If you want to make some safe guesses as to who will win the American League Cy Young Award this coming season, it's pretty easy.
Start with returning award winner Justin Verlander. Throw in a former winner such as Felix Hernandez and add in another big lefty who pitches on a big stage in C.C. Sabathia. Don't forget to include Jared Weaver, James Shields and David Price.
Things don't always work out as planned.
The Phillies had Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee and won over 100 games last season. That yielded zero Cy Young awards and zero World Series rings.
The Red Sox were everyone's preseason pick in the American League, but alas they didn't even make the playoffs.
Raise your hand if you predicted Curtis Granderson would lead the Yankees in home runs last season. If you raised your hand, you're lying.
The point is that things don't always turn out as planned. If any one of those six pitchers wins the Cy Young, no one will be too shocked.
But lurking beneath those pitchers are another group of players. They're all good pitchers to be sure, but they're not the first names that come to mind when one is predicting the AL Cy Young award.
Some names to consider...