The MLB season is here, and we're turning our eyes towards the players that could dominate the season. MLB reporters from across NBC Sports came together to make their predictions for the 2019 AL and NL MVP awards.
Can Buster Posey regain his MVP form from 2012? Will Matt Chapman and Khris Davis garner more MVP votes this year?
Before we get into their predictions, let's meet the panel.
NBC Sports Bay Area - Alex Pavlovic (Giants)
NBC Sports California - Ben Ross (A's)
NBC Sports Boston - Lou Merloni (Red Sox)
NBC Sports Chicago - Tony Andracki (Cubs)
NBC Sports Chicago - Vinnie Duber (White Sox)
NBC Sports Philadelphia - Corey Seidman (Phillies)
NBC Sports Washington - Todd Dybas (Nationals)
Be sure to tune in to Wednesday's season preview show at 11:00 a.m. PT streaming on the MyTeams app.
VIEW THE PREDICTIONS HERE
SAN FRANCISCO -- If you had to pick one Giants pitcher and one Giants hitter who might become advocates for robot umpires, Madison Bumgarner and Brandon Belt would seem to be likely choices.
Bumgarner has had his share of notable disagreements in the past, and hardly a start goes by where he doesn't throw his hands up in exasperation or have a quiet discussion with an umpire after an inning where he disagreed with a call or two. Belt was thrown out of a game last week for arguing a called third strike and often is left disappointed by inconsistent zones.
But Bumgarner came out two years ago in favor of the human element. A day after his ejection, Belt, during an interview for The Giants Insider Podcast, said he feels the same way.
"I like having the umpires there," he said. "I like having that human element even though it doesn't work out in my favor sometimes. I think it's part of the game and it's not a part of the game that I really want to see changed."
Belt was tossed last week after a second blown call in three innings by Ryan Additon, a Triple-A umpire who was filling in at the big league level. Additon is a young umpire who hasn't managed many games at the big league level, but even in spring training some players were left shaking their heads at his zone. Belt has said repeatedly he just wants umpires to be held to a high standard. So far this year, that hasn't always been the case:
"I want these guys to be here," Belt said of umpires. "I think the big leagues are awesome and I want more people to experience it."
Belt was the guest on the 100th episode of The Giants Insider Podcast and spoke passionately about how he handles the strike zone, along with his conversations with runners at first base, the time he went swimming in a dugout, his desire to have a secret bunker in his new house (seriously), and much more. You can stream the podcast here or download it on iTunes here.
Kevin Pillar started against the Blue Jays on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre in what he eventually admitted was an emotionally charged event for him.
Up until being traded to the Giants, Pillar spent his entire career as a member of the Toronto organization -- and they more than made him feel back at home.
The crowd had signs wishing him love, the Jays dedicated a video tribute to him, and the home crowd cheered when he went out on to the field -- even giving him a standing ovation. He made sure to wave and give his thanks to the fans who stuck by him all of those years.
Following the Giants' 7-6 win, Pillar spoke to the media and talked about the many emotions going on:
"To come back and see the genuine appreciation that people have," Pillar told reporters. "The video tribute was a really nice touch."
[RELATED: Watch Pillar receive ovation from Jays fans]
Pillar found out about the tribute a few days prior, and he mentioned how he did his best to keep his composure, despite him being a very emotional guy.