Opening Day is around the corner and most job battles have been settled, but a few spots remain up for grabs. This week we'll take a look at who has won jobs, who is still in the mix, and who were some of the final roster cuts that are worth your attention as you prepare for your fantasy drafts or begin to scour the waiver wire for injury replacements and roster upgrades. Although they both are currently free agents, don’t forget about drafting Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales this weekend. They will eventually sign and should have value in most leagues. Please make use of the comments section below if you have questions about any situations that were not covered here.
Shortstop: General manager Kevin Towers said recently the team has still not decided between Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings for the starting job. Owings has had the better numbers this spring, but Gregorius is the superior defender. There have been rumors that Gregorius could be traded, which may be a sign the Diamondbacks are leaning towards going with Owings. He’s the better gamble in NL-only leagues. Cliff Pennington will back up whoever becomes the starter.
Center Field: A.J. Pollock is the starting center fielder in Arizona and will get an opportunity to hit leadoff for the club this year. If he struggles, the team has the option of moving Gerardo Parra to center and using Cody Ross, when healthy, in right.
Closer: Manager Kirk Gibson named Addison Reed his closer. Reed is a solid option in fantasy leagues, but he carries some risk. If he struggles, even for a short period of time, the Diamondbacks could turn to J.J. Putz, David Hernandez, or Brad Ziegler. All three have past experience working the ninth.
Fifth Starter: Randall Delgado, will open the year in the Arizona rotation with Patrick Corbin out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Bronson Arroyo is currently on track to make his first start of the season, but if he suffers a setback, Archie Bradley or Josh Collmenter could be asked to fill in. Bradley was in camp until the very end, and should see time in the majors this season. He’ll be worth taking a shot on in mixed leagues when he gets his chance.
Starting Rotation: Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy are both lost for the year after having Tommy John surgery, and Mike Minor will be sidelined into mid-April with shoulder inflammation. Alex Wood, Aaron Harang and either David Hale or Gus Schlosser will open the year in starting roles. Wood is worth grabbing in mixed leagues as he could return solid value if he sticks in the rotation all year. Gavin Floyd is also a name to remember here. He is expected to be ready to pitch in late-April or early-May, and could slide into the rotation at that point. J.R. Graham is likely next up for a rotation spot if the Braves need a starter before Floyd is ready.
Left Field/DH: David Lough will open the year as the starter in left, but is not expected to see much time against left-handed pitchers. Nolan Reimold may eventually become Lough’s platoon partner, but he will begin 2014 on the disabled list. Steven Pearce and Delmon Young look like they will split the at-bats as the right-handed platoon with Lough. Henry Urrutia and Francisco Peguero will open the year in the minors, but they could see some time in the Baltimore outfield later this year.
Second Base: Ryan Flaherty will temporarily start at third base with Manny Machado sidelined for at least the early part of April. Jonathan Schoop looks like he has done enough this spring to earn the starting job at second, but an official announcement has not yet been made. The Orioles could also turn to Jemile Weeks or Steve Lombardozzi at second if they think Schoop needs more time in the minors. Once Machado returns, the O’s will have to make another decision regarding their starter at second.
Fifth Starter: Bud Norris is projected to open the year in the rotation, but the Orioles have not made an official announcement yet. Kevin Gausman and Brian Matusz remain in the mix for the final spot in the rotation. Gausman has the most upside out of this group, but he hasn't even surpassed 100 career innings in the minors yet. The O's may want to give him more time to develop. Matusz has had some success in the bullpen, and would head back there if he does not win the starting job. Suk-Min Yoon, who came over from Korea this year, will open the year in the minors, but could be an option later this season.
Closer: While no official announcement has been made, it is assumed that Tommy Hunter will open the year as the Orioles’ closer. His skill set is mediocre which makes this a pen where the setup relievers need to be owned in deeper leagues due to the potential for future saves. Any of the three starting candidates mentioned above would be the top options to take over for Hunter if they start the year in the bullpen. Darren O'Day and Ryan Webb are worth considering, but Evan Meek could be a bit of a sleeper here if his strong spring carries over into the regular season. He was once a very good reliever for the Pirates before shoulder problems derailed him.
Boston Red Sox
Center Field: It appears that the Red Sox are going to give Grady Sizemore a shot at the starting job in center. It would be unwise to invest much in Sizemore given his lengthy injury history. Don't be surprised if Jackie Bradley ends up logging a significant amount of time in center for the Red Sox this season.
Fifth Starter: Felix Doubront will open the year in the Boston rotation. Chris Capuano, Brandon Workman, Rubby de la Rosa and Allen Webster will all be under consideration when the Sox need an injury replacement or spot starter this year.
Third Base: Luis Valbuena and Mike Olt will share time at third base at the start of the regular season according to manager Rick Renteria. Olt hit .273 with five home runs this spring and may finally be ready to deliver on his promise. He is a nice upside pick in NL-only leagues. Prospect Kris Bryant should be on the radar in NL-only leagues as well. He is developing fast and could be starting at third for the Cubs by midseason if the team doesn't decide to shift him to the outfield.
Left/Center Field: Junior Lake should see the majority of the playing time in left field this season while Ryan Sweeney and Justin Ruggiano will platoon in center. Ryan Kalish will open the year in a reserve role, but he could work his way into more at-bats as the season goes on. He is a deep sleeper in NL-only leagues, but his lengthy injury history makes him a risk as well.
Fifth Starter: The Cubs have yet to announce if Carlos Villanueva or Chris Rusin will open the year as the team’s fifth starter until Jake Arrieta is ready to return. Neither are great gambles in NL-only leagues. James McDonald or Tsuyoshi Wada could be options to join the Cubs’ rotation later this year.
Closer: Jose Veras will open the year as the team's closer. Pedro Strop is likely next in line for saves, but Arodys Vizcaino, who will open the year in the minors, might be the better pitcher to stash in NL-only leagues. Kyuji Fujikawa could also be an option later this summer when he returns from Tommy John surgery.
Chicago White Sox
Catcher: Tyler Flowers will open the year as the starting catcher for the White Sox. Rule 5 pick Adrian Nieto will back him up. Flowers has the potential to provide some home runs in AL-only leagues, but he is a batting average liability. Josh Phegley will open the year in the minors, and will be recalled if Flowers or Nieto hits the disabled list this year.
Second Base: Gordon Beckham will begin the season on the disabled list due to an oblique strain. Marcus Semien will start at second while Beckham is out. Semien is considered one of Chicago’s better prospects, and is worth a look in AL-only leagues. He could chip in with a handful of steals in April. He will be backed up by Leury Garcia.
Third Base: Conor Gillaspie will open the year as the starter at third for the White Sox. Jeff Keppinger will begin the year on the disabled list, but should cut into Gillaspie’s playing time when he is ready to return. Matt Davidson will open the year at Triple-A, and could be up by midseason if gets off to a hot start in the minors.
Left Field: Adam Eaton will to open the regular season with the starting job in center, pushing last year's starter Alejandro De Aza over to left to split time with Dayan Viciedo. The White Sox may look to trade one of the two as they are both worthy of starting jobs. The left-handed hitting De Aza would be positioned for more playing time in a platoon arrangement, as Viciedo would most likely end up handling the starts against righties.
Fifth Starter: Felipe Paulino secured the last spot in the rotation, and is a nice target late in AL-only drafts. Dylan Axelrod, Andre Rienzo and Erik Surkamp are candidates to see time in the rotation later this year.
Closer: Manager Robin Ventura said he will go with a closer committee at the start of the regular season. Nate Jones has been very good this spring, and still looks like the guy that should eventually come away with the job. That said, Matt Lindstrom, Ronald Belisario, Javy Guerra and Daniel Webb are all skilled enough to succeed in the ninth, so this is a situation to monitor.
Center Field: Billy Hamilton will open the year in center for the Reds. He will be a major asset in stolen bases and runs scored, provided he hits enough to stay in the lineup.
Fifth Starter: Tony Cingrani will open the year as the Reds' fifth starter, but Mat Latos will miss at least one start while he works his way back from injuries. Alfredo Simon will open the year in the rotation, but could end up in the pen after just one start if Latos returns quickly.
Closer: Manager Bryan Price plans to go with a closing committee while Aroldis Chapman is sidelined for the next six-to-eight weeks. J.J. Hoover and Sam LeCure look like the top options early on, but Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall will also enter the mix when they are able to return from the disabled list. Manny Parra might be good for a save or two as well, if the Reds need to deploy him in the ninth against a tough lefty or two.
Third Base: Carlos Santana will open the regular season as the Indians’ third baseman and backup catcher. Lonnie Chisenhall should see the occasional start at third, and will also be in the mix for at-bats from the DH spot.
Center Field: Michael Bourn will open the year on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, but should be back in early April. Nyjer Morgan is expected to see most of the playing time in center until Bourn returns. He’ll be worth owning in AL-only leagues due to his stolen base potential.
Fifth Starter: Carlos Carrasco beat out Josh Tomlin for the final spot in the Cleveland rotation. Carrasco is a one-time prospect, who has yet to deliver when given an opportunity. He is worth gambling on in AL-only leagues given his upside. Tomlin will open the year in the minors, but should be the first pitcher recalled when the Indians need a starter. Trevor Bauer will also start the year in the minors, and could make an impact later this season if he makes some improvements with his command. Veteran Shawn Marcum gives the Indians another potential option for their rotation once healthy.
Second Base: D.J. LeMahieu will open the year as the starting second baseman for the Rockies. Charlie Culberson will back him up. He’s a decent end-game option in deeper NL-only leagues as he has some pop and can swipe a few bags. Josh Rutledge will open the year in the minors, but should be back up later this season. He was highly touted entering last season, and could still deliver on that promise at some point.
Center Field: The Rockies have yet to make a formal announcement, but based on spring stats they will likely open the year with a platoon of Corey Dickerson and Drew Stubbs in center. Brandon Barnes and Charlie Blackmon remain in the mix.
Fifth Starter: The injury to Jhoulys Chacin has created two openings in the Rockies' rotation. Juan Nicasio will fill one of the spots and Jordan Lyles or Franklin Morales will take the other. Morales has put up better stats than Lyles this spring which may give him the edge for the final spot. He has solid strikeout potential, but walks have been a major problem for him throughout his career. Nicasio once possessed solid upside as a starter, but he saw his velocity dip last season which has dimmed his outlook moving forward.
Closer: LaTroy Hawkins is expected to be the Rockies' primary closer, but the team has not made an official announcement. Manager Walt Weiss said earlier this spring that Rex Brothers could also see some save chances depending on matchups. Brothers has the more impressive skill set and should eventually overtake Hawkins for the closing gig this season. He should be owned in all NL-only leagues, and most mixed formats as a result.
Third Base: Nick Castellanos will open the season as the Tigers’ starting third baseman. He’s not going to be a great option in mixed leagues due to his limited power upside, but he will have plenty of value in AL-only leagues.
Shortstop: Jose Iglesias will likely miss all of the 2014 season with stress fractures in both of his legs. The Tigers will go with veteran Alex Gonzalez at short, but Andrew Romine should also see some playing time at the position. Hernan Perez will open the year in the minors, and would be an option to fill in if either Gonzalez or Romine were to suffer an injury.
Left Field: Andy Dirks will likely be sidelined until June while he recovers from back surgery. Rajai Davis will see semi-regular playing time while Dirks is out. He must be owned in mixed leagues due to his stolen-base potential. Don Kelly and Tyler Collins will also see some playing time in left while Dirks is sidelined. They may have some utility in deep AL-only leagues. J.D. Martinez could also work himself into the mix if he gets off to a good start at Triple-A.
First Base: Chris Carter should see the majority of his playing time as the DH, leaving Jesus Guzman and Marc Krauss to platoon at first. Japhet Amador may be the first player recalled from the minors if the Astros need a 1B/DH bat. Top prospect Jonathan Singleton could join the Astros later this season to take over the starting job, and he should be owned at least in AL-only leagues.
Corner Outfield: Robbie Grossman will start in left and hit second for the Astros giving him some decent value in AL-only leagues. L.J. Hoes is expected to be the starter in right, but he may lose some playing time to Marc Krauss and Alex Presley. Prospect George Springer could be an option to take over one of the corner spots after the Super Two deadline passes.
Starting Rotation: Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer, Dallas Keuchel and Lucas Harrell have all won jobs in the Houston starting rotation. Cosart is the upside play here, but he comes with plenty of risk. Jerome Williams and Brad Peacock will open the year in the bullpen, but could move into the rotation at some point. Alex White and 2013 No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel could see time in the rotation later this year.
Closer: Manager Bo Porter said the Astros will open the season with a closer committee. Chad Qualls, Matt Albers, Josh Fields and Kevin Chapman are all candidates to see save opportunities in the early going. Jesse Crain, who has the best skills of the relievers in the Houston bullpen, will start the year on the disabled list, but hopes to be available in May. He should eventually take the closing job when healthy, and is a guy to stash on your bench or DL spot.
Kansas City Royals
Fifth Starter: Yordano Ventura earned the final rotation spot in Kansas City with a strong spring. He has excellent strikeout potential which makes him a nice option late in mixed league drafts. Danny Duffy, who failed to beat out Ventura for a job, could be an option to join the Royals’ rotation later this year.
Los Angeles Angels
Catcher: Chris Iannetta will be the Angels’ primary catcher, but Hank Conger will see a decent amount of playing time as well. Conger could be one of the better $1 catching options in AL-only leagues as there is some offensive upside here if he were to get regular playing time.
Fifth Starter: Tyler Skaggs has likely won the job for the final spot in the Angels’ rotation. He needs to be owned in every AL-only league based on his potential alone. Wade LeBlanc will open the year in the minors, and is a capable fill-in should the Angels need a starter.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Second Base: Dee Gordon and Justin Turner will platoon at second base. Gordon is an interesting sleeper in fantasy leagues thanks to his stolen-base potential, but he will have to hit to hold the job. Alex Guerrero will open the year in the minors, but he could unseat Gordon once he shows he can handle the position defensively.
Fifth Starter: Josh Beckett is questionable for his first start due to a thumb injury. If he is not ready to pitch, the Dodgers will go with Paul Maholm. Zach Lee could also be in the mix for an early-season start if Clayton Kershaw’s back inflammation turns out to be a more serious issue. Chad Billingsley, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, could be ready in late May and may join the Dodgers' rotation at that point. He is worth stashing in deeper leagues.
First Base: The Marlins will go with a platoon of Garrett Jones and Jeff Baker at first. Baker can also pick up at-bats at other spots around the infield giving him the potential to be a nice MI/CI option in NL-only leagues.
Second Base: Rafael Furcal will open the year on the disabled list with a hamstring strain. Jeff Baker, Donovan Solano and Derek Dietrich will likely all see some playing time at second until Furcal is ready to return.
Third Base: Casey McGehee will open the season as the starting third baseman in Miami. Donovan Solano and Derek Dietrich will back him up at third.
Center Field: Marcel Ozuna will open the year as the starter in center, but he will need to hit to hang on to his job. The Marlins could turn to prospect Jake Marisnick or veterans Brian Bogusevic and Reed Johnson if Ozuna ends up needing more time in the minors.
Fifth Starter: Tom Koehler landed the final spot in the Marlins' rotation with a solid spring, but he isn’t much of a fantasy option. Brad Hand will open the year in the bullpen, but could be next up for a starting gig. Andrew Heaney, the Marlins' top prospect, could make an impact later this year.
First Base: The Brewers will go with a platoon of Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay at first base this season following the release of Juan Francisco. Overbay has the platoon advantage, giving him a chance to earn more at-bats than Reynolds at first. Both are low-end options in NL-only leagues.
Second Base: The Brewers have not made an announcement about their plans at second base. At minimum, expect Scooter Gennett and Rickie Weeks to platoon. The Brewers could also try to trade Weeks to a team in need of a starting second baseman.
Catcher: Kurt Suzuki will split time behind the plate with Josmil Pinto. Suzuki is expected to see more of the playing time early on, but Pinto could earn more at-bats if he gets off to a good start at the plate. Pinto’s reduced role at the start of the season could present a discounted buying opportunity AL-only leagues.
Shortstop: Pedro Florimon will be the starter, but he could use some additional at-bats after missing part of the spring while recovering from an appendectomy. If he starts the year on the disabled list, Jason Bartlett, who was out of baseball last season, will open the year at short in Minnesota.
Center Field: Aaron Hicks will open the season as the starting center fielder. Hicks struggled with his opportunity last season, but the Twins will give him another shot to establish himself as a regular. The Twins do not have another center fielder on their roster at the time of this writing, but it seems likely that they will recall Darin Mastroianni to back up Hicks. Top prospect Byron Buxton could arrive in the majors as soon as this summer to take over the position permanently.
Fifth Starter: Kyle Gibson beat out Samuel Deduno and Scott Diamond for the fifth spot in the Minnesota rotation. Gibson was once a top rated prospect and is worth taking a shot on at the end of AL-only league drafts. Deduno is likely the first option to move into the rotation if the Twins should need to replace a starter due to injury or ineffectiveness. Prospects Trevor May and Alex Meyer could be options later this season.
New York Mets
First Base: Ike Davis and Lucas Duda have both made the Opening Day roster. Their competition for the first base gig will continue into the regular season. Josh Satin should also see some starts at first base against lefties.
Shortstop: Ruben Tejada will open the year as the Mets’ starting shortstop, but his hold on the job is tenuous. Wilmer Flores will play short in the minors, and if his defense is passable he could be an option to replace Tejada later this season. Omar Quintanilla gives the Mets a solid defensive option at short if they feel Tejada or Flores cannot handle the job.
Left Field/Center Field: The Mets still have not made a decision between Eric Young Jr. and Juan Lagares. It looks like both will make the Opening Day roster. If that happens, expect them to split time in center and left field while Chris Young sees regular at-bats.
Fifth Starter: The Mets have yet to announce the winner of the competition between Jenrry Mejia and Daisuke Matsuzaka for the final spot in their rotation. Mejia is currently dealing with a bunion on his foot which may impact his chances at earning the job. He has flashed some talent in the past and needs to be owned in deeper NL-only leagues regardless of the outcome here.
Closer: Bobby Parnell, who had herniated disc surgery last summer, will open the year as the Mets' closer, but he may not pitch more than two days in a row early on as he continues to build up arm strength. Jose Valverde could see the occasional save chance early in the season, giving him some minor value in NL-only leagues. Jeurys Familia, who has the best fastball in the Mets’ bullpen, should be watched closely as he could move into higher leverage situations if he keeps the walks in check this season.
New York Yankees
Third Base: Kelly Johnson will open the year as the Yankees’ starting third baseman. Eduardo Nunez will likely platoon with Johnson at third, giving him a little value in AL-only leagues. Scott Sizemore will open the year in the minors, but could be up later this season. All three of these guys could play second as well which may be a ticket to extra at-bats if the oft-injured Brian Roberts fails to stay healthy.
Fifth Starter: Michael Pineda will begin the season as the Yankees' fifth starter. David Phelps will open the year in the bullpen, but is likely next in line for a rotation spot. Pineda’s fastball isn’t what it once was, but he still makes a nice late-round target in mixed leagues.
Catcher: The A's will go with a platoon of John Jaso and Derek Norris behind the dish. Both of the Oakland catchers are rosterable in AL-only leagues that require starting two catchers.
Second Base: Eric Sogard will platoon with Nick Punto and Alberto Callaspo at second. Sogard will see the majority of the at-bats, giving him some value in AL-only leagues. Callaspo will see time at first and third as well, which should allow him the opportunity to accumulate a few more at-bats over the course of the season.
Starting Rotation: Jarrod Parker will miss the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and A.J. Griffin is sidelined into May with elbow tendinitis. Tommy Milone and Jesse Chavez will take the two openings in the Oakland rotation. Drew Pomeranz will open the year at Triple-A, but will be next up for a rotation spot if the A’s need a starter. He is a one-time top prospect that could have some value later this season.
Third Base: Cody Asche has been named the starter, as expected. Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis, when healthy, will back him up. Top prospect Maikel Franco could be an option to join the Phillies later this season if they go into rebuild mode and want to get a look at him against Major League pitching.
Fifth Starter: Cole Hamels is expected to be ready by early May leaving the Phillies with a short-term opening in their rotation. Jonathan Pettibone, David Buchanan and Jeff Manship are the candidates to fill the opening. The Phillies will not need a fifth starter until April 13, giving them more time to make a decision. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez could be an option to join the rotation later this year, but he has to get over lingering shoulder soreness first.
First Base: Gaby Sanchez will split time with Travis Ishikawa at first. It sounds as if the Pirates may not go with a straight platoon, which could give Sanchez a little more value. Ishikawa would earn more at-bats if the Pirates opt for a straight platoon between the two. Andrew Lambo and Chris McGuiness could be options later this season if Ishikawa struggles.
Right Field: General manager Neal Huntington said the Pirates will use Jose Tabata and Travis Snider on a matchup basis in right. Snider has had a solid spring, but has failed to deliver when given starting opportunities in the past. If he struggles early, Tabata could earn more playing time. Jaff Decker will likely be the first outfielder recalled if the Pirates need a replacement early in the season. Top prospect Gregory Polanco could be ready to take over the starting role after the Super Two arbitration deadline passes in June.
Fifth Starter: Edinson Volquez will open the year as the Pirates’ fifth starter. He won’t keep the job for long if his struggles from spring training carry over into the regular season. Jeff Locke is next in line for a rotation spot. Jameson Taillon, the Pirates' top pitching prospect, could be an option by midseason if his current elbow issue turns out to be minor.
San Diego Padres
Catcher: Yasmani Grandal, who is recovering from ACL surgery, looks like he might be ready for Opening Day. Should he need to start the year on the disabled list, it will create an opportunity for Nick Hundley or Rene Rivera to open the year behind the plate for the Padres.
Outfield: Cameron Maybin is going to miss at least the first six weeks of the regular season while he recovers from a ruptured biceps. That will allow Carlos Quentin and Will Venable to get regular at-bats early on. Seth Smith and Chris Denorfia will platoon in right. Given Quentin's past difficulties staying healthy, there will likely be plenty of at-bats to go around for most of these guys, even after Maybin returns.
Fifth Starter: Eric Stults will open the year as the Padres’ fifth starter. However, Josh Johnson will miss four or five weeks with a strained flexor muscle in his right forearm creating an opening for Robbie Erlin to start the year in the rotation as well. He’s worth taking a shot on in NL-only leagues. Casey Kelly is recovering from Tommy John surgery and could join the rotation in late May or June. He should be stashed in NL-only leagues. Joe Wieland may also be an option later this year if he bounces back from a recent surgical procedure on his elbow. Highly regarded prospect Matt Wisler could get a shot if the Padres needed a starter before Kelly or Wieland are ready.
San Francisco Giants
Second Base: Marco Scutaro will open the season on the disabled list with a back injury. Joaquin Arias will receive the bulk of the playing time at second with Ehire Adrianza likely to back him up.
Shortstop: Brad Miller will open the year as the starting shortstop for the Mariners. Nick Franklin will likely open the year in the minors, but would jump into the starting role should anything happen to Miller.
Right Field / Center Field: Corey Hart is not expected to see much time in the outfield early on and Logan Morrison is a defensive liability in the outfield which should limit some of his playing time. That may force the Mariners to shift Michael Saunders between center and right while also giving Abraham Almonte and Stefen Romero some starts against lefties. Almonte may be able to carve out more of a role, as manager Lloyd McClendon seems to like him as a potential leadoff hitter. This is a situation to watch as there should be more clarity in the coming days.
Starting Rotation: Erasmo Ramirez and James Paxton have won rotation spots, but will need to pitch well to avoid losing their jobs when Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker are ready to return from the disabled list. Chris Young, who was recently signed, will also have a rotation spot. Blake Beavan or Roenis Elias will open the year as the fifth starter, but whoever gets the nod will head to the bullpen when Iwakuma and Walker return. Hector Noesi and Brandon Maurer will be options to join the rotation later this season.
St. Louis Cardinals
Second Base: Rookie Kolten Wong beat out Mark Ellis for the starting second base job. Ellis will back up Wong and could have some value later in NL-only leagues should Wong struggle this season. Recently signed Cuban defector Aledmys Diaz could also be an option at second later this season.
Center Field: Peter Bourjos will open the year as the starting center fielder in St. Louis. Jon Jay should still see plenty of at-bats this season backing up the corner spots and potentially platooning a bit with Bourjos in center. Top prospect Oscar Taveras could force his way into the mix this season if he gets off to a good start in Triple-A.
Fifth Starter: Joe Kelly beat out Carlos Martinez for the final spot in the Cardinals’ rotation. Martinez will open the year in the bullpen. He could move into the rotation if there is an injury early in the year to one of the other starters. Jaime Garcia is expected to be sidelined until at least early-May due to shoulder inflammation, but he should take Kelly’s spot when he is healthy. Tyler Lyons will open the year in the minors and could be the first pitcher recalled when the Cards need a starter.
Tampa Bay Rays
DH: Matt Joyce will see the majority of the at-bats at DH. He is on the strong side of a platoon with Sean Rodriguez, Wilson Betemit, if he earns a roster spot, and Logan Forsythe.
Starting Rotation: Manager Joe Madden named Jake Odorizzi his fifth starter over Erik Bedard and Cesar Ramos. Bedard has opted for free agency and will try to catch on with another club in need of starting depth. Ramos will be used in a relief role, but will likely work multiple innings leaving him as an option to join the rotation if needed at some point. Jeremy Hellickson, who is coming back from elbow surgery, is targeting a June return. He could enter the rotation at that time. Enny Romero is the top starting option in the minors with Alex Colome suspended for the first 50 games of the season due to a positive PED test.
Catcher: Geovany Soto will be sidelined 10-to-12 weeks as he recovers from meniscus surgery. J.P. Arencibia and Robinson Chirinos will split time behind the plate while Soto is sidelined.
Second Base: Jurickson Profar will miss the next 10-to-12 weeks with a shoulder injury. While he is out, Donnie Murphy will split time with either Josh Wilson or Adam Rosales at second. The Rangers currently have no plans to give prospect Rougned Odor a shot at playing time.
Starting Rotation: Tanner Scheppers landed a rotation spot with a strong spring performance. He will probably stick in the rotation even after Matt Harrison returns from the disabled list. Joe Saunders, Robbie Ross and Nick Martinez will also open the season with rotation spots, but their competition continues into the regular season as they will be pitching to hold on to a spot when Yu Darvish, who is dealing with a neck injury, and Harrison return. Manager Ron Washington has also indicated that Colby Lewis could join the rotation in mid-April. Given Martinez’s lack of experience in the minors, he may be the first to lose his spot. Ross has more potential than Saunders, but he’ll need to perform to avoid being sent back to the pen. Derek Holland is expected to be ready by midseason and is likely to bump someone from the rotation at that time. Scott Baker and Nick Tepesch could also be options to join the rotation at some point this year.
Closer: Joakim Soria was named the Rangers’ closer this week. He was a lights out closer for the Royals a few years ago before undergoing Tommy John surgery (the second of his career). A return to his previous form would not be surprising. Alexi Ogando, who had been competing for a rotation spot, was moved to the pen and will setup Soria. Neftali Feliz, who will open the year in the minors, has had inconsistent velocity in his outings this spring. He may still be working on his post-Tommy John surgery mechanics given his limited number of innings since returning to action last year.
Toronto Blue Jays
Second Base: Ryan Goins will open the year as the starting second baseman in Toronto. Maicer Izturis will back him up at second and could have a little value in AL-only leagues if Goins struggles this season. Chris Getz will open the year in the minors, but could see time in Toronto later this season. His speed makes him worth a bench spot deep AL-only leagues.
Fifth Starter: Drew Hutchison won the final spot in the Toronto rotation with a very impressive performance this spring. He is an intriguing target in AL-only leagues given his upside. Dustin McGowan will also have a rotation spot at the start of the season with J.A. Happ opening the year on the disabled list. McGowan is a health risk, but the skills are there for him to be a useful starter in AL-only leagues. Esmil Rogers and Todd Redmond will open the year in the bullpen, but could be options to join the rotation if needed. Kyle Drabek may be first in line if the team dips into the minors, but prospects Sean Nolin and Marcus Stroman could also be in the mix with strong starts to their seasons.
Second Base: Anthony Rendon will open the year as the starter. Danny Espinosa will back him up. Espinosa, who said he is fully healthy after struggling with wrist injuries that impacted his numbers last season, will also see time at third and short giving him some potential value in deeper NL-only leagues.
Fifth Starter: Ross Detwiler will open the year in the Washington bullpen, and Doug Fister looks like he will miss some time with a lat strain giving both Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan rotation spots at the start of the season. Jordan was impressive this spring and is worth a flyer in NL-only leagues.