This article originally appeared on MLB.com: 3 wise wagers for Rookie of the Year candidates
Both the American League and National League are seeing major separation for this award. Our panel has put in their vote and we’re going to discuss three of those players, alongside their DraftKings Sportsbook odds to take this prestigious title.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
The last time we checked in, Rodríguez was a -320 favorite to win. It’s a sizable number but now, he’s really padded his lead. Despite some late push by Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman, Rodríguez looks as if he has this wrapped up. After a bit of a slow start after his return off the injured list on Aug. 12, Rodríguez has since slashed .267/.319/.457 with five home runs, three doubles, a triple, 11 RBIs and three stolen bases through 24 games. Rodríguez has reached the 20-20 mark and has 25 games remaining to try and reach the 30-30 milestone. Luckily for Rodríguez, the Mariners have one of the most generous schedules remaining, as 20 of those games will be against teams below .500. Ten of those games will come within the division, with six against the Athletics and four against the Angels. Against those teams specifically, Rodríguez is hitting .327 with eight home runs, five doubles, 19 RBIs and six stolen bases.
With the odds set as they are, it would take something huge for Rutschman to catch up at this point, as he’s currently at +550. When we checked in on him last, he was listed at +330. While Rutschman has been a massive addition to the Orioles not just offensively but defensively, Rodríguez has been doing it all for the Mariners, and he is expected to win.
In the National League, it’s safe to say that the Braves will be the team that has the Rookie of the Year. Strider and Michael Harris II are the top two favorites, as no one else in the league has better than 100-1 odds. Strider, however, is separating himself from Harris after the players were neck and neck for a while. The recent starts from Strider are what’s made the difference, as he’s arguably solidifying himself as the ace of the staff.
Since the second half has begun, Strider has been nearly untouchable. Over the span of 46 1/3 innings, he’s posted a 2.14 ERA to go along with a .213 wOBA. He’s allowed a total of 11 runs on 28 hits and has struck out 69 batters, giving him a K/9 of 13.4. Amongst all pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched in the second half, his 13.4 K/9 is the best in the league. Amazingly, it’s slightly better than Jacob deGrom, who is at 13.08 through 43 1/3 innings. Strider and deGrom are the only two pitchers in baseball to average over 13 strikeouts per nine innings in the second half. Being in the same company as deGrom is certainly attention-worthy. Strider also leads the second half in WAR (wins above replacement) for pitchers at 2.1, which is just above deGrom as well. Strider doesn’t have the easiest schedule remaining for the rest of the season, as he’s currently scheduled to face the Giants, Phillies, Nationals and Mets. However, I think he’s proved enough already that he should be the rightful winner.
Michael Harris II
Harris does have some appeal left if you believe that Strider has a real rough go of it the rest of the season. To be fair, he would need to really be hit hard in all his remaining starts for Harris to have a shot of claiming the award late in the season. Don’t get me wrong, if Strider wasn’t a factor, Harris would be running away with it. He’s slashing .310/.352/.533 with 15 home runs, 51 RBIs and 16 stolen bases, as well as a 4.2 WAR. All this production while just playing 90 games for the Braves. What’s even more impressive, is that most of it have come while hitting ninth.
Hitting out of the nine-hole, Harris has logged 64 games and 243 plate appearances, and he has a .303/.337/.532 slash line with 12 home runs, 38 RBIs, 44 runs scored and 12 stolen bases. To put this into perspective, all other teams in the National League are averaging .231/.296/.353 out of the ninth spot in the order. The amount of production coming out of that spot for the Braves has been huge and sets the table for the top of the order as well. It’s amazing to think about just how good Strider has been to be such a heavy favorite when you consider what Harris has been doing, too.
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