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March 30, 2017

Tom Verducci

Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers

In the half-century since shortstops ended their dominance of the NL MVP award—the Cubs' Ernie Banks, the Pirates' Dick Groat and the Dodgers' Maury Wills combined to win it four times in five years from 1958 to '62—only two players at that position have been so honored: Barry Larkin in '95 and Jimmy Rollins in 2007. Seager has all the tools to join that club if he can build off last year's .308/.365/.512 season that earned him the Rookie of the Year award.

Ben Reiter

Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds

Nobody still seems to contend that Votto should walk less and swing more, not after a second half of 2016 in which he batted .408 with 15 homers, 55 RBIs and a 1.158 OPS. His (bad) team should also not hinder his MVP candidacy the way it might have in the past; value is value.

Albert Chen

Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers

We’ve been spoiled by so many smashing debuts in recent seasons that maybe it’s no surprise that not enough people appreciated just how remarkable Seager’s rookie season was: At 22, his first full season, he finished third in the MVP voting, with a bat that was as good as advertised and defense that exceeded expectations. We’re truly in a golden age of shortstops, and Seager is the best at his position.

Jack Dickey

Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies

It’s been 20 years since a Blake Street Bomber won an MVP, but Arenado brings a blend of counting-stat dominance, premium-defensive-position wizardry and iron-man endurance that should make voters swoon.

Jay Jaffe

Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers

Last year's No. 1 prospect was everything he was supposed to be, not only winning Rookie of the Year honors but also giving chase in the MVP race. He's already the centerpiece of the Dodgers, and there's no reason that he can't keep getting better.

Ted Keith

Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs

Bryant wins an award every season, be it college player of the year (2013), minor league player of the year ('14), NL Rookie of the Year ('15) or MVP ('16). There's little reason to think that a man who should hit 40 home runs, top 100 RBIs and finish with a .300 batting average for the first time while playing a strong third base and moonlighting in the outfield for up to 40% of the season on the majors' best team won't be honored yet again.

Emma Span

Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals

Harper scuffled through last year while dealing with nagging injuries (though it’s worth noting that, while it was a disappointing performance by his standards, he was still well above league-average at the plate with a 116 OPS+). Now by all appearances healthy—and somehow still only 24—he'll have every opportunity to show that his jaw-dropping 2015 MVP season was the more representative one.

Jon Tayler

Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers

Following in the footsteps of Bryant, Seager looks like a solid bet to build on a unanimous Rookie of the Year campaign with an even bigger award the next season. Seager has all the tools to become a superstar: He’s a plus hitter with tons of power playing great defense at a premium position. Bryant, Arenado and Harper should all be contenders, but this is the year Seager announces himself as one the game’s elite.

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