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Dark-horse roster candidates for all 30 teams

February 22, 2018

With the first Spring Training games being played this week, there are sure to be players who emerge with breakout performances to win an Opening Day roster spot.There are bound to be surprises as the roster battles shake out. But while Spring Training is still in its early days,

With the first Spring Training games being played this week, there are sure to be players who emerge with breakout performances to win an Opening Day roster spot.
There are bound to be surprises as the roster battles shake out. But while Spring Training is still in its early days, is taking a crack at predicting just which players will be on the team come the end of camp.
Here are dark-horse candidates to make the Opening Day roster from all 30 clubs.
American League East
Red Sox: Boston's roster will be hard to crack after the recent signings of J.D. Martinez and Eduardo Nunez, but players like Marco Hernandez could still earn a spot with the defending American League East champs. More >
Yankees: Like their archrivals, the Yankees have a loaded roster, but that doesn't mean a dark horse or two, like Christopher Austin or Tyler Wade, couldn't end up on the team. More >
Rays: The Rays have made a slew of moves this offseason, and it's created the potential for some interesting candidates to crack the roster -- including young guns like Willy Adames. More >

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::
Blue Jays: Toronto's chief dark-horse candidates this spring are relievers looking for a bullpen role. But there is also Ezequiel Carrera, who is trying to prove he doesn't deserve to be squeezed out of the outfield rotation. More >
Orioles: Pay attention to the O's Spring Training opener -- the guy starting it, Mike Wright Jr., just might make the team. And he's not the only one who could get a spot on a starting rotation that needs to improve. More >
AL Central
Indians: The Indians' dark-horse roster candidates are an exciting bunch featuring one of the game's top prospects in Francisco Mejia, plus a recent breakout rookie, a veteran hoping for a rebound and a Tribe cult hero. More >

Twins: Minnesota has roster spots open in a few areas -- the fifth starter, the bullpen, backup catcher, bat off the bench -- and the players to fill them could be a youngster like Zack Granite or someone with more experience. More >
Royals: The rebuilding Royals will have a wide-open camp this spring. Two of their chief dark-horse candidates are former first-round Draft picks, Hunter Dozier and Kyle Zimmer, who could finally make a big league impact. More >
White Sox: The White Sox have a loaded farm system. Will elite prospects like Michael Kopech be with the big league club when Spring Training ends? Or will less-heralded prospects or veteran competitors like Hector Santiago end up making the team? More >
Tigers: Even though the Tigers are rebuilding, their roster won't be filled with all prospects, leaving players like Alexi Amarista and Jim Adduci as dark-horse candidates to win a spot. More >
AL West
Astros: The World Series champs' roster is about as loaded as they come, but Houston still has some bats that could end up on the team in a reserve role if they have a strong spring, like Tyler White or A.J. Reed. More >
Angels: Just two years ago, Chris Carter was his league's home-run champion. Now, he's a dark-horse candidate looking to make the Angels' roster, and he's not the only one. More >
Mariners:Ryon Healy's surgery to remove a bone spur from his hand on Valentine's Day has opened the door for dark horses like Mike Ford and Matt Hague to make the Mariners' roster in the corner infield. More >
Rangers: The Rangers need to fill out their pitching staff and have a number of dark-horse candidates who could fit the bill. They'll also be taking a long look at Rule 5 Draft pick Carlos Tocci. More >
A's: Every A's fan wants to see A.J. Puk. Could the top pitching prospect force their hand with a dominant spring? More >

National League East
Nationals: Top prospect Victor Robles gave Nats fans a taste of what he could do last year, and this time, he just might be in the big leagues to start the season. More >
Marlins: All the Marlins' trades this winter mean a whole lot of roster spots are up for grabs, and they might want to see talented prospects like Zac Gallen and Braxton Lee on the field. More >
Braves: The Braves' trio of dark-horse roster candidates is led by veteran left-hander Scott Kazmir, who could be a steadying influence on a young team -- but the other two are youngsters themselves. More >
Mets: The Mets' additions of veterans during the offseason closed some of their potentially open spots, but players like Dominic Smith might still play their way onto the Opening Day roster. More >

Phillies: Will the Phillies find a hidden gem in Spring Training? Their dark-horse roster candidates this year include a waiver claim (Zac Curtis), an impressive Minor Leaguer (Tom Eshelman) and a longtime Major League stalwart trying to make a comeback (Francisco Rodriguez). More >
NL Central
Cubs: The Cubs' deep and talented roster doesn't have any holes at the top, but the defending NL Central champs would be happy if a backup catcher like Victor Caratini, an extra outfielder or a bullpen arm emerged during camp. More >
Brewers: As the Brewers try to push their way into the playoffs in 2018, they could turn to a pitcher like Taylor Williams and his electric arm to help fill out their roster. More >
Cardinals: The Cardinals struck gold last year when Jose Martinez mashed his way onto the roster, and they just might have another diamond in the rough like Conner Greene or Adolis Garcia. More >
Pirates: The Pirates are trying to fill out their outfield and their bullpen, and they have a ton of candidates to slot in. Will dark horses like Jordan Luplow or Jordan Milbrath emerge to take the spots? More >
Reds:Nick Senzel would have to have an exceptional spring to break camp on the Major League roster. But he's one of the top prospects in baseball for a reason. More >

NL West
Dodgers: The Dodgers' roster has all the makings of a powerhouse team, as usual. It'll be hard to crack their roster, but familiar faces like Trayce Thompson and Adam Liberatore just might do it. More >
D-backs: New key acquisitions Jarrod Dyson and Steven Souza Jr. will take up two D-backs roster spots, but dark-horse candidates like John Ryan Murphy and Neftali Feliz could make the team, too. More >
Rockies: As the Rockies look to make the playoffs again in a strong division, reliever Zachary Rosscup and hitters Jordan Patterson and Noel Cuevas are among the dark-horse candidates to make the roster and help them do it. More >
Padres: The Padres have spring competitions all over the roster, and the dark-horse candidates to take the spots are an intriguing mix of up-and-comers, like Franchy Cordero, and throwbacks, like Tyson Ross. More >

Giants: The Giants' front lines have filled in thanks to their big-ticket offseason acquisitions. But they have plenty of qualified candidates for reserve roles, like Andrew Suarez and Jarrett Parker, and Spring Training will decide the winners. More >

David Adler is a reporter for based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.