Predicting The Comeback Players Of The Year

The Comeback Player of the Year Award is given to the player in the AL & NL who have “re-emerged” as a player during a single season. Past winners include Jason Giambi (o5, Yankees), Nomar Garciaparra (06, Dodgers) and Cliff Lee (08, Indians). Speaking of “re-emerging,” the MLB Comeback Player of the Year Award is presented by Viagra. Good times. VIVA, VIVA VIIIIIAGRAAAAAA!!! I feel that is the only commercial you see these days.

Here are the candidates and my picks for the Comeback Player of the Year…

NL

Candidates – Chris Carpenter, Todd Helton, Aaron Harang, Nick Johnson, Mike Hampton & Jeff Francouer

Helton has been killing it

Helton has been killing it

Comeback Player of the Year – Todd Helton

WHY – This will be a race all year between Helton and Carpenter but I think the chances of Helton staying healthy are greater than Carpenters. Helton is hitting the ball all over the park this spring to the tune of a .515/4/14 in just 33 ab’s. Back injuries usually mean a player will lose his ability to hit the long ball so look for Helton to mirror Mattingly at the end his career. Which means .280-.290 with 10 hr’s and somewhere in the neighborhood of 70-80 rbi.

AL

Candidates – John Smoltz, Brad Penny, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez, Chris Ray, Carl Pavano, Jorge Posada & Kelvim Escobar

Comeback Player of the Year – John Smoltz

WHY – While the National League will be a 2 horse race between Helton and Carpenter, the American League has about 8-10 legitimate candidates for this award. In the end I think Smoltz will win because

1. He will have a significant impact on the pennant race when he comes back in June.

2. The fact that he is trying to comeback after surgery at the age of 42 is amazing.

3. He is “John Smoltz.” He will always get the vote over someone else.

A dark horse candidate is Escobar. After missing all of last season, he has looked really good this spring. It looks like has time table for joining the Angels has been moved up from June to May. He could have a major impact on the injury riddled Angels staff if healthy.

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