Predicting 2013 Award Winners
Adrian Beltre – Coming off three straight years of at least 100 RBI, Beltre is primed for an MVP award. He finished third in the MVP balloting last season, with a .321/.359/.561 (Avg./OBP/SLG) slash line. Over the course of the last three seasons, Beltre has batted .314 with 96 homers and 309 RBI, while also winning two straight Gold Glove Awards. Adrian Beltre’s tremendous defense sets him apart from many of the other contenders and his importance to the Rangers’ offense has skyrocketed after the loss of Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli.
Dark Horse – Yoenis Cespedes
AL Cy Young
Justin Verlander – Verlander is easily my choice for the best pitcher in the Majors. Three of the last four seasons, Verlander has led the Majors in both innings pitched and strike outs. He has also posted more than 15 wins in each of the last four seasons. Verlander is a safe bet for 200 innings and 200 strike outs, while also pitching to an ERA below 3. Last season, Verlander actually surpassed David Price in WAR and ERA+.
Dark Horse – Brandon Morrow
AL Rookie of the Year
Wil Myers – Myers will certainly begin the season in Triple-A because the Rays would like to delay the start of his MLB service clock. Nevertheless, once that date passes Myers will be the starting right fielder for the Rays. The tools are there, as he has tremendous power and great contact skills. Myers batted .314 with 37 homers and 109 RBI between Double-A and Triple-A last season. Jurickson Profar will likely reach the Majors sooner, but once called up his playing time will likely be more sporadic and unpredictable.
Dark Horse – Aaron Hicks
Joey Votto – Votto was the front-runner to win the MVP last season until his knee injury shortened his season. He has batted over .300 in each of the last 4 seasons and led the league in walks last year, while only playing 111 games. Other than his knee injury last season, Votto has been incredibly durable and consistent. Votto will also be hitting with a better lineup ahead of him, after the addition of Shin-Soo-Choo. The only concern with Votto is his power is not really MVP caliber, with only one 30 homer season.
Dark Horse – Jason Heyward
NL Cy Young
Stephen Strasburg – Everyone knows Strasburg has the most electric stuff in the Majors and now that he is pitching without an innings limit, he should be able to dominate for a complete season. In 159 1/3 innings, Strasburg had 197 strike outs and finished with a 15-6 record thanks to a 3.16 ERA. Strasburg has the lineup behind him to help get him to 20 wins and having already had Tommy John surgery, he should be healthy for the entire season.
Dark Horse – Kris Medlen
NL Rookie of the Year
Shelby Miller – Like many, my ROY pick was Adam Eaton until he went down with his elbow injury that will likely cost him 2 months of the season. Shelby is my new pick, after hearing that he will definitely be the 5th starter for the Cardinals. Miller has very good stuff and had a strong second half of the season last year in Triple-A. In his short stint with the Cardinals last season, Shelby pitched to a 1.32 ERA in 13 2/3 innings with 16 strike outs. Miller will get the opportunity to pitch every 5th day and with many other top prospects beginning the season in the minors, it is likely Miller’s full season in the Majors will separate him from the rest.
Dark Horse – Pete Kozma
Tell us what your picks are in the comments.