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Predicting The 2022 Opening Day Roster: Version 1.0

photo: Tampa Bay Rays

Spring Training is here, and that means it’s time to see how quickly we can figure out who the 26 men will be standing on the first base line at Tropicana Field come April 8 for Opening Day against the Baltimore Orioles.

As always, there a a few parameters that go into these projections, which will once again come out every Monday until Opening Day:

  • Only players on the spring roster as of Sunday will be used in the projections come Monday.  That means players who may be reported to have agreed to a deal, if they are not on the officially on the roster.
  • No trade predictions.  It’s hard enough to try and do this with all of the players in Port Charlotte.  I don’t need the rumor mill to add any spice to the equation.
  • Injured lists are in play.  The 10-day, 15-day, and 60-day IL’s are fair game when necessary.
  • Pitcher limits are in effect.  The league will enforce a 13 pitcher maximum on active rosters (not counting players considered two-way players).


photo: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays

The back of the rotation is likely to determine how the bullpen will look for the start of the regular season.  Lefty Shane McClanahan and new free agent Corey Kluber have inked their spots, and you would feel that Shane Baz’s strong September would put him in rotation as well.  That leaves three pitchers (right-handers Drew Rasmussen and Luis Patino, and lefty Ryan Yarbrough) for the last two spots.  Yarbrough of course has the most experience, but has performed better when behind an opener.  All three can be optioned to the minors, so whoever is ready for the beginning of the season.

Pitchers (13): Shane Baz, JT Chargois, Pete Fairbanks, J.P. Feyereisen, Andrew Kittredge, Corey Kluber, Shane McClanahan, Colin Poche, Brooks Raley, Drew Rasmussen, Ryan Thompson, Matt Wisler, Ryan Yarbrough


photo: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays

While the Rays have two new additions to the 40-man roster (Rene Pinto and Ford Proctor) and a non-roster invitee (Joe Hudson) in big-league camp, it would take something very serious happening for any of them to make the Opening Day roster, as I would think the front office would bring in an experienced catcher if either Francisco Mejia or Mike Zunino end up with an injury.

Catchers (2): Francisco Mejia, Mike Zunino


Rays shortstop Wander Franco flexes

(photo: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays)

Having not brought in another right-handed hitting bat, it allows me to keep all six infielders that saw big league time last season, though a deal or free agent signing would mean this group is likely the first to see a change made, with Brujan the most likely to be optioned first.

Infielders (6): Vidal Brujan, Ji-Man Choi, Yandy Diaz, Wander Franco, Brandon Lowe, Taylor Walls


photo: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays

With Austin Meadows and Kevin Kiermaier’s names coming up in possible trade scenarios, the outfield group could be another to see changed some time between now and the start of the regular season, but because nothing has been finalized, I can just have Josh Lowe optioned to start things and go with the five players we saw all of last season.

Outfielders (5): Randy Arozarena, Kevin Kiermaier, Manuel Margot, Austin Meadows, Brett Phillips



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Because there haven’t been any signings that require a spot on the 40-man roster, at this point, there is no need to place any player that is dealing with recovering from an injury on the 60-day injured list.  That will come at some point, but it won’t be for the first roster makeup.

10-day Injured List: Nick Anderson, Yonny Chirinos, Tyler Glasnow

60-day Injured List: None

Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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