As the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game approaches, the major narratives of the season have been well-established. Alongside the best teams (Oakland and the Dodgers), disappointing squads (Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays), a hierarchy of dominant players has set the stage for respective chases at individual glory.
Over the next three months, expect to hear chatter about Mike Trout taking home the first of many AL MVP awards, Troy Tulowitzki bringing an NL MVP to Coors Field, and the best pitchers in baseball—Felix Hernandez and Clayton Kershaw—running away with the AL and NL Cy Young crowns, respectively.
Yet, with just less than half of the season to play, not every projected award winner will continue to play at a high level. Injuries or dips in performance could arrive, opening the door for dark-horse candidates to emerge and take home the hardware.
Here are the six players to watch over the next three months. By November, don’t be shocked if one or more takes home a major award from the 2014 season.