After reading the predictions by Yahoo! Sports columnist's Jeff Passon, Mark Pesavento and Tim Brown, I agree with them on many predictions and also disagree with some of their selections.
There were a plethora of predictions made by all three men, ranging from who the MVP's will be to who the first general manager to be fired will be. So in an effort not to bore everyone , I will divide each column into different parts.
Al MVP is very difficult to choose. There are many great power sluggers and other hitters who make tremendous impacts on their team. I will count out Travis Hafner, reigning MVP Justin Morneau and David Ortiz. The runner up to Morneau in last year's balloting, Derek Jeter, will once again lead the Yankees to the playoffs, but I don't feel that it's his year to take home the hardware. My choice for Al MVP is Gary Sheffield. It might seem like an unlikely pick, but he will be the leader of the Tigers team and with an excellent offense he can guide his new team to another World Series appearance.
The choice for NL MVP is a lot simpler than the American League, but there are still many players who make a significant impact on their club. While Ryan Howard can win the award, he has too many great players on his team[most notably Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins], who will both overshadow his success. While Lance Berkman is a monster with the bat, his team will not post an impressive record. Likewise, the Cubs will not be so improved that either Derrek Lee or Alfonso Soriano can make an argument for the award.
So, my choice for NL MVP is Albert Pujols. He is lethal with the bat and is unquestionably the most valuable player on his team. Without Albert the Cards would not be competitive and would not have won the World Series last year. My only concern is that recently the award seems to be going to the player who had the most outstanding season, not the player who had an outstanding season and was extremely valuable to his teams success.
The race for CY Young in both leagues will be very competitive, but in the end there are a select number of pitchers who quickly stand out from the rest. For example, Johan Santana is a beast on the mound and is by far the best pitcher in baseball. While I think his team could struggle this season he will still be the AL Cy Young award winner. Roy Halladay, John Lackey, C.C Sabathia and Jeremy Bonderman are all amazing pitchers, but they take a step back to the talent level of Santana.
In the NL, Brandon Webb is very capable of being a repeat winner of the award. He not only has a better team than he did last year, but he has Randy Johnson to help him out on a daily basis. With that said, I believe Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter will be taking home this year's award. After seeing him pitch in Spring Training the 2005 winner is on top of his game and will be counted on heavily this season to lead an inexperienced pitching staff.
I fully expect Jake Peavy to have a bounce back season and once again be regarded as an elite pitcher. It would also not surprise me if Houston's Roy Oswalt was the Cy Young winner and if the Cubs Carlos Zambrano straightens out his control issues he could be adding another award to his resume before he enters the free agency period.
In my next column, I will reveal who this season's Rookie of the Year's and home run leaders will be in each league.