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NEWS | April 3, 2009

MLB 2009 preseason award predictions

By Airman 1st Class Patrick McKenna Capital Flyer sports writer

The 2008 Major League Baseball season was definitely one to remember. Tim Lincecum and Dustin Pedroia showed the world they are no longer prospects. Josh Hamilton proved that sometimes people deserve a second chance and the Tampa Bay Rays reminded everyone that underdogs don't just exist in movies. Here are this year's predictions:

American League MVP
Grady Sizemore
Alex Rodriguez would have been the no brainer pick here had it not been for the fact that he will miss the first several weeks of the season following hip surgery.

Sizemore is one of the most complete players in baseball. Last year he finished fifth in the AL in both home runs and stolen bases, all while having little help from the rest of his lineup. Did I mention he also won his second consecutive Gold Glove award?
This year the Indians expect sluggers Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner to help take the load off of Sizemore, which in turn will increase his RBI and run totals. If the Indians are in playoff contention come September , the Grady for MVP bandwagon will have very few seats available so I'm jumping on now.

National League MVP
Albert Pujols
While the NL is home to some of the most dynamic hitters in baseball (Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, Ryan Braun and Ryan Howard) Pujols is clearly the cream of the crop. He hit .350 before the All Star last year and proceeded to follow that up by hitting .366 in the second half of the season. He's the best all around hitter in baseball and with a healthy elbow (knock on wood) he'll be even better than last year.

American League Cy Young
Roy Halladay
Halladay is the most underrated pitcher in baseball, period. Over the last three seasons, he led the AL in innings, wins and complete games. Last year alone he had more complete games than pitchers Josh Beckett and Jake Peavy have in their entire careers. But in that same three year span he has zero Cy Young awards.

This year Halladay will make it impossible for baseball writers to give the award to any other pitcher.

National League Cy Young
Johan Santana

Santana enjoyed a fantastic first season with the New York Mets. He finished third in last year's voting behind phenom Tim Lincecum and Brandon Webb despite having a lower ERA and WHIP than both of them. Where he came up short last year was wins and a lot of that can be traced to the bullpen which blew lead after lead.

Mets General Manager Omar Minaya went out and solved that problem by acquiring bullpen studs Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz to shore up the bullpen. Santana will have an even better year on a team that looks to be playoff bound and that should be enough to get him the Cy Young.