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American League Division, MVP and Cy Young Predictions

Josh RothContributor IApril 29, 2009

SEATTLE - JULY 19:  Grady Sizemore #24 of the Cleveland Indians looks on against the Seattle Mariners on July 19, 2008 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

AL East

1. Boston Red Sox

2. New York Yankees

3. Tampa Bay Rays

4. Baltimore Orioles

5. Toronto Blue Jays

AL Central

1. Minnesota Twins

2. Cleveland Indians

3. Chicago White Sox

4. Kansas City Royals

5. Detroit Tigers

AL West

1. Los Angeles Angels

2. Oakland A’s

3. Texas Rangers

4. Seattle Mariners

MVP Candidates

1. Grady Sizemore

Grady Sizemore has a chance to have 100 runs, 100 RBIs, and 100 BB. Not to mention that he may wind up with 40 HR and 40 SB. There will be two things standing in his way. One will be whether or not the Indians make the playoffs, which I think they will.

The second will be his average, which is slightly overrated. If he brings up the average and his team makes the playoffs he should be near the top of the MVP race.

2. Justin Morneau

Justin Morneau has been a beast when it comes to driving in runs, driving in over 110 in the last three years. Expect him to do the same this year. The one discouraging thing from last year was that his homerun total went down, but I expect him back to 30 plus homeruns this year and if he keeps his average around .300 he should be a top three candidate.

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The one thing that may hold him back would be whether the Twins make the playoffs or not, but I believe they will.

3. Kevin Youkilis

Kevin Youkilis had a career year last year and probably should have won MVP. The power seems to be increasing and we all know he his patient, he is the Greek God of Walks of course.

One big question mark will be his homerun total, there wasn’t too many guys with massive homerun totals last year, but that may change this year, so if he wants to sway the votes he will have to hit around 30 HR again, which I believe he will do.

Another factor will be Pedroia, as long as the media doesn’t fall in love with him again, Youkilis should be fine. Expect the OPS and RBI totals to be near the top of the AL again and for him to be a top 5 candidate for MVP.

4. Vladimir Guerrero

Vladimir Guerrero is a constant contender for the MVP award. He has a career .323 avg which is rather insane. He is also good to hit 30 HR if he stays healthy and should have around 100 RBIs too.

The big keys will be whether he can get guys in front of him to get on and if has protection following him, which he should with the addition of Bobby Abreu and the power of Mike Napoli, that is if he is in the lineup.

Another big key will be the Angels pitching; if they can get healthy soon they should have a good chance to make the playoffs, which would help Vladimir’s chances for MVP.

5. Jason Bay

Jason Bay is my sleeper pick. This was a great pick up for the Red Sox last year and should get a lot of RBI chance batting 5th or 6th in that great lineup. There will be a good chance he hits 30 plus homeruns again and his slugging will go up playing with the Green Monster in Fenway.

He is also patient which will bode well for his OPS. However, the problem with Bay is that he plays on the same team as Youkilis, Pedroia, and Ortiz. So it will be difficult, but he does have a shot, look out for Jason Bay.

CY Young Candidates

1. Jon Lester

This is a bit of a stretch, but I like Jon Lester here. He had good numbers in the second half of the year last year posting and ERA below 3. His strikeout rate also was over 7 post all star game and his walk rate went down.

Lester also plays for the Red Sox so he should have a good chance for a good amount of wins. He may need to continue to raise his strikeout rate, but I think Lester could have a big year.

2. C.C. Sabathia

Sabathia was very impressive last year for both the Indians and Brewers, but he will have a lot of pressure on him going to New York. I still expect to have a big year for the Yankees, though.

He has really good strike out to walk ratios and he struck out 251 guys last year. As long as he doesn’t let the pressure get to him and the Yankees can give him wins in his starts he should have a real good chance to take home the CY Young award.

3. Roy Halladay

Halladay is one of the best pitchers in AL. He put up great stats last year including an ERA under 3 and had a 5.28 BB/K ratio. The only thing that held him back from winning the CY Young last year was the phenomenal year of Cliff Lee.

The thing that could hold him back this year will be his team, which will probably finish near the bottom of the division, but he did wind up with 20 wins on a mediocre team. He will have a good chance to win this year and will probably, at the very least, be a top 5 candidate.

4. James Shields

James Shields has arguably been the ace of the Rays staff the last couple of years. He is still very young, but his ERA and WHIP have dropped in the past couple of seasons and he has a very good strikeout to walk ratio.

It was tough deciding between him and Kazmir, who barely missed this list, but I will give the slight nod to Shields. If the Rays can stay competitive and stay above .500, he should have a good chance to rack up more wins.

T5. Kevin Slowey

Yet again another stretch, but you got to love Sloweys BB/K ratio (5.13), the stat I love to rave about apparently. I think the most impressive thing is that he only walked 24 guys last year.

His WHIP is also very low at 1.15 and if he can do better job at keeping the ball in the yard he should have good success. However, like Derek Lowe in the NL he may not get a lot of strikeouts which could hurt him, but the thing he needs the most is the Twins to get him some wins.

Like I said before it is a big stretch, but I think there could be big things from Slowey this year.

T5. Jered Weaver

I know I am going with a 6th option, but I really like the chances of Jered Weaver. He strikes out a decent amount and overall has a solid BB/K ratio. In fact those rates have been getting better including his WHIP.

The only thing that didn’t improve was his ERA, but I expect him to have a good year this year and to continue to improve upon those numbers. Look out for Jered Weaver this year, he is a major sleeper.

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