Here’s how each club's lineup and starting rotation is predicted to look on Opening Day:
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Closer: Jordan Romano, RHP
It’s still possible the Blue Jays look to add a lefty bat, but the addition of Matt Chapman settles their infield for now, allowing Cavan Biggio and Santiago Espinal to handle second. The catching position is another spot that will develop as the season goes on, with Alejandro Kirk getting reps and No. 1 prospect Gabriel Moreno just around the corner.
Closer: Jorge López, RHP
The O’s will feature a large group of players making their first Opening Day roster. The biggest “ifs” center around if they add any relief arms through signings or waiver claims as other camps slim down, as well as who takes the closing role after sending both prime candidates to the Marlins in a trade. Also, when will Adley Rutschman recover from his right triceps strain and make his debut, along with other prospects?
Closer: Andrew Kittredge, RHP
The Rays used 158 different batting orders last season, so don’t get attached to any projections here. It’s a platoon-filled position player group with a ton of defensive versatility, and essentially, everyone will be a regular in the lineup. Expect to see a lot of outfielder Brett Phillips, infielder Taylor Walls and righty-hitting DH Harold Ramírez, and switch-hitting catcher Francisco Mejía will be involved a lot early on to ease up on Zunino’s workload. The Rays don’t have a closer in their deep and flexible bullpen, either, but it’s fair to designate the versatile Kittredge as their top reliever coming off an All-Star, 1.88-ERA campaign.
Closer: Matt Barnes, RHP
Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom secured the right-handed bat he was looking for by signing Story to a six-year, $140 million deal. With team leader Xander Bogaerts entrenched at shortstop, Story will move over to second base, giving the Red Sox one of the most potent double-play combinations in the Majors from an offensive standpoint. The Sox should have a fearsome 2-5 in the batting order. Ace lefty Chris Sale will be out for at least the first month of the season as he recovers from a stress fracture in his right ribcage, increasing the importance of Eovaldi and Pivetta early on. Manager Alex Cora hasn’t given any hints on his closer, but Barnes is trying to win back the job he lost down the stretch last year.
Closer: Aroldis Chapman, LHP
The Yanks are banking on a healthy return to the rotation from Severino, who has pitched just 18 big league innings since the beginning of the 2018 campaign. Taillon is expected to be ready for the beginning of the regular season, which comes as something of a surprise considering he had surgery in late October to repair a torn tendon in his right ankle.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Closer: Emmanuel Clase, RHP
The Guardians have run Rosario to left field a handful of times so far this spring and it looks like the best option to create a little more offensive depth in their lineup, allowing both Giménez and Chang to get in the mix and eliminating either the bat of Oscar Mercado or Bradley Zimmer.
Closer: Scott Barlow, RHP
The Royals will start the season with top prospect Witt in their lineup thanks to his torrid spring showing. Merrifield will continue to lead off the batting order, but he will play right field this year after playing all of 2021 at second base. To fit Witt in the equation, the Royals' best option is to move Merrifield to the outfield and have Mondesi and Lopez man the middle infield -- as long as health permits. Manager Mike Matheny has also toyed with the idea of having Benintendi hit third and Perez fourth to maximize the number of men on base for Perez. The Royals will likely have outfielders Kyle Isbel (lefty) and Edward Olivares (righty) and first baseman Ryan O’Hearn (lefty) on the bench as platoon hitters.
Closer: Gregory Soto, LHP
Baddoo would lead off only against right-handed pitchers, with Robbie Grossman likely leading off against lefties. Riley Greene's fractured right foot left a void in the Tigers' outfield, but they moved quickly to fill it by acquiring Meadows from the Rays.
Closer: Taylor Rogers, LHP
Things should be very fluid, with Gio Urshela rotating into third base, Arraez rotating to second, Polanco occasionally rotating to shortstop, and a handful of players sliding through the DH slot. The fact that the Twins can make such a lineup right now without even including Urshela certainly isn't a bad sign. Adding Correa could push Arraez and Urshela into splitting time at third base, with several hitters rotating through the DH slot and corner outfield spots and both Sánchez and Jeffers seeing time at catcher.
Closer: Liam Hendriks, RHP
Acquiring Pollock from the Dodgers gave the White Sox an everyday right fielder, answering one of the team's biggest questions this spring.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Closer: Raisel Iglesias, RHP
Adell and Marsh will share time with Ward in the outfield corners. Marsh is expected to platoon with Ward and with lefty Framber Valdez starting for the Astros on Opening Day, Ward is expected to be in the lineup. The Angels will also use a combination of Duffy, Tyler Wade and Jack Mayfield at second base with Fletcher moving to shortstop.
Closer: Ryan Pressly, RHP
Two years ago, the Astros had George Springer in center and Carlos Correa at shortstop. Those spots are now occupied by youngsters in Peña and McCormick, with Jake Meyers (center field) headed to the injured list to start the season. Tucker could play center and Brantley can move to right if the Astros want to put Alvarez in left field. Expect Aledmys Diaz and Niko Goodrum to get time at shortstop, as well. With Lance McCullers Jr. set to begin the season on the injured list, the Astros are down a key starting pitcher. Fortunately for them, they have some solid depth with young arms in Garcia, Urquidy, Javier and Valdez.
Closer: Lou Trivino, RHP
With Ramón Laureano still needing to serve 27 games on his suspension, center field is wide open. Pache’s excellent defense should help fill the void. Injuries to Brent Honeywell Jr. and James Kaprielian this spring opened the door for Blackburn and Oller to join the A’s rotation. Kaprielian will begin the season on rehab at Triple-A Las Vegas and is expected to rejoin the club at the end of April. A timeline for Honeywell’s return is still unknown as he’s expected to undergo surgery for an elbow issue.
A lineup that lacked punch last season has three new All-Stars in Frazier, Winker and Suárez, the latter two of whom combined for 55 homers last year in Cincinnati, along with the debut of No. 3 overall prospect Rodríguez. The Mariners also have a much more balanced lineup between righties and lefties, allowing manager Scott Servais to get more creative while also injecting some power potential in the lower half. Speaking of creativity, the Mariners will not commit to a specific DH and rather will use a variety of players to help build in regular rest and create extra playing time across their roster.
Closer: Joe Barlow
Third base is the well-noted hole in the Rangers otherwise solid infield, but the combination of Ibanez and Yonny Hernandez will likely share time unless the front office gets a placeholder as everybody waits for Josh Jung to recover from shoulder surgery. The front office still would like to add another outfield bat.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Closer: Kenley Jansen, RHP
Ronald Acuña Jr. will return to the leadoff spot once he completes his recovery from a torn right ACL. He's expected to be activated during the first week of May. The addition of Rosario provides more of a left-handed presence. Ozuna could also fill one of the outfield spots, but his defensive limitations seem to make him a perfect DH.
The Marlins lengthened their lineup by adding Soler, García and Wendle, and with more depth than a year ago, they plan to manage workloads and go with favorable matchups. Soler batted leadoff during Spring Training, and he thrived there just like he did with Atlanta in 2021. But that could’ve been a way to see more at-bats after signing a week into camp. Without a proven ninth-inning reliever, expect to see a mix of arms like Anthony Bender, Cole Sulser, Richard Bleier and Anthony Bass in high-leverage situations. Dylan Floro will join that group when he returns from what is hoped to be a short injured list stint.
Closer: Edwin Díaz, RHP
With Jacob deGrom shut down for at least four weeks with a stress reaction in his shoulder and Scherzer likely set to start Game 2 after being slowed by a hamstring issue, the Mets have not officially announced who will start Opening Day. Otherwise, much revolves around second base, with Canó and McNeil likely to share reps at that position. Based on what happens at second, the Mets can use some combination of Canó, J.D. Davis, Dominic Smith and (sometimes) Alonso at designated hitter.
Closer: Tanner Rainey, RHP
The Nationals’ lineup will have a new look this season with Soto hitting second in the batting order. The objective is to get him more plate appearances in the No. 2 spot (and recent MVPs have happened to hit there, too). Soto will have protection with Cruz, Bell and Ruiz hitting behind him. In the injury-hampered starting rotation without Stephen Strasburg or Joe Ross, No. 8 prospect Joan Adon emerged late in camp to earn the fifth spot.
Closer: Corey Knebel, RHP
Joe Girardi has more firepower and versatility since the Phillies added Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos last month on multiyear contracts. Schwarber thrived in the leadoff spot last season, and he has only hit there for Girardi this spring. Castellanos looks really good hitting behind Harper, and potentially in front of Hoskins. The No. 2 hitter could be Segura or Realmuto. Stott and Bohm will share time early at third base. Vierling entered camp as the favorite for the majority of playing time in center field, but Moniak's play this spring could push him into the starting lineup as early as Opening Day. Wheeler gets top billing here as the unquestioned ace of the staff, even though injuries delayed him in camp and prevented him from starting Opening Day.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Closer: Josh Hader, LHP
Coming off a career year, Luis Urías projects as the Brewers' regular third baseman over the course of the season. But he suffered a groin injury in the team's second Spring Training game and appears poised to open the season on the injured list, making Peterson and right-handed hitting Mike Brosseau the leading candidates to fill in.
Closer: Giovanny Gallegos, RHP
The returning Albert Pujols was signed to bring some run production and lineup protection to the DH spot. Lars Nootbaar, a late-season sensation last year, and Triple-A slugger Juan Yepez also figure to be in play for DH reps.
Closer: David Robertson, RHP
The addition of Suzuki pushed the veteran Heyward to center field. The DH slot will be a fluid position, with Happ, Frazier, Contreras and others likely to cycle in and out. Jonathan Villar should get starts at third base, while providing depth around infield. The back of the rotation has a couple options (Mills and Keegan Thompson) until Wade Miley (left elbow) returns, and there are a few candidates for closing duties, including Rowan Wick.
Closer: David Bednar, RHP
The signing of Daniel Vogelbach provides the Pirates with some much-needed punch and gives manager Derek Shelton several more options than he had at the beginning of camp. Brubaker was named the Opening Day starter in the final week of Spring Training.
Closer: Luis Cessa, RHP
Cincinnati’s lineup remains in flux, especially after the trade of Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suárez to the Mariners. More moves have not been ruled out but the club is short on power.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
Closer: Mark Melancon, RHP
The D-backs are still in the market for a third baseman, which would free up Rojas to move around and play multiple positions. They could also use another right-handed hitter or two to balance out the lineup a bit. The DH spot will likely be filled by multiple players, which would give manager Torey Lovullo the opportunity to get some players off their feet on certain days.
Closer: Craig Kimbrel, RHP
With Freeman now in the fold, the Dodgers will have one of the most potent offenses in the Majors. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will have to find a way to balance out the left- and right-handed options in the lineup, but with talent like they have, it won't be difficult. With AJ Pollock having been dealt to the White Sox, the DH spot can be a bit more flexible.
Closer: Camilo Doval, RHP
Evan Longoria and LaMonte Wade Jr. are expected to open the season on the injured list, but the Giants feel they have enough depth to withstand the losses early in the season. Wilmer Flores, Thairo Estrada and Steven Duggar are among the players who could have expanded roles in the interim.
Closer: Robert Suarez, RHP
Fernando Tatis Jr.'s injury shakes things up at the top of the Padres' lineup and, obviously, at shortstop. Kim is Tatis' most likely replacement. Even after adding Voit, the Padres are on the lookout for a bat to slot into the middle of their order, most likely a left fielder. They might be looking for a closer, too.
Closer: Daniel Bard, RHP
The signing of Bryant improves the power quotient, and swapping Raimel Tapia for Grichuk should add a few more home runs. Sam Hilliard could earn a share of the time in center and at DH, as well. Manager Bud Black, not totally familiar with longtime American League closer Alex Colomé after the shortened Spring Training, chose Bard (who has a higher strikeout rate) for the ninth.