I’ve made my Rookie of the Year and Cy Young predictions, so now it’s time to predict the ultimate baseball award: Most Valuable Player. From a fantasy prospective I am going to focus on players outside of the first few rounds that should see a jump in the rankings for 2011.
Real: Joe Mauer, C, MIN - When it comes to plate discipline, there’s Pujols then Mauer and no one else is close. Even if Mauer’s numbers regress a little, he’ll still be the most valuable player for the Twins and in the American League.
Fantasy: Gordon Becham, 2B.3B, CWS - This was a tough one, because Beckham had a fairly high draft stock, but ultimately his eligibility at two valuable fantasy positions given him the edge. Beckham is a rock solid baseball player and should continue to improve on his 2009 numbers. Look for a .280-plus AVG with 20-plus home runs and 10-plus steals to go along with plenty of runs scored hitting second in a potent White Sox lineup.
Real: Albert Pujols, 1B, STL - There is little doubt that Pujols is the best player in baseball right now…so yeah.
Fantasy: Fantasy: Carlos Gonzalez, OF, COL - When it comes to pure talent, Car-Go has about as much as any player in the league. Attitude problems hindered him as a prospect and sent him through three organizations in as many years. Now he has a home in Colorado, a great place for his power swing. While Car-Go may never hit .300, he has a good shot at putting up numbers similar to Jayson Werth and Nelson Cruz in 2010.