Part I can be found here.
The fact that every contending team in MLB has issues (some worse than others) is a good thing, unless of course you are a frustrated fan of one of those teams. The flaws in every good team will almost guarantee a thrilling season.
Every team will have to punch and crawl and drag themselves to the finish line. With the exception of the Detroit Tigers who are (easily) in the worst division in baseball. The Tigers should cruise to the AL Central crown.
Just like the majority of the division races should be fun to watch, so too will the awards races.
The MVP races in both the AL & NL should be especially close, particularly with the additions of Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols to the AL.
Prince Fielder, 1B, Detroit Tigers – The 1-2 punch of Fielder and Miguel Cabrera is a scary prospect for every pitcher in the American League. Fielder, like Pujols, should have a field day on more than a few of these #4 & #5 back end pictures. (Think .310 avg, 40 HR, 130 RBI)
Albert Pujols, 1B, Los Angeles Angels
Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
AL Cy Young
David Price, Tampa Bay Rays – Being 6’6″/220 lbs he can handle the rigors of a full season and well over 200 innings of Grade A pitching. His ERA elevated slightly last year, but I see him returning to his 2010 season where he finished second in the Cy Young race to the stellar Felix Hernandez. The kid is 26-years-old and is entering his prime years. (Think 21-6, 2.50 ERA, 230 IP, 215 SO)
Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
CC Sabathia, New York Yankees
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds – Votto signed a massive $251.5 million, 12-year deal that is the largest in Cincinnati Reds history. Votto won the NL MVP in 2010 and I expect him to repeat that feat again this season. (Think .300, 25 HR, 125 RBI)
Matt Kemp, CF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies
NL Cy Young
Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies – since 2008 he has been one of the best (if not the best) pitchers in baseball. Last season he threw six (I repeat six!!) complete game shutouts in addition to winning 17 games, posting a 2.40 ERA, and striking out 238 (in 232.2 innings). Damn impressive. He’ll be 34 in August and he’s thrown at least 212 innings each of the last four seasons, but he has shown no sign of slowing down. (Think 19-5, 2.25 ERA, 220 IP, 220 SO)
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Josh Johnson, Miami Marlins