MLB NL Rookie of the Year Breakdown
The MLB season is just days away, so it’s time to start having some fun speculating on how the season will go, and there’s nothing more fun than thinking about the Rookie of the Year awards. We all love watching the future of the sport shine, so we’re going to break down the current betting odds for the NL Rookie of the Year award, as well as give you our picks for betting favorite and a few darkhorses.
If you want to check out our AL Rookie of the Year piece, click here.
NL Rookie of the Year Odds
|Player||Position||Team||Odds to Win ROY|
Rookie of the Year: Top Picks
Seiya Suzuki (+380)
A 27-year-old outfielder, Suzuki isn’t exactly the profile we think of when we think of a “rookie”; however, he will be eligible for the award despite playing nine seasons in the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan. The added professional experience could give him a leg up, and Suzuki was perennially among the best players in Japan with a career .315 batting average and 182 HRs.
There’s not much to go off of when projecting Suzuki, and we’ve seen top-level players from other leagues come over and need time to adapt; most recently Ha-Seong Kim and Yoshi Tsutsugo. However, Suzuki was also putting up numbers abroad that those two didn’t. ATC Projections have Suzuki down for .266/.357/.474 with 22 HRs, 65 Runs, 68 RBI, and seven stolen bases, but other systems have him as high as 28 HRs or 12 SBs, so there is some fluctuation on his ceiling.
If he were to push those ceiling totals while playing likely every day in Chicago there is a good chance that he could take home this award in the NL since there aren’t the top-tier star-powered rookies that there are in the AL.
For more MLB content, like this Rookie of the Year betting guide, click here
Oneil Cruz (+380)
Cruz may have had a stronger case before the Pirates sent him down to Triple-A so that they could manipulate his service time and get another year of team control out of him. As a result, we likely won’t see Cruz up until the beginning or middle of May, which will give him a bit of a late start. However, we have also seen countless players win a Rookie of the Year award without a full season, and Cruz has the dynamic skill set to do it.
In 2021, Cruz hit .310/.375/.594 with 17 HRs, 62 Runs, 47 RBI, and 19 SB across 69 games at Double-A and Triple-A. He then debuted briefly in the majors and had the hardest-hit ball of the Pirates’ season. He packs the power/speed combo that we talked about with both Bobby Witt and Julio Rodríguez and plays a premium position of defense, which should give him some boost for those voters that will take WAR into account.
He should also play every day once the Pirates call him up, but the only knock would simply be that we just don’t know when that will be.
C.J. Abrams (+900)
Over the last few weeks, Abrams has emerged as a sleeper in this conversation thanks to hitting .324/.361/.529 in 16 spring training games with two HRs, six Runs, four RBI, and three SBs. He’s a top-10 prospect across most scouting services but was only able to play 42 games last year thanks to a fractured left tibia and MCL injury. However, the fact that he’s having such success and also stealing bases in spring training might be a good sign that he is feeling close to 100%.
The opening for Abrams is also the aspect that clouds his potential upside. Abrams is in this conversation because the Padres’ star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. underwent wrist surgery after an offseason motorcycle accident. With Tatis expected to miss three months, Abrams has some runway, but what happens when Tatis comes back?
The Padres have played Tatis in the outfield and have also used Abrams in the outfield this spring, but the team has also been in trade rumors for Cleveland Guardians’ star 3B Jose Ramírez, which would further crowd the infield for Abrams or maybe even send him to Cleveland. All of it makes him a talented player that is harder to have confidence in than the two names above.
Rookie of the Year: Darkhorses
Seth Beer (+3000)
Yes, his name is great, but he can also hit. In 2021, Beer went .287/.398/.511 in 100 games at Triple-A, adding 16 HRs, 73 Runs, and 59 RBI. He’s not going to steal many bases, and he doesn’t add much defensive value, but the NL DH now means he has a path to everyday plate appearances hitting in the middle of the Diamondbacks’ lineup. So far this spring, he has shown well, hitting .393 with a home run, and six RBI in 14 games. He’s also struck out nine times.
The case for Beer as NL Rookie of the Year is simply playing time and power potential. If he hits, he’s going to remain in the lineup. If he plays 140 games (which, again, means that he’s hitting well), there’s upside for him to hit .260-.270 with 25+ HRs and decent counting stats from his middle-of-the-order lineup spot.
Again, a lot would need to break his way for this to happen, but he was more of the more advanced hitters in the 2018 draft thanks to his time at Clemson and has the advanced plate approach to put together a few hot streaks on his way to a prize with if the guys above him fail to put together truly strong seasons.
Max Meyer (+5000)
Now we’ll go true wildcard. Miami Marlins starting pitcher Max Meyer will not start the year in the majors and only has one season of professional experience. However, the University of Minnesota product, who was the 3rd overall pick in the 2020 draft, had a stellar season in 2021, pitching to a 2.27 ERA and 1.18 WHIP across 111 innings in Double-A and Triple-A. He also notched 130 strikeouts to just 42 walks. He has the ability to hit upper-90s mph with his fastball while featuring an elite slider and an improving changeup.
The Marlins are an elite organization when it comes to developing pitching talent, and Meyer might be one of the best in the entire minor leagues. He’ll begin the year in Triple-A, but if a spot opens up for him in the minors, like with an injury to Pablo Lopez or Elieser Hernandez, then Meyer could get his chance to impress, which makes him an intriguing bet with these odds.
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