How he can win: Prince Fielder did an impressive job flanking Cabrera last year, smashing 30 home runs while posting a .313 average, as well as an exceedingly high .412 OBP. It was his fourth season finishing in the top 10 in MVP voting, despite the fact that he’s had much more powerful years—he slugged 50 homers in 2007 and knocked home 141 runs in 2009. Still in his late 20s, it’s not crazy to consider a season in which Fielder revisits some of those earlier power numbers while keeping his average up as well. If he can do that and keep the errors to a minimum, he could be the third straight MVP out of Detroit.
Why he might not: Prince is a big man that casts a big shadow, but last season, teammate Miguel Cabrera towered over Fielder and his admirable contributions to the offense. Of course, there’s also 2011 MVP Justin Verlander taking the mound as Detroit’s ace. Simply put, he’s on a tough team to prove himself as the standout. That along with his sub-par fielding and need to return to true slugger status (his HR total fell by eight last year) will make it a tough situation for Fielder to take the trophy.