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MVP: JOEY VOTTO, REDS
Who is going to produce more than Albert Pujols in a contract year? Expect a big performance from Prince Albert as he tries to maximize his free-agent value. But Votto, last year's NL MVP and leader in OBP and slugging, will be right there with him—and his production will come in a pennant race.
CY YOUNG: YOVANI GALLARDO, BREWERS
All the attention is on his celebrated new rotation mate, Zack Greinke, but Gallardo is due for another leap after going 14--7 with a 3.84 ERA in 2010, when he cut his walks from 4.6 per nine innings to 3.6 while maintaining a strikeout rate of nearly 10 per nine.
MR. IRREPLACEABLE: CHRIS CARPENTER, CARDINALS
St. Louis might contend without one of its aces, the injured Adam Wainwright. But it can't survive without a workhorse performance from Carpenter. In 2010 the former Cy Young winner went 16--9 with a 3.22 ERA in 235 innings, the first time in four years he passed the 200 mark.
ROOKIE TO WATCH: AROLDIS CHAPMAN, REDS
He won't be a starter until 2012 (at the earliest), and he won't be a closer unless Francisco Cordero falters. But the flamethrower, who takes Arthur Rhodes's setup spot, will make the seventh and eighth innings must-see TV. Last year he struck out 19 in 131/3 innings in a big league cameo.
STAR ON THE RISE: ANDREW MCCUTCHEN, PIRATES
As a leadoff hitter in his first two big league seasons, McCutchen had the same average (.286), OBP (.365), HR rate (one every 36 ABs) and stolen base rate (one every five games)—but last year he cut his strikeout rate (by 3.5%). This year he'll benefit from a move to the number 3 spot.