Predicting One 2013 Award Candidate for Each American League Team

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Predicting One 2013 Award Candidate for Each American League Team
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Last year's American League award winners featured a number of expected contenders and household names, including AL MVP Miguel Cabrera, AL Cy Young Award Winner David Price and AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout. Many fans and writers had predicted these three would be in the running for the awards they would subsequently win, so it wasn't too surprising to see them take home the hardware.

At the same time, less of us had Bob Melvin penciled in for AL Manager of the Year as the Oakland A's were almost afterthought in a division expected to be controlled by the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels. However, Melvin got the most out of a young pitching staff and pieced-together lineup to win the American League West and the award for the league's best manager.

Even less of us saw Fernando Rodney's virtuoso 2012 campaign coming - a year in which he set a Major League record for a relief pitcher with a minimum of 50 innings pitched by recording a 0.60 ERA, en route to winning the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award.

And if a handful of votes had gone in a different direction last year in the American League balloting, we could have seen the first back-to-back AL Cy Young Award winner in over a decade in Justin Verlander, the third-ever rookie to win AL MVP in Mike Trout (a player who didn't even start the season in the majors), and a manager who lost 93 games a year prior win AL Manager of the Year in Buck Showalter.

The bottom line is that picking who will win - or even just be a candidate - for the end-of-season awards in each league is an inexact science. There are often a number of expected superstars in the running and then there are a number of darkhorse candidates or guys who were completely off the radar going into the season.

However, in this slideshow, I'll make an attempt to pick out one member from each AL squad (some of which will have more than one obvious contender) who should be expected to contend for one of the aforementioned awards in the American League in 2013 and explain why I expect them to at least be in the running for some hardware this season.

I will follow up with the expected National League award candidates by team next week.

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