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Wrapping Up 2001
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What's in store in 2002


Will A-Rod be the AL's MVP?
Had your fill of looking back? Join MLB.com as we look ahead instead -- and serve up the scoop on who and what to watch in the baseball world in 2002. MLB.com's regional writers weigh in with their predictions for each division in 2002.

AL EAST


Jason Giambi does so many commercials for razor companies, music stores and clothing manufacturers that he gets off to a slow start with the Yankees in 2002. But he comes on like a champ in mid-May, has an MVP finish and the Yankees go on to make it five out of seven. --Paul Smith

AL CENTRAL

The Indians won't miss reliever John Rocker. Cleveland will have less rock 'em, sock 'em power and more emphasis on pitching. With Jeff Weaver and Mark Redman in the rotation and hard-throwing closer Matt Anderson, Detroit finishes above .500 for the first time since 1993. The Big Hurt's return provides huge lift for the White Sox, as Magglio Ordonez has another stellar season, Jose Valentin makes 20-something errors again no matter where he plays and left-hander Mark Buehrle wins 20 games. The Twins have a lot of pluses -- Gold Glove winners Torii Hunter and Doug Mientkiewicz, solid rotation, second-place finish in 2001 -- but the big minus is the uncertainty over their future. --Carrie Muskat

AL WEST

All four AL West teams will contend into the final weeks of the season, but Oakland wins the toughest division in baseball behind its pitching -- the best in the Majors, tops in both ERA and shutouts. The Rangers' Alex Rodriguez takes AL MVP honors after another 50-homer season and a run at the Triple Crown. Seattle just misses the playoffs when Ichiro is thrown out at the plate on a relay throw by Anaheim first baseman Darin Erstad, robbing Ichiro of his 150th run of the season. -- John Schlegel

NL EAST

The Braves' decade-long string of division titles comes to a crashing halt as the Mets -- with all their glitzy new acquisitions -- dominate the NL East. The aging Atlanta corps fall to third place as the up-and-coming Phillies finish second for the second consecutive season. Javier Vazquez -- the Expos' blossoming righty, who the hottest pitcher in the game before an injury cut his 2001 season a couple of weeks short -- wins the NL Cy Young award. --Ian Browne

NL CENTRAL

With Rick Ankiel making a spectacular comeback and Albert Pujols ignoring any sophomore jinx, the Cardinals romp to the NL Central title.--Jim Molony

NL WEST

The season starts on time. The owners and players settle their contraction dispute, extend the Collective Bargaining Agreement one year and pledge to seriously negotiate a long-term pact. Peter O'Malley spearheads a consortium of Los Angeles business leaders to buy back the Dodgers. And in the AL West, Carl Everett and John Rocker form a hip-hop/redneck singing duo named "Texas Strangers." --Ken Gurnick

Paul Smith, Carrie Muskat, John Schlegel, Ian Browne, Jim Molony and Ken Gurnick are reporters for MLB.com. This article was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


 


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Vote on the best plays of 2001 in the following categories:
Regular Season Play
Home Run of the Year
Catch of the Year
Throw of the Year
Defensive Infield Play
Greatest Comeback / Finish
Individual Performance
Memory of the Year
Pitching Performance
Collision of the Year
Postseason Play
Blooper of the Year
State of the Game: Where baseball stands as we begin 2002
What a Season!: MLB.com reporter Ian Browne recaps 2001
2002 Predictions: Mark your calendars for these baseball events this season.
Resolutions: New Year's resolutions from around the league
Diamond Digits: Crunching the 2001 stats
Team gifts: Holiday presents from Santa
Boys to Men: Players who showed extraordinary growth in 2001
Men to Boys: Players who had big 2000 seasons, but flopped in 2001
Gone but Not Forgotten: Tributes to the players we've lost this year
2001 Player Debuts
2001 Season Trivia: Think you know baseball? Test your knowledge
By the Numbers: Figures that stood out in 2001
2001 Retirees: Players who ended their careers
2001 A to Z: A handy reference for the season

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