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While some questions remain unanswered, several starting lineups are beginning to take shape.

There will always be those surprises on Opening Day, Carlos Marmol as the “Cubs closer” a few years back ring any bells? But, for the most part we can begin to nail down the true starters with less than a week to MLB Opening Day.

For this final edition, we have eliminated the battles that appear settled, while having a few late additions given the continued hot springs by certain players.

While we focus on the hitters in this article, we cannot stress enough to continue to check out our updated closers charts as well, with a pivotal final week of spring training.

Without further ado, let’s get to our final edition of position battles.

2016 Fantasy Baseball Position Battles

National League

Expected Starter
Warming the Bench
Cincinnati Reds LF Adam Duvall Scott Schebler A platoon in the making, but both could have legitimate value should Jay Bruce get moved.
Colorado Rockies SS Trevor Story Cristhian Adames Story has left little question this spring that he belongs in the Majors, although Adames has continued his strong spring as well. The Rockies could elect to give the stronger prospect (Story) a little more seasoning, depending on the length of Reyes’ suspension.
Milwaukee Brewers RF Keon Broxton Kirk Nieuwenhuis Broxton will probably start, given the Brewers’ rebuild, but Nieuwenhuis will get his at-bats as well. Could be difficult for either to carve out much value, unless Braun misses time.
Philadelphia Phillies  C Carlos Ruiz Cameron Rupp Rupp has had a tremendous spring, but we would be surprised if Ruiz didn’t still get a good portion of at-bats, if for anything else than to boost his trade value.
San Diego Padres OF Jon Jay/Travis Jankowski Melvin Upton/Jabari Blash Jankowski could carve out some major value with an everyday role, thanks to his steals potential, but not much fantasy value here aside from that, regardless of who starts.
St. Louis Cardinals 1B Brandon Moss Matt Adams Adams has done nothing to help his case for at-bats at first base. A hot start by Moss could truly solidify his role as the everyday first baseman.
St. Louis Cardinals SS Ruben Tejada Jedd Gyorko Aledmys Diaz was reassigned after the signing of Tejada. Gyorko certainly has the fantasy upside, but Tejada will probably get the starts, thanks to his glove.
Washington Nationals SS Danny Espinosa Trea Turner Turner is still with the Major League team, but it’s difficult to imagine this ending as anything other than an early season platoon between Espinosa and Stephen Drew.

American League

Expected Starter
Warming the Bench
Baltimore Orioles OF Hyun-Soo Kim Joey Rickard Baltimore dropped a bomb over the weekend that there had been internal discussions about returning him to Korea. While that seems far fetched, his struggles certainly raise questions regarding his lock on a starting job. Rickard’s hot spring could make him an interesting sleeper in upcoming drafts, although it’s more probable that we would see a combination of Rickard, Kim, Ryan Flaherty, Chris Davis, Nolan Reimold and Pedro Alvarez all rotating int he lineup between 1B, DH and LF.
Boston Red Sox 3B Pablo Sandoval Travis Shaw Shaw has had an incredible spring, and Boston has made it known that they are willing to place Sandoval on the bench. It’s difficult to believe that however, and Boston’s hesitation on naming a starting third baseman may have been just the wakeup call Sandoval needed. He has hit much better of late.
Boston Red Sox RF Rusney Castillo Brock Holt Boston’s lineup suddenly has a lot of questions, however this one seems far more likely. While Castillo still currently sits as the starter, it would make a lot more sense to send Castillo down, and allow for Holt to start, with the occasional relief against tough lefties by Chris Young.
Chicago White Sox SS Jimmy Rollins Tyler Saladino Rollins appears locked in as the starter, although anything could happen.
Cleveland Indians OF Tyler Naquin Rajai Davis Venable’s release figures to secure Naquin’s starting job, and it will likely come down to who’s hitting better when Michael Brantley returns, between Davis and Naquin, as to who keeps the starting job. Interestingly, Venable’s release probably begins a new position battle wherever he ends up, potentially robbing Bourjos of at-bats in Philadelphia, should he sign there.
Houston Astros 1B Tyler White Matt Duffy Both offer somewhat intriguing power potential, however White appears to have pulled away from the competition.
Kansas City Royals 2B Omar Infante Christian Colon Infante appears to be over the early injuries this spring, and has reclaimed the starting job in the early going.
Seattle Mariners RF Franklin Gutierrez Seth Smith It is becoming more and more clear this will be a strict platoon to open the year. Gutierrez does have the upside and raw skills to take the job outright, however with a strong start to the year. Both are having very solid springs.

Don’t forget to follow along with all the So-Called Fantasy Experts all spring training for the latest updates on all the position battles.

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