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MLB Releases ‘Projected’ Opening Day Lineups

Improve your fantasy team simply by looking at who is batting where on Opening Day.

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The season kicks off Sunday night between the Houston Astros (new to the American League) and Texas Rangers. Everyone else opens their doors to the new season Monday. MLB.com released 'projected' Opening Day rosters Saturday. Let's take a look to see if any of this info can help your fantasy team right away.

American League

Baltimore Orioles
1. RF: Nick Markakis
2. DH: Nolan Reimold
3. CF: Adam Jones
4. C: Matt Wieters
5. 1B: Chris Davis
6. SS: J.J. Hardy
7. LF: Nate McLouth
8. 3B: Manny Machado
9. 2B: Brian Roberts
SP: Jason Hammel

Hammel gets the opening day nod, which means the Orioles still trust him. Maybe last year wasn't a fluke?

Boston Red Sox
1. CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
2. RF: Shane Victorino
3. 2B: Dustin Pedroia
4. 1B: Mike Napoli
5. 3B: Will Middlebrooks
6. DH: Jonny Gomes
7. C: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
8. LF: Jackie Bradley
9. SS: Jose Iglesias
SP: Jon Lester

Everyone keeps raving about Jackie Bradley, and his Spring numbers back it all up. If he starts hot, he could battle it out for Rookie of the Year. I also love seeing Jacoby at the top of the order. If he's healthy, he's an MVP contender.

Chicago White Sox
1. CF: Alejandro De Aza
2. 3B: Jeff Keppinger
3. RF: Alex Rios
4. DH: Adam Dunn
5. 1B: Paul Konerko
6. LF: Dayan Viciedo
7. SS: Alexei Ramirez
8. C: Tyler Flowers
9. 2B: Gordon Beckham
SP: Chris Sale

Chris Sale is a Cy Young contender. Paul Konerko is an All-Star if healthy, and all signs look good.

Cleveland Indians
1. CF: Michael Bourn
2. SS: Asdrubal Cabrera
3. 2B: Jason Kipnis
4. 1B: Nick Swisher
5. LF: Michael Brantley
6. C: Carlos Santana
7. DH: Mark Reynolds
8. 3B: Lonnie Chisenhall
9. RF: Drew Stubbs
SP: Justin Masterson

Kipnis hitting third? He's going to crush it.

Detroit Tigers
1. CF: Austin Jackson
2. RF: Torii Hunter
3. 3B: Miguel Cabrera
4. 1B: Prince Fielder
5. DH: Victor Martinez
6. LF: Andy Dirks
7. SS: Jhonny Peralta
8. C: Alex Avila
9. 2B: Omar Infante
SP: Justin Verlander

Houston Astros
1. 2B: Jose Altuve
2. 1B: Brett Wallace
3. LF: Chris Carter
4. DH: Carlos Pena
5. CF: Justin Maxwell
6. C: Jason Castro
7. 3B: Matt Dominguez
8. RF: Rick Ankiel
9. SS: Ronny Cedeno
SP: Bud Norris

Don't underestimate Carter's power in the three hole, especially with a short Houston fence. Rick Ankiel is interesting to me.

Kansas City Royals
1. LF: Alex Gordon
2. SS: Alcides Escobar
3. DH: Billy Butler
4. 3B: Mike Moustakas
5. C: Salvador Perez
6. 1B: Eric Hosmer
7. CF: Lorenzo Cain
8. RF: Jeff Francoeur
9. 2B: Chris Getz
SP: James Shields

Sal Perez hitting fifth? He's a future All-Star, maybe future MVP. Hitting him ahead of Eric Hosmer might mean the Royals think his rise might come sooner than we all expect.

Los Angeles Angels
1. CF: Mike Trout
2. SS: Erick Aybar
3. 1B: Albert Pujols
4. RF: Josh Hamilton
5. LF: Mark Trumbo
6. 2B: Howard Kendrick
7. 3B: Alberto Callaspo
8. C: Chris Iannetta
9. SP: Jered Weaver

Minnesota Twins
1. CF: Aaron Hicks
2. 2B: Brian Dozier
3. C: Joe Mauer
4. LF: Josh Willingham
5. 1B: Justin Morneau
6. DH: Ryan Doumit
7. RF: Chris Parmelee
8. 3B: Trevor Plouffe
9. SS: Pedro Florimon
SP: Vance Worley

Hicks leading off proves the Twins really really like his OBP potential along with his speed. Interesting to see Vance Worley get the Opening Day nod. Either he's looking really good coming off injury or they have no one else. I'm leaning towards the first sentiment.

New York Yankees
1. CF: Brett Gardner
2. RF: Ichiro Suzuki
3. 2B: Robinson Cano
4. 1B: Kevin Youkilis
5. DH: Ben Francisco
6. LF: Vernon Wells
7. SS: Eduardo Nunez
8. 3B: Jayson Nix
9. C: Chris Stewart
SP: CC Sabathia

Banged up in the Bronx when Vernon Wells bats sixth.

Oakland Atletics
1. CF: Coco Crisp
2. SS: Jed Lowrie
3. RF: Josh Reddick
4. LF: Yoenis Cespedes
5. 1B: Brandon Moss
6. DH: Seth Smith
7. 3B: Josh Donaldson
8. C: John Jaso
9. 2B: Eric Sogard
SP: Brett Anderson

Is Brandon Moss for real? No one knows. The A's will test him in the fifth spot. Cespedes sure is for real though — that's a guarantee.

Seattle Mariners
1. CF: Franklin Gutierrez
2. 3B: Kyle Seager
3. DH Kendrys Morales
4. LF: Michael Morse
5. 1B: Justin Smoak
6. C: Jesus Montero
7. RF: Michael Saunders
8. 2B: Dustin Ackley
9. SS: Brendan Ryan
SP: Felix Hernandez

Kendrys Morales is finally healthy and the Mariners are all in, batting him third. The fences are moved in at Safeco, so you should be all-in too.

Tampa Bay Rays
1. CF: Desmond Jennings
2. LF: Matt Joyce
3. 3B: Evan Longoria
4. RF: Ben Zobrist
5. DH: Luke Scott
6. SS: Yunel Escobar
7. 1B: James Loney
8. C: Jose Molina
9. 2B: Kelly Johnson
SP: David Price

Texas Rangers
1. 2B: Ian Kinsler
2. SS: Elvis Andrus
3. DH: Lance Berkman
4. 3B: Adrian Beltre
5. RF: Nelson Cruz
6. LF: David Murphy
7. C: A.J. Pierzynski
8. 1B: Mitch Moreland
9. CF: Leonys Martin
SP: Matt Harrison

Berkman batting third means the Rangers like him, if he can stay off the DL. Adjusting to the DH might take a toll on him mentally though. Martin batting ninth is interesting.

Toronto Blue Jays
1. SS: Jose Reyes
2. LF: Melky Cabrera
3. RF: Jose Bautista
4. 1B: Edwin Encarnacion
5. DH: Adam Lind
6. C: J.P. Arencibia
7. CF: Colby Rasmus
8. 2B: Emilio Bonifacio
9. 3B: Maicer Izturis
SP: R.A. Dickey

National League

Arizona Diamondbacks
1. CF: Gerardo Parra
2. 3B: Martin Prado
3. 2B: Aaron Hill
4. C: Miguel Montero
5. LF: Jason Kubel
6. 1B: Paul Goldschmidt
7. RF: A.J. Pollock
8. SS: Cliff Pennington
9. SP: Ian Kennedy

Pollock might be an interesting find this year. Keep an eye on him.

Atlanta Braves
1. SS: Andrelton Simmons
2. RF: Jason Heyward
3. LF: Justin Upton
4. 1B: Freddie Freeman
5. CF: B.J. Upton
6. 2B: Dan Uggla
7. 3B: Juan Francisco
8. C: Gerald Laird
9. SP: Tim Hudson

Huddy still has a lot left in the tank.

Chicago Cubs
1. CF: David DeJesus
2. SS: Starlin Castro
3. 1B: Anthony Rizzo
4. LF: Alfonso Soriano
5. RF: Nate Schierholtz
6. C: Welington Castillo
7. 3B: Luis Valbuena
8. 2B: Darwin Barney
9. SP: Jeff Samardzija

Samardzija could be due for a huge year and the Cubs know it.

Cincinnati Reds
1. CF: Shin-Soo Choo
2. 2B: Brandon Phillips
3. 1B: Joey Votto
4. LF: Ryan Ludwick
5. RF: Jay Bruce
6. 3B: Todd Frazier
7. SS: Zack Cozart
8. C: Ryan Hanigan
9. SP: Johnny Cueto

Colorado Rockies
1. CF: Dexter Fowler
2. 2B: Josh Rutledge
3. LF: Carlos Gonzalez
4. SS: Troy Tulowitzki
5. RF: Michael Cuddyer
6. 1B: Todd Helton
7. C: Wilin Rosario
8. 3B: Chris Nelson
9. SP: Jhoulys Chacin

Fowler leading off could be a great spot for everyone. Surprised they haven't given up on Helton yet.

Los Angeles Dodgers
1. LF: Carl Crawford
2. 2B: Mark Ellis
3. CF: Matt Kemp
4. 1B: Adrian Gonzalez
5. RF: Andre Ethier
6. SS: Luis Cruz
7. 3B: Jerry Hairston
8. C: A.J. Ellis
9. SP: Clayton Kershaw

Miami Marlins
1. LF: Juan Pierre
2. 2B: Donovan Solano
3. RF: Giancarlo Stanton
4. 3B: Placido Polanco
5. C: Rob Brantly
6. CF: Justin Ruggiano
7. 1B: Casey Kotchman
8. SS: Adeiny Hechavarria
9. SP: Ricky Nolasco

Polanco batting fourth? Are the Marlins really that bad?

Milwaukee Brewers
1. RF: Norichika Aoki
2. 2B: Rickie Weeks
3. LF: Ryan Braun
4. 3B: Aramis Ramirez
5. C: Jonathan Lucroy
6. 1B: Alex Gonzalez
7. CF: Carlos Gomez
8. SS: Jean Segura
9. SP: Yovani Gallardo

Lucroy is a legit .300 hitter with some power. Segura might surprise a lot of people.

New York Mets
1. CF: Jordany Valdespin
2. 2B: Daniel Murphy
3. 3B: David Wright
4. 1B: Ike Davis
5. RF: Marlon Byrd
6. LF: Lucas Duda
7. C: John Buck
8. SS: Ruben Tejada
9. SP: Jon Niese

Marlon Byrd batting fifth? Wait, Byrd actually made a roster?…hmm…

Philadelphia Phillies
1. SS: Jimmy Rollins
2. CF: Ben Revere
3. 2B: Chase Utley
4. 1B: Ryan Howard
5. 3B: Michael Young
6. RF: Domonic Brown
7. LF: Laynce Nix
8. C: Erik Kratz
9. SP: Cole Hamels

Pittsburgh Pirates
1. LF: Starling Marte
2. C: Russell Martin
3. CF: Andrew McCutchen
4. 3B: Pedro Alvarez
5. 2B: Neil Walker
6. 1B: Gaby Sanchez
7. RF: Travis Snider
8. SS: Clint Barmes
9. SP: A.J. Burnett

Marte is a huge sleeper batting leadoff here.

San Diego Padres
1. RF: Chris Denorfia
2. SS: Everth Cabrera
3. LF: Carlos Quentin
4. 1B: Yonder Alonso
5. 2B: Jedd Gyorko
6. C: Nick Hundley
7. 3B: Cody Ransom
8. CF: Cameron Maybin
9. SP: Edinson Volquez

Gyorko must be impressive if they're batting the rookie fifth on Opening Day.

San Francisco Giants
1. CF: Angel Pagan
2. 2B: Marco Scutaro
3. 3B: Pablo Sandoval
4. C: Buster Posey
5. RF: Hunter Pence
6. 1B: Brandon Belt
7. LF: Andres Torres
8. SS: Brandon Crawford
9. SP: Matt Cain

St. Louis Cardinals
1. CF: Jon Jay
2. RF: Carlos Beltran
3. LF: Matt Holliday
4. 1B: Allen Craig
5. C: Yadier Molina
6. 3B: Matt Carpenter
7. 2B: Daniel Descalso
8. SS: Pete Kozma
9. SP: Adam Wainwright

Matt Carpenter will be an All-Star if they need a 'utility' man like Omar Infante a couple years ago.

Washington Nationals
1. CF: Denard Span
2. RF: Jayson Werth
3. LF: Bryce Harper
4. 3B: Ryan Zimmerman
5. 1B: Adam LaRoche
6. SS: Ian Desmond
7. 2B: Danny Espinosa
8. C: Wilson Ramos
9. SP: Stephen Strasburg

Harper batting third as a 20-year-old. Love it.

 

Of course these are all just projections, but trust me, you can tell a lot on how a team feels about a player based on where they bat them in the lineup or where they have their hurler in the rotation. Keep a close eye on lineups throughout the year and it can only improve your fantasy team.

Josh Helmuth is the editor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JHelmuth or subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports for the latest in sports on your newsfeed.