With over 1,280 active players in Major League Baseball, one would think choosing the award winners would be a daunting task. There are so many stand-out players in baseball that the choice of picking who is the best is not a tough choice.
With rankings in the top five for the last three years in AL MVP voting, you think it’s about time Miguel Cabrera finally wins an AL MVP award? Cabrera was edged out by his fellow Tigers teammate Justin Verlander last year, so this year has to be his year. Cabrera lead the league in average last year hitting .344 and clocking 30 home runs, so he’s no slouch. The Tigers added Prince Fielder to their lineup which should give Cabrera more opportunities for RBI’s. Although he moves to third base, Cabrera should be a hands down choice for MVP this year.
With both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder leaving the NL Central, the Cincinnati Reds should have a prime opportunity to take the division crown this year. Votto, already an NL MVP in 2010, is an all around great hitter who should not fail to impress the masses this year. Last year’s winner, Ryan Braun, is facing the aftermath of his overturned suspension and that might be a distraction on his part. Votto has great protection in his lineup which should give him the edge, and with a brand new contract in hand, he really has nothing to lose.
Justin Verlander won not only the AL CY Young last year, but he was also named the AL MVP. So you might call me crazy not picking Verlander to repeat as winner; if I had to pick a second it would be him. While he is ridiculously good, so is Jered Weaver. Last year the Angels had the best pitching staff in terms of ERA in the AL and they were in the top 10 for fielding in the league. The Angels also added Albert Pujols to their lineup, so his bat and glove should give Weaver the protection he needs to finally win a Cy Young.
What can you say about Roy Halladay that hasn’t already been said before? If you are looking for a steady hand in baseball, Doc Halladay is your guy. With the exception of Tim Lincecum in 2008 and 2009, the NL Cy Young has fluctuated between pitchers over the years. Look for Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and last year’s winner, Clayton Kershaw, to give Halladay a run for his money this year.
Alright, so Darvish has been pitching professionally in Japan since 2005, but the arrival of this foreign star should make waves in the league this year. When one pays a $50 million posting fee for a player, that player better step up his game! Darvish was an ace in Japan going 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA to boot. Now the transition from Japan to America has never been easy for many players, but Darvish truly looks to succeed over here. Though of the Japanese players to come over recently have not lived up to their hype like Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kosuke Fukudome, but at 25 years old Darvish is the age of most rookies in Major League Baseball, and I believe he will in fact dominate the league quickly.
The Phenom, the Natural, the best amateur baseball player ever. Bryce Harper has brought upon his own cult status over the years as being one of the best drafted players of all time. Well when you are 19 and have your own Wikipedia page, you’re kind of a big deal. Harper was drafted number one overall in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft as a catcher, but most experts believe he will play a corner outfield position. The Nationals have sent Harper down to the minors before the season started, but look for him to get called up very soon and take a hold of the National League. Look out for Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo to make a splash later in the season, as well.