It’s fitting that, in a year that’s seen as many impact debuts as any in recent memory, we have an AL Rookie of the Year race that appears to be wide, wide open. With a month and a half of the 2023 MLB season already in the books, plenty of rookies have impressed — but none have done enough to really separate themselves from the pack.
So where should you put your money moving forward? Let’s take a look at the state of the AL ROY race and some best bets right now, with odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Updated AL Rookie of the Year odds as of May 15
Masataka Yoshida +110 Josh Jung +700 Bryce Miller +1000
Anthony Volpe +1100 Hunter Brown +1400 Yennier Cano +2000
Taj Bradley +2000 Gunnar Henderson +2000 Tanner Bibee +2500
Grayson Rodriguez +3500 Esteury Ruiz +4000 Logan Allen +4500
Yoshida has established himself as the slight favorite thanks to a recent hot streak, posting a 1.050 OPS in 21 games since April 20. He’s begun to show the sort of professional approach at the plate that made him a star in Japan, and the 29-year-old’s experience could make him immune to the typical rookie struggles as the summer wears on.
The big riser on this list is Seattle Mariners starter Bryce Miller, who’s allowed just one run on seven hits across 19 innings in his first three MLB starts. That stretch has hopped him to the front of a long line of promising young starters, as the Cleveland Guardians duo of Tanner Bibee and Logan Allen continue to excel while Hunter Brown falls back to the pack a bit and Grayson Rodriguez struggles to find consistency despite flashing plus stuff. (Taj Bradley, meanwhile, continues to try and regain his confidence down in Triple-A as he transitions to a five-day rotation — with Drew Rasmussen the latest Tampa Bay Rays arm to hit the IL, he could be back in the Majors shortly despite spotty recent results.)
For as strong as this year’s arms are, the bats have left something to be desired. Outside of Josh Jung — who continues to combine legit power with the ability to hit for average — Anthony Volpe and Gunnar Henderson have been flirting with the Mendoza Line all season while Esteury Ruiz will struggle to get noticed on a go-nowhere Oakland Athletics team.
AL Rookie of the Year race: Takeaways and best bets
Best bet 1
Bryce Miller, Seattle Mariners, +1000
It’s obviously very early, and it’s hard to find sustained success at the MLB level as functionally a 1.5-pitch pitcher, but early evidence suggests that Miller might have the single best four-seam fastball in baseball.
The velo is nice but what's elite is his fastball "rise".— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) May 7, 2023
25% of Spencer Strider's fastballs this year have dropped 9" or less. That's really awesome.
Bryce Miller? 49%. https://t.co/2rcBgu3QgC
When you’re one-upping Spencer Strider in any fastball-related category, you know you’re in elite company. Strider is the model for success for any righty largely working off just a fastball and slider, and if Miller can keep the heater going like this, he could overtake Yoshida as the Mariners look to contend for at least a Wild Card spot.
Best bet 2
Tanner Bibee, Cleveland Guardians, +2500
If you’re looking for something of a poor man’s Miller, Bibee also plays for a team that should compete deep into the summer — if only because of the sorry state of the AL Central — while emphasizing a very good mid-90s fastball. Bibee isn’t at Miller’s level, obviously, but he does boast a strong slider and changeup as well, and he just allowed two hits over 7.2 innings to the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend. If something happens to Miller, Bibee is the next best bet among this crop of starters.