MVP: CARL CRAWFORD, RED SOX
"I hope he does well," the Rays' David Price says of his erstwhile teammate. "I mean, I don't want him to hit .600 with 45 home runs." Those numbers are out of reach for Boston's new leftfield fixture, but .300 with 25 home runs and 60 stolen bases are all well within reach.
CY YOUNG: JON LESTER, RED SOX
Three other pitchers have won at least 15 games with an ERA under 3.50 in each of the last three seasons: Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum and CC Sabathia. They've won five Cy Young Awards between them. Now it's time for Lester, 27, who had the AL's best K rate (9.7 per 9 IP) last year.
MR. IRREPLACEABLE: CC SABATHIA, YANKEES
Over the winter the 315-pounder became a 290-pounder by abstaining from "anything with a cartoon on it." (His personal chef helped too.) But he will carry more psychic weight than ever. The rest of the Yankees' rotation is questionable. Can New York make the playoffs if CC falters? Fat chance.
ROOKIE TO WATCH: JEREMY HELLICKSON, RAYS
The 23-year-old righthander impressed in a 10-outing stint for playoff-bound Tampa Bay late last summer, striking out 33 in 361/3 innings. With Matt Garza now pitching for the Cubs, Hellickson has a rotation spot all his own. He's the AL Rookie of the Year fave.
STAR ON THE RISE: TRAVIS SNIDER, BLUE JAYS
If the Blue Jays are to approach the major- league-best 257 home runs they slugged last season, someone has to replace the 31 hit by the traded Vernon Wells. Snider, 23, could do it. The 2006 first-round pick was rushed to the majors at age 20 but has matured: He hit 14 in 82 games last year.