Opening Day roster predictions for each team

March 26th, 2022

With less than two weeks remaining before Opening Day, how are rosters shaking out across the Major Leagues? It's crunch time in Spring Training for players on the bubble trying to make the roster, as well as managers and coaches trying to narrow down who will and who will not break camp with their clubs.'s beat writers have a breakdown of where each club stands roster-wise.

American League East

Blue Jays: One of Toronto’s few positional decisions remaining was at catcher, with Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk and Reese McGuire all in the picture, but a move to a 28-man roster to open the season could simplify that. Otherwise, Toronto’s biggest decisions come in the bullpen, especially when you consider young starting depth like Nate Pearson. A bulk or hybrid role could make sense in that scenario, but the Blue Jays should have at least two bullpen decisions coming down to the final week of camp. -- Keegan Matheson More >

Orioles: The 2022 season is expected to be the year the Orioles debut a laundry list of their top-rated prospects. Will any crack the Opening Day roster? It's not likely, and especially so now that Adley Rutschman is sidelined with a right triceps injury. Others such as Grayson Rodriguez and D.L. Hall are expected to debut at later points in the 2022 season. But could someone like Kyle Stowers (No. 8 prospect) or Kyle Bradish (No. 10) force their way onto the roster with strong springs? It's possible. At the very least, former top prospect Yusniel Diaz is playing like he wants a spot. -- Zachary Silver More >

Rays: Most of the Rays’ toughest decisions will be determined by how they evaluate pitchers’ workload capabilities coming off a shortened spring and/or coming back from significant injuries. The position player group is set, aside from maybe one bench spot. The five-man rotation seems pretty straightforward. But they have more relief arms than they have spots available, so it’s a matter of how manager Kevin Cash and pitching coach Kyle Snyder want to build their bullpen, balancing immediate needs and long-term concerns. -- Adam Berry More >

Red Sox: While most of Boston’s roster is set, the toughest decisions will be in the bullpen, where the club will have decisions to make on left-right balance. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom loaded up on lefties this spring, adding Jake Diekman, Derek Holland and Matt Strahm to a group that already includes Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez and Austin Davis. Taylor is likely to start the season on the injured list due to a back issue and Hernandez still has Minor League options, which could open up spots for the other four lefties in the group. One thing about the new lefties: None of them are considered specialists. They’ve all had reasonable success against righties. -- Ian Browne More >

Yankees: Though most of their prominent spots are secure, the Yankees figure to wrestle with a few tough calls late in camp. Manager Aaron Boone expects to carry 15 pitchers and 13 position players. Ben Rortvedt could return from injury to push for the backup catcher job, while there are battles for bench spots between Miguel Andújar, Tim Locastro, Marwin Gonzalez and Ender Inciarte. The back end of the pitching staff will feature battles between Deivi García, Luis Gil, Michael King and Clarke Schmidt, among others. -- Bryan Hoch More >

AL Central

Guardians: With the lack of offseason moves this winter, the Guardians are left with a handful of roster decisions to make prior to Opening Day. The club is desperately in need of outfield and middle infield solutions and it’ll have to determine if sticking with players it had turned to the last few years will be a better choice than giving its up-and-coming talent the first chance at winning the jobs. Aside from José Ramírez at third base, Miles Straw in center, Austin Hedges behind the plate and the Shane Bieber, Aaron Civale, Zach Plesac, Cal Quantrill and Triston McKenzie five-man rotation, the rest of the roster is a big question mark. The hardest decision for the club may end up being if No. 3 prospect Gabriel Arias will be ready to man one of the middle infield spots on April 7. -- Mandy Bell More >

Royals: Most of the Royals’ Opening Day lineup seems set, and yes, that includes baseball’s No. 1 prospect, Bobby Witt Jr., playing third base. It seems the Royals have cleared a path for the 21-year-old to make his debut at the hot ,corner, health and performance permitting. There are roster battles for bench spots, and outfielder Edward Olivares has turned heads this spring with his bat and his improved defense. The toughest decisions for the Royals seem to be on the pitching side, even with the reportedly expanded rosters. How the Royals balance workloads after the condensed spring will determine how their rotation and bullpen shake out, but expect to see multiple long-inning relievers on the Opening Day roster. -- Anne Rogers More >

Tigers: The Tigers have to decide whether to put top prospects Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson on the Opening Day roster or return them to Triple-A Toledo for a final bit of seasoning. So far, Greene and Torkelson have done their part to make their case that they’re ready to be part of Detroit’s everyday lineup at center field and first base, respectively, while showing much-needed maturity against big-league pitching. Their fates will have a major impact on the rest of Detroit’s roster, including whether Jonathan Schoop starts at second base or first. -- Jason Beck More >

Twins: After all they did to make sweeping transformations across their roster coming out of the lockout (including the shocking signing of superstar shortstop Carlos Correa), the Twins still need a fifth starter. Though several reports mentioned the Twins as a possible landing spot for the Athletics' front-line starters, Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea, no deal has yet materialized -- and if no external candidate arrives, the spot could fall to Josh Winder or non-roster invitees Chi Chi Gonzalez and Devin Smeltzer. -- Do-Hyoung Park More >

White Sox: The backup catcher will take on extra importance for the White Sox, who don’t want to overwork starter Yasmani Grandal early in the season and have the option of using his offensive power at designated hitter when he isn’t behind the plate. So, Zack Collins and Seby Zavala appear to be the competition for that particular spot. Both have Major League experience, with Collins providing a left-handed bat with some power. Collins also has one option remaining, with Zavala being out of options. -- Scott Merkin More >

AL West

Angels: The Angels still have active competitions in the middle infield, for the sixth starter role and in the bullpen. David Fletcher is a lock in the middle infield but it’s still unclear if he’ll start at second base or shortstop. Those competing for a starting role next to Fletcher include Matt Duffy, Tyler Wade, Andrew Velazquez, Jack Mayfield and Luis Rengifo. The sixth starter is also up in the air with top prospect Reid Detmers appearing to have a narrow edge over Jaime Barría. The last few spots in the bullpen are also up for grabs with relievers such as Andrew Wantz, Jose Marte, Elvis Peguero and Jimmy Herget in that mix. -- Rhett Bollinger More >

Astros: As has been the case in recent years, the Astros don’t have many key roster decisions to make prior to the start of the season. The club is expected to use the reported expansion of rosters in April to 28 players from 26 to carry a couple of extra arms. If they carry 15 pitchers -- instead of the 13 that would be allowed on a 26-man roster -- they’ll have 13 position players to begin the season. There are no position-player battles other than the fourth outfielder job. -- Brian McTaggart More >

Athletics: The corner infield spots are a main area of focus this spring with the A’s having traded away franchise cornerstones Matt Chapman and Matt Olson earlier this month. Sheldon Neuse, who is a former A’s top prospect, and Kevin Smith, one of four players acquired from Toronto in the Chapman deal, are both getting strong looks at third base. The battle for first base is topped by veteran slugger Eric Thames and Billy McKinney, a former A’s first-round pick who is back with the club on a Minor League deal. -- Martín Gallegos More >

Mariners: The most prominent roster question relates to their most prominent prospect -- will Julio Rodriguez be included among the Opening Day contingent? With each passing day, it seems increasingly likely. Rodriguez’s prodigious power was on display with a homer that registered with a 117 mph exit velocity, and in his first Cactus League at-bat, to boot. But he’s also dazzled on the basepaths and in the field, with speed and athleticism that make his regular reps in center field seem more like a plus than a plug for a positional need. The Mariners have put up virtually no roadblocks to his development, and it sure seems like they will give him the chance to play his way onto the roster. -- Daniel Kramer More >

Rangers: The Rangers' biggest roster decision comes on the pitching staff, mainly the question of who will be the fifth starter. Whoever lands on that spot -- Kolby Allard, Spencer Howard, A.J. Alexy or Glenn Otto -- will have a domino effect as it concerns the bullpen. Allard is the only one of the four likely to take on a relief role if he doesn’t win the starting job, but the other three will likely start the season at Triple-A Round Rock to log more innings instead of filling a relief role. If Otto, Howard and Alexy all end up at Round Rock, that would leave another bullpen spot open for a veteran non-roster guy like Greg Holland or Matt Moore to make the Opening Day roster. -- Kennedi Landry More >

National League East

Braves: With Ronald Acuña Jr. expected to miss all of April, the Braves will likely tinker with some outfield mixes. Marcell Ozuna or Alex Dickerson will likely spend time as both a left fielder and DH. Phil Gosselin and Brock Holt are the top candidates for the final bench spot. The Braves may choose to carry 15 pitchers until May 2. Veteran reliever Darren O’Day is a strong non-roster candidate. -- Mark Bowman More >

Marlins: With a deeper roster and lineup than a year ago, Miami plans to work favorable matchups and capitalize on defensive versatility. Barring an outside addition, the Marlins will look internally for their closer and center fielder. So that leaves Gold Glove-winning Jacob Stallings' backup as the big question mark ahead of Opening Day, with Alex Jackson and prospects Nick Fortes and Payton Henry vying for the role. That trio has 53 combined total starts at catcher. -- Christina De Nicola More >

Mets: The Mets don’t have too many difficult roster decisions this year, other than the back end of their rotation. Some uncertainty exists regarding the health of Taijuan Walker, who was a week or two behind other pitchers in camp due to an offseason knee debridement procedure. Walker was healthy enough to appear in Grapefruit League games in March, but the process of stretching him out won’t be complete by Opening Day. So the Mets must decide if they want to carry Walker anyway, or keep him in Florida and use a replacement -- Tylor Megill, most likely -- in their season-opening rotation. -- Anthony DiComo More >

Nationals: The Nationals will have to complete their starting rotation amid injuries to Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross. Patrick Corbin and Josiah Gray are likely to move into the No. 1 and No. 2 spots to open the season, leaving three question marks to be answered. Erick Fedde and Josh Rogers, who made starts in 2021, are likely candidates. The fifth spot could go to returning veteran Aníbal Sánchez, who is competing for a role on a Minor League contract after deciding not to play last season. -- Jessica Camerato More >

Phillies: The Phillies made some big moves in March as they try to snap an 11-year postseason drought, the longest in the NL. The recent signings of Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber solidify the outfield and lineup. Signings like Corey Knebel, Brad Hand and Jeurys Familia are expected to solidify the bullpen. It leaves the roster mostly set, although there is some intrigue at third base (Alec Bohm or Johan Camargo?), shortstop (Didi Gregorius or Bryson Stott?) and center field (Matt Vierling or a platoon?). -- Todd Zolecki More >

NL Central

Brewers: Most of the Brewers’ roster construction questions are at the end of the bullpen, but one intriguing position player on the bubble is former first-round pick Keston Hiura, the second baseman turned first baseman who is further expanding his defensive repertoire to left field in an effort to make himself more valuable as he attempts to rebound at the plate. The extra roster spots in April help Hiura’s case. Here’s a question to consider: Would Hiura be better served by big league at-bats as a backup to first baseman Rowdy Tellez and occasional fill-in in left field, or as a regular starter at Triple-A Nashville? The Brewers still believe Hiura can hit, but after two strikeout-filled seasons he has to show it. -- Adam McCalvy More >

Cardinals: Much of the Cardinals' lineup is set with veteran players at key positions. However, incumbents Paul DeJong and Tommy Edman are being pushed by Edmundo Sosa and rookie Nolan Gorman as the Redbirds look for more production at SS and 2B. Top prospects Matthew Liberatore and first baseman Juan Yepez are fighting for spots, but will likely open at Triple-A Memphis. Jake Woodford has the inside track over free-agent signees Drew VerHagen and Aaron Brooks for the No. 5 starter job while Jack Flaherty (shoulder) rehabilitates. -- John Denton More >

Cubs: Like many teams this spring, most of the Cubs’ Opening Day roster decisions will involve the makeup of the pitching staff. The rotation has two frontline arms in Kyle Hendricks and Marcus Stroman, and then a lengthy cast of pitchers trying to build up for the season as swiftly as possible. Chicago may have a fluid situation at the back of the rotation with “piggyback” start options, which will, in turn, impact how the team organizes its bullpen. In the outfield, the addition of Seiya Suzuki has created a logjam that could result in an odd-man out when camp breaks. -- Jordan Bastian More >

Pirates: With Oneil Cruz likely headed for Triple-A Indianapolis, Pittsburgh’s biggest question come Opening Day is about who will round out the rotation. Mitch Keller, José Quintana, JT Brubaker and Wil Crowe will likely compose the one through four, but the fifth spot is a bit up in the air. Zach Thompson, who both started and relieved for the Marlins last season, is one of the stronger candidates to round out the rotation. -- Justice delos Santos More >

Reds: Roster churn has been a theme for Cincinnati’s camp with numerous players moved out and several more brought in. The rotation is an area that remains fluid with both Luis Castillo and Mike Minor not expected to be ready for the beginning of the season. That could open things up more for some elite pitching prospects -- namely Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo -- who were already competing for the fifth spot. While the infield appears largely set, the outfield has several vying for the reserve roles and both bullpen roles and the backup catcher job remaining up for grabs. -- Mark Sheldon More >

NL West

D-backs: Zac Gallen was set to be the No. 2 man in the Arizona rotation before a case of bursitis put him a bit behind the other starters. The D-backs haven’t ruled out the possibility that he could be ready for his first start if it’s pushed back to the back of the rotation. They’ll need to decide whether or not they’re better off putting him on the IL and using the roster spot on either another pitcher or an additional bat. -- Steve Gilbert More >

Dodgers: The Dodgers have as much talent as anybody in the Majors, but Los Angeles still needs to figure out how to best utilize its pitching staff. As of right now, the Dodgers will likely start the season with seven starters/bulk guys. Eventually, they’ll have to narrow it down to their five best options in the rotation. The lineup will score a bunch of runs, but the Dodgers still need to figure out their run prevention. -- Juan Toribio More >

Giants: The catching competition will be one to watch at Giants camp, as rookie Joey Bart and veteran Curt Casali will be vying for playing time now that Buster Posey has retired. Bart has long been viewed as Posey’s heir apparent, but he’ll have to show that he’s closer to big-league ready after struggling in his first taste of the Majors in 2020. Casali, meanwhile, is highly regarded for his work with the pitching staff and reported to camp “jacked,” according to manager Gabe Kapler. -- Maria Guardado More >

Padres: The Padres are still doing their best to figure out how to replace Fernando Tatis Jr., both at shortstop and in terms of offensive production. They’re still actively searching for impact bats. But they also might have one in their system, in the form of MLB Pipeline’s No. 9 overall prospect, CJ Abrams. As things stand, Ha-Seong Kim is the projected starter at short, and the Padres wouldn’t call up Abrams if there wasn’t regular playing time available. But Abrams has raked all spring. If he continues to do so, it’s easy to envision a scenario where the lefty-hitting Abrams and the righty-hitting Kim platoon. The Padres have never been shy about moving their top prospects quickly. -- AJ Cassavell More >

Rockies: The Rockies have spent the spring filling key lineup holes and building depth, but there are questions. Do they stick with second-year man Dom Nuñez backing up Elias Díaz behind the plate, or add experience in the role and let Nuñez have regular at-bats in Triple-A to develop his offense? Also, there is little experience and depth behind the starting rotation, and will second-year man Lucas Gilbreath be enough in lefty setup situations? One question that may be a fun one: Will shortstop Ezequiel Tovar, 20, continue his spring to the point that the Rockies will at least entertain jumping him over Double-A and Triple-A? -- Thomas Harding More >