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Spring Training: Every club's reason to be excited

MLB.com @DKramer_

As pitchers and catchers report next week, a renewed sense of optimism ripples across the baseball landscape. Regardless of each club's realistic goals for 2018, each one has at least one reason to be excited about opening camp. See what each club should be most excited about heading to Florida or Arizona:

Angels: All Ohtani
Perhaps the most intriguing storyline entering spring camp in recent memory -- if not ever -- will be centered on two-way Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani, ranked as MLB's No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline. More >

As pitchers and catchers report next week, a renewed sense of optimism ripples across the baseball landscape. Regardless of each club's realistic goals for 2018, each one has at least one reason to be excited about opening camp. See what each club should be most excited about heading to Florida or Arizona:

Angels: All Ohtani
Perhaps the most intriguing storyline entering spring camp in recent memory -- if not ever -- will be centered on two-way Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani, ranked as MLB's No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline. More >

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Astros: Verlander's presence
For all the heroics he delivered for Houston last fall, it's almost difficult to fathom that Justin Verlander played just two months with the World Series champions. He'll be leaned on heavily in a leadership role for other key rotational pieces, notably Lance McCullers Jr. and newly acquired Gerrit Cole. More >

Athletics: Rotation competition
Though the lineup has home run potential throughout, it's the young rotation that may offer the most intrigue in A's camp. Only two rotation spots are secure, with at least five vying for the remaining roles. More >

Braves: All eyes on Acuna
Five-tool Braves outfield prospect Ronald Acuna, MLB Pipeline's No. 2 prospect, could have the chance to accelerate his path to the Majors with a strong spring. More >

Video: Outlook: Acuna is an elite prospect with the Braves

Brewers: Braun back to the infield
With a surplus of outfielders, the Brewers are going to give Ryan Braun reps at first base. He's not expected to play there full-time, and this will hardly be the first time he's been moved, but it will be interesting to watch. More >

Blue Jays: Return of the ace
The Blue Jays believe they can boast among the most formidable rotations in baseball when right-hander Aaron Sanchez heads up a healthy unit. Without him, they might be average at best, making his return from an injury-shortened 2017 so compelling. More >

Cardinals: Ozuna upgrades both sides
President of baseball operations John Mozeliak had a more watchful eye on newly acquired outfielder Marcell Ozuna than one might imagine. More >

Video: Teams across baseball load trucks for Spring Training

Cubs: Zobrist looks to bounce back
Ben Zobrist, the Cubs' utility man of sorts, is coming off a season he'd like to forget, and he's looking to reassert himself in a lineup that doesn't currently have an established spot for him. More >

Dodgers: Buehler ready to break out
With Julio Urias, once the Dodgers' top pitching prospect, still recovering from June shoulder surgery, Los Angeles is hoping Walker Buehler, who currently holds that title, takes a significant step forward this spring. More >

Video: Top Prospects: Walker Buehler, RHP, Dodgers

D-backs: Who ya gonna call?
The D-backs return a five-man rotation that was among the best in the National League last year. But who shuts the door for those starters is up in the air. More >

Giants: Duggar gets center attention
For all they've done to bolster their roster -- adding veterans Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen -- the Giants may have an internal option to play center field in Steven Duggar. More >

Indians: Race for the rotation
With a wealth of starting pitching depth, reliable arms like Danny Salazar, Mike Clevinger and Josh Tomlin are fighting for a limited number of rotation spots in one of the most elite staffs in baseball. More >

Mariners: Let's see Dee
New Mariner and two-time All-Star Dee Gordon is making the second major positional change of his career, this time from second base to center field, becoming the latest star to make such a shift. More >

Video: Johns on Gordon transitioning to center field

Marlins: New faces in new places
The Marlins enter camp with a completely new makeup -- seven of their top 10 prospects, per MLB Pipeline, were acquired in trades this winter, and six will be in big league camp. More >

Mets: Healthy and hopeful
An overhaul to their medical procedures, from training to on-field communication, has the Mets believing they'll have a healthy roster capable of leading the club to its third postseason appearance in four years. More >

Nationals: Martinez's dress rehearsal
New Nationals skipper Dave Martinez is a first-time manager and the club's sixth over the past 10 years. He will get a chance to deploy various ideas to a very talented roster over a six-week camp. More >

Orioles: Machado's move to short
Entering his final season before free agency, two-time Gold Glove Award winner at third base Manny Machado is moving back to shortstop, the position he manned until breaking into the big leagues five years ago. More >

Padres: Showcasing the Minors' top DP tandem
Though neither has a realistic chance at breaking camp with a big league job, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias -- the Nos. 8 and 36 prospects, respectively, per MLB Pipeline -- could offer fans some defensive flash this spring. More >

Video: Tatis Jr. is named the top Padres prospect

Phillies: New and unconventional skipper
He's entering his first season in his new role, but Gabe Kapler may be among the most interesting managers in the game. And he oversees a club some have forecast as a dark horse in '18. More >

Pirates: Newcomers all around
At nearly every position, there will be a player in Pirates camp who has not yet realized his potential or is a prospect nearly ready for the Majors. With the trades of franchise staples McCutchen and Cole, there will be a high level of interest in the new faces that the club acquired in return. More >

Rays: Can top prospects make the Show?
With the promise of starting anew, a quartet of Tampa Bay's top prospects are together in Major League camp for the first time. More >

Rangers: Statcast™ stars
The Rangers have a bevy of sluggers with star potential, but which of them will break camp with the club? More >

Reds: Sizing up Senzel
Reds top prospect Nick Senzel, ranked No. 7 overall by MLB Pipeline, is getting his first taste of big league Spring Training. But what position will he play? More >

Video: Nick Senzel will be front and center in Reds camp

Red Sox: Promise of a healthy Price
Sox fans got a healthy dose of encouragement after seeing David Price power two dramatic outings of relief in last year's postseason, nearly willing the club to a comeback against the Astros. More >

Rockies: Pitching depth picture
The Rockies needed just eight starters last year, though conventional logic suggests they may need more over a six-month season. They will get a closer look at their budding talent to determine their 2018 depth picture. More >

Royals: Who's on first?
The Royals are still very interested in bringing back free-agent first baseman Eric Hosmer, but who will take his position if he signs elsewhere? More >

Tigers: Top pick takes the stage
Alex Faedo, Detroit's first-round pick last year, will get his first taste of Spring Training just eight months removed from leading Florida to its first College World Series title. More >

Video: Beck discusses Tigers inviting Faedo to camp

Twins: Revamped bullpen put to test
Hoping to take the another step forward after snapping a six-year postseason drought, the Twins turned to a blueprint that's worked of late. They'll get their first look at their new bullpen pieces this spring. More >

White Sox: Future is bright
Last year when Spring Training opened, Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert weren't part of the White Sox organization. Now, two of MLB Pipeline's Top 30 overall prospects head to camp with the South Siders. More >

Yankees: Bring on the Bombers
Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge combined for 111 homers last year. Now they're in the same lineup. More >

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

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