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Opening Day lineup, rotation, closer predictions

March 12, 2020

Gerrit Cole will be in Yankees pinstripes. Anthony Rendon joins Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani in Anaheim. The Reds have added three new hitters to their lineup. Madison Bumgarner is no longer a Giant. There have been many seismic changes around baseball this offseason, and with pitchers and catchers getting

Gerrit Cole will be in Yankees pinstripes. Anthony Rendon joins Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani in Anaheim. The Reds have added three new hitters to their lineup. Madison Bumgarner is no longer a Giant.

There have been many seismic changes around baseball this offseason, and with pitchers and catchers getting their first workouts in this week, it's time to project what each club's lineup and starting rotation will look like in 2020.


1) Bo Bichette, SS
2) Cavan Biggio, 2B
3) Lourdes Gurriel Jr., LF
4) Teoscar Hernández, CF
5) Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B
6) Randal Grichuk, RF
7) Travis Shaw, 1B
8) Rowdy Tellez, DH
9) Danny Jansen, C

1) Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP
2) Tanner Roark, RHP
3) Chase Anderson, RHP
4) Matt Shoemaker, RHP
5) Shun Yamaguchi, RHP

Closer: Ken Giles, RHP

1) Austin Hays, CF
2) Anthony Santander, RF
3) Chris Davis, 1B
4) Renato Núñez, DH
5) Rio Ruiz, 3B
6) Pedro Severino, C
7) Hanser Alberto, 2B
8) Dwight Smith Jr, LF
9) José Iglesias, SS

1) John Means, LHP
2) Alex Cobb, RHP
3) Asher Wojciechowski, RHP
4) Wade LeBlanc, LHP
5) Kohl Stewart, RHP

Closer: Mychal Givens, RHP

1) Austin Meadows, RF
2) Yandy Díaz, 3B
3) Ji-Man Choi, 1B
4) Hunter Renfroe, LF
5) Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, DH
6) Brandon Lowe, 2B
7) Mike Zunino, C
8) Kevin Kiermaier, CF
9) Willy Adames, SS

1) Charlie Morton, RHP
2) Blake Snell, LHP
3) Tyler Glasnow, RHP
4) Ryan Yarbrough, LHP
5) Yonny Chirinos, RHP

Closer: Nick Anderson, RHP

1) Andrew Benintendi, LF
2) Xander Bogaerts, SS
3) Rafael Devers, 3B
4) J.D. Martinez, DH
5) Mitch Moreland, 1B
6) Christian Vázquez, C
7) Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
8) Kevin Pillar, RF
9) José Peraza, 2B

1) Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
2) Nathan Eovaldi, RHP
3) Martin Pérez, LHP
4) Ryan Weber, RHP

Closer: Brandon Workman, RHP

Outfielder Alex Verdugo is expected to start the season on the injured list with a stress fracture in his back originally sustained last season with the Dodgers. There’s no timetable yet for his return to action. Pillar will be his primary fill-in.

1) DJ LeMahieu, 2B
2) Brett Gardner, CF
3) Gleyber Torres, SS
4) Gary Sánchez, C
5) Luke Voit, 1B
6) Miguel Andújar, DH
7) Mike Tauchman, LF
8) Gio Urshela, 3B
9) Clint Frazier, RF

Gardner will assume regular duties in center field while the Yankees wait for Aaron Hicks to return from Tommy John surgery. The switch-hitting Hicks is expected to be ready for Major League games in June. Aaron Judge has missed time this spring with a stress fracture in his rib that may require surgery and has been ruled out for Opening Day. Giancarlo Stanton will also miss the opener but could return some time in April as he recovers from a Grade 1 strain in his right calf.

1) Gerrit Cole, RHP
2) Masahiro Tanaka, RHP
3) J.A. Happ, LHP
4) Jordan Montgomery, LHP
5) Michael King

Closer: Aroldis Chapman, RHP

Left-hander James Paxton will begin the season on the injured list after undergoing spinal surgery on Feb. 5. The 31-year-old could return to the Yankees' rotation in May or June. Luis Severino, who experienced soreness in his right forearm at the start of camp, will undergo Tommy John surgery.


1) Francisco Lindor, SS
2) Oscar Mercado, LF
3) Carlos Santana, 1B
4) Franmil Reyes, DH
5) José Ramírez, 3B
6) Jordan Luplow, RF
7) César Hernández, 2B
8) Roberto Pérez, C
9) Delino DeShields, CF

Outfielder Tyler Naquin (knee surgery) is hoping to be ready for Opening Day, but the Indians have been encouraging him to slow down his rehab process. If he’s not cleared by the start of the season, it’s likely he’ll be back on the field by the end of April. Once he’s back, he’ll likely be the everyday starter in right field.

1) Shane Bieber, RHP
2) Carlos Carrasco, RHP
3) Aaron Civale, RHP
4) Zach Plesac, RHP
5) Adam Plutko, RHP

Closer: Brad Hand, LHP

Mike Clevinger sustained a partial tear to his left meniscus during early spring workouts and had surgery on Feb. 14. The Indians estimated his return to "Major League game activity" in six to eight weeks, which could mean he'd be ready close to Opening Day if he hits the low end of that projection. Carrasco was diagnosed with mild right elbow inflammation, but flexibility due to the Indians' early off-days may enable him to make the Opening Day roster.

1) Whit Merrifield, CF
2) Adalberto Mondesi, SS
3) Hunter Dozier, RF
4) Jorge Soler, DH
5) Salvador Perez, C
6) Alex Gordon, LF
7) Maikel Franco, 3B
8) Ryan O'Hearn, 1B
9) Nicky Lopez, 2B

1) Brad Keller, RHP
2) Danny Duffy, LHP
3) Jakob Junis, RHP
4) Mike Montgomery, LHP
5) Brady Singer, RHP

Closer: Ian Kennedy, RHP

1) Niko Goodrum, SS
2) Victor Reyes, RF
3) Miguel Cabrera, DH
4) C.J. Cron, 1B
5) Jonathan Schoop, 2B
6) Christin Stewart, LF
7) Jeimer Candelario, 3B
8) Austin Romine, C
9) JaCoby Jones, CF

1) Matthew Boyd, LHP
2) Jordan Zimmermann, RHP
3) Ivan Nova, RHP
4) Spencer Turnbull, RHP
5) Daniel Norris, LHP

Closer: Joe Jiménez, RHP

1) Jorge Polanco, SS
2) Josh Donaldson, 3B
3) Nelson Cruz, DH
4) Max Kepler, RF
5) Miguel Sanó, 1B
6) Luis Arraez, 2B
7) Mitch Garver, C
8) Eddie Rosario, LF
9) Byron Buxton, CF

1) José Berríos, RHP
2) Jake Odorizzi, RHP
3) Kenta Maeda, RHP
4) Homer Bailey, RHP
5) Randy Dobnak, RHP

Closer: Taylor Rogers, LHP

Left-handed starter Rich Hill should begin the season on the 60-day injured list as part of his recovery from an offseason “primary repair” surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. He is expected back in June or July, and expressed optimism that he could return as soon as early June.

Michael Pineda will also miss the start of the season as he serves the remaining 39 games of his 60-game suspension for a violation of MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment. Program. The right-handed starter is eligible to return in mid-May.

1) Leury García, 2B
2) Yoán Moncada, 3B
3) José Abreu, 1B
4) Eloy Jiménez, LF
5) Yasmani Grandal, C
6) Edwin Encarnación, DH
7) Tim Anderson, SS
8) Nomar Mazara, RF
9) Luis Robert, CF

1) Lucas Giolito, RHP
2) Dallas Keuchel, LHP
3) Dylan Cease, RHP
4) Gio González, LHP
5) Reynaldo López, RHP

Closer: Alex Colomé, RHP

Michael Kopech had Tommy John surgery in September 2018, and while he will be operating at full strength during Spring Training, the White Sox will not rush back the hard-throwing right-hander. The best guess for Kopech, who has just four career Major League starts on his resume, would be the end of April or early May.

Carlos Rodón is dealing with his own Tommy John recovery after undergoing the same surgery last May. Look for the lefty starter some time after the All-Star break.

Zack Burdi, thought of by many as the team’s closer of the future when selected 26th overall in the 2016 Draft, is fully healthy again after dealing with Tommy John surgery and right knee surgery. The right-hander should be able to help the White Sox bullpen at some point this season.


1) David Fletcher, 2B
2) Mike Trout, CF
3) Shohei Ohtani, DH
4) Anthony Rendon, 3B
5) Justin Upton, LF
6) Tommy La Stella, 1B
7) Andrelton Simmons, SS
8) Jason Castro, C
9) Brian Goodwin, RF

1) Julio Teheran, RHP
2) Andrew Heaney, LHP
3) Dylan Bundy, RHP
4) Griffin Canning, RHP
5) Matt Andriese, RHP

Closer: Hansel Robles, RHP

Shohei Ohtani is expected to pitch once a week but will not be ready to pitch at the start of the season after undergoing both Tommy John surgery and left knee surgery. He will join the rotation in mid-May.

1) George Springer, CF
2) Alex Bregman, 3B
3) José Altuve, 2B
4) Carlos Correa, SS
5) Yordan Alvarez, DH
6) Yuli Gurriel, 1B
7) Michael Brantley, LF
8) Josh Reddick, RF
9) Martín Maldonado, C

1) Justin Verlander, RHP
2) Zack Greinke, RHP
3) Lance McCullers Jr., RHP
4) Jose Urquidy, RHP
5) Brad Peacock, RHP

Closer: Roberto Osuna, RHP

1) Marcus Semien, SS
2) Matt Chapman, 3B
3) Matt Olson, 1B
4) Khris Davis, DH
5) Ramón Laureano, CF
6) Mark Canha, LF
7) Stephen Piscotty, RF
8) Sean Murphy, C
9) Franklin Barreto, 2B

1) Mike Fiers, RHP
2) Sean Manaea, LHP
3) Frankie Montas, RHP
4) Jesus Luzardo, LHP
5) A.J. Puk, LHP

Closer: Liam Hendriks, RHP

1) Shed Long Jr., 2B
2) Kyle Lewis, LF
3) Kyle Seager, 3B
4) Daniel Vogelbach, DH
5) Tom Murphy, C
6) J.P. Crawford, SS
7) Evan White, 1B
8) Jake Fraley, RF
9) Mallex Smith, CF

Mitch Haniger would start in right field, but he’s sidelined by sports hernia surgery. His return date is uncertain.

1) Marco Gonzales, LHP
2) Yusei Kikuchi, LHP
3) Justus Sheffield, LHP
4) Kendall Graveman, RHP
5) Taijuan Walker, RHP

Closer: Matt Magill, RHP

1) Shin-Soo Choo, DH
2) Elvis Andrus, SS
3) Danny Santana, CF
4) Joey Gallo, RF
5) Todd Frazier, 3B
6) Willie Calhoun, LF
7) Rougned Odor, 2B
8) Ronald Guzmán, 1B
9) Robinson Chirinos, C

1) Mike Minor, LHP
2) Lance Lynn, RHP
3) Corey Kluber, RHP
4) Kyle Gibson, RHP
5) Jordan Lyles, RHP

Closer: José Leclerc


1) Ronald Acuña Jr., RF
2) Ozzie Albies, 2B
3) Freddie Freeman, 1B
4) Marcell Ozuna, LF
5) Travis d'Arnaud, C
6) Dansby Swanson, SS
7) Johan Camargo/Austin Riley, 3B
8) Ender Inciarte, CF

1) Mike Soroka, RHP
2) Mike Foltynewicz, RHP
3) Max Fried, LHP
4) Sean Newcomb, LHP
5) Kyle Wright, RHP

Closer: Mark Melancon, RHP

Free-agent signee Cole Hamels is expected to miss the start of the season after informing the team of discomfort in his left shoulder just before the start of camp. He’ll be re-evaluated in early March, but the earliest he’s expected to be ready to take the mound is not until mid-to-late April.

1) Jonathan Villar, 3B
2) Brian Anderson, RF
3) Corey Dickerson, LF
4) Jesús Aguilar, 1B
5) Jorge Alfaro, C
6) Isan Díaz, 2B
7) Miguel Rojas, SS
8) Lewis Brinson, CF

1) Sandy Alcantara, RHP
2) Caleb Smith, LHP
3) Pablo López, RHP
4) Jordan Yamamoto, RHP
5) Elieser Hernandez, RHP

Closer: Brandon Kintzler, RHP

1) Jeff McNeil, 3B
2) Pete Alonso, 1B
3) Michael Conforto, RF
4) J.D. Davis, LF
5) Robinson Canó, 2B
6) Wilson Ramos, C
7) Brandon Nimmo, CF
8) Amed Rosario, SS

Yoenis Céspedes could start in left field, but only if he proves healthy enough to avoid the injured list to start the season. The Mets won’t have a great gauge on that until the Grapefruit League schedule begins.

1) Jacob deGrom, RHP
2) Noah Syndergaard, RHP
3) Marcus Stroman, RHP
4) Rick Porcello, RHP
5) Steven Matz, LHP

Closer: Edwin Díaz, RHP

1) Trea Turner, SS
2) Adam Eaton, RF
3) Juan Soto, LF
4) Carter Kieboom or Asdrúbal Cabrera, 3B
5) Starlin Castro or Howie Kendrick, 2B
6) Eric Thames, 1B
7) Kurt Suzuki, C
8) Victor Robles, CF

1) Max Scherzer, RHP
2) Stephen Strasburg, RHP
3) Patrick Corbin, LHP
4) Aníbal Sánchez, RHP
5) Joe Ross, RHP

Closer: Sean Doolittle, LHP

1) Andrew McCutchen, CF
2) J.T. Realmuto, C
3) Bryce Harper, RF
4) Rhys Hoskins, 1B
5) Didi Gregorius, SS
6) Jean Segura, 3B
7) Scott Kingery, 2B
8) Adam Haseley, CF

1) Aaron Nola, RHP
2) Zack Wheeler, RHP
3) Jake Arrieta, RHP
4) Zach Eflin, RHP
5) Vince Velasquez, RHP

Closer: Héctor Neris, RHP


1) Lorenzo Cain, CF
2) Christian Yelich, RF
3) Keston Hiura, 2B
4) Justin Smoak/Ryan Braun, 1B
5) Avisaíl García, LF
6) Omar Narváez, C
7) Eric Sogard/ Jedd Gyorko, 3B
8) Orlando Arcia, SS

Luis Urías was supposed to compete with Arcia for starting-shortstop duties before undergoing surgery in late January for a fractured hamate bone in his left hand. The procedure is expected to sideline Urías for eight weeks, meaning he is likely to miss the start of the regular season.

1) Brandon Woodruff, RHP
2) Adrian Houser, RHP
3) Eric Lauer, LHP
4) Brett Anderson, LHP
5) Josh Lindblom, RHP

Closer: Josh Hader, LHP

Corey Knebel figures to play a prominent role in the bullpen once he returns from Tommy John surgery. Recent comebacks have spanned about 13 months, meaning Knebel should be an option for the Brewers sometime in May.

1) Dexter Fowler, RF
2) Kolten Wong, 2B
3) Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
4) Paul DeJong, SS
5) Yadier Molina, C
6) Matt Carpenter, 3B
7) Lane Thomas, LF
8) Harrison Bader, CF

1) Jack Flaherty, RHP
2) Dakota Hudson, RHP
3) Adam Wainwright, RHP
4) Carlos Martínez, RHP 5) Kwang-Hyun Kim, LHP

Closer: LHP Andrew Miller or RHP Giovanny Gallegos

Miles Mikolas was pegged for a rotation spot, but he'll miss the start of the season with a sore right forearm.

1) Nico Hoerner, 2B
2) Kris Bryant, 3B
3) Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4) Javier Báez, SS
5) Kyle Schwarber, LF
6) Willson Contreras, C
7) Jason Heyward, RF
8) Ian Happ, CF

1) Jon Lester, LHP
2) Yu Darvish, RHP
3) Kyle Hendricks, RHP
4) José Quintana, LHP
5) Tyler Chatwood, RHP

Closer: Craig Kimbrel, RHP

1) Kevin Newman, SS
2) Adam Frazier, 2B
3) Bryan Reynolds, LF
4) Josh Bell, 1B
5) Gregory Polanco, RF
6) Colin Moran, 3B
7) Jacob Stallings, C
8) Jarrod Dyson, CF

1) Joe Musgrove, RHP
2) Chris Archer, RHP
3) Trevor Williams, RHP
4) Mitch Keller, RHP
5) Steven Brault, LHP

Closer: Keone Kela, RHP

Right-handed starter Jameson Taillon (Tommy John surgery) is out until 2021.

1) Shogo Akiyama, CF
2) Joey Votto, 1B
3) Nick Castellanos, RF
4) Mike Moustakas, 3B
5) Jesse Winker, LF
6) Nick Senzel, 2B
7) Tucker Barnhart, C
8) Freddy Galvis, SS

Third baseman Eugenio Suárez (right shoulder surgery) is expected back soon after Opening Day.

1) Luis Castillo, RHP
2) Sonny Gray, RHP
3) Trevor Bauer, RHP
4) Wade Miley, LHP
5) Anthony DeSclafani, RHP

Closer: Raisel Iglesias, RHP


1) Ketel Marte, 2B
2) Starling Marte, CF
3) Eduardo Escobar, 3B
4) David Peralta, LF
5) Christian Walker, 1B
6) Kole Calhoun, RF
7) Nick Ahmed, SS
8) Carson Kelly, C

1) Madison Bumgarner, LHP
2) Robbie Ray, LHP
3) Luke Weaver, RHP
4) Mike Leake, RHP
5) Zac Gallen, RHP

Closer: Archie Bradley, RHP

1) Mookie Betts, RF
2) Max Muncy, 1B
3) Justin Turner, 3B
4) Cody Bellinger, CF
5) A.J. Pollock, LF
6) Corey Seager, SS
7) Will Smith, C
8) Gavin Lux, 2B

1) Walker Buehler, RHP
2) Clayton Kershaw, LHP
3) David Price, LHP
4) Julio Urías, LHP
5) Alex Wood, LHP

Closer: Kenley Jansen, RHP

1) Mike Yastrzemski, RF
2) Brandon Belt, 1B
3) Evan Longoria, 3B
4) Alex Dickerson, LF
5) Buster Posey, C
6) Brandon Crawford, SS
7) Mauricio Dubón, 2B
8) Steven Duggar, CF

1) Johnny Cueto, RHP
2) Jeff Samardzija, RHP
3) Kevin Gausman, RHP
4) Drew Smyly, LHP
5) Tyler Beede, RHP

Closer: Tony Watson, LHP

1) Fernando Tatis Jr., SS
2) Tommy Pham, LF
3) Eric Hosmer, 1B
4) Manny Machado, 3B
5) Wil Myers, RF
6) Trent Grisham, CF
7) Jurickson Profar, 2B
8) Francisco Mejía, C

1) Chris Paddack, RHP
2) Dinelson Lamet, RHP
3) Garrett Richards, RHP
4) Zach Davies, RHP
5) Joey Lucchesi, LHP

Closer: Kirby Yates, RHP

1) Charlie Blackmon, CF
2) Trevor Story, SS
3) David Dahl, RF
4) Nolan Arenado, 3B
5) Daniel Murphy, 1B
6) Ryan McMahon, 2B
7) Ian Desmond, LF
8) Tony Wolters, C

1) Jon Gray, RHP
2) German Márquez, RHP
3) Kyle Freeland, LHP
4) Antonio Senzatela, RHP
5) Jeff Hoffman, RHP/ Chi Chi González, RHP

Closer: Wade Davis, RHP