The 2022 MLB season is upon us and Opening Day is set for April 7th. It’s never too early to start looking ahead and try to predict which up-and-coming rookie is going to have the best season in each league and take home the coveted Rookie of the Year award. Cincinnati Reds infielder Jonathan India is the reigning NL Rookie of the Year. Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz has the best odds to win the award this year with +350 odds at DraftKings Sportsbook.
2022 NL Rookie of the Year odds
Oneil Cruz (+380) — Cruz spent the most time in AA in 2021 with eight games played between the AAA and the MLB levels. The biggest surprise for Cruz this spring was that he was optioned back to AAA to start the 2022 season. The Pirates MLB roster looks rough ahead of the year so he should be on a fast track to the majors if he performs well. Cruz hit .310 with 17 home runs and 47 RBIs across his 68 minor league games last year. Cruz is primarily a shortstop, but he can play either middle infield spot and second base provides a quicker path to playing time.
Seiya Suzuki (+380) — Suzuki is the latest Japanese baseball phenom taking his talents to the MLB. He is a 27-year-old outfielder that signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the Chicago Cubs. This will be his first year playing in the majors, but he has spent the last nine seasons playing in the Hiroshima Toyo Carp organization in the Nippon Professional Baseball league which is the highest level of baseball in Japan. Suzuki had a career batting average of .315 with 182 home runs and 562 RBIs. He will likely play right field for the Cubs, but if his bat heats up and his defense falters, he would slide in as their DH.
Nick Lidolo (+4000) — The Reds felt close to competing last year and they had the NL Rookie of the Year, Jonathan India. Then, ownership committed a fire sale and the Reds are seemingly back to square one and looking for the future. They have a great pitching prospect in Hunter Greene, but he ranks sixth in odds at DraftKings Sportsbook to win the award so he can’t count as a darkhorse. Enter starting pitcher, Nick Lidolo. He was selected by the Reds with the 7th overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. He is a southpaw pitcher with a mean sinker. Lidolo struggled with injuries in 2021, but he still managed to pitch in 13 minor league games where he went 2-2 with a combined 2.31 ERA and 78 strikeouts. There isn’t really any reason not to bring up Lidolo so when he comes up, expect him to anchor the back-end of the rotation.
Edward Cabrera (+1500) — Cabrera struggled when he debuted in the MLB at the tail end of the 2021 season, but he has shown that he has the stuff to be really good. 2021 was a big year for him as he jumped from A ball all the way to the MLB over the course of the season. Over 13 games in the minor leagues, Cabrera had a 3-4 record with a 2.93 ERA. In 2022, he figures to start out in the minors to see how he is looking and then he should be an early call-up for the Miami Marlins.
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