The National League Rookie of the Year Race will be Hot
The Major League Baseball season is just days away. Not long ago, we put out the first part of the season props with a Part 1 article on the AL Rookie of the Year props. In case you didn’t read it yet, Julio Rodriguez already moved from +800 when we posted the article to +450 today. A lot can happen in a few days, but remember it’s a long season.
With so much speculation surrounding Rookie of the Year odds, it’s important to pay attention to opening day rosters and call-ups. J-Rod was announced as an Opening Day starter, so his odds jumped tremendously. Having this information and reading these articles will help you occasionally get an edge on the betting field.
All that being said, the National League Rookie of the Year race should be even more wide open than the American League race. The American League race currently has four players with +700 odds or better (with a sharp drop at +1100), while the NL has six players at +900 or better.
NL Rookie of the Year Props
The American League has perhaps the bigger names among the legitimate top prospects in Major League Baseball who will make their debut this season. The top eight prospects on the MLB’s Top 100 list are all American League players. Seven of the eight are expected to see the majors this season. On the National League side, it’s much more of mystery box.
Seiya Suzuki +380
Seiya Suzuki is a great ballplayer. The tricky part about Japanese players coming over to America to play is projecting how they adjust to the speed of MLB pitching. Bat speed has really never been a major concern. The issue comes down to adjusting to guys who can throw 90+ MPH Sliders and Sinkers. Suzuki’s base stealing ability seems to have tailed in the past two years, but much of that has to do with his generally low base steal pct.
Suzuki is a 27 year old, seasoned professional, so he should be considered to have a leg-up on his much younger competition for the award. We have him hitting around 280 with 20 HRs, which falls in-line with most other site projections for the 17 million dollar man from Japan. With the NL rookie field wide-open, he’s the safest play. However, the odds for him winning ROY are realistically closer to around 17%, so this +380 payout doesn’t make him worth it, unless you want the safest play.
Verdict: Poor Value bet overall but a safe play. The betting odds don’t reflect the real-life odds
Oneil Cruz +400
Oneil Cruz is a 6’7 shortstop. Just let that sink-in for a moment. Now, Oneil Cruz is a big talent. He’s just 23 years old and has only 30 a-bats above the AA level. His numbers have been great, but that’s not the immediate issue. The issue is, he’s going to start the season at the AAA level. This award typically goes to guys who have 400+ ABs.
With no idea when he’s actually going to debut for the Pirates, Cruz will have an uphill battle when that day comes. As a player, Cruz has a very strong arm and plenty of power. Assuming he gets called-up by May and manages to stay healthy (which has been an issue), he projects to hit around 269 with 23 HRs and 20 SBs. From a tools perspective, Cruz is among the brightest prospects in the game, but we have to temper expectations.
Verdict: Health and Call-up dependent, he is risky for the less-than-generous odds
Hunter Greene +700
In Part 1 (AL ROY race), we mentioned how 10 of the last 20 ROY winners across both leagues have been batters who hit over 20 HRs. That’s the benchmark for the batters. The other part of that was in regards to there being six pitchers who won ROY in that span. For Hunter Greene, the possibility of winning ROY is actually quite strong.
Expecting Greene to log near a full season, he’s got the makeup to be a legitimate ace in the Majors. Greene locates his 99-100 mph well, but there have been some hiccups with him getting a bit too much of the zone, lacking movement, and missing a dependable change-up. We expect Greene to log around 24 starts, going 12-12 with a 3.60 ERA with 191 Ks and a 1.28 WHIP.
He’s a risk from the standpoint of proving himself at the Major League level, but has the potential to be great long-term.
Verdict: Good Value but really needs to get it together quickly to put up numbers to be considered
Bryson Stott +800
On the positive side, Stott has been named to the Opening Day roster. On the negative side, he doesn’t have a high ceiling. Part of this award is having at least one category above or well above the league average. The more categories you have above the league average, the better. The problem with Stott is that he isn’t really projecting to be above the average in any category this season.
Stott is currently projecting around a 260 average with 18 HRs, 7 SBs, and likely won’t have a lot of RBI opportunities within that lineup. He should develop into a decent MLB player, but hoping he will have a big immediate impact is likely very unrealistic.
Verdict: Longshot without plus ability in any specific category
Joey Bart +900
Bart falls into the same area of concern as Stott. He simply lacks the plus upside in any/all of the offensive categories. No matter how good he is at the position defensively, this award doesn’t typically give much respect to a player’s defense. Bart Projects to hit around 270 with 15 HRs. RBIs and runs depend on his place in the order, but it’s likely he won’t be in a great position for RBIs.
Verdict: Slim chance Bart is even in the conversation in August
CJ Abrams +900
CJ Abrams has a unique opportunity to be a super utility player as a rookie. With the injury to Fernando Tatis Jr, Abrams could shift around both the infield and outfield, filling game logs for at least the next three months. Abrams has been atop the Padres prospect list now for the last few seasons. He is a speedster and likely too raw to be in contention this season.
Abrams projects well in only one category over the full season, but it’s not a category people tend to focus-on for this award. He projects to hit 273 with 8 HRs, 85 runs, 55 RBIs and 33 SBs. Those numbers are pretty decent, but ambitious, given his limited time past single A (162 ABs at AA and nothing above).
Verdict: Likely too raw and only plus ability in a category not highly valued
Sixto Sanchez +1500
We’ve had plenty of exposure to Sixto Sanchez over the past few years. He’s a lot like Hunter Greene, but a little more injury prone, a little more effectiveness on the off-speed stuff, and a bit less effective in both missing bats and inducing ground balls.
In some ways, you can look at Sixto as a tremendous value, but the reality is, he has yet to put-in a full season at any level. He’s very similar to Greene from a projection standpoint, but the health concerns and batters using his 2020 tape against him are the reason for the longer odds.
Verdict: Health-dependent pick with good upside