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Over the next week, Buster Olney will be ranking the 10 best in MLB in a variety of categories. He starts with the top 10 lineups. As one executive noted to Olney, "When you start looking at the projected lineups for 2014, there are not many dominant lineups. Most clubs have a couple of spots that have young players, or players returning from injuries. So almost all have a couple of questions." Click here to see Olney's top 10 Insider and submit your own ballot by clicking on the images below.

Baseball's top 10 lineups

A's

A's

Pictured: Yoenis Cespedes

Angels

Angels

Pictured: Mike Trout

Cardinals

Cardinals

Pictured: Allen Craig

Indians

Indians

Pictured: Nick Swisher

Rangers

Rangers

Pictured: Prince Fielder

Red Sox

Red Sox

Pictured: David Ortiz

Rockies

Rockies

Pictured: Carlos Gonzalez

Royals

Royals

Pictured: Alex Gordon

Tigers

Tigers

Pictured: Miguel Cabrera

Yankees

Yankees

Pictured: Jacoby Ellsbury

Your Rankings

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Francona, Hurdle are top managers

Clint Hurdle won the National League Manager of the Year award Tuesday, and it should be no surprise; his Pittsburgh Pirates shocked baseball by shaking off a 20-year futility streak to win 94 games. The American League recipient -- the Cleveland Indians' Terry Francona -- was a bit surprising, as second-place finisher John Farrell was also a popular candidate. In the end, though, it a 24-victory improvement that helped Francona edge out the Boston Red Sox skipper. Did voters get these awards right?

  • What do you make of Terry Francona winning AL Manager of the Year?

    •  
      60%
    •  
      40%

    Discuss (Total votes: 52,763)

  • What do you make of Clint Hurdle winning NL Manager of the Year?

    •  
      74%
    •  
      26%

    Discuss (Total votes: 31,078)

  • Which team's season was most surprising?

    •  
      19%
    •  
      42%
    •  
      39%

    Discuss (Total votes: 32,041)

  • Which team will fare better in 2014?

    •  
      31%
    •  
      69%

    Discuss (Total votes: 8,413)

  • Which made the bigger difference for the Red Sox in 2013?

    •  
      34%
    •  
      66%

    Discuss (Total votes: 8,114)

  • Who is the better manager?

    •  
      37%
    •  
      63%

    Discuss (Total votes: 8,117)

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AP Photo/Tony Dejak

How will MLB playoffs play out?

The division series are set, with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays earning best-of-five shots at the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox, respectively. Meanwhile, we'll see two meetings between division winners -- Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A's vs. Detroit Tigers. How will it all play out?

  • Which team will win the Tigers-Athletics series?

    •  
      58%
    •  
      42%

    Discuss (Total votes: 65,570)

  • Which team will win the Rays-Red Sox series?

    •  
      37%
    •  
      63%

    Discuss (Total votes: 192,398)

  • Which team will win the Dodgers-Braves series?

    •  
      59%
    •  
      41%

    Discuss (Total votes: 48,430)

  • Which team will win the Pirates-Cardinals series?

    •  
      58%
    •  
      42%

    Discuss (Total votes: 189,274)

  • Which will be the best series?

    •  
      15%
    •  
      30%
    •  
      33%
    •  
      22%

    Discuss (Total votes: 61,771)

  • Which team will win the American League pennant?

    •  
      16%
    •  
      10%
    •  
      48%
    •  
      26%

    Discuss (Total votes: 38,000)

  • Which team will win the National League pennant?

    •  
      17%
    •  
      22%
    •  
      34%
    •  
      27%

    Discuss (Total votes: 75,592)

  • Which team will win the World Series?

    •  
      14%
    •  
      13%
    •  
      19%
    •  
      23%
    •  
      31%

    Discuss (Total votes: 133,476)

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AL wild-card race down to the wire

Two wins separate the three teams in the American League wild-card race, and nothing is out of the question -- including a three-way tie for two playoff spots. The Rays seem to have the advantage, with a one-game lead over the Indians and a six-game win streak. But the Indians also have won six straight and finish with four games at the woeful Twins. As for the Rangers? They're one game behind the Indians but temporarily halted their monthlong plunge -- three games against the Astros will do that -- and stayed alive. Will they win out at home and keep the pressure on Tampa Bay and Cleveland?

  • Which two teams will reach the AL wild-card playoff game?

    •  
      67%
    •  
      22%
    •  
      11%

    Discuss (Total votes: 11,382)

  • Which of the three teams vying for the AL wild card is most likely to advance to the divisional round?

    •  
      53%
    •  
      36%
    •  
      11%

    Discuss (Total votes: 10,828)

  • Which of the three teams in the AL wild-card race are you rooting for?

    •  
      21%
    •  
      48%
    •  
      16%
    •  
      15%

    Discuss (Total votes: 7,587)

  • Which of these outcomes would be most surprising?

    •  
      39%
    •  
      15%
    •  
      46%

    Discuss (Total votes: 7,454)

  • Would you like to see a three-way tie for the two AL wild-card spots?

    •  
      68%
    •  
      32%

    Discuss (Total votes: 7,216)

  • Do you like MLB's wild-card playoff system as presently designed?

    •  
      63%
    •  
      37%

    Discuss (Total votes: 63,359)

Comment »

Baseball races reach the stretch run

With three weeks in the regular season, Major League Baseball's playoff picture is coming into focus, though some big questions remain. The Cardinals, Pirates and Reds are in a tight race for the National League Central, while Oakland or Texas are battling it out for the American League West title. But the most drama is in the race for the second AL wild card, where five teams are vying for one playoff berth. Do the Indians, Orioles, Yankees or Royals have enough left in the tank to challenge the Rays?

  • Which team wins the second AL wild card?

    •  
      32%
    •  
      20%
    •  
      21%
    •  
      17%
    •  
      10%

    Discuss (Total votes: 29,524)

  • Which manager would you rather have in the race for the AL's second wild card?

    •  
      31%
    •  
      17%
    •  
      29%
    •  
      18%
    •  
      5%

    Discuss (Total votes: 10,349)

  • Which team will win the AL West?

    •  
      76%
    •  
      24%

    Discuss (Total votes: 19,577)

  • Which team will win the NL Central?

    •  
      51%
    •  
      41%
    •  
      8%

    Discuss (Total votes: 53,719)

  • Which team will represent the NL in the World Series?

    •  
      24%
    •  
      20%
    •  
      35%
    •  
      14%
    •  
      7%

    Discuss (Total votes: 10,110)

  • Which team will represent the AL in the World Series?

    •  
      16%
    •  
      7%
    •  
      41%
    •  
      36%

    Discuss (Total votes: 9,935)

Comment »