People say pitching is what wins baseball games, but even teams that dominate on the mound still have to produce at the plate.
It's scoring runs that leads to victories, and it's the hitters who often emerge as the most entertaining parts of a game. Without a good all-around lineup, a team can quickly falter and playoff hopes can go up in smoke.
There are some star-studded lineups around baseball this year. Here's our ranking of the top five lineups in MLB:
|5||Michael Brantley (L)||LF||2.2|
|8||Josh Reddick (L)||RF||1.4|
|Tony Kemp (L)||OF/2B||0.6|
The Astros continue to deploy a powerful offensive attack. Their right-handed heavy lineup is perfect for Minute Maid Park's short left-field porch, while Michael Brantley's pop from the left side provides balance and a great complement to the batting order. The bottom four aren't world-beaters, but they can certainly get the job done. It might not be baseball's all-around best lineup, but the Astros still boast a unit that can rip your heart out in one short inning.
|2||Corey Seager (L)||SS||5.4|
|4||Cody Bellinger (L)||RF||3.7|
|5||Max Muncy (L)||1B||1.7|
|7||Joc Pederson (L)||LF||2.8|
|Alex Verdugo (L)||OF||0.6|
This projection is far from the only lineup Dave Roberts will use this season. One of the Dodgers' strengths is their versatility and their ability to match up using many different lineup constructions. Hernandez and Taylor are both utility types, Bellinger's a plus defender at all three outfield spots and first base, and even Muncy was used at second a fair bit last year. In addition, the top of L.A.'s lineup - Pollock, Seager, and Turner - are about as lethal a trio as you'll find. It's a well-rounded lineup that can beat you in a million different ways any given afternoon.
|1||Andrew Benintendi (L)||LF||3.7|
|3||Mitch Moreland (L)||1B||0.8|
|6||Rafael Devers (L)||3B||2.4|
|7||Brock Holt (L)||2B||0.7|
|8||Jackie Bradley Jr. (L)||CF||2.6|
|Blake Swihart (S)||C||0.4|
The reigning World Series champions are stacked. Their lineup is tailor-made to crush at Fenway Park, with the likes of Benintendi, Betts, and Martinez among the finest trios in the sport. There's still a bit of uncertainty behind the plate, and no one knows if Dustin Pedroia can recapture his old form once he returns, but those are hardly impediments for the Red Sox. This lineup is going to pummel opponents, just as it did en route to last year's title. It'll be difficult - nay, impossible - to slow them down.
|1||Aaron Hicks* (S)||CF||3.2|
|7||Greg Bird (L)||1B||0.3|
|Brett Gardner (L)||OF||1.3|
|Mike Tauchman (L)||OF||-0.1|
* indicates player will not play Opening Day due to injury
Perhaps the only thing that can stop this Yankees lineup from wreaking havoc on the American League is health. A back problem will sideline Hicks to start the year (though he might only miss their opening series), and two of their starters, Greg Bird and Troy Tulowitzki - who hasn't played in a regular-season game since July 2017 - have dealt with a plethora of injury woes throughout their career.
But if the Yankees are healthy - look out. New York brought back most of the same lineup that set a single-season home run record last year, and there's no reason to think a batting order featuring Judge and Stanton back-to-back can't do that again in 2019. If the Yankees end up winning 100 games again, or even come close to that mark, it will be because of the damage this lineup can do.
|3||Bryce Harper (L)||LF||4.6|
|6||Odubel Herrera (L)||CF||1.8|
|8||Cesar Hernandez (S)||2B||2.0|
|Andrew Knapp (S)||C||-0.1|
|Nick Williams (L)||OF||0.1|
A lineup that was already much improved over the winter got even better with the addition of Bryce Harper, vaulting the Phillies into this slot as the best lineup in baseball.
The top five of this unit features two former MVPs and four All-Stars, plus a 30-homer slugger who's probably headed to many future Midsummer Classics in Hoskins. Herrera's also a former All-Star, and though he dropped off a bit last year, he still holds potential as a very solid bat. Even those final two hitters before the pitcher's spot are solid contributors. The Phillies have constructed a lineup with very few holes, and they'll be tough to stop in 2019 and beyond.