The major MLB awards have seen something of a renaissance in recent years—or at least the debate around them has. Voters still cling to dubious criteria to determine how to cast their ballots, but the discussion surrounding the MVP, Cy Young and, to a lesser extent, Rookie of the Year awards is increasingly shaped by the growing influence of sabermetrics analysis.
In some ways, the competing interpretations of the awards are what makes them interesting in the first place. Sure, we could just award the Cy Young to the guy with the most wins every year, and, conversely, the MVP could go to whichever player Fangraphs says has the highest WAR. But both scenarios seem awfully boring to me.
Both schools of thought have scored notable victories in recent years. Felix Hernandez took home the AL Cy Young Award with a mere 13 wins in 2010 in what was a win for the saber set, while the old-school types got their revenge in 2012, when Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera was awarded the AL MVP even though Mike Trout outgained him in WAR by a healthy margin.
The upshot? We might have a wider pool of candidates to consider for each award. Here are the guys who look like the early favorites to take home some hardware in 2014, whether it be because of their homers and RBI or their FIPs and strikeouts per nine.