These days MLB offense is more about the home run than the RBI single, and that's reflected in the top lineups going into the 2021 season. With Opening Day around the corner, here's a look at the league's lineups ranked 1-30.
The Dodgers led MLB in runs scored last season with the addition of Mookie Betts, and the lineup looks just as imposing in 2021. 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger is healthy following shoulder surgery, while Corey Seager regained his swagger last year after Tommy John surgery. The team is getting plus contributions at nearly every other position with power hitters like Will Smith, Max Muncy, and Justin Turner, and young second baseman Gavin Lux was an elite minor league performer. The depth is what really puts the Dodgers over the top, with capable offensive contributors Chris Taylor and Edwin Rios.
The Yankees have produced an elite offense year after year, even despite major injury issues for Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, and Gary Sanchez. DJ LeMahieu, Gio Urshela, and Luke Voit have been incredible additions to the lineup over the last two seasons, while Gleyber Torres had an elite 38 home runs at shortstop in 2019. Knee surgery could keep Voit out for all of April, but there's enough talent to compensate. If Clint Frazier is able to reach his potential as a full-time starter this season, the lineup looks as deep as any in baseball.
San Diego had a breakout 2020 season, finishing third in runs scored, and they might only be getting started. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado are superstars on the left side of the infield, and the lineup is deep from top to bottom with Trent Grisham, Eric Hosmer, Tommy Pham, Wil Myers, Jake Cronenworth, and Austin Nola. The Padres have also learned from the division-rival Dodgers in building depth, with interesting talents like Ha-Seong Kim and Jurickson Profar on the bench.
Not only does Atlanta's lineup have strength from top to bottom, but it's also here to stay for the long term with Ronald Acuna Jr., Marcell Ozuna, and Ozzie Albies signed for the foreseeable future. 2020 NL MVP Freddie Freeman is going into a walk year as he tries to repeat last season. Travis d'Arnaud is one of the best offensive catchers in the game, and Dansby Swanson is coming off a career-high .809 OPS. The bottom of the order has two developing youngsters in Austin Riley and Cristian Pache, who will be wild cards in the short term.
The White Sox have an envious amount of young talent, which probably made Tony La Russa's decision to return to the dugout an easy one. Veterans Jose Abreu, Yasmani Grandal, and Adam Eaton add some stability, but the future is with players like Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal, and Andrew Vaughn. Unfortunately, the team was dealt a huge blow when Jimenez suffered a pectoral injury that will sideline him for five to six months.
Toronto paired exciting homegrown talent with elite veteran free agent signings George Springer and Marcus Semien this offseason to make one of the best lineups in the game. How good the lineup will actually end up being in 2021 could be resting on the potential of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who showed up to camp svelte and has been torching the Grapefruit League. Bo Bichette, Teoscar Hernandez, Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Randal Grichuk help make for a great lineup from top to bottom.
There are huge expectations for Philly's lineup with big contracts for Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, and Andrew McCutchen. Corner infielders Rhys Hoskins and Alec Bohm are capable of being plus offensive players at much cheaper prices, which has also enabled ownership to spend money on solid contributors Didi Gregorius and Jean Segura. Like last season, centerfield appears to be the major hole, with a possible game of musical chairs for the spot this season. Even so, the Phils finished tied for fifth in runs scored last year and have hope for similar results this year with Bohm's emergence.
The Mets were a slightly above-average offensive club last year but took the potential to another level by adding Francisco Lindor and James McCann in the offseason. That pair adds to offensive stars Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, and Jeff McNeil, while Dominic Smith, J.D. Davis, and Brandon Nimmo are also highly capable of being above-average performers at their positions. The bench has also been vastly improved by adding Kevin Pillar and Jonathan Villar in the offseason. While the Mets defense will leave a lot to be desired this season, they are going to cause opposing pitchers real problems.
The Angels still have the best player of his era in three-time MVP Mike Trout, as well as the best player of the not-so-distant previous era in Albert Pujols. The lineup also added another star last year with Anthony Rendon, and there's reason to believe DH Shohei Ohtani will bounce back with his sizzling spring. David Fletcher and Jose Iglesias are quality, disciplined hitters, and catcher Max Stassi showed potential last season. Justin Upton is perhaps the biggest question, with consecutive poor, injury-plagued seasons after hitting 30 home runs in 2018. Given the money the team has spent on hitting, anything short of a top-five offense should be unacceptable.
Boston still has some star power even after trading Mookie Betts prior to last season, with J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers in the middle of the order. Martinez is hoping to bounce back from an atrocious 2020 season. Alex Verdugo does look like a budding star, and new additions Kiké Hernandez, Hunter Renfroe, and Marwin Gonzalez have shown power in the past. Christian Vazquez has developed into one of the better offensive catchers in the last two years (.798 OPS) to match his excellent defense, and first baseman Bobby Dalbec has a big power profile. The addition of center fielder of the future Jarren Duran at some point in 2021 should only make the lineup better.
The loss of George Springer really hurts Houston's lineup, but the rest of their core is intact. When healthy, it's difficult to find a better middle of the order than Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, and Yordan Alvarez, while Kyle Tucker also finally found himself in the majors last season. The team is hopeful Jose Altuve can put knee issues behind him and bounce back to an elite level, and Yuli Gurriel was also a consistent performer until last season.
Minnesota has a solid combo of homegrown talent and acquisitions in a lineup that shows much more upside than their 269 runs scored last season. The 30-plus home run potential is clear with Max Kepler, Josh Donaldson, Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano, and Mitch Garver, but Jorge Polanco, Byron Buxton, and Andrelton Simmons have also proven to be solid hitters. The team is hoping top outfield prospect Alex Kirilloff can make a strong entrance in 2021, as well.
The Nats had a bit of a stars and scrubs situation with their 2020 lineup but tried to rectify that by adding Kyle Schwarber and Josh Bell to the core of Juan Soto and Trea Turner. Soto is arguably the best hitter in baseball, leading the league in batting average, on-base, and slugging last year, while Turner is in the conversation among shortstops. The rest of the lineup should determine if the Nats offense is average or something much more with Victor Robles, Starlin Castro, Yan Gomes, and Carter Kieboom.
It's been a great five-year run in Chicago, but how much longer this core can stay together remains to be seen The Cubs lost some staples in the offseason, including power hitter Kyle Schwarber, but replacement Joc Pederson shouldn't be much of a downgrade. The trio of Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, and Anthony Rizzo each had sub-par 2020 seasons, but are highly capable of being elite again. Ian Happ quickly developed into a great power leadoff man last season, and Willson Contreras remains one of the best offensive catchers in baseball. The team's 265 runs scored last season, near the bottom of the league, looks like an anomaly.
The Rays lost their top two starting pitchers in the offseason but hope to make up for it with their offense. In particular, Randy Arozarena shined late last year, and Austin Meadows looked like a potential star in 2019. A platoon-laden lineup that includes plus hitters like Brandon Lowe, Manuel Margot, Joey Wendle, Ji-Man Choi, Yandy Diaz, and Mike Brosseau makes this lineup play better than it looks on paper, finishing in the top half of MLB in runs scored last year.
Few lineups have improved more this offseason than Kansas City, as they signed Carlos Santana, Hanser Alberto, and Michael A. Taylor, and also traded for Andrew Benintendi. That adds to exciting lineup staples Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi, as well as power hitters Jorge Soler, Salvador Perez, and Hunter Dozier. The lineup depth issues that the Royals had in recent years are now fixed, and elite middle infield prospect Bobby Witt Jr. is on the way.
The A's have perhaps their best young lineup core since the days of Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez with Matt Olson and Matt Chapman on the infield corners, and young talents Ramon Laureano and Sean Murphy paint an even brighter long-term future for Oakland. Mark Canha has come into his own as a regular over the last two seasons, and Mitch Moreland is an asset against right-handed pitching. The bottom third of the lineup is the big concern, as Stephen Piscotty has been a below-average offensive performer recently, and the middle infield leaves much to be desired.
The Cardinals scored the third-fewest runs in baseball last year, but expect that to change in 2020 after acquiring former Rockies star Nolan Arenado. He joins first baseman Paul Goldschmidt for a formidable one-two punch. The team is also bullish on the development of center fielder Dylan Carlson. The rest of the outfield should determine the depth of the lineup, with Harrison Bader and Tyler O'Neill showing inconsistency to this point in their careers, while Yadier Molina has seen his bat deteriorate over the last two seasons as he approaches 40.
If you ask five different people who the best player in the Giants lineup is going into 2021, you might get five different answers. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as the team has been able to build some depth with under-the-radar acquisitions like Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson, Donovan Solano, Mauricio Dubon, Evan Longoria, and Tommy La Stella over the last few years. The return of Buster Posey after sitting out 2020 also makes the lineup longer. Unfortunately, the lineup is clearly lacking any elite players and will need to fight for every run in the strong NL West.
Colorado traded superstar Nolan Arenado in early February, leaving an irreplaceable void at third base and the lineup. They still have stars Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon to anchor the lineup, but it remains to be seen if any other hitter will be better than average offensively at their position. The team will likely see an upgrade in production at first base after signing C.J. Cron, and Ryan McMahon, Raimel Tapia, and Brendan Rodgers offer potential. The team finished just below league average last season with 275 runs scored, an embarrassing number considering their Coors Field home.
The loss of star shortstop Francisco Lindor is irreplaceable in a lineup, though Cleveland has been seemingly blown away by Andres Gimenez this spring. The team also did well to acquire Eddie Rosario on the cheap this offseason, making a formidable middle of the order with stars Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes. It's the depth of the lineup that is the big concern, as Josh Naylor, Jake Bauers, and Bradley Zimmer are unproven, while Roberto Perez's strong offensive performance from 2019 looks like a fluke after he regressed last year. Shortstop-turned-utilityman Amed Rosario could be the X-factor if he's able to take on the new role.
The Brewers were in the bottom five in runs scored last season due in large part to Christian Yelich's struggles. He's a one-man wrecking crew when he's right, and the team is hoping the former NL MVP can bounce back this season. Keston Hiura adds protection, and the lineup added more depth this year with the additions of Kolten Wong, Travis Shaw, and Jackie Bradley Jr. Lorenzo Cain and Avisail Garcia have pressure to bounce back this season to help fill out a lineup lacking much plus talent.
Baltimore was in the middle of the pack last year after scoring 274 runs, but the team continued to see some turnover in a clear rebuild. The good news is that power hitter Trey Mancini was able to return from cancer, and Ryan Mountcastle looks like a building block after posting an .878 OPS in 35 games last season. Anthony Santander and Austin Hays also look like potentially capable middle-of-the-order hitters, and the addition of third baseman Maikel Franco this spring gives the lineup another much-needed power addition. It's a deeper lineup than a likely last-place finish will indicate.
Cincy's offense was a terrible disappointment last year after spending big money to acquire Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas, and Shogo Akiyama. A rebound from Eugenio Suarez should go a long way in fixing the offense after he launched 49 home runs in 2019, and Joey Votto could also be capable of a rebound. Jesse Winker and Nick Senzel have been strong performers, when healthy. The two holes at the bottom of the order look glaring, however, with Tucker Barnhart and a currently non-existent starting shortstop.
The D'Backs had problems getting on the board in 2020, and that's unlikely to change this year after a quiet offseason. Their hope is that Ketel Marte can return to his 2019 level when he finished fourth in MVP voting with a .981 OPS, but the team also needs more from Eduardo Escobar and David Peralta. Young hitters Carson Kelly and minor leaguer Daulton Varsho do show promise, but this is a lineup desperately in need of more pop after hitting only 58 homers last season, second-worst in MLB.
Miami has started to spend money again after yet another rebuild, adding capable hitters like Corey Dickerson, Jesus Aguilar, Starling Marte, and Adam Duvall over the last year. The team hopes for just league average from their other hitters, which include Brian Anderson, Jorge Alfaro, and Miguel Rojas. Likely starting second baseman Jazz Chisholm has star potential, and the pressure to find it after the Marlins gave up young ace Zac Gallen to acquire him. It's a lineup that has upside from top to bottom, but the lack of any elite bats holds the Marlins back.
Seattle's rebuild looks to be going well if the potential of their young talent is any indication. Kyle Lewis is coming off an AL Rookie of the Year, and outfielders Jarred Kelenic, Taylor Trammell, and Julio Rodriguez are right behind him. The team also has to be happy with the team debut of Ty France last year after he was acquired from San Diego. Short-term placeholders like Kyle Seager, Mitch Haniger, and Dylan Moore can also be positive offensive performers.
Texas is in a reload period, having lost the likes of Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, Shin-Soo Choo, and Elvis Andrus from last year's squad. The lineup is now filled with young, unproven hitters who have interesting potentials like Nick Solak, David Dahl, Willie Calhoun, and Nate Lowe. The team needs a more consistent, healthy year from two-time 40 home run hitter Joey Gallo, and a rebound from Rougned Odor would also go a long way in making this at least a league-average offensive club.
Detroit remains in rebuild mode, but they've worked on adding length to the batting order by signing veterans Robbie Grossman, Wilson Ramos, and Nomar Mazara this offseason. The shame is that Miguel Cabrera is only a fragment of the elite hitter he once was, and both his contract and presence clogging the DH spot could be major hindrances until his contract expires in 2024. On the bright side, the team has promising young players in Willi Castro and Jeimer Candelario, with 2020 No. 1 overall draft choice Spencer Torkelson on the way.
Pittsburgh is undergoing a complete rebuild, and it's clearly shown in their 2021 lineup. The team has reason to like the potential of Ke'Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds, and Gregory Polanco was also been an asset earlier in his career. Otherwise, it's difficult to find an above-average offensive player anywhere. Hitting prospects like Oneil Cruz, Nick Gonzales, and Travis Swaggerty couldn't come soon enough.
Seth Trachtman is a fantasy sports expert and diehard Kansas City Chiefs fan still hoping for a Super Bowl win during his lifetime. He doesn't often Tweet, but when he does, you can find him on Twitter @sethroto.