Hardware in store: MLB award predictions

MLB.com, MLB Network experts look ahead to 2016 honors

Hardware in store: MLB award predictions

All the questions are about to be answered. The days are warming as Opening Day gets closer, and with the beginning of Major League Baseball's regular season comes the official end of speculation.

The improved lineups, the beefed-up rotations, the career renaissances, the managerial moxie … all will be put to the test soon, and the results will come over the ensuing 162 games and into October.

But we can still have fun predicting what will happen now and then checking back at the end of what's sure to be a fascinating 2016 season.

So naturally, we polled dozens of experts from MLB.com and MLB Network to give us their predictions for who will win the most significant individual awards when this season is all said and done.

Here are the results:

AMERICAN LEAGUE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

1. Mike Trout , OF, Angels: He won this award in 2014 and has been second in the voting three other times in the past four years. In other words, as long as this guy is lacing up cleats, he seems to be the overwhelming pick to win this award every year. 

2. Carlos Correa , SS, Astros: Correa was so electrifying at the plate (.857 OPS, 22 home runs, 68 RBIs, 14 stolen bases) and in the field at the age of 20 after his June call-up that he has risen up these charts in a hurry. To the surprise of no one.

3. Manny Machado, 3B, Orioles: The phenom got healthy again, and the production exploded. Machado added serious power to go along with his solid plate discipline and otherwordly defense and seems a logically perennial contender in this space.

Also receiving votes: Chris Davis , 1B, Orioles; David Ortiz , DH, Red Sox; Jose Abreu , 1B, White Sox; Josh Donaldson , 3B, Blue Jays; Lorenzo Cain , OF, Royals; Miguel Cabrera , 1B, Tigers; Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Blue Jays

AL CY YOUNG AWARD

1. Chris Sale , LHP, White Sox: Sale strikes out a lot of people (274 last year in 208 2/3 innings) and led the league in Fielding Independent Pitching. An improved White Sox offense could lead to a lot more wins, which makes him the top pick here.

2. David Price , LHP, Red Sox: He's still left-handed and still dominant, and he's still the No. 1 starter for a high-profile team in the AL East. Price is expected to deliver right away on his new monster contract.

3. Carlos Carrasco , RHP, Indians: Carrasco is hard to hit and could be hard to beat in 2016. The late bloomer has an excellent strikeouts-to-walks ratio and is an intriguing dark-horse Cy Young candidate, not unlike his teammate, Corey Kluber, was before winning it two years ago.

Also receiving votes: Felix Hernandez , RHP, Mariners; Chris Archer , RHP, Rays; Kluber, RHP, Indians; Sonny Gray , RHP, A's; Dallas Keuchel , LHP, Astros; Justin Verlander , RHP, Tigers; Marcus Stroman , RHP, Blue Jays; Wade Davis , RHP, Royals

AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

1. Byron Buxton , OF, Twins: Buxton has been one of MLB's most touted prospects and got a taste of the big leagues last year. In 2016, he'll be counted on to show off his off-the-charts athleticism as a Minnesota lineup catalyst. Our experts expect him to begin to deliver on all that potential.

2. Byung Ho Park , 1B-DH, Twins: Park comes over from South Korea, where he showed big-time power. If he adjusts to Major League pitching, he could lead first-year players in home runs.

3. Joey Gallo , 3B-OF, Rangers: Speaking of home runs, this guy might have more raw power than anyone in baseball … not just the rookie class. Gallo also got some Major League time last year and should benefit from the experience.

Also receiving votes: A.J. Reed, 1B, Astros; Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees; Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins

AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR

1. A.J. Hinch, Astros: Houston was a surprise Wild Card winner in 2015 but moves to the realm of expected contender this time. Fortunately for Hinch's prospects of winning this award, the team is loaded with young talent and made some key offseason acquisitions that should improve its October chances.

2. Terry Francona, Indians: Cleveland is setting up to be a postseason contender this year, and with a pitching staff anchored by Kluber, Carrasco and big young arms like Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer, the Tribe might make it easy for the experienced skipper.

3. John Gibbons, Blue Jays: Gibbons took the Blue Jays within two games of the World Series last year and has the league's best offense back, they hope with a healthy Tulowitzki for the whole year.

Also receiving votes: Kevin Cash, Rays; Brad Ausmus, Tigers; Scott Servais, Mariners; Robin Ventura, White Sox; Paul Molitor, Twins; Joe Girardi, Yankees; Jeff Banister, Rangers; Ned Yost, Royals; John Farrell, Red Sox; Buck Showalter, Orioles

NATIONAL LEAGUE MVP

1. Bryce Harper , OF, Nationals: Winning this award in unanimous fashion in your age-22 season apparently goes a long way toward favoritism in this category for the following year. Harper was historically great in 2015, and our experts simply expect more of the same as he continues to mature.

2. Paul Goldschmidt , 1B, Diamondbacks: Goldschmidt puts up MVP-caliber numbers across the board every year. The D-backs added Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller to their rotation in the offseason, too, so one would think Goldschmidt's chances of winning this honor would rise along with the team's win total.

3. Giancarlo Stanton , OF, Marlins: Can he stay healthy? That's about the only question left for a guy who is routinely expected to lead the Major Leagues in homers, and that's just part of his rapidly improving all-around game.

Also receiving votes: Kris Bryant , 3B, Cubs; Andrew McCutchen , OF, Pirates; Anthony Rizzo , 1B, Cubs; Clayton Kershaw , LHP, Dodgers; Buster Posey, C, Giants

NL CY YOUNG AWARD

1. Kershaw, LHP, Dodgers: Kershaw led MLB in strikeouts last season and only lost the Cy Young, which would have been his fourth in the past five years, because Jake Arrieta and Greinke were also incredible. Kershaw is still regarded as the best pitcher in the game and again sits atop this list by a comfortable margin.

2. Greinke, RHP, Diamondbacks: Greinke moves to a more hitter-friendly home ballpark with the shift from Los Angeles to Arizona, but our voters still appreciate how stingy he was last year, with a Major League-low 1.66 ERA.

3. Madison Bumgarner , LHP, Giants; Gerrit Cole , RHP, Pirates; Noah Syndergaard , RHP, Mets: Hard to argue with any of these three, who tied in the voting for third place.

Also receiving votes: Stephen Strasburg , RHP, Nationals; Arrieta, RHP, Cubs; Johnny Cueto , RHP, Giants; Jacob deGrom , RHP, Mets; Jose Fernandez , RHP, Marlins; Matt Harvey , RHP, Mets; Jon Lester , LHP, Cubs; Max Scherzer , RHP, Nationals

NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

1. Corey Seager , SS, Dodgers: Seager torched the Minor Leagues and torched the Majors in September 2015. Now he's the Opening Day shortstop for a team expected by many to repeat as NL West champion.

2. Steven Matz , LHP, Mets: Matz looked good after getting healthy and making his big league debut for the Mets last year, and he looked good under the hot spotlight of the NL playoffs. He is expected to translate that experience to big-time production for what's shaping up to be a fearsome pitching staff.

3. Trea Turner , SS, Nationals, and Kenta Maeda , RHP, Dodgers: Turner should land in the Major Leagues at some point in 2016 and can show why he has been such a top prospect. Maeda was the best pitcher in Japan before signing with Los Angeles. He looked good in Spring Training, too.

Also receiving votes: Jon Gray , RHP, Rockies

NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR

1. Dusty Baker, Nationals: Baker takes the helm of a team that's loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and coming off a disappointing season that leaves it with a lot to prove. Having the reigning NL MVP and a dominant pitching staff only helps his chances at engineering a dream season.

2. Joe Maddon, Cubs: The Cubs stormed into the Wild Card spot and NL Championship Series last year and added Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and John Lackey to an already-powerful mix. And Maddon was already a yearly contender for this award.

3. Chip Hale, D-backs: Hale's club played hard for him in 2015 and showed marked improvement. The additions to the rotation could have Arizona back in the NL West race right away.

Also receiving votes: Bruce Bochy, Giants; Clint Hurdle, Pirates; Dave Roberts, Dodgers; Mike Matheny, Cardinals

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.