C: Miguel Montero will see all the at bats he can. Henry Blanco is coming off a career year, but at 41 this year he can be expected to repeat. Craig Tatum was recently claimed and is less of an offensive presence than Blanco.
1B: Paul Goldschmidt is the expected started, based on his solid stint last summer, but I’m just a little bit wary of all those strikeouts. Lyle Overbay is the opposite of a monster hitter, but if Golschmidt gets off to a bad start he could shed AB quickly.
2B: Aaron Hill is the second baseman. The only question is if the homer hitter or the base stealer shows up this year. A weak BA is a given. The useful and sometimes valuable Willie Bloomquist is his backup.
SS: Stephen Drew is a health risk, coming off a broken ankle and an October hernia operation. Bloomquist and John McDonald are his backups. McDonald has one or two games a season that it’s worth rostering him. I priced Drew at $9 in the Guide, but at this point I think we have to assume he’ll be fairly healthy to start the season. I’ve bumped him up to $12.
3B: Ryan Roberts finally fulfilled the destiny I have long predicted for him, long after I’d given up on him. I wouldn’t expect a repeat. One reason he might get the AB even if he stumbles is because his backup is the aged Geoff Blum. Of course, Bloomquist could show up here, too.
LF: Jason Kubel now blocks Gerardo Parra, who had what amounted to a breakout season last year. Kubel has traditionally been weak against lefties, but so has Parra, so it isn’t a platoon fit. I’m taking Parra as my fifth outfielder every chance I get.
CF: Chris Young brings a crumby BA but will homer and steal bases. Parra is his backup, too.
RF: Justin Upton is this team’s star. He’s backed up by Parra.
SP: Daniel Hudson, Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Josh Collmenter and Joe Saunders are the starters. Wade Miley was the guy who filled in last year, and may this year, too, at least for a while, but the world awaits the arrival of Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs. Both are very young and could make the big league squad at some point this year.
RP: JJ Putz is the closer. He had a fine year in 2011, but that can’t be assumed this year. David Hernandez is the closer in waiting, and is expected to be a good one.