MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

7 Comeback Player of Year candidates

Brantley, Harvey, Cutch among those out to rebound

7 Comeback Player of Year candidates

We are a week into the season, and there are at least seven players who have a chance to win the American League or National League Comeback Player of the Year Award. Some missed most of last season because of injuries. Others simply had seasons to forget.

Michael Brantley, Indians
Imagine if Brantley didn't miss most of last year -- the Indians might have won the World Series. He has recovered from his shoulder injury and is back on the field. When he's healthy, Brantley is a doubles machine and can drive in his share of runs.

Matt Harvey, Mets
The Dark Knight returned Thursday and was solid for 6 2/3 innings against the Braves. It proved that Harvey is recovered from his shoulder injury. If he can make 30 starts, the Mets could go far in the NL East.

Harvey notches first win of 2017

Ubaldo Jimenez, Orioles
By midsummer, fans and media members were calling for Jimenez to be released. Why? At the All-Star break, he was 5-9 with a 7.38 ERA. But after the Midsummer Classic, Jimenez was one of the reasons the Orioles advanced to the AL Wild Card Game, sporting a 2.81 ERA in 11 games and holding opponents to a .183 batting average. He is no longer the overpowering pitcher he was with the Rockies, but as long as he keeps the ball down, he could be one of Baltimore's best pitchers.

Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
McCutchen was inconsistent all of last season. Does he need a change of scenery? McCutchen's name has been in trade rumors since last offseason, and he was 0-for-9 in his first two games before going 3-for-4 with an RBI single Friday. He could be a free agent after this season if his option is not picked up. It would not be a surprise if McCutchen's name is bandied about before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Shelby Miller, D-backs
Miller had a season to forget, losing 12 games with a 6.15 ERA. He was even sent to the Minor Leagues by midsummer to get his act together. Miller, who was the main acquisition when Arizona sent Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte and Aaron Blair to Atlanta, faced Cleveland on Friday in his season debut. He alllowed three runs on five hits over five inning, issuing three walks and notching seven strikeouts.

Kyle Schwarber, Cubs
Schwarber missed most of last season because of a left leg injury after colliding with Dexter Fowler in the outfield. He came back in time to help the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. All Schwarber did was go 7-for -17 (.412) with two RBIs.

Schwarber's go-ahead home run

Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
Zimmerman hasn't played a full season since 2013 because of injuries. Last year, not only did he spend time on the disabled list because of a left wrist contusion and a strained rib cage, but he had a rough offensive year, as he hit a career-low .218. Zimmerman never blamed the injuries for his offensive struggles. He's off to a good start, going 6-for-17 (.353) with two homers in his first four games.

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002 and does a podcast, Newsmakers. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.