Originally written on We Talk Fantasy Sports  |  Last updated 4/1/13
AL MVP - Albert PujolsIt was only a few years ago that this guy was the most feared hitter in the MLB and I think he'll bounce back after a modest .285, 30 HR, 102 RBI. He's now in his 2nd year of a monster contract, new team and new home, Pujols will be more comfortable in 2013 which means he'll be locked in at the plate. Hitting behind Mike Trout & Erick Aybar and in front of Josh Hamilton & Mark Trumbo, Pujols will have plenty of RBI chances as teams will have to pitch to him with protection in the lineup and will have plenty of guys behind him to drive him in when he's on base.AL Cy Young - Justin VerlanderJustin Verlander is as consistent of a pitcher as they come. He's a lock each year for 33 starts, 225-240 IP, 230 Ks, an ERA under 3.30 and a WHIP right around 1.10. Having Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder leading the offense, Verlander should continue to get plenty of run support each time he takes the mound. He's now the richest pitcher in MLB history and he'll prove to the world why he deserves every penny. AL Rookie of the Year - Aaron HicksHicks won the CF job for the Minnesota Twins and he'll be leading off. Last year in AA Hicks proved he has a good mix of power and speed hitting .286, 21 doubles, 11 triples, 13 home runs, and stealing 32 bases. His last 3 years in the minors he's proved he's got a good eye at the plate drawing right around 80 walks. If he gets a hit or draws a walk, then he's a threat to steal to get in scoring position giving Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau an opportunity to drive him in.AL Home Run Leader - Jose BautistaBefore injuring his wrist causing him to miss the entire second half of the 2012 season, Jose Bautista hit 27 home runs in just 92 games. He's proving his wrist is healed as he blasted 6 home runs in spring training. With guys like Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, and Colby Rasmus in the lineup, opposing pitchers will not be willing to pitch around Bautista and put him on base, so he should see better pitches to hit which will increase his home run totals.AL Batting Champ - Robinson CanoYou can ignore the Robinson Cano you saw play in the 2012 MLB Postseason as that was a flukey performance. Cano has hit over .300 the last 4 seasons. Cano finished the regular season with 24 hits over the final 9 games, having multiple hits in all 9. That's the hitter fans can expect to see this year. He might start off a little slow with no protection in the lineup but once Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, and Mark Teixeira start to return from injury, Cano will see pitches to hit. AL Saves Leader -Fernando RodneyFernando Rodney had one of the most dominant seasons in MLB history, saving 48 games with a 0.60 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and striking out 76 batters in 74 innings. A lot of relievers are very hit or miss but I expect to see another dominant season out of Rodney as he completely shut down hitters in the WBC, helping the Dominican Republic go undefeated and win the tournament.NL MVP - Joey VottoLimited to just 111 games last year, Joey Votto still hit .337, 44 doubles, 14 home runs, 56 RBI, 59 runs and 94 walks. He might have some doubters coming into the 2013 season as they'll want him to prove he's 100% healthy but I don't think it'll take very long for them to believe in him. Votto is a career .316 hitter, so expect him to compete for the batting title, hit around 50 doubles and 30 home runs. The Reds have a very strong lineup from top to bottom with Shin-Soo Choo, Brandon Phillips, Votto, Ryan Ludwick, Jay Bruce, Todd Fraizer, Zack Cozart and Ryan Hanigan. Votto has plenty of protection in the lineup and will see plenty of RBI chances. With the big boppers behind him, Votto will easily drive in over 100 and score over 100 runs.NL Cy Young - Stephen StrasburgStrasburg is the most exciting and electric starting pitcher in the game today and in 2012 pitched his first full season in the MLB going 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA and 197 strike outs in 159 innings as he was on a innings limit trying to protect his arm. This year the innings limit is no longer in effect and Strasburg should be able to pitch deeper into games this year which means he'll win more games and his strike outs are going to sky rocket. 20 wins, 240 strike outs and a sub 3 ERA would not shock me. NL Rookie of the Year - Jedd GyorkoThe injury to Chase Headley has allowed Gyorko to sneak into the opening day lineup and he'll be able to prove he's MLB ready by the time Headley comes back and Gyorko should be on the team all year. This kid has some serious power as he hit 28 doubles and 30 home runs in the minors last year as he hit .311. The San Diego Padres have been a very boring franchise the last 5 years or so and Gyorko will bring plenty of excitement to the team.NL Home Run Leader - Giancarlo StantonAt just the age of 23, Stanton is entering the prime of his MLB career, which is quite scary since he's hit 71 home runs over the past 2 seasons.  This is by far the strongest player in the game and when he gets a good peice of wood on the bat, the ball is launched out of the park. He hits bombs. I understand he plays for the Marlins and they traded every valuable player around him but he'll see a good share of pitches to hit this year and he'll make the most of it. I'd be surprised if he doesn't hit around 45 home runs this year.NL Batting Champ - Ryan BraunRyan Braun is arguably the most complete hitter in the MLB and has hit .313 for his career, including .332, .320 and .319 in 3 of the last 4 years. He's a lock for 70-80 extra base hits and I think he's going to have another monster season and he'll compete with Joey Votto for this year's NL Batting title.NL Saves Leader -Sergio RomoEvery year I doubt the San Francisco Giants and every year they prove me wrong. Their starting pitching and bullpen are so consistent every year and their offense continues to gets a little bit better. They constantly win close low scoring games which give their closers plenty of save opportunities and now with Brian Wilson gone, Romo is the main guy and he saved 14 of 15 games last year. He has unbelievable stuff which is why for his career he has 277 strike outs and just 48 walks in 233 innings.
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