1B | Prince Fielder, Tigers
Almost forgotten on a team featuring Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, Fielder turned in his fourth straight year with at least a .400 OBP. Just 28, he needs 40 homers to reach 300 and is building a serious case for a spot in the Hall of Fame.
2B | Robinson Cano, Yankees
He ruined a perfectly good who's-the-best-second-baseman discussion by burying the other candidates in 2012. Cano set career highs in homers (33), runs (105), walks (61) and slugging (.550) while playing 161 games—his sixth-straight year of at least 159.
3B | Evan Longoria, Rays
His 2012 season was ruined in April by a strained left hamstring that cost him more than half the year. Yet Longoria recovered to hit .289/.369/.527 in 74 games. Now healthy, the 27-year-old is one of the early favorites to win the '13 AL MVP.
SS | Jose Reyes, Blue Jays
Lost in the nightmare that was his 2012 with the Marlins: Reyes played in 160 games (his first full year since '08) and was a force with 40 steals, a .347 OBP, and double figures in doubles, triples and homers. Dealt to Toronto, he'll be a catalyst for the AL East contenders.
RHP | Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
His 2012 was more about what he didn't do—pitch a full season, due to management's protecting his right arm—than what he did accomplish: a 15--6 record, 3.16 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 159 1/3 innings. That's a shame, because he was a Cy Young candidate before the shutdown. Unleashed, he'll earn some hardware this year.