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March 30, 2017

Tom Verducci

Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros

Now that he's had more than 1,000 plate appearances in the majors, and given that he's surrounded by the best offense in the American League, Correa should put up monster numbers and give himself a second piece of hardware to go with his AL Rookie of the Year award from 2015.

Ben Reiter

Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels

Bad news, opponents: He’s getting better—walking more, striking out less. Trout is still only 25, and now that voters have by and large realized that all arguments formerly used against him in this category are bogus, we can just pencil in his name here every spring until further notice.

Albert Chen

Manny Machado, 3B, Baltimore Orioles

It feels like he’s been a Baltimore fixture as long as Fort McHenry, but Machado is just 24. After setting career highs in home runs (37), runs (105), RBIs (96) and batting average (.294), Machado—a shortstop playing out of position, remember—finished in the top-five in AL MVP voting for the second straight year. His best is yet to come.

Jack Dickey

Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels

Here's one thing the guy has never done: win back-to-back MVPs. But doing so this year would give him an equal number of MVP and non-MVP full seasons in his six-year career. Not bad.

Jay Jaffe

Mookie Betts, OF, Boston Red Sox

Odds are that Trout will be more valuable according to Wins Above Replacement. Betts, however, was last year's runner-up to Trout in this category after hitting .318/.363/.534 with 31 home runs, 113 RBIs, 26 stolen bases and Gold Glove-winning defense. He has become an elite player himself, and with the benefit of having the stronger team around him than Trout's Angels, expect him to break through at age 24 to win this award.

Ted Keith

Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels

Trout is not competing against Betts and Machado anymore; he's being measured against stiffer competition, like Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. There is no question that he is and will be baseball's best player in 2017. The only question is whether voters will get tired of voting for him. They might one day, but it won't happen this year.

Emma Span

Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels

He’s been either first or second in MVP voting each of the last five years (his first five full seasons in the majors). Players like Betts, Machado and Josh Donaldson, who took this honor in between Trout's wins in 2014 and '16, could give him a run for his money—particularly since they’re more likely than Trout to be on winning teams this season. For now, though, everyone besides the Angels' star is a longshot.

Jon Tayler

Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels

Trout has finally defeated the narrative: He won last year’s MVP for a brilliant season (he led all AL hitters in WAR as well as the majors in on-base percentage and OPS+) that came despite toiling for a team that finished 15 games out of a playoff spot and despite the presence of a compelling alternative in Betts. If voters have at last learned to look beyond the things Trout can’t control (like the performance of his teammates) and instead are focused solely on what he does, then he will win this award every single year he’s healthy—as he should.

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