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Scouts' Takes: Breaking down each American League roster

What's the view like from enemy lines? Before the 2016 MLB season starts, rival scouts offer their evaluations of every team in the AL.

Every year for SI's baseball preview issue, our MLB staff asks rival scouts to size up and break down each team's rosters anonymously and freely. Here are their takes on every club in the American League; you can find their opinions on the National League's squads here.

Teams are presented in alphabetical order.

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Lineup & Defense

This is a classic Earl Weaver, three-run homer type team. They're going to have to score runs in bunches.... If teams can command four-seam fastballs on Chris Davis's hands and up, they'll get him out. If they make mistakes, he hits them out.... Manny Machado seems to be going the other way a little bit more this spring, which is going to round out his game. He's a Platinum Glove third baseman with great quick-twitch instincts and enough arm to throw you out from the hole.

Matt Wieters's arm is not all the way back from Tommy John surgery. He's serviceable. He's going to have to work to take the full-time job back, because Caleb Joseph is coming on like crazy. Joseph will catch against teams that can run, because he can throw people out where Wieters can't.... Jonathan Schoop is a plus defender, almost Gold Glove-caliber. I think he's going to be an All-Star this year. He still chases breaking balls out of the zone and has to learn the strike zone better, but he's got power and offensive skills that very few second basemen have.... Pedro Alvarez can be a quality DH. He'll reach the left-centerfield fence in Baltimore and hit home runs that were outs in Pittsburgh.

Rotation & Bullpen

For them to be a wild-card contender, Kevin Gausman has to be a mid- to upper-level rotation guy. He doesn't throw 95–100 mph anymore. He's a 91–93 guy, but he's starting to learn how to pitch with what he has. They've messed with him a lot. When he first came up, he pitched from the first base side of the rubber, threw very hard and commanded everything. Now they've pushed him over to the third base side and he doesn't command very well.... They've got a very talented and deep bullpen. Zach Britton has been lights out, Darren O'Day is solid, Mychal Givens and Brad Brach are also good.

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Lineup & Defense

Mookie Betts is such a good energy kid, a very hard worker who takes instruction well. His plate discipline will determine whether he'll be a great player.... Xander Bogaerts isn't a home run hitter and strikes out way too much, but I think he'll take the next step.... Boston's issues are the corner infield spots, Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. Ramirez has changed his swing a little bit and isn't thinking wall. He's been going the other way more. He's defending O.K. at first base. The question is whether he can keep his head in the game for a whole season, which he's never done. You'd hope that David Ortiz can take him under his wing.... Sandoval is as fat as ever, and his body can betray him in a heartbeat. He's just an adequate offensive player now. I don't expect more than the 10 home runs he hit last year.... I think Jackie Bradley Jr. can hit enough to play every day, but it's close. Pitch recognition gives him trouble. He expands the zone and chases fastballs out of it.

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"[Pablo] Sandoval is as fat as ever, and his body can betray him in a heartbeat. He's just an adequate offensive player now. I don't expect more than the 10 home runs he hit last year."

Rotation & Bullpen

This team has depth problems in its rotation. Those other guys besides David Price all have question marks attached.... Clay Buchholz has no right to be in the two hole. He's very mistake prone; he'll throw a good fastball in a good location, then another one and then just a terrible fastball in a terrible location. He gets down on himself and needs somebody to pump him up all the time.... Joe Kelly can run his fastball up there at 93–95, but hitters get very good swings at it. He belongs in the five hole.... Rick Porcello has got to maintain his velocity on his fastball, which tends to come and go, and he's got to really command his curveball.... Craig Kimbrel is one of the top-shelf relievers in the game. He didn't fit out in San Diego. He's an adrenaline guy, and what better spot for adrenaline than Fenway?

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Lineup & Defense

There was a lot of talk about whether they should blow things up there, but when you have Chris Sale and Jose Abreu in their prime, you have to win now.... I really liked the Todd Frazier addition. In that ballpark his line drives are going to get out. He's a gamer, and Chicago is going to love him.... Brett Lawrie is built like a brick house and so wired too—I thought all along this guy is going to hit 25 home runs sometime, but probably not in that graveyard in Oakland. He could get there this year.... They are down on Avisail Garcia, but the kid is still just 24 with plenty of potential. The problem is that he's from the same area as Miguel Cabrera, looks like Miguel Cabrera, and people keep comparing him with Miguel Cabrera. He's not Miguel Cabrera, but he's a guy with at least 20 home run power.

MORE MLB: Check out all 30 team previews for the 2016 season

Rotation & Bullpen

Sale is a top five pitcher in all of baseball—there's a guy who just got $217 million [David Price] who I would rate lower than him. It's incredible—all pitchers break down at some point, and here you have this toothpick skinny guy who's all elbows and knees flying everywhere, and he's been sturdy. He's always as good of a pick as any to win the Cy Young.... Jose Quintana is a case in point that wins don't tell the whole story—he hasn't won more than 10 games in a season but three straight 200-inning seasons with an ERA that's around 3.40, I'll take that any day.

Carlos Rodon might be the most important player on the team, the difference between this being a pretty good rotation or a great one. He's found that velocity that made him great in college. He can throw that nasty slider anytime. There will be a point where he's a No. 1.... Mat Latos gets a bad rap for some reason as being a bad clubhouse guy, but all of that is overblown. He had knee problems last year, but if he can stay healthy, this could be one of the best off-season acquisitions.

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Lineup & Defense

I can understand people's affinity for Cleveland because its pitching is so good, but Michael Brantley's shoulder is hurt and that really kills them. They've got to get some offense from their outfield. You could make the case for Lonnie Chisenhall, but he didn't deliver at third base.... They can compete with Kansas City, but they're going to have to get seven innings from their starters. If Brantley comes back soon, they have a chance. He hits lefthanded pitchers like they're righthanders. He wears guys out.... Francisco Lindor isn't far behind Houston's Carlos Correa. He has some power too. This guy wants to be one of the great players who ever played.

Carlos Santana has power, but he's a wild swinger. He needs to be a secondary guy that hits fifth or six. If he hit 25 home runs and drove in 85, I wouldn't be that surprised, but he's more likely to do that with someone else carrying the load.... Jason Kipnis can run, he could hit 15-20 homers, he's become a pretty good second baseman. He's an occasional All-Star.... They know that if they'd scored more runs last year, they would've been in the playoffs.

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"There are only eight or 10 true No. 1's in the game, and [Corey] Kluber is one of them. That breaking stuff is good, and he throws hard enough and he can spot the ball."

Rotation & Bullpen

If they get in the tournament, you run Corey Kluber out there, and Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar and even Trevor Bauer and they could go pretty far.... There are only eight or 10 true No. 1's in the game, and Kluber is one of them. That breaking stuff is good, and he throws hard enough and he can spot the ball.... Carrasco has really come a long way, and I love his stuff. He keeps the ball down. The arm's always been there. Now he's got command.... Salazar has got a ridiculous arm. He leaves the ball up. He's got the stuff to be a No. 1, but he doesn't have the command quite yet.... Cody Allen's got really good stuff. He throws hard, he's got a quick, hard breaking ball. He's a real closer.

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Lineup & Defense

GM Al Avila did a great job this winter. But they don't have a lot of depth.... This was the best place for Justin Upton to sign because he can't carry a lineup. He'll get pitches to hit in front of Miguel Cabrera, but he hasn't looked good in spring training. Even though the guy is still just 28, I see him in decline.... Victor Martinez looked good this spring. This guy is constantly looking at video, constantly trying to get better.... J.D. Martinez has big power to right centerfield. The question with him was could he handle the ball in. He's shown he can.

Jose Iglesias looks a little heavier to me. That could be affecting his range.... Steven Moya might be the biggest position player I've ever seen: 6'7", 260, and it's a tapered frame. He's got unbelievable power but a long swing that needs work. Advance scouting would eat him for lunch right now.... James McCann is going to be one of the better catchers in the American League. He can hit. He can catch. His framing is one thing that he can work on, but that's not a huge concern.

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