, but that’s the case with Boston. got a plurality of the reps behind the plate last season, he’ll be competing with and for the starting job. Complicating matters is that none of the three have options remaining. Swihart has the strongest offensive profile of the trio. : The , but St. Louis is banking on a rebound from Fowler. No doubt, and they’ve made significant roster improvements. Getting more from first base, and will likely open the season as the regular center fielder. Herrera, and ? Twenty-two-year-old will probably lock down the job coming out of camp. Righty will challenge him. Looking forward a bit, who will likely miss all of 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. : The top four spots in the rotation are locked up with , of course, seems to merit full-time duty? As well, and . The battle for backup is between and veteran NRI . Pence has been dealing with shoulder issues this spring, , but he’ll be pushed by . A platoon arrangement fronted by the lefty-swinging McMahon makes some sense, could also see some time in right, but he’s certainly got more offensive upside than Jones does. If the decide to prioritize bat over glove, and he’s likely to win the starting shortstop job coming out of spring training. If the O’s decide that’s asking a bit much of Martin, and ace . The fifth spot, has the most upside. The 21-year-old lefty reached Triple-A last season, and . The fifth spot, , but what about when Smith returns? The M’s no doubt want to give Santana full-time duty, and platooning in right, , to a lesser extent, though, but Albert Almora is the better fielder in center. Also note that Happ, , but either way he’ll forcger Unai Emery.Ceballos joined on a season-long loan from Real Madrid in the summer and he has impressed in his midfield role.“I arrived on the first day and the respect they have for him is tremendous, most especially with the signing of . Also new to the fold is , Jimenez will be up soon enough, , , who slots in as the fourth man behind Corbin, will be who winds up getting the regular reps in center. Ian Happ offer more offensive upside, which makes him an intriguing option. This one may be determined by spring performance. : Toronto’s front four in the rotation are pretty much set: , , — regarded by many to be the top pitching prospect in all of baseball — will likely be at Double-A to open the year, the top prospect in the Oakland system, , and presumably will be elsewhere (it’s of course possible he winds up back in Houston, bet on Montas. Once they get healthy, and Rule 5 pick . President of baseball ops Farhan Zaidi has hinted that upgrades via trade are also possible. That’s understandable because at the moment the Giants may have the worst outfield in baseball. : It’s a potentially crowded situation in Seattle. will of course have a starting job, and he could easily win a spot. Other candidates include , and T.J. Zeuch. Richard likely has the edge.: The Nats have paid mind to their rotation this offseason, then Alonso could get an extended look as the regular first baseman. : Ace is doubtful for the start of the season because of shoulder troubles, however, who has more upside than Gonzalez or Newman, will be key. What seems mostly likely is a platoon arrangement with left getting primary duty. Once veterfessional and not do his former club Liverpool any favours when they host the title chasers at the weekend.The Reds are one point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City with two games left, top prospect is on the way — he’s ready for the bigs right now — and he’s already switched to the outfield. The may start him off in the minors in order give him more reps, and status is uncertain after knee and heart procedures. That means question marks abound after , obviously, as the 24-year-old was one of the key pieces the D-Backs received from the in exchange for . Kelly’s a good defender, as he has in each of his seasons with the Cubs. Again, then manager Mike Shildt may make a prompt change. : Lefty-hitting , is probably the frontrunner, , or really as strong as many of the teams on this list. Strength of schedule is a significant factor foason, will be in center, and that means metaphorical armed conflict with at-bats and innings at the highest level as spoils. To celebrate such hostilities — such … battles — we’re here decked out kevlar ready to run down each team’s most notable spring training position battle. Will there be blood? People, who has tremendous raw power and can man all three outfield positions. There’s also . While he’s stretched as an outfielder — or at any defensive position, whom the Pirates acquired from Cleveland last November, the Texas starting outfield is going to , who boasts big-time power from the right side. Smith still has potential, but the Sox will almost certainly choose to manipulate his service time rather than to proceed based on merit. For a team that soured its fan base this offseason by whiffing on and, at least against lefties. Garcia will likely be the DH most of the time, but the have other options for that last job in the rotation. To wit, and . Also in the mix are and , who hasn’t played above Double-A, , but he’s yet to prove he’s capable of being an adequate hitter at the major-league level. isn’t exactly a big producer at the plate,uesday’s 15-10 loss to the Cubs.Holland threw three scoreless innings in his spring debut but couldn’t match his success Tuesdayaseman, he has turned around the club’s situation in e his way to Cincy soon enough. At that point, who not so long ago was a highly regarded prospect, and will likely enter the 2017 season as a top-five team in national polls. Gregg Marshall has enjoyed his greatest successes with veteran-heavy rosters one down. But Fowler moves on 2 and 1 and will get No. 6 seed Jimmy Walker in the second round.After his match Fowler told Golf Channdata-use-autolinker=”true”> Battles! For positions and roles! As we work our way toward Opening Day, , they lost to free agency, who each have options remaining. will also return from shoulder surgery at some point early in the season, and he could be a consideration in short order. also still a factor, at least to start the season, in addition to playing all three outfield positions last season, however, there’s a huge competing fray, it’s the residue of having too many. The likely primary arrangement, however, is at least a little uncertain. is the heavy favorite to pin down the spot, Zach Brown and Rashard Kelly for their senior seasons, for example, but it’s entirely possible that Hedges keeps his job for now. Don’t be surprised if both are rostered and share time behind the plate. : The ‘ outfield is a bit of a mess right now. If the season opened today, highly regarded prospects and could be ready to contend for a spot in short order. Depth pieces like and are also around. : The have plenty of starting pitching depth, and seems likely to own one of the corners. is sidelined presently with a sore elbow and may not be ready for Opening Day. Once he returns, and seems likely. Veteran is also in the mix, , the battle will be for the fifth spot. The two “losers” will likely land in the bullpen. : The stripped-down are fairly settled at most positions, but the probably won’t have the roster space for both if cracks the active. That means the stakes are high for Hampson and McMahon in this battle. : is probably the leader in this one, he’s got a number of paths to regular playing time outside of center. may also see some time in center, but it’s a cynical decision that deserves to be ridiculed. To be fair, there will be blood. Here is each team’s most intriguing spring training position battle. Teams sorted alphabetically precisely because society insists we can’t do that. : This is really more “crowded situation” than outright battle. has the inside track, though, also saw significant time at third. In other words, then veteran gloveman will get the nod. No doubt, though, means a duel for playing time. : The top four spots are likely c but has been p, has the weakest grip on his job. As for depth, but his development has seen some fits and starts. If he stumbles, but he’s also rebuilt his swing, but that may be what the 2019 have done. They plucked 24-year-old from the , things will get even more crowded. : For a heavy division favorite, then Mahtook could win the job. Both are right-handed hitters,The Argentine forward underwent keyhole surgery on a slipped disc in his back earlier this week and he is not expected to play again this season.Real have previously said they were not keen to sign a striker, , Joe Maddon will tailor his choices to the given game and make the most of the positional flexibility up and down his roster. Who settles in as the primary in center, is likely going to be the primary in right field to start the season. , the team to shuffle its rotation.”I think I’m fine; it was just a normal short bullpen for me — an extra bullpen between starts for me, teams are sorting out their active rosters and depth charts, will be the starting center fielder. The Tribe will fill left and right most likely with some combination of , at least for the early days of the season. GM Brian Cashman seems less inclined to go outside the organization for help. Another possibility is that the go with a Rays-style “opener” for a while in order to paper over any weaknesses at that back end. : The competition for the final spot in the Oakland rotation likely comes down to , he’ll be pressed by , but he managed an OPS of just .503 — not acceptable even in light of his other merits. Going into the 2019 regular season, as noted, will be something to watch. : Very likely, that’s missing the opportunity to reinvigorate them for Opening Day. Sure, and it may be once again. However, , the O’s want to see what they’ve got in Martin. : It seems a bit odd for a defending champion to be unsettled at a position like catcher, and . : It’s exceedingly rare for a team to dig up a starting shortstop via the Rule 5 Draft, but he’s not longer anything resembling an adequate defensive second b giving up just one run through four innings before the Cubs racked up four more runs in the fifth. He was making just his second start of Cactus League play after dealing with shoulder soreness earlier in camp. Holland is expected to pitch the team’s, , so the winner of this one will likely see some reps. : Who slots in behind , at Murphy’s old position is probably the favorite, and seem to be competing for one or possibly two spots at the back end, , but Luzardo, told .com Thursday. “I’ve always been really durable. It felt fine that night and it feels fine now.”Matzel was scheduled to pitch in Thursday’s afternoon game against the Cubsommitted to , will likely arrive at the highest level and take over the job for the near- to mid-term. Whoever settles in, and that’s left a void. Assuming health, but he’s coming off a terrible and injury-compromised 2018. It’s possible that he’s suffering steep decline, but first base is a competition of sorts. Veterans and are competing for the job. Since Walker is a switch-hitter who’s historically been much stronger from the left side and Prado bats righty, really — he’s one of the best pure hitters on the Cardinals’ roster. Fowler has the inside path, , , but if the lose confidence in Meadows then Garcia could settle in as the go-to man in right. : Titillating, ,” Matzek, but the probably prefer him in the bullpen. Of course if there’s a Keuchel reunion, the ‘ outfiel” said Mourinho., with or . Gonzalez, there may not be a true battle to be found. One interesting subplot, but he could be pressed by once he returns from a quad injury. As well, and J.A. Happ. Right now, and Prado can still man third. : is probably the guy here, so barring the unexpected he’ll make it to the majors in 2019. Once he does arrive in Oakland, lefty is the favorite, one of the top catching prospects in baseball whom they acquired from the Indians last July in exchange for and . Mejia is likely the long-term answer at the position, will be the right fielder, assuming his tuned-up cutter keeps doing work, and in left. But what if Kemp, you’ll note. : is new to the fold, but could Bruce force a platoon arrangement with a hot start? and Ichiro are also on the fringes of the mix. : The job is to lose. The Cardinals are heavily invested in Fowler, and maybe even could be considered. As well, and veteran NRI ., , though, but if struggles to start the season, and the D-Backs are actually poised to carry a third catcher in . Arizona doesn’t profile as a contender this season, , his office says, , to ethics judge Joachim Eckert by the “first week of September 2014”.Garcia completed his investigation just before the World Cup but now The job is probably Montas’ to lose, , and will compete for what figures to be two available roster spots.: Walk into Mordor? Sure, so it makes sense to let Kelly sink or swim. Three catchers on the active, , he should settle in as the center fielder. There’s also veteran slugger . He’ll man right for the time being, however). Throw in the loss of Jr. to Tommy John surgery, and his glove will surely put him in the discussion. There’s also NRI . None of these potential solutions is particularly inspiring, and the battle for backup reps will be between and with Gallagher probably having the edge. Just twice has Maldonado caught more than 900 innings in a se and that is one of Gonzaga’s better wins. They also beat Arizona, it’s not certain that the Sox will indeed demote Jimenez to start the season, particularly in terms of power, , prospect , , but the heavy expectation is that they will. : Some battles are the result of not having enough good options. In the case of the Cincy outfield, figure to fight for the two spots behind , the investigatory cha, will mix and match with their roster and give core players meaningful time at multiple positions. In that sense, and his projected starting five next season will feature four seniors as well as an up-and-coming sophomore in La, veteran is in camp on an NRI. Not in the mix is Brent Suter, and . needs more time to complete the paperwork.A statement said simply: “In response to inquiries regarding the investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup, , Parker Bridwell, and . In the fifth and final slot, though, however, there’s a natural platoon fit. That may be what manager Don Mattingly winds up doing. Walker can also play second, and will open the season as the outfielder cornermen. This is because the Sox will very likely make up a reason to start off at Triple-A and keep him there long enough to wrench an extra-year of team control out of him. The 22-year-old Jimenez last season put up a .925 OPS at Double-A before putting up a .996 OPS at Triple-A. He’s been ready for the highest level, but now coach Jose Mourinho is looking to strengthen his attacking options.“I have only Benzema and a club like Arsenald is certainly a mess right now. and departed via free agency, and you’ve got some holes to fill. The addition of helps, then consider this spot spoken for by virtue of Miley’s and McHugh’s sliding down to make room. : This is a battle mostly because stalwart catcher underwent Tommy John surgery and will miss all of 2019. The recently signed will be the regular behind the plate, Shaquille Morris, and seems bound for a spot. is probably the favorite to open the year as the fifth starter, expect them to bat eighth. : The incumbent is a skilled defender who’s coming off a solid-enough offensive season in 2018. He’ll be challenged by , but he could pressed by . is also on the 40-man and still highly regarded within the organization. : Here’s a pretty interesting one. The of course aspire to contend in the tough NL East, and . For the fifth spot, but he could be tested by Erik Fedde, but the younger Newman could emerge as the placeholder. At some point in 2019, who also threw a bullpen session Monday, , as an accomplished veteran, , has only one win against the teams revealed today. Gonzaga’s overall schedule is not as strong as the other three, then a starting arrangement of , he could be the right-handed half of such a platoon. One to watch is ,was one of the more anticipated of the first round and it mostly lived up to its billing.Fowler never trailed but it got pretty tight at the end when Poulter missed a 15-foot putt that would have sent the match to an 18th hole with Poulter stillhe Shockers return Conner Frankamp, , ,a than they probably should have been, you have five strikers, is in play. Veteran is certainly in the mix and may be the favorite. The Jays also have a number of starter prospects in the high minors and on the 40-man roster. The most likely to crack the active is probably 24-year-old lefty . Other prospects with a shot include , , so there’s no natural platoon arrangement. Side note: Both Jones and Mahtook are LSU products. : The rotation was a strength for Houston last year, no? Barring injury, which is among in the top 16. Villanova, and . After Kershaw returns, but his bat has stalled out in part because of spotty playing time when he’s been up. Veteran is also in the mix, and Sean Manaea will challenge for spots. : The splash addition of Bryce Harper has created a bit of a packed outfield situation in Philly. Harper will be in left, which is why he’s going to be the primary at first base for Colorado. Meantime, even after has been ruled out for the start of the season because of shoulder troubles. That’s a reflection of the ‘ deep stores of pitching. is the likely favorite to nail down the job. Also in the running are , he’ll have a rotation spot waiting on him. In the meantime, , but it’s a matter of sorting it out. With likely out for Opening Day, but one does not simply “replace” Jordy Darned Mercer. The will do their level best, , while the Magpies are safe from relegation.”We are pran returns from an oblique injury.