Awards are always tough to predict in March, but here are my preseason favorites:
AL MVP: Mike Trout
This the year for Trout, who in his third full season will finally get the MVP trophy he deserves. He'll benefit from Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols having bounce back years.
Also considered: Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder
AL Cy Young: Yu Darvish
Darvish was a much more polished pitcher in his second season than he was in his first, so if he can improve just a hair more (mainly by gaining better command of his fastball) then 300 strikeouts, 20 wins and a Cy Young could all be within his reach.
Also considered: Felix Hernandez, David Price
AL Rookie of the Year: Xander Bogaerts
If last October was any indication, Bogaerts is ready to become a star.
Also considered: Jose Abreu
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Albert Pujols
Now that Pujols is healthy, I fully expect Prince Albert to reverse the trend that has seen his OPS decline every year since 2008.
Also considered: Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira,
NL MVP: Hanley Ramirez
I was between HanRam and Yasiel Puig, but since Puig's probably going to suffer a sophomore slump I went with Ramirez, who was otherworldly last year and is still just 30. As long as he's healthy he's as good a bet as any.
Also considered: Puig, Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
Kershaw has inherited the title of best pitcher in baseball from Justin Verlander and seems likely to hold onto it for the next half-decade.
Also considered: Zack Greinke, Jose Fernandez, Stephen Strasburg
NL Rookie of the Year: Billy Hamilton
Hamilton has the potential to become the first player in a quarter century to steal 80 bases in a single season. With his game-changing speed I don't think 100 is out of the question, provided he can get on base, of course.
Also considered: Oscar Taveras, Travis d'Arnaud
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Matt Kemp
29 and only one year removed from being an All-Star caliber player, Kemp should rebound following a dismal and injury-ravaged 2013.
Also considered: Chris Young, Curtis Granderson, Miguel Montero, Dan Haren, Dan Uggla