As we approach the final weeks of the season and look forward to the pennant races ahead, contenders for MLB individual awards are breaking away from the rest of the pack.
The field of AL and NL Rookie of the year candidates has thinned out at this point. The National League has a clear favorite and the American League has three main contenders fighting it out. But there are enough games left to be played that we can’t be sure of anything yet.
So let’s have a look at the leading contenders, and see what the top sportsbooks think of their chances at winning AL or NL Rookie of the Year.
Rookie of the Year Betting Odds (Courtesy of BetOnline)
American League Rookie of the Year Odds
Josh Jung +165
Masataka Yoshida +175
Gunnar Henderson +200
Tanner Bibee +2500
Hunter Brown +3500
Triston Casas +4000
Taj Bradley +6000
Eduard Julian +7500
National League Rookie of the Year Odds
Corbin Carroll -1800
Matt McClain +1200
Elly De La Cruz +1400
Kodai Senga +2000
Francisco Alvarez +2500
Andrew Abbot +7500
Spencer Steer +7500
Most of the top prospects are up by now, but the surprising parity across the league might convince a few more teams that they have a shot at the playoffs. This could result in a few more rookies joining the fray from here on out.
That said, anyone joining the race at this point will have a LOT of ground to make up as there are more than enough viable candidates for the award in both leagues. And most of these players have been in the big leagues for several months.
MLB Rookie of the Year History
The Rookie of the Year award is given to the best first-year player(s) in baseball. This award has been handed to players since 1947. A vote of the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America determines the winner.
Only one player was selected for the entire major leagues for the first two years of the award. Since 1949 there has been a winner for both the American and National leagues.
Originally the award was named after J. Lewis Comisky, but in 1987 it was renamed after Jackie Robinson, who won the very first Rookie of the Year award in 1947 while also breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball.
It’s appropriate that the award is named after a Dodger because no team has dominated the award like the boys in blue. The Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers have produced 18 rookies of the year, including streaks of four ROYs from 1979-1982 and FIVE in a row from 1992-1996.
Those two streaks alone would still have the Dodgers tied for the most wins with nine, along with the Yankees and the Boston/Atlanta Braves. The only other team to have three Rookies of the year in a row was the Oakland A’s from 1986-1988.
There have been two ties for Rookie of the Year. In 1976, Pat Zachary and Butch Metzger were co-winners in the National League. Alfredo Griffin and John Castillo shared the 1979 award in the American League.
After that season, the voting rules were changed so that each ballot included a first, second, and third place choice with 5,3, or 1 point for each slot. Since this system was introduced there have been no ties.
Fred Lynn (Red Sox, 1975) and Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners, 2001) are the only players to win Most Valuable Player awards in their rookie seasons. The only player to win a Cy Young award in his rookie season was Dodgers lefty Fernando Valuenzela in 1981. All of these players were also voted rookie of the year. It would have been weird if they hadn’t, honestly.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are the only current Major League team to never have a rookie of the year winner.
That could change this season as outfielder Corbin Carroll is leading the way in Arizona’s surprising season that has them fighting for first place in the star-laden NL west. In fact, if Carroll can continue his current level of production, he could join Lynn and Suzuki in the ROY/MVP club.
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MLB Rookie of the Year Betting Guide
We just mentioned that Diamondbacks OF Corbin Carroll leads the National League ROY favorites. He has power and speed and has been one of the players reaping maximum rewards from baseball’s new rule changes, designed to speed up the game and encourage more action on the bases.
Carroll also has cool hair, which doesn’t hurt.
Behind him are a collection of Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets. Elly De LaCruz has sparked the Reds’ surge into playoff contention and has been providing regular highlights with his power and speed, (and he also has cool hair) but he’s got three rookie teammates who may be putting up better numbers.
The Mets had high hopes for both Alverez and Senga, but they didn’t think the rookie players would be the only highlight of their lost season. This is why they play the games.
The American League has a clear top three candidates at this point.
Orioles infielder Gunnar Henderson came into the season as the leading AL candidate and while he hasn’t put up Carrollesque numbers in Baltimore, he’s certainly held his own in the AL ROY race. He’s joined by Josh Jung and Masataka Yoshida at the top of the favorites and they lead a distant pack of longshots to be the league’s top rookie.
So, let’s take a closer look at some of the top candidates in each league.
AL Rookie of the Year Favorites
Josh Jung – 3B Rangers (+165)
The current favorite in the AL has become a mainstay at third base and helped lead the Rangers to the top of the AL West. If they want to stay there, Jung will have to keep up his current pace.
If Texas can hold off the Astros in the AL West while Jung continues to contribute power in the middle of the lineup he could walk away with some individual hardware of his own.
Masataka Yoshida – Red Sox OF (+175)
Yoshida has been everything the Sox thought he would be, providing consistent contact and timely hitting. If the team were more competitive, he might be the leading candidate.
The Japanese import isn’t the typical MLB rookie, as he’s 29 and has seven years of experience in the Japanese league. That hasn’t been an issue in the past as several Japanese veterans have one the ROY in the majors, most notably Ichiro Suzuki.
Yoshida doesn’t consider himself a rookie, however, and has even articulated that he really isn’t interested in winning the award. If it comes down to a tiebreaker, he may lose based on the concept of “he wanted it less.”
We can’t advise wagering on someone campaigning against winning.
Gunnar Henderson – Orioles SS/3B (+200)
When Cal Ripken, Jr. came into the league as a 6-4, 200-pound shortstop, it was unheard of. A couple of generations later, 220-pound athletes like Henderson are playing all over the infield.
After crushing minor league pitching, Gunnar showed he belonged in the big leagues during his September callup last year when he posted .788 OPS and appeared in every game after making the roster. He’s continued to show he belongs this season, helping the team compete for the top of the brutal American League East.
The Orioles finished second in their division during Ripken Jr’s rookie season. Baltimore currently leads the division, but they would still be thrilled with a second-place finish in the AL East, as it would almost certainly come with a wild card berth.
NL Rookie of the Year Favorites
Corbin Carroll – Diamondbacks OF -500
Carroll has been one of the top prospects in baseball since the Diamondbacks took him in the first round of the 2019 draft. He was the favorite for NL Rookie of the year coming into the season and nothing has changed that perception so far.
In fact, Carroll might actually get some NL MVP votes this season if he keeps it up. The Diamondbacks have been the surprise team of a surprising season, keeping up with the Dodgers and leaving the Padres scratching their heads.
At this point Carroll has the ROY all but locked up (notice we said “all but”). The oddsmakers seem to think so, and the odds reflect that. Because there isn’t much value here, we don’t like this wager, but if you can afford to lock up the money while waiting out the season, the return seems highly probable.
Value bets: Dark Horses and Long Shots
While we think the winners will probably come from amongst the favorites, there is still a lot of season to go and rookies are high variance. Things could change quickly, with that in mind here are more potential value bets.
NL ROY Dark Horses: Matt McLain – Reds 2B/SS (+1200)
Elly De La Cruz – Reds SS/3B (+1400)
If Gunnar Henderson is a look at today’s prototype shortstop, De La Cruz might be a glimpse into the future. At 6’5’’ and maybe still growing, De La Cruz literally towers over his competitors.
At the time of this writing, De La Cruz has only been in the bigs for a couple of months, but he might already be leading the league in SportsCenter highlights. Since joining the team, the Reds have jumped in the standings and are currently just a couple of games off the lead in the NL Central.
But we are burying the lead as De La Cruz might only be the second best rookie infielder on his team. Matt McLain was called up about a month before De La Cruz and immediately became one of the Reds’ best hitters. And we aren’t even DONE with rookie infielders from this team.
If you are looking to buy stock in a team for the next ten years, Cincinnati might be the one.
AL ROY Dark Horse: Tanner Bybee – Guardians P (+2500)
As of this writing the Guardians trail the Twins in the American League Central. It’s likely that only the division winner will make the playoffs in this mediocre division.
Bybee has been a highlight for Cleveland and if he can go on a streak of wins that end up sending the Guardians to the playoffs it might make an impression on the voters. If you consider that Bybee is currently getting 10 times the value of the leaders, this looks like a pretty good value.
AL ROY Long Shot
J.P. France Astros P (Off the Board)
The Astros knew that they would be depending on a rookie pitcher to help fill the void left in the rotation when Justin Verlander left for the Mets as a free agent. The team probably thought that Hunter Brown was going to assume that role, especially after his impressive cameo for the team at the end of last season.
Brown has been a regular in the rotation for Houston, but he’s been surpassed by fellow rookie starter J.P. France. Since his callup in early May, France has been a steady hand in the rotation, and while he doesn’t dazzle with high strikeout numbers, he is highly effective and his other statistics indicate that his success isn’t a fluke.
While his odds weren’t up at the time of this writing, he should be appearing on lists any day. The sooner you get him, the better the odds will be.
NL ROY Long Shot
Spencer Steer- Reds OF/3B (+7500)
We promise we aren’t from Cincinnati, it’s just that nearly all of the top rookies in the National League ARE! Steer is yet another multi-position infielder who can rake. Whatever they are doing as player development in the minor leagues is working for the Reds.
A concern for anyone betting on a Cincinnati player for NL rookie of the year award is that all of these guys will split votes between them. (The bigger concern if you were leaning towards betting on a Red should be that Arizona has a rookie MVP candidate, but who are we to say..?)
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The Rookie of the Year award honors the best first-year players in the American and National Leagues. The list of past winners is filled with Hall of Famers, and you can be sure several of the players listed for this year’s award will end up as perennial all-stars, and a couple could eventually find themselves in Cooperstown.
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Why Bet on MLB Rookie of the Year Futures Online?
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Why Bet on the MLB Rookie of the Year Awards?
One of the best parts of Major league Baseball is when a new superstar announces themselves to the league. Ichiro Suzuki, Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, and others have burst onto the scene as rookies and never looked back.
Which future Hall-of-Famers might be introducing themselves to us this season? It will take us years to find out for sure, but the early returns this season suggest this year’s crop of rookies is as good as any.
Here are some reasons why betting on the AL and NL Rookie of the Year represents unique value:
- Get the best odds while you can: As the season progresses, the oddsmakers get more stingy and the odds for your pick will only get worse.
- History Makers: Will the Diamondbacks finally get some Rookie recognition? Are the Dodgers just going to toss another trophy on the pile? Do any of the new call ups have time to get into the race?
- Some Deeeeep Odds: With an award like rookie of the year, it’s reasonable for a mid season long shot to come out of nowhere and win. There is potential for huge payouts if you find the diamond buried somewhere down the list.
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AL & NL MLB Rookie of the Year Award: FAQs
What is the MLB Rookie of the Year?
The AL and NL Rookie of the Year awards are presented annually to the most outstanding first-year player in both leagues.
When Are the Rookies of the Year Awarded?
The 2023 AL and NL Rookie of the Year winners are announced sometime after the conclusion of the World Series.
Who Were the Rookie of the Year Winners Last Season?
Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez won the American League Rookie of the Year
Outfielder Michael Harris of the Atlanta Braves won the National League Rookie of the Year.
Got Your Pick for the AL & NL MLB Rookie of the Year Awards?
This award might be the hardest to predict in baseball. There’s not a lot of data to base your decision on, and as we’ve said before…Young people are so unpredictable.
Just keep in mind there is still more than a quarter of the season left to play.. All it takes is one player slumping while another surges to change the race.
There are more rookies contributing to the playoff races than there have been in years as baseball’s youth movement takes off. You won’t want to be left out, will you?
And remember, no matter who you are betting on, do so responsibly and good luck!
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