fielder and the team has an overload of corner outfielders that will need to be sorted out. A fluid situation, it does not account for how the Reds will utilize another acquisition in corner outfielder Matt Kemp. And then there is Nick Senzel. The organization's No. 1 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, will be competing for the opening in center field but could also be a lineup regular in a utility role, playing up to five positions. -- Mark Sheldon

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Jesse Winker, LF
2. Jose Peraza, SS
3. Joey Votto, 1B
4. Eugenio Suarez, 3B
5. Scooter Gennett, 2B
6. Yasiel Puig, RF
7. Scott Schebler, CF
8. Tucker Barnhart, C

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

D-backs
The D-backs still have work to do in order to complete their lineup for Opening Day with one big piece still unknown. They are looking to either move Ketel Marte to center and acquire a second baseman or acquire a center fielder and leave Marte at second. How that plays out could will reshape this lineup. One thing to note about the catching spot: while Carson Kelly figures to get a lot of time behind the plate, the D-backs also like to rotate their catchers, so Alex Avila and John Ryan Murphy will also play. -- Steve Gilbert

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Ketel Marte, 2B
2. Eduardo Escobar, 3B
3. David Peralta, LF
4. Steven Souza Jr., RF
5. Jake Lamb, 1B
6. Nick Ahmed, SS
7. Alex Avila, C
8. Jarrod Dyson, CF

Dodgers
There's plenty of time left for trades and free-agent signings and a host of mutations depending on matchups and platoons. Russell Martin figures to challenge Austin Barnes for the starting catching job. All that aside, what does the Dodgers' starting lineup for 2019 look like today? Some variation of this. -- Ken Gurnick

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Chris Taylor, 2B
2. Corey Seager, SS
3. Justin Turner, 3B
4. Cody Bellinger, CF
5. Max Muncy, 1B
6. Enrique Hernandez, RF
7. Joc Pederson, LF
8. Austin Barnes, C

Giants
The Giants' current projected lineup is comprised of holdovers from 2018, but they are hoping to add a couple of new faces to the starting outfield by Opening Day to help boost an offense that struggled to consistently score runs last year. -- Maria Guardado

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Steven Duggar, CF
2. Joe Panik, 2B
3. Buster Posey, C
4. Brandon Belt, 1B
5. Evan Longoria, 3B
6. Brandon Crawford, SS
7. Mac Williamson, RF
8. Chris Shaw, LF

Padres
Franmil Reyes, Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe are currently fighting for two corner outfield spots (and, presumably, the No. 4 and 5 spots in the lineup). The Padres have a clear logjam in their outfield, and it's possible one of those three big boppers is dealt before the season. Meanwhile, it seems unlikely that Ty France actually starts on Opening Day. General manager A.J. Preller remains in search of third-base help, and it's a near certainty he adds someone before the start of camp. -- AJ Cassavell

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Manuel Margot, CF
2. Luis Urias, SS
3. Eric Hosmer, 1B
4. Franmil Reyes, RF
5. Wil Myers, LF
6. Ian Kinsler, 2B
7. Austin Hedges, C
8. Ty France, 3B

Rockies
The addition of Daniel Murphy puts some left-handed pop in the lineup behind home run threats Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story. The lineup still could use one more right-handed threat. Another idea could be to lead off with David Dahl, followed by Story, Charlie Blackmon and Arenado to separate the left- and right-handed hitters through the early portion. -- Thomas Harding

LINEUP IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

1. Charlie Blackmon, LF
2. David Dahl, RF
3. Nolan Arenado, 3B
4. Trevor Story, SS
5. Daniel Murphy, 1B
6. Ian Desmond, CF
7. Ryan McMahon, 2B
8. Chris Iannetta, C

Video: Blackmon on adding Murphy, Arenado's importance

Whitley named MLB's best RHP prospect

MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2019 Top 100 Prospects list with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

When it comes to right-handed pitching prospects -- well, pitching prospects who throw with either hand -- there's Forrest Whitley and then there's everyone else.

MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2019 Top 100 Prospects list with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

When it comes to right-handed pitching prospects -- well, pitching prospects who throw with either hand -- there's Forrest Whitley and then there's everyone else.

The Astros' 2016 first-round pick has rated as the best pitching prospect in the Minors since the start of last season and, naturally, headlines MLB Pipeline's rankings of the best righty prospects at the start of 2019. He's one of six repeaters from our list of top 10 right-handers a year ago. Of the others, Shohei Ohtani and Walker Buehler graduated to the big leagues, while Alex Reyes (Cardinals) and Triston McKenzie (Indians) just missed the Top 10.

Video: Top Prospects: Forest Whitley, RHP, Astros

Though prep right-handers are considered the riskiest demographic in the Draft, it's interesting to note that six members of our Top 10 were selected out of high school: Whitley, Michael Kopech (White Sox), Mitch Keller (Pirates), Dylan Cease (White Sox), Mike Soroka (Braves) and Hunter Greene (Reds). A seventh, Sixto Sanchez (Phillies), signed at age 16 out of the Dominican Republic.

Top 10 Prospects by Position

The Top 10 (ETA)
1. Forrest Whitley, Astros (2019)
2. Casey Mize, Tigers (2020)
3. Michael Kopech, White Sox (2020)
4. Mitch Keller, Pirates (2019)
5. Dylan Cease, White Sox (2019)
6. Mike Soroka, Braves (2019)
7. Sixto Sanchez, Phillies (2020)
8. Brent Honeywell, Rays (2019)
9. Kyle Wright, Braves (2019)
10. Hunter Greene, Reds (2021)
Complete list »

Top Tools

Best Fastball: Kopech, Greene (80)
Kopech often climbs above 100 mph with late running action on his fastball, while Greene reached triple digits more easily than any high school pitcher ever and hit 103 during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game last July. Both ended the 2018 season on the shelf with elbow injuries, however, with Kopech requiring Tommy John surgery and Greene getting shut down with a sprain before returning to the mound in mid-December.

Video: Top Prospects: Hunter Greene, RHP, Reds

Best Curveball: Cease (65)
Cease was MLB Pipeline's 2018 Pitcher of the Year after going 12-2 with a 2.40 ERA and ranking fifth in the Minors in opponent average (.189) and eighth in strikeout rate (11.6 per nine innings). He has a hammer curveball with depth and power, and hitters can't try to sit on it because he can blow them away with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and reaches triple digits.

Video: Top Prospects: Dylan Cease, RHP, White Sox

Best Slider: Kopech (65)
Like his fellow White Sox pitching prospect Cease, Kopech backs up an electric fastball with a nasty breaking pitch. He gets two-plane break on a slider that sits in the mid-80s and approaches 90 mph, a big reason why he has averaged 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings in pro ball.

Video: Top Prospects: Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox

Best Changeup: Whitley (65)
Whitley can miss bats with four different pitches, including a devastating changeup with fade and depth that plays extremely well off his 93-98 mph fastball. It has helped him dominate left-handers as a pro, limiting them to a .196/.284/.275 line in three pro seasons.

Best Other Pitch: Mize (70)
Mize was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 Draft and signed for $7.5 million, the second-largest bonus in Draft history. One of the attributes that made him so coveted by pro teams was his mid-80s splitter, which dives at the plate and serves as his changeup.

Video: Top Prospects: Casey Mize, RHP, Tigers

Best Control: Mize, Soroka, Sanchez, Honeywell (60)
Soroka has exceedingly advanced control and command for a young pitcher, which helped him reach the big leagues at age 20 last May. Mize also scores well in both categories, leading NCAA Division I with a 12.1 K/BB ratio in 2017 and ranking fifth with a 9.8 mark in 2018.

Video: Top Prospects: Mike Soroka, RHP, Braves

Superlatives

Highest Ceiling: Whitley
Whitley has a 93-98 mph fastball with natural life, a pair of high-spin breaking pitches and a dastardly changeup. He's one of just five high school first-rounders this millennium to advance to Double-A during his first full pro season, joining a select group that also includes Zack Greinke, Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw and Dylan Bundy. He still needs to upgrade his command but looks like a future Cy Young Award winner.

Highest Floor: Mize
Mize had the best combination of stuff and polish in the 2018 Draft and the same is arguably true in the Minors. Besides his unhittable splitter, he also throws a 92-97 mph fastball with running life and a plus mid-80s slider that he can transform into a cutter when he wants.

Rookie of the Year Candidate: Soroka
Only two of these right-handers have had success in Triple-A, and one of them is Honeywell, who missed all of 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. That leaves Soroka, who had his moments with the Braves before getting shut down with shoulder soreness in mid-June. He's healthy again and the most talented of the youngsters who'll compete for the fifth spot in Atlanta's rotation.

Highest Riser: Cease
With the exception of Mize, who was a junior at Auburn, all of the other nine righties on this list entered last season as Top 100 Prospects. Cease ranked lowest among them at No. 61, in part because he had worked just 162 innings in three years after having Tommy John surgery coming out of high school, but he eased concerns about his durability with his spectacular 2018 performance.

Humblest Beginning: Sanchez
Of the nine drafted pitchers on this list, the lowest selection and bonus belong to Honeywell -- and he was a supplemental second-rounder who signed for $800,000. By contrast, the Phillies stumbled upon Sanchez when he was throwing batting practice at a workout for Cuban catcher Lednier Ricardo in 2014 and snapped him up for $35,000.

Video: Top Prospects: Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Phillies

Most To Prove: Honeywell
Honeywell seemed like a lock for the Rays rotation after a strong 2017 season, during which he was MVP of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and helped Durham win the Triple-A national championship. Then he blew out his elbow while throwing batting practice early last spring, requiring Tommy John surgery in February that cost him all of 2018.

Video: Top Prospects: Brent Honeywell, RHP, Rays

Keep An Eye On: Luis Patino, Padres
As if baseball's best farm system wasn't already overflowing with talented right-handers, the Padres have another one in Patino, signed for $120,000 out of Colombia in 2014. He has a mid-90s fastball that peaks at 99 mph, a pair of power breaking balls in his slider and curveball and a developing yet promising changeup.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

The 1 player most likely to be an Astro in '25

MLB.com @williamfleitch

The 2013 season doesn't seem that long ago, does it? It seems like it just happened. (The passage of time is a crazy thing.) But in the world of baseball, it was a long, long time ago. How long? Look at the top 10 hitters and the top 10 pitchers in WAR in '13. Of those 10 hitters and 10 pitchers, only two players on each list (Mike Trout and Joey Votto among the hitters, Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright among the pitchers) are still on the same teams they were just six years ago. That is an astounding amount of turnover, and reminds us how difficult it can be to predict the future.

Nevertheless: Let's try. Today at the Thirty, we attempt to pick the one player on each team's current 40-man roster who is most likely to still be on that roster in six years. Sticking to the current roster raises the level of difficulty. Otherwise, I could just pick Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the Blue Jays, and every other team's top prospect, and be done with it. For this list, you have to be here now and in 2025. The crazy thing about this experiment of guesses: There will be multiple, maybe double-digit, teams that have none.

The 2013 season doesn't seem that long ago, does it? It seems like it just happened. (The passage of time is a crazy thing.) But in the world of baseball, it was a long, long time ago. How long? Look at the top 10 hitters and the top 10 pitchers in WAR in '13. Of those 10 hitters and 10 pitchers, only two players on each list (Mike Trout and Joey Votto among the hitters, Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright among the pitchers) are still on the same teams they were just six years ago. That is an astounding amount of turnover, and reminds us how difficult it can be to predict the future.

Nevertheless: Let's try. Today at the Thirty, we attempt to pick the one player on each team's current 40-man roster who is most likely to still be on that roster in six years. Sticking to the current roster raises the level of difficulty. Otherwise, I could just pick Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the Blue Jays, and every other team's top prospect, and be done with it. For this list, you have to be here now and in 2025. The crazy thing about this experiment of guesses: There will be multiple, maybe double-digit, teams that have none.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

EAST

Blue Jays: Danny Jansen, C
Unlike Vlad Jr. and Bo Bichette, he's already on the 40-man roster; he hit three homers in 81 at-bats last season. Like them, he's currently a top-75 prospect.

Orioles: Trey Mancini, OF
The toughest call on the board. The Orioles are starting over in every conceivable way, and there will be a lot of turnover here in the next few years. The guess here is Mancini, who is a fan favorite already and could maybe hang around long enough to be a platoon or bench bat in 2025, when he'll be only 32.

Rays: Willy Adames, SS
Attempting to guess who will be on the Rays' roster in two years, let alone six, is a fool's errand, but Adames is the centerpiece of everything the Rays are going to be trying to do over the next decade.

Red Sox: Mookie Betts, OF
He's a free agent after the 2020 season, but the Red Sox should never let a star like this get away. And he wants to stay

Video: Betts signs record deal to avoid arbitration

Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton, RF
As the guy who is signed through 2027, he's the obvious pick here. Aaron Judge hits free agency in 2023, by the way.

CENTRAL

Indians: Francisco Lindor, SS
It's tough to imagine the Indians letting Lindor go … though they may have to choose between him and Jose Ramirez.

Video: Lindor gets his second career Silver Slugger Award

Royals: Salvador Perez, C
He survived the last teardown. He's their Yadier Molina -- he'll survive any future ones.

Tigers: Jeimer Candelario, 3B
He's more likely than anyone else here to be a member of the next contending Tigers team.

Twins: Max Kepler, OF
Kepler feels like the type of player the Twins would come to some sort of modest, Paul DeJong-esque extension with, doesn't he?

White Sox: Yoan Moncada, 2B
With any luck, Eloy Jimenez will be there right alongside him.

WEST

Angels: Mike Trout, OF
Put it this way: If Mike Trout isn't on the 2025 Angels, everything about that franchise is radically different than it is right now.

Video: Guardado on the latest between Angels and Trout

Astros: Jose Altuve, 2B
Alex Bregman seems like the most likely extension candidate -- Altuve's deal runs out after the 2024 season -- but the Altuve-Astros relationship feels like one that shouldn't be broken.

Athletics: Matt Chapman, 3B
The ideal extension candidate, Chapman could be the face of the franchise whenever it moves into its new digs.

Mariners: Justus Sheffield, LHP
He made his debut in September, so he's on the Mariners' 40-man, even if he might not start the season in the Majors.

Rangers: Rougned Odor, 2B
He, Elvis Andrus and Joey Gallo will be free agents following the 2022 season. Here's betting Odor is the one who sticks around, if anybody does.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

EAST

Braves: Ronald Acuna Jr.
He'll actually reach free agency after the 2024 season, if you are counting the days. (That's to say: If you're every other team in baseball.)

Video: Snitker on best lineup spot for Acuna Jr. in 2019

Marlins: Lewis Brinson, OF
Considering he remains the primary haul from their trades last offseason, Brinson will get every possible opportunity to prove himself.

Mets: Brandon Nimmo, OF
Though maybe only because first base slugging prospect Peter Alonso isn't on the 40-man yet.

Nationals: Juan Soto, OF
If the Nationals don't extend him, he'll hit the free-agent market with Acuna.

Phillies: Rhys Hoskins, 1B
This answer could very well change depending on how free agency shakes out this offseason.

CENTRAL

Brewers: Josh Hader, LHP
Yes, yes, he's a reliever, but still: He seems like one of the few relievers on earth worthy of talking long-term, under-market extension with, yes?

Cardinals: Paul DeJong, SS
The extension he signed last year gives the Cardinals team options on him in both 2024 and '25, and if he keeps playing like he has been, they'll happily pick them both up. (It's also possible the answer here is Yadier Molina, and may be through 2035.)

Cubs: Kris Bryant, 3B
This will be the most-watched are-they-gonna-extend-him-soon? story in baseball over the next couple of years.

Video: Kris Bryant is the No. 8 third baseman right now

Pirates: Mitch Keller, RHP
He's already on the 40-man, and he might be the best pitcher in an already underrated rotation by season's end.

Reds: Eugenio Suarez, 3B
He's signed through 2024, and the Reds have a club option on him for '25. Also, top prospect Nick Senzel isn't on the 40-man yet.

WEST

D-backs: Ketel Marte, SS
He's already got options for 2023 and '24, and he'll just be into his 30s when the D-backs have to make their next decision on him. Newly acquired catcher Carson Kelly could be the answer here as well.

Dodgers: Corey Seager, SS
Isn't right now the perfect time to start talking extension with Seager?

Giants: Buster Posey, C
As long as Posey is still playing, he'll be a Giant … right, Farhan?

Padres: Franmil Reyes, OF
It's tough to even imagine this kid being 30 someday.

Rockies: Nolan Arenado, 3B
They did a mega-extension with Charlie Blackmon last offseason, so they are clearly willing to go that route. Arenado is eligible for free agency next winter, so we'll find out his long-term fate pretty soon.

Video: Arenado seeks record $30 million in arbitration

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

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