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BEST BETS
MATT GAGNE
April 04, 2011
MVP: TROY TULOWITZKI, ROCKIES
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April 04, 2011

Best Bets

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MVP: TROY TULOWITZKI, ROCKIES

Had he not missed six weeks with a broken wrist, the All-Star shortstop might have added the MVP to his Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards last season, when he had career highs in average, OBP and slugging. There may not be a better all-around player in baseball.

CY YOUNG: TIM LINCECUM, GIANTS

In a division rich with Cy contenders, the Freak is still the favorite. Last season was the first time in three years that Lincecum didn't win the award (it was won by Roy Halladay), but he still led the majors (for the third straight season) with 231 strikeouts and punctuated the year with a dominant postseason.

MR. IRREPLACEABLE: HEATH BELL, PADRES

The Padres surprised everyone by winning 90 games last season, thanks mostly to the NL's best bullpen. To have a prayer of doing it again this low-scoring team needs another stellar year from its closer. Bell had 47 saves and the league's best save percentage (94%).

ROOKIE TO WATCH: BRANDON BELT, GIANTS

If he doesn't make the Opening Day roster, look for this mature-beyond-his-years lefty to be at first base within a few months. A fifth-round selection in 2009, Belt hit .352 with 23 homers as he progressed from Single A to Triple A last season. His ability to hit for average and power turned heads in camp this spring.

STAR ON THE RISE: JUSTIN UPTON, DIAMONDBACKS

His average dropped to .273 and his slugging to .442 last season, and he was rumored to be on the trading block this winter. But the former No. 1 pick is still just 23—five months younger than last year's NL Rookie of the Year, Buster Posey. Upton should benefit from working with new hitting coach Don Baylor.

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