Each team's projected Opening Day lineup

March 27th, 2024

We're just days away from Opening Day, and amid the buzz and anticipation of a new season beginning, managers around the game will be making out their first lineup cards of the new campaign.

Who will get the nod to start in each club's season opener? Here's a look at the projected Opening Day lineup, starting pitcher and closer for each team:

American League East

Blue Jays:
1. George Springer, RF
2. Bo Bichette, SS
3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B
4. Justin Turner, DH
5. Alejandro Kirk, C
6. Daulton Varsho, LF
7. Cavan Biggio, 2B
8. Isiah Kiner-Falefa, 3B
9. Kevin Kiermaier, CF
SP: RHP José Berríos
CL: RHP Jordan Romano

Second and third base could take a few different shapes depending on the day, but otherwise, the Blue Jays are running it back with a similar lineup to 2023, and they're betting on their top-end talent to bounce back, especially when it comes to power numbers. -- Keegan Matheson

1. Cedric Mullins, CF
2. Adley Rutschman, C
3. Gunnar Henderson, SS
4. Anthony Santander, RF
5. Ryan Mountcastle,1B
6. Austin Hays, LF
7. Jordan Westburg, DH
8. Ramón Urías, 3B
9. Jorge Mateo, 2B
SP: RHP Corbin Burnes
CL: RHP Craig Kimbrel

The O’s opted to send 20-year-old infielder Jackson Holliday (MLB Pipeline’s No. 1 overall prospect) back to the Minors to start the season, so their Opening Day lineup will likely feature both Westburg and Urías, although Jorge Mateo could also start at either second or shortstop. -- Jake Rill

1. Yandy Díaz, 1B
2. Brandon Lowe, 2B
3. Randy Arozarena, LF
4. Isaac Paredes, 3B
5. Harold Ramírez, DH
6. Richie Palacios, RF
7. Jose Siri, CF
8. José Caballero, SS
9. René Pinto, C
SP: RHP Zach Eflin
CL: RHP Pete Fairbanks

This isn’t necessarily the lineup the Rays planned on having as they entered Spring Training, as injuries to Josh Lowe and Jonathan Aranda cost them two key left-handed bats, but the top of the order is still quite imposing with Díaz, Brandon Lowe, Arozarena, Paredes and Ramírez. -- Adam Berry

Red Sox:
1. Jarren Duran, LF
2. Rafael Devers, 3B
3. Trevor Story, SS
4. Triston Casas, 1B
5. Masataka Yoshida, DH
6. Tyler O’Neill, RF
7. Ceddanne Rafaela, CF
8. Enmanuel Valdez, 2B
9. Connor Wong, C
SP: RHP Bryan Bello
CL: RHP Kenley Jansen

The Red Sox are confident in their lineup, especially the first five spots, and it’s even deeper if O’Neill can stay healthy and Rafaela can adjust quickly to Major League pitching. -- Ian Browne

1. Gleyber Torres, 2B
2. Juan Soto, RF
3. Aaron Judge, CF
4. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
5. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
6. Anthony Volpe, SS
7. Alex Verdugo, LF
8. Jose Trevino, C
9. Oswaldo Cabrera, 3B
SP: LHP Nestor Cortes
CL: RHP Clay Holmes

Though manager Aaron Boone said that his first choice was to have DJ LeMahieu occupy the leadoff spot, LeMahieu will open the season on the injured list after sustaining a significant bone bruise on his right foot on March 16. Cortes is starting his first opener in place of the injured Gerrit Cole. -- Bryan Hoch

AL Central

1. Steven Kwan, LF
2. José Ramírez, 3B
3. Josh Naylor, 1B
4. Ramón Laureano, RF
5. Andrés Giménez, 2B
6. Tyler Freeman, CF
7. David Fry, DH
8. Bo Naylor, C
9. Brayan Rocchio SS
SP: RHP Shane Bieber
CL: RHP Emmanuel Clase

The Guardians could have Ramírez in the second or third spot in the lineup. For now, we’ll stick with the second. With a lefty going for the A’s, the Guardians will likely use a right-handed bat off the bench for their designated hitter, so we’ll assume Fry will handle that. Maybe the order changes, but this should be the nine players the team starts. -- Mandy Bell

1. Maikel Garcia, 3B
2. Bobby Witt Jr., SS
3. Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B
4. Salvador Perez, C
5. MJ Melendez, LF
6. Hunter Renfroe, RF
7. Michael Massey, 2B
8. Nelson Velazquez, DH
9. Kyle Isbel, CF
SP: LHP Cole Ragans
CL: LHP Will Smith

The only question mark is Massey’s status, as he deals with lower back tightness and the Royals weigh whether an injured list stint is necessary. If so, Nick Loftin could make the team, but Adam Frazier, a lefty, would likely start Opening Day at second base against righty Pablo Lopez. -- Anne Rogers

1. Parker Meadows, CF
2. Riley Greene, RF
3. Spencer Torkelson, 1B
4. Kerry Carpenter, DH
5. Mark Canha, LF
6. Colt Keith, 2B
7. Javier Báez, SS
8. Gio Urshela, 3B
9. Jake Rogers, C
SP: LHP Tarik Skubal
CL: RHP Alex Lange

The Tigers could do some platooning against White Sox lefty Garrett Crochet, but Meadows has a good -- albeit brief -- track record against southpaws and his game-changing speed provides a useful weapon, while Keith’s plate discipline could prove useful against a first-time starter with a history of command struggles. -- Jason Beck

1. Carlos Santana, 1B
2. Byron Buxton, CF
3. Carlos Correa, SS
4. Royce Lewis, 3B
5. Kyle Farmer, 2B
6. Ryan Jeffers, C
7. Max Kepler, RF
8. Manuel Margot, LF
9. Alex Kirilloff, DH
SP: RHP Pablo López
CL: RHP Brock Stewart

Let the platooning commence, as the Twins should have all their right-handed bats out in full force against Royals lefty Cole Ragans, making this group look considerably different from what would be considered their “standard” lineup -- though perhaps they won’t go for straight platoons everywhere to recognize some of their more consistent starters with an Opening Day honor. -- Do-Hyoung Park

White Sox:
1. Andrew Benintendi, LF
2. Yoan Moncada, 3B
3. Luis Robert Jr., CF
4. Eloy Jiménez, DH
5. Andrew Vaughn, 1B
6. Paul DeJong, SS
7. Dominic Fletcher, RF
8. Martin Maldonado, C
9. Nicky Lopez, 2B
SP: LHP Garrett Crochet
CL: RHP Michael Kopech

Crochet will make his first regular-season start on Opening Day, figuring to go somewhere around four or five innings. The southpaw flashed electric stuff during Spring Training. Manager Pedro Grifol has not and probably will not name an official closer, while Robert Jr. is primed for another AL Most Valuable Player-caliber season. -- Scott Merkin

AL West

1. Anthony Rendon, 3B
2. Nolan Schanuel, 1B
3. Mike Trout, CF
4. Taylor Ward, LF
5. Brandon Drury, DH
6. Luis Rengifo, 2B
7. Logan O’Hoppe, C
8. Aaron Hicks, RF
9. Zach Neto, SS
SP: LHP Patrick Sandoval
CL: RHP Carlos Estévez

The Angels are set to experiment with Rendon in the leadoff spot, while Mickey Moniak and Jo Adell will also share time with Hicks in right field based on matchups. -- Rhett Bollinger

1. Jose Altuve, 2B
2. Yordan Alvarez, DH
3. Alex Bregman, 3B
4. Kyle Tucker, RF
5. José Abreu, 1B
6. Yainer Diaz, C
7. Chas McCormick, LF
8. Jeremy Peña , SS
9. Jake Meyers, CF
SP: LHP Framber Valdez
CL: LHP Josh Hader

This figures to be one of the deepest lineups in baseball, with Diaz taking over as the starting catcher and the ability to put up big numbers, and the possibility of a resurgent Peña. -- Brian McTaggart

1. Ryan Noda, 1B
2. Zack Gelof, 2B
3. Seth Brown, RF
4. Brent Rooker, DH
5. JJ Bleday, CF
6. Lawrence Butler, LF
7. J.D. Davis, 3B
8. Shea Langeliers, C
9. Nick Allen, SS
SP: LHP Alex Wood
CL: RHP Mason Miller

The A's will likely carry six outfielders on their Opening Day roster and deploy each player based on matchups, which means Esteury Ruiz and possibly Hoy Park also figure to get plenty of at-bats. -- Martín Gallegos

1. J.P. Crawford, SS
2. Julio Rodríguez, CF
3. Jorge Polanco, 2B
4. Mitch Garver, DH
5. Cal Raleigh, C
6. Mitch Haniger, RF
7. Dominic Canzone, LF
8. Ty France, 1B
9. Josh Rojas, 3B
SP: RHP Luis Castillo
CL: RHP Andrés Muñoz

With the Red Sox slated to roll with righty Brayan Bello, Mariners manager Scott Servais will likely deploy a starting nine capable of a straight right-left mix throughout to back “La Piedra,” who is making his second straight Opening Day start with Seattle. -- Daniel Kramer

1. Marcus Semien, 2B
2. Corey Seager, SS
3. Evan Carter, LF
4. Adolis García, RF
5. Josh Jung, 3B
6. Jonah Heim, C
7. Justin Foscue, 1B
8. Wyatt Langford, DH
9. Leody Taveras, CF
SP: RHP Nathan Eovaldi
CL: RHP José Leclerc

Corey Seager (sports hernia) and Josh Jung (calf strain) are still rehabbing their injuries, but the Rangers still remain optimistic that both will be ready for Opening Day. MLB Pipeline’s No. 6 overall prospect Wyatt Langford will break camp with the big league club after a sensational spring. -- Kennedi Landry

National League East

1. Ronald Acuña Jr., RF
2. Ozzie Albies, 2B
3. Austin Riley, 3B
4. Matt Olson, 1B
5. Marcell Ozuna, DH
6. Michael Harris II, CF
7. Sean Murphy, C
8. Orlando Arcia, SS
9. Jarred Kelenic, LF
SP: RHP Spencer Strider
CL: RHP Raisel Iglesias

A productive Kelenic could make this lineup even stronger than the historic one that helped the Braves notch a second straight 100-win season last year. -- Mark Bowman

1. Luis Arraez, 2B
2. Josh Bell, 1B
3. Jake Burger, 3B
4. Jazz Chisholm Jr., CF
5. Tim Anderson, SS
6. Bryan De La Cruz, LF
7. Jesús Sánchez, RF
8. Avisaíl García, DH
9. Nick Fortes, C
SP: LHP Jesús Luzardo
CL: LHP Tanner Scott

With Pittsburgh right-hander Mitch Keller on the mound, Miami’s lineup will feature at least three lefty bats and a switch-hitter depending on how manager Skip Schumaker elects to use the DH spot. -- Christina De Nicola

1. Brandon Nimmo, CF
2. Francisco Lindor, SS
3. Pete Alonso, 1B
4. Jeff McNeil, 2B
5. Starling Marte, RF
6. DJ Stewart, DH
7. Francisco Alvarez, C
8. Brett Baty, 3B
9. Harrison Bader, LF
SP: LHP Jose Quintana
CL: RHP Edwin Díaz

The Mets signed J.D. Martinez late in Spring Training to serve as their regular DH, but he’ll start the season in the Minors after missing most of camp. The team surprisingly left Mark Vientos off the roster in the interim, which should result in a carousel of players starting at DH over at least the first eight games of the season. -- Anthony DiComo

1. C.J. Abrams, SS
2. Lane Thomas, RF
3. Eddie Rosario, LF
4. Joey Meneses, DH
5. Joey Gallo, 1B
6. Keibert Ruiz, C
7. Nick Senzel, 3B
8. Luis García, 2B
9. Victor Robles, CF
SP: RHP Josiah Gray
CL: RHP Kyle Finnegan

Gray anchors the pitching staff in his first Opening Day nod, while Abrams returns to the top of a lineup that is looking to boost its offensive production with additions that include Gallo, Rosario and Senzel. -- Jessica Camerato

1. Kyle Schwarber, DH
2. Trea Turner, SS
3. Bryce Harper, 1B
4. Alec Bohm, 3B
5. Bryson Stott, 2B
6. J.T. Realmuto, C
7. Nick Castellanos, RF
8. Brandon Marsh, LF
9. Johan Rojas, CF
SP: RHP Zack Wheeler
CL: RHP Jose Alvarado

No surprises here, not even Schwarber in the leadoff spot. The Phillies just win with Schwarber there. Alvarado is listed as the closer, but anybody who knows Phillies manager Rob Thomson knows he prefers a closer-by-committee approach. It could be almost anybody in the ninth inning on Opening Day. --Todd Zolecki

NL Central

1. Sal Frelick, CF
2. William Contreras, C
3. Christian Yelich, LF
4. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
5. Willy Adames, SS
6. Gary Sánchez, DH
7. Jackson Chourio, RF
8. Brice Turang, 2B
9. Joey Ortiz, 3B
SP: RHP Freddy Peralta
CL: RHP Trevor Megill

The 20-year-old Chourio -- MLB Pipeline's No. 2 overall prospect -- is in line to become the youngest Brewer to debut on Opening Day since Robin Yount, and it's just a matter of how Milwaukee wants to set up the lineup to attack Mets lefty Jose Quintana. -- David Adler

1. Brendan Donovan, LF
2. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
3. Nolan Gorman, 2B
4. Nolan Arenado, 3B
5. Willson Contreras, C
6. Matt Carpenter, DH
7. Jordan Walker, RF
8. Victor Scott II, CF
9. Masyn Winn, SS
SP: RHP Miles Mikolas
CL: RHP Ryan Helsley

Injuries to Sonny Gray (hamstring), Tommy Edman (wrist) and Lars Nootbaar (ribs) wrecked the Cards’ best-laid plans, but strong springs from Mikolas, Carlson and Carpenter have come at a good time. Alec Burleson, another strong spring performer, could potentially get the nod over Carpenter at DH. -- John Denton

1. Ian Happ, LF
2. Seiya Suzuki, RF
3. Cody Bellinger, CF
4. Christopher Morel, 3B
5. Dansby Swanson, SS
6. Michael Busch, 1B
7. Nico Hoerner, 2B
8. Mike Tauchman, DH
9. Yan Gomes, C
SP: LHP Justin Steele
CL: RHP Adbert Alzolay

This is the first career Opening Day start for Steele, who will be tasked with taking on the World Series-champion Rangers and setting the tone for a Cubs team hoping to get back to the playoffs under new manager Craig Counsell. -- Jordan Bastian

1. Oneil Cruz, SS
2. Bryan Reynolds, RF
3. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B
4. Jack Suwinski, LF
5. Andrew McCutchen, DH
6. Rowdy Tellez, 1B
7. Henry Davis, C
8. Michael A. Taylor, CF
9. Jared Triolo, 2B
SP: RHP Mitch Keller
CL: RHP David Bednar

Getting Cruz back in the fold gives this team the leadoff hitter and shortstop they sorely needed last year, while plenty of eyes are going to be on Davis behind the plate in what should be his first Major League start as a catcher. -- Justice delos Santos

1. Jonathan India, 2B
2. Elly De La Cruz, SS
3. Spencer Steer, LF
4. Jake Fraley, RF
5. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
6. Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 1B
7. Tyler Stephenson, C
8. Nick Martini, DH
9. Will Benson, CF
SP: RHP Frankie Montas
CL: RHP Alexis Díaz

A lineup that's missing three expected starters in Matt McLain, TJ Friedl and Noelvi Marte will need to step up to keep the offense flowing. -- Mark Sheldon

NL West

1. Corbin Carroll, RF
2. Ketel Marte, 2B
3. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., LF
4. Christian Walker, 1B
5. Joc Pederson, DH
6. Gabriel Moreno, C
7. Eugenio Suarez, 3B
8. Alek Thomas, CF
9. Geraldo Perdomo, SS
SP: RHP Zac Gallen
CL: RHP Paul Sewald

Carroll and Marte will likely flip-flop in the lineup when there’s a lefty on the mound and Randal Grichuk, if healthy, will DH against left-handers as well. -- Steve Gilbert

1. Mookie Betts, SS
2. Shohei Ohtani, DH
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Will Smith, C
5. Max Muncy, 3B
6. Teoscar Hernández, LF
7. James Outman, CF
8. Jason Heyward, RF
9. Gavin Lux, SS
SP: RHP Tyler Glasnow
CL: RHP Evan Phillips

This is the lineup the Dodgers used in each of the two games against the Padres in South Korea. It’ll be their primary lineup against right-handed pitching this season. Chris Taylor, Miguel Rojas and Kikè Hernandez will also get rotated through, but mostly against southpaws. -- Juan Toribio

1. Jung Hoo Lee, CF
2. Thairo Estrada, 2B
3. LaMonte Wade Jr., 1B
4. Jorge Soler, DH
5. Michael Conforto, LF
6. Matt Chapman, 3B
7. Mike Yastrzemski, RF
8. Patrick Bailey, C
9. Nick Ahmed, SS
SP: RHP Logan Webb
CL: RHP Camilo Doval

The Giants have been known for their platoon-heavy approach in recent years, but their lineup should have far more continuity following the arrival of Lee, Chapman and Soler, all of whom were signed to be everyday players. -- Maria Guardado

1. Xander Bogaerts, 2B
2. Fernando Tatis Jr., RF
3. Jake Cronenworth, 1B
4. Manny Machado, DH
5. Ha-Seong Kim, SS
6. Jurickson Profar, LF
7. Luis Campusano, C
8. Tyler Wade, 3B
9. Jackson Merrill, CF
CL: RHP Robert Suarez

With Machado coming off October elbow surgery, he’ll begin the year at DH. That leaves a vacancy at third, which Wade filled admirably in Korea. But the Padres will likely maneuver in that spot based on matchups, with Graham Pauley and Eguy Rosario as options as well. -- AJ Cassavell

1. Charlie Blackmon, RF
2. Kris Bryant, 1B
3. Nolan Jones, LF
4. Brendan Rodgers, 2B
5. Ryan McMahon, 3B
6. Elias Díaz, C
7. Ezequiel Tovar, SS
8. Elehuris Montero, DH
9. Brenton Doyle, CF
SP: LHP Kyle Freeland
CL: RHP Justin Lawrence

Manager Bud Black is trading speed at the top of the lineup for accomplishment, with hopes that Blackmon and Bryant take advantage of the prospect of more plate appearances. -- Thomas Harding