Unlike the NBA and NFL, there isn’t a lot of commotion surrounding the rookies in MLB this season. Part of the reason is that baseball does not do a good job promoting their superstar players, let alone the rookies. And the other part is there are a lot of rookies in MLB who’ve played last season or made their debuts over the first two months of the season. Due to last year’s shortened season, some players who played last year and received Rookie of the Year votes are again eligible this year.
Heading into this season, the leading candidates to win the NL Rookie of the Year and AL Rookie of the Year awards were Pirates 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes and Rays OF Randy Arozarena, respectively.
Since Opening Day on Apr. 1, a lot of things have changed in the majors, which has put a few rookies on the award radar that might’ve not been there to start out the year. We are going to look at the five top rookies in both the AL and NL to see who might have a chance to win the illustrious award. All ROY odds listed are from DraftKings Sportsbook.
1. Trevor Rogers, Miami Marlins - Rogers has by far been the best rookie through the first two months of the regular season. He had long shot odds of +3500 to win the NL ROY award before the 2021 season, but instead he has won Rookie of the Month for April and May. He’s been the best pitcher for the Marlins with a 6-3 record and 1.87 ERA, along with 76 strikeouts in 62.2 IP.
2. Ian Anderson, Atlanta Braves - The 23-year-old pitcher got a taste of big league action last season and gave the Braves’ starting lineup a well-needed boost (3-2, 1.95). Anderson has continued to improve and will likely be there with Rogers for the NL ROY award. The Braves starter is 4-2 with a 3.27 ERA through 10 starts this season. Anderson finished 7th in voting for the ROY award, but won’t be in that same spot this year. He is eligible this year after not reaching the innings cut-off last year.
3. Dylan Carlson, St. Louis Cardinals - Just like Anderson, Carlson got a taste of big league action during the shortened 2020. In 35 games, he only hit .200/.252/.364 with 3 HRs and 16 RBI. Fast forward to this season, the rookie outfielder has been an everyday fixture in the Cards’ starting lineup. Carlson is slashing .279/.362/.437 with 6 HRs and 26 RBI in 221 plate appearances.
4. Jazz Chisholm, Miami Marlins - The Marlins have another ROY candidate in Chisholm, who entered the season with +2500 odds. The dynamic infielder has provided a spark both at the plate and on the base paths. The 23-year-old is hitting .272/.333/.482 with 6 HRs and 13 RBI in 126 plate appearances. He also has 9 stolen bases and only been caught two times.
5. Pavin Smith, Arizona Diamondbacks - The former first round pick was another player who saw some time with the big league club last season. But Smith hasn’t rested on his laurels and instead has become a key offensive piece in the DBacks’ batting order. The 25-year-old is slashing .290/.344/.460 with 5 HRs and 21 RBI in 218 plate appearances. He also has a 13-game hitting streak, in which he’s batting a scorching .417.
1. Adolis Garcia, Texas Rangers - This is a no-brainer even though Garcia was not on anybody’s radar before the season. However, he’s firmly cemented himself into the convo as one of the best power hitters in baseball. The 28-year-old is slashing .284/.320/.574 with 16 HRs and 41 RBI in 194 plate appearances. He was just named as the AL’s Rookie of the Month for May.
2. Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay Rays - The betting favorite to win the ROY and last season’s postseason hero has picked up where he left off. Arozarena is slashing .254/.345/.400 with 7 HRs and 27 RBI in 235 plate appearances. If the Rays end up winning the AL East, there’s a strong chance he wins the award.
3. Yermin Mercedes, Chicago White Sox - Mercedes is another older rookie like Garcia, who has been one of the best stories in baseball this season. The White Sox designated hitter got off to a blistering start to open up the season and has continued tearing the ball off its cover. The 28-year-old is slugging .304/.359/.470 with 7 HRs and 30 RBI and won AL Rookie of the Month in April.
4. Nick Madrigal, Chicago White Sox - Sticking with the White Sox, Madrigal does not get a lot of attention because of all the sluggers in Chicago’s lineup. But he is very productive at the plate and setting the table for other guys in the order. The young second baseman is slashing .291/.333/.396 with 1 HR and 18 RBI in 195 plate appearances.
5. Casey Mize, Detroit Tigers - The former top overall pick from the 2018 MLB Amateur Draft has looked much improved from last season. Mize has a record of 3-3 and 3.28 ERA through 10 starts this season. The 24-year-old’s K/9 is down to 7.3 from 8.3 in 2020, but his BB/9 and HR/9 has dropped down to 3.1 and 1.1 respectively.