Ladies and gentlemen, the focus is now officially on 2012. For all of us, except for maybe Cardinals fans, it's time to move on from 2011. This year is so last year anyways. So here at MLBDD we're spending some time projecting each team's 25-man roster for Opening Day 2012. We're not projecting trades or free agent signings here, so this is purely focusing on the talent that each team already has in-house. The 2012 season may not start soon, but we can still think about what it might look like.
Starting Lineup (ages are based on April 4, 2012)
Catcher: A.J. Pierzynski - Age 35
First Base: Paul Konerko - Age 36
Second Base: Gordon Beckham - Age 25
Third Base: Brent Morel - Age 25 (as of 4/21/12)
Shortstop: Alexei Ramirez - Age 30
Left Field: Carlos Quentin - Age 29
Center Field: Alex Rios - Age 31
Right Field: Alejandro De Aza - Age 26 (as of 4/11/12)
Designated Hitter: Adam Dunn - Age 31
Full batting order, bench, starting rotation and bullpen projections, as well as some of my thoughts, are included below the fold.
1. RF De Aza 2. SS Ramirez 3. 1B Konerko 4. LF Quentin 5. C Pierzynski 6. DH Dunn 7. CF Rios 8. 3B Morel 9. 2B Beckham
1. LHP John Danks - Age 27 (as of 4/15/12)
2. RHP Gavin Floyd - Age 29
3. RHP Jake Peavy - Age 30
4. RHP Phil Humber - Age 29
5. LHP Chris Sale - Age 23
Closer: RHP Sergio Santos - Age 28
Some Quick Thoughts
- Yes, it's going to be practically the same lineup as last year. They should get an upgrade by effectively replacing Juan Pierre with De Aza in the outfield, but otherwise they're banking on getting better performances from guys like Rios, Dunn, Beckham and Morel.
- One place where you could see another change is the trading of Carlos Quentin. They have a potential impact bat that's MLB-ready in Dayan Viciedo, but there isn't really an obvious place to play him. If they can tolerate the defense, and it's not like Quentin is a whiz out there anyways, that's a guy that needs to be playing everyday.
- I'm expecting Chris Sale to get the bump to the rotation, where he belongs anyways. He has to prove hat he can withstand the workload, but the Sox could use his power arm as a starter and they have the bullpen depth to be okay without him filling that role. Addison Reed is the kind of guy that could be an impact reliever, too.
- A couple more trade candidates in Floyd and Danks. I'd be shocked if they traded both of them, although they could if they wanted to go through a total youth movement. Trading one or the other might be a more likely possibility. Danks feels more likely, because he's paid more for 2012 and is a free agent at the end of the year, while Floyd still has a club option for 2013 on his deal. Zach Stewart is one young guy that could fill a rotation spot.