Best 2013 MVP Candidate From Each MLB Team
Best 2013 MVP Candidates From Each MLB Team
Major League Baseball’s most prestigious individual honor, the MVP award, always brings plenty of excitement for fans of America's Pastime. Miguel Cabrera used the first Triple Crown since 1964 to win the AL MVP in 2012, while Buster Posey recovered from a gruesome leg injury suffered two years ago to capture the NL’s Most Valuable Player award.
In 2011, Justin Verlander’s utter dominance led to him becoming the first pitcher to take home the hardware since Roger Clemens pulled it off in 1986.
So, what’s in store for 2013? That’s for the game’s brightest stars to decide, but baseball fans can be assured they’ll be able to witness even more memorable performances this coming season. So many youngsters are quickly rising to the ranks of the elite, and this year it could be anybody’s award to win.
And that goes for both the American and National leagues.
There hasn’t been a repeat winner out of either league during the past three seasons, so that alone gives you an idea of how difficult the hardware is to bring home. Mike Trout nearly pulled in the AL MVP as a rookie in 2012 despite spending first month of the season in the minors.
It seems unlikely that we’ll see another pitcher pull it off like JV did in 2011, but there are plenty more hurlers than just him capable of swaying voters in their favor.
Anyway, enough stalling. If someone from your favorite team is going to win an MVP award in 2013, you'll find him located in one of the 30 following slides.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
Goldschmidt has a ways to go before we deem him capable of putting up MVP-like numbers, but the 25-year-old broke loose in 2012 and proved to everyone he can be a leader on this team for years to come.
Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta Braves
We all know Heyward is capable of an MVP-caliber season. Entering his fourth year in the majors, 2013 could be when he puts it all together. The Braves’ slugger hit 27 HR to go with 82 RBI and 21 stolen bases a season ago and is bound to break out eventually.
Adam Jones, OF, Baltimore Orioles
The two-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner put it all together in 2012, and the scary thing is, he still has room to grow. It’s still going to be a longshot, but Jones could find himself in the thick of the AL MVP race with continued improvement at the plate.
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston Red Sox
If Jacoby Ellsbury can recapture the magic that helped him destroy the competition in 2011, he’d be the better choice here. I’m not convinced that’s going to happen, though, and Pedroia is capable of creating some magic of his own. He’s also much more consistent.
Starlin Castro, SS, Chicago Cubs
The young Castro has plenty of critics, but he’s the best player these lowly Cubs can call theirs. At only 23 years of age, he’s already got two impressive seasons under his belt and is capable of so much more.
Adam Dunn, 1B/DH, Chicago White Sox
Dunn rediscovered his power stroke in 2012, hitting 41 HR and driving in 96 runs, but he’ll have to improve his batting average in drastic fashion to become a legitimate MVP candidate. That said, I don’t see anyone else in Chicago capable of doing so.
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds
An injury-plagued 2012 campaign set Votto back a bit, but he’s returned to full health and is prepared to make another run at the NL MVP award in 2013.
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Cleveland Indians
The Indians don’t have any legitimate MVP candidates, but Cabrera stands out as the most likely option to join the discussion. He’s still just 27, is capable of doing a variety of things at the plate and defensively is an All-Star-caliber shortstop.
Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado Rockies
This pick is probably a toss-up between Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, depending on which of the two can stay healthy the longest. Neither have really been able to go a full season without missing any time to this point in their careers. I’ll give CarGo the edge, though I can’t exactly say I’m sure why.
Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers
The Tigers have been hogging the AL MVP award the past two seasons, and I wouldn’t bet against Cabby keeping it in Detroit for a third straight year. He’s the best hitter in baseball and his surrounding cast just continues to get better.
J.D. Martinez, OF, Houston Astros
In reality, the headline for this slide should read “Not Applicable”, but that just wouldn’t be very nice. I’ll go with Martinez, who somehow was the Astros’ leader in RBI a season ago, with 55. He’s a youngster with as good a shot as anyone else on this team, I guess.
Billy Butler, 1B, Kansas City Royals
The Royals? MVP candidate? Not going to happen, but Butler is without a doubt the most productive and dangerous hitter this team has to offer.
Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
So many potential options on this squad, but perhaps none better than Trout, who could easily have taken home the AL MVP award a year ago if not for Miggy’s Triple Crown heroics. A full season at the MLB level should give him an even better shot provided he doesn't take a step back in terms of production at the plate.
Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Normally an extremely durable player, Kemp missed 56 games in 2012 but was still his dominant self when healthy, and that certainly isn’t going to change this season. The Dodgers are loaded, but Kemp is still the team’s top MVP candidate at this time.
Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Miami Marlins
Stanton is basically all that remains in Miami. While the lack of talent surrounding him will cause his numbers to suffer, Stanton is one of the game’s brightest young stars and will continue to show it in 2013, with or without any help.
Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
This pick is obviously no secret. The do-it-all outfielder was arguably the NL’s best again in 2012 and there’s no reason to expect a decline any time in the near future.
Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota Twins
Mauer’s always had a better chance of winning a batting title than a Most Valuable Player award, but he’s far and away Minnesota’s team MVP when healthy enough to take the field.
David Wright, 3B, New York Mets
The Mets third baseman bounced back beautifully in 2012 and could be gearing up for another season like the ones he had in 2007 and 2008, the only two years of his career he’s reached 600 at-bats in a season.
Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Yankees
Everyone around him is falling apart, but Cano remains the top second baseman in the majors and should be a darkhorse candidate to make a run for the AL MVP in 2013.
Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Oakland A's
While he may not be a realistic MVP candidate, Cespedes proved in 2012 he’s fully capable of a 30-HR, 100-RBI season in the big leagues and is far and away the most likely candidate in Oakland to compete for the award.
Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies
I suppose I could’ve went with one of Philly’s top-tier starting pitchers, but for some reason I think Howard has a better chance of regaining his mid-20’s form and ripping 50+ bombs in 2013. I won’t be putting any money on it, though.
Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
McCutchen keeps getting better and better as each year passes and he’s still just 26 years old. The Pirates don’t have much working in their favor, but at least they can say they have a legitimate MVP candidate in this guy.
Chase Headley, 3B, San Diego Padres
Headley put it all together in 2012 and the 28-year-old isn’t planning on looking back. After a 31 HR, 115 RBI season last year, it appears the Padres third baseman has finally blossomed into what everyone already knew he could become.
Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants
Very few expected Posey to capture the NL MVP award in 2012, so who’s to say he can’t pull it off again in 2013? I’m not betting against it.
Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle Mariners
I know it’s extremely unlikely we’ll see another pitcher haul in an MVP award any time soon, but King Felix is by far the only player in Seattle with even a remote chance of getting it done.
Matt Holliday, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
If Holliday was ever going to haul in an MVP award, it would have been in Colorado at Coors Field. Without Pujols in town, though, there’s really no better choice available.
Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
We know what Longoria is capable of, but he’s been unable to stay healthy over the past two seasons. If anyone in Tampa wins the AL MVP, though, it’ll be him.
Adrian Beltre, 3B, Texas Rangers
Without Josh Hamilton in town, Beltre steps up as the Rangers’ most likely MVP candidate. He’s been extremely consistent over the past couple of seasons and wouldn’t need much more production to join the debate in 2013.
Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays are now loaded with talent, but Bautista still strikes me as the team’s top MVP candidate if he can stay healthy for 150 or more games in 2013.
Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington Nationals
There are plenty of other potential choices here, but I’m going with the pitching prodigy, who is capable of a Justin Verlander-like MVP season in 2013 if he can rack up 200 innings or more.