Yes, I’m fully aware that it’s the peak of March Madness. I focused a little attention there yesterday and I will give you my best bets for the Final Four on Thursday morning. For today, it’s close to baseball season so here are your odds for MVP and Cy Young winners in American League.
American League MVP
Mike Trout – 5/1 – He’s finished second the last couple of years behind Cabrera and while the sabermetrics crowd will always tell you he’s the most valuable player his team hasn’t reflected that. If the Angles can compete for a division title that will provide Trout the boost he needs should he be neck and neck with someone.
Miguel Cabrera – 6/1 – The big question for Cabrera this season is how much will he miss the protection of Prince Fielder who is now in Texas? Honestly, I don’t think that much considering the poor season Fielder had last year. As always with Cabrera, long-term health is a question but his return to first base should help that.
Jacoby Ellsbury – 12/1 – The former Red Sox’ center fielder joins the rival Yankees in 2014. His numbers from last season aren’t overwhelming (9 HRs and 53 RBIs) but if he can stay healthy he’ll have a chance to do more with a veteran Yankee line-up around him.
Josh Donaldson – 12/1 – The Oakland A’s 3rd baseman had a very good 2013 season hitting 24 home runs and knocking in 93 RBIs to go with his .301 average. Keep an eye on a nagging calf injury that forced him to leave a spring training game this past weekend.
Evan Longoria – 14/1 – Injuries have always plagued Longoria and have kept him from being truly elite. He put up 32 home runs and 88 RBIs last year despite the injury bug. He had been completely healthy but left a spring training game this weekend with some muscle tightness in his leg.
Robinson Cano – 14/1 – Cano enters the season on the opposite coast as a member of the Seattle Mariners and he’s $240 million richer. He won’t have the publicity machine around him that he’d have in New York and I have to wonder if the pressure is something he can handle as the go-to guy in Seattle. Besides, who will protect him in the line-up?
The Pick: The third time will be the charm for Trout who I expect to have a huge season. Long Shot Pick: Take a chance on Carlos Beltran at 50/1 who benefits from the short porch in Yankee Stadium.
American League Cy Young
Yu Darvish – 7/1 – The hurler from Japan will need to improve upon his 13-9 record from last year despite good ERA and WHIP numbers. The addition of Prince Fielder could help bolster the offensive output which at times let him down in 2013.
David Price – 9/1 – Price won the 2012 Cy Young and then spent a good deal of 2013 on the DL. So far this spring he is 100% healthy and appears to be on track for a big 2014.
Justin Verlander – 10/1 – Verlander had a very pedestrian 13-12 record last season but was very good in the postseason. He had offseason abdominal surgery but so far has looked good in spring training.
Max Scherzer – 10/1 – The reigning Cy Young winner would be the first to tell you that he was the beneficiary of great run support in 2013. Many writers had an issue with Scherzer’s 2.90 ERA but his WHIP of .97 was pretty tough to beat. So far he has had a nice spring and looks good for 2014.
Chris Sale, Felix Hernandez, Matt Moore – 12/1 – Of this group, Hernandez probably has the best shot at winning the Cy Young but counting out Sale or Moore would be a mistake.
The Pick: Verlander. He’s a perfectionist who doesn’t like playing second fiddle to Scherzer. Long-Shot Pick: Joe Nathan. He could get a ton of save opportunities behind a strong Detroit rotation.