2012 produced some amazing individual stories. Watching Miguel Cabrera win the Triple Crown or RA Dickey become one of the best pitchers in baseball were inspiring to say the least.
However, 2013 could be just as exciting. Players are going to do more great things and just maybe, some records will fall.
For these excellent performances, players are going to receive awards at the end of the 2013 season. That is what we are going to try to predict today.
Specifically, we are going to be talking about the MVP awards, the Cy Young awards, the Rookie of the Year awards, the Manager of the Year awards and the Comeback Player of the Year awards.
We will obviously know the results in about a year, but here are my preliminary thoughts.
I know this is probably going to be a controversial choice, but Alex Rodriguez had a very difficult 2012 season. He hit .272 with 18 home runs and 57 RBI.
While he isn't nearly worth what he is paid anymore, he has been one of the best baseball players for a good portion of the past decade. It is not impossible to believe that he will be able to regain some of what made him great in 2013.
He is getting older, but many players have had great seasons as they are moving through their 30s.
Carl Crawford must be happy to be out of Boston. His time there was very difficult to say the least as he battled ineffectiveness and injury. In 2012, he only played in 31 games and hit .282 with three home runs, 19 RBI and five stolen bases.
While playing for the Tampa Bay Rays, he was a pretty safe bet to hit roughly .300 with double-digit home runs and approximately 50 stolen bases. Now that he is playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, maybe that player will make an appearance again.
The Boston Red Sox were obviously not happy with the way that their 2012 season went down. After ousting manager Bobby Valentine, they brought in John Farrell to manage in 2013.
Not only is Farrell a different manager, but he is also going to have a team with a bunch of new weapons. Boston is probably going to spend a lot of money this season to bring in a championship-quality roster.
Assuming that they do a good job doing that, Farrell should be able to lead the biggest comeback in Major League Baseball next season.
The Pittsburgh Pirates made a bid this season to finally end their streak of under-.500 futility. While they didn't accomplish that this season, this is a team on the rise behind the leadership of their manager Clint Hurdle.
With intelligent moves this winter and rising stars like Andrew McCutchen on the roster, the Pirates should improve and finally have a winning record for the first time since 1992. Breaking that streak should earn Hurdle the Manager of the Year nod.
Wil Myers has been incredibly productive throughout his time in the Kansas City Royals farm system, and he should be ready to make an impression next season. In 2012, he split his time between Double-A and Triple-A and hit a combined .314 with 37 home runs and 109 RBI.
Obviously, he has outgrown the minor-league system and is ready to compete at the major league level. It would be surprising to see him pull out that much production next season, but he should easily produce a lot of runs for Kansas City as they try to improve.
You know how I just said that the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to get better? Gerrit Cole could easily be a huge part of that success. Last season, he pitched everywhere from Advanced-A all the way to Triple-A and posted a combined 9-7 record with a 2.80 ERA.
On top of that, it isn't like he is just getting lucky. He struck out over a batter per inning and allowed less than one hit per inning. He does need to turn down his walks a little bit to become the ace that we all know he can become, but if he can do that, you will see a great season.
Felix Hernandez doesn't receive the run support with the Seattle Mariners, but that doesn't stop him from being one of the best pitchers in baseball. Last year, he went 13-9 with a 3.06 ERA and just about a strikeout per inning.
He will turn 27 at the beginning of the 2013 campaign, so if he progresses like normal pitchers do, he should be entering his best seasons. If his best is even better than what we have been seeing for the past few seasons, he could be a terrifying opponent.
Matt Cain has helped lead the San Francisco Giants to a pair of World Series championships, and he seems to be getting better every season. In 2012, he went 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA. The magic of Matt Cain is that he does not allow very many runners to reach base, as evidenced by his 1.040 WHIP last year.
Just like Felix Hernandez, Cain is just barely entering his prime, and it is definitely possible to imagine him improving even more. That being said, even in his current form, he is a legitimate Cy Young candidate and knows how to win baseball games in San Francisco.
Mike Trout burst onto the scene with a remarkable rookie campaign in 2012. He hit .326 with 30 home runs, 83 RBI and 49 stolen bases. To put that in perspective, there have been many talented players to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases, but no one was younger than Trout.
At the time I am writing this, it is still unknown whether Trout will be able to capture the 2012 award away from Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera. Even if he does not win it this time, he is easily a serious contender for the 2013 award.
I know that I'm a little bit heavy on the Pittsburgh Pirates, but early this season, Andrew McCutchen was in serious contention for the National League MVP. He did cool off a little bit, but he still ended up hitting .327 with 31 home runs, 96 RBI and 20 stolen bases.
In general, MVP voters seem to like players who are multidimensional, and McCutchen is definitely that. Along with the offensive statistics I just mentioned, he also won a Gold Glove in 2012. He just turned 26 years old, and it seems that if there is nothing but positive potential for this young outfielder.
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