Top 15 Candidates for 2014 AL MVP Award

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Top 15 Candidates for 2014 AL MVP Award

Top 15 Candidates for 2014 AL MVP Award
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2014 MLB season approaching, here is a look at the Top 15 candidates for the AL Most Valuable Player. The MVP is a special award honoring the best player in his respected league who meant the most for his team. Usually, the MVP will lead his league in home runs, RBI, or BA. Some may not lead in any of those categories, but are among the top-five in each stat. In rare occasions, a player may lead the league in all three categories, thus earning the Triple Crown.

Miguel Cabrera, the reigning MVP, has won the prestigious award for the last two seasons. In 2012, Miggy was the first player since Carl Yastrzemski to win the Triple Crown. In 2013, Cabrera led the league with a .348 BA, and was second in the league in HRs and RBI with 44 and 137 respectively. With new stars Mike Trout and Chris Davis on the rise, it’ll be interesting to see if Miggy will be lifted from his throne. A player hasn’t won three consecutive MVPs since Barry Bonds won four in a row from 2001 to 2004.

Before Cabrera’s run, another Tigers player won the MVP award. Justin Verlander was the first pitcher since Dennis Eckersley in 1992 to win the award. So, will it be a pitcher that takes Cabrera’s throne? Or will it be a rising star like Trout or Davis? Or will Robinson Cano finally get his due? Find out which players are the top candidates for the 2014 AL MVP.

Michael LeDuc is a Boston Celtics writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @mike_leduc, and add him on Google.

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15. Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins

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The 2009 AL MVP may enjoy an increase in his offensive production since he will be relieved of most of his catching duties. Mauer has lost most of his power, but should still be considered for his consistent hitting.

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14. Prince Fielder - Texas Rangers

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I am not a fan of how Fielder approaches the game of baseball, and the way he performed in the playoffs summed it all up. However, playing in Texas may lead to a resurgence. If he can get back to hitting over .300 with 30 homers and 100 RBIs, he could be a consideration for MVP.

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13. Jose Bautista - Toronto Blue Jays

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bautista's best days may be behind him, but I fully believe he could have a comeback season. He's had trouble staying healthy the last two years, and I expect a big leap in his production. If he can get back to 40-home run form, he will be a top candidate.

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12. Adam Jones - Baltimore Orioles

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Jones is one of the most exciting players to watch in all of baseball. He has power, speed and makes incredible plays with his glove. If he can improve his discipline and hit over .300, he could very well be a strong candidate for MVP.

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11. Justin Verlander - Detroit Tigers

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If a pitcher deserves to be MVP, it will most certainly be Justin Verlander. After a down year, he is in for a terrific comeback season. If he wins the pitching triple crown again, he'll take home the MVP.

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10. Josh Donaldson - Oakland Athletics

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Donaldson was quite the surprise last season. He hit .301 with 24 homers in an 8.0 WAR season. A late bloomer, it is no guarantee that he will produce like he did last season, but there is also a chance he will improve his numbers. Watch out for Donaldson.

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9. Adrian Beltre - Texas Rangers

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Adrian Beltre seems to be under the radar when it comes to MVP considerations. However, he's been in the top-five in batting average in three of the last four seasons. Beltre deserves consideration if he is able to put together another solid year.

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8. David Ortiz - Boston Red Sox

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Most people have a problem with voting for Ortiz for MVP since he is a DH, but the 2013 World Series MVP should be able to get significant consideration in 2014. Ortiz missed the whole first month of 2013 and was still in the top-10 in most offensive categories. If he continues to put up numbers like that, the 38-year old has a great chance to win MVP.

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7. Dustin Pedroia - Boston Red Sox

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The 2008 MVP had another solid year in 2013. His 6.5 WAR was good enough for sixth in the AL. Pedroia means a lot to the Red Sox and his power numbers could go up this season after offseason surgery.

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6. Evan Longoria - Tampa Bay Rays

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Evan Longoria has the power, can drive runners in and racks up the extra bases. The only element that is missing from his game is getting base hits on a consistent basis. His average is way too low to be MVP, but he's only 28 and could potentially have a terrific season in 2014.

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5. Jacoby Ellsbury - New York Yankees

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The Ellsbury signing was not the wisest decision for the Yankees in the long term, but it'll pay off in the first season. He can hit, field and steal bases. Now with the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium, he is in for a great season. Ellsbury could potentially put up similar numbers to his 2011 season where he hit .321/.376/.552 with 32 homers while stealing 39 bases. If he has that type of production, he deserves serious consideration for MVP.

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4. Robinson Cano - Seattle Mariners

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Cano has been a top candidate for the MVP award for the last few years now. 2014 will be his year to show the Mariners that their money was well spent. Expect Cano to put up big numbers and to be in the MVP conversation once again.

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3. Chris Davis - Baltimore Orioles

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the biggest surprise in 2013, Chris Davis led MLB in both home runs and RBIs with 53 and 138 respectively. If he can continue his power surge, he is a definite candidate for the MVP award.

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2. Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The two-time reigning MVP will be at it again in 2014. Miguel Cabrera be 31 this year and still be in his prime. Cabrera was a well deserving MVP last season as he led the league with a .348 average and hit 44 homers with 137 RBIs. He will have another great year, but will not win his third MVP in a row.

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1. Mike Trout - Los Angeles Angels

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After two terrific seasons, Mike Trout will make a third-year leap and improve his production even further. His WAR was tops in the league at 9.2 and he has really proven to be a five-tool player. This will be the year he makes an even bigger mark in MLB and wins the MVP.