Every team's Opening Day starter, predicted

February 13th, 2019

Even in an age of "openers" and extended bullpens, there is an undeniable cache to being a team's Opening Day starter. We wait all offseason for baseball to return, and your team has all that time to prepare, and then, when we get going, they rely on that one guy -- their ace, their hoss -- to stand out there to kick things off. It's a legitimate honor.

So with pitchers and catchers officially reporting this week, we take some educated guesses on who will be the Opening Day starters for each team. Some of these are obvious candidates, some of them will be the results of intense Spring Training competitions, and some will just be rolls of the dice. But these are the looks at who each team wants out there on Day 1.

Blue Jays:
This would be Stroman's second opener; he beat the Rays, 5-3, back in 2016.

It would be the second straight Opening Day start for one of the few pieces the Orioles plan on having around for the next few years.

As close to an Opening Day lock as you'd find. Snell will begin his attempt to defend his AL Cy Young Award.

Red Sox:
Sale still, somehow, has never won a Cy Young Award, but he's finished in the top six in each of the past seven years. He'll launch another campaign on Opening Day, which would be his second straight opener for Boston. (He got the nod three times with Chicago.)

Severino ended 's three-year run of Opening Day starts last year and was in line to get the nod again in 2019, but a bout of right shoulder inflammation shut him down in early March. Thus, Tanaka will regain his Opening Day status.
*Actual OD starter: Tanaka (announced March 9)

It looks like Kluber is going to stay in Cleveland after all.

If Duffy gets the nod, he will have made as many Opening Day starts (three) for the Royals as Bret Saberhagen. (And Gil Meche. And Jeff Suppan! Oh, and did you know Kevin Appier made 7 Opening Day starts for Kansas City?)

Fulmer is expected to be ready for Opening Day to take over for last year's Opening Day starter, .

took the first start last year, but you'd have to think it's Berrios' time.

White Sox:
is the other option, but the guess here is that they go with the veteran.

That this is such a difficult one to pick -- they could even choose ! -- is perhaps a sign of trouble for the Angels this year.

This will be Verlander's 11th Opening Day start, and his second with the Astros.

was another option to take the ball in Tokyo, but Fiers indeed will get the nod.

Given Hernandez's struggles in recent years, the Mariners will give someone else the ball on Opening Day for the first time since 2008: lefty , who is being rewarded for a breakout 2018.

*Actual OD starter: Gonzales (announced March 9)

The Rangers' rotation is an interesting mix of veterans, and it wouldn't be surprising if any of them are somewhere else by August.

If it's Teheran, this will be his sixth consecutive Opening Day start.

Urena was the Opening Day starter last year, and even though it didn't go well (he gave up a homer on the first pitch!), he'll probably get the chance again.

**Actual OD starter: **Urena (announced Feb. 14)

Would you believe that this would be deGrom's first Opening Day start?

**Actual OD starter: **deGrom (announced Feb. 14)

Get ready for October intensity in the cold of March.

Nola's breakthrough season earns him the honor.

was the starter last year, but Chacin was so good last year, he'll probably be the pick.

This is sort of a tough call, with probably the team's ace and the team's traditional leadoff man. Here's guessing they save Wainwright for the home opener on April 4.

Lester enters year five of the six-year deal (with a club option for 2021) that got him and Theo Epstein a Cubs World Series championship. I'm pretty sure the Cubs and Lester would both do this deal again.

Maybe the toughest call on the board, with an obvious candidate. Flip a coin.

The new guy gets the call. Can you believe last year's Opening Day starter was ? And that it was his first opener start for them?

As long as Greinke is still on the team, he'll make the start.

The last non-Kershaw Opening Day start for the Dodgers? Vicente Padilla in 2010.

It'll be a transitional year in San Francisco, but this guy remains constant. It will be Bumgarner's fifth Opening Day start.

Your guess is as good as ours on this one.

This would be Gray's third consecutive Opening Day start ... the first Rockies pitcher to do that.