The calendar has turned to September, bringing us to the final month of the MLB regular season. The narratives have already mostly been told from this 2022 campaign, with countless standout performances across the league that deserve recognition.
We saw so many prospects from our top 100 make their MLB debuts this season and to great success.
Julio Rodriguez has become the face of a franchise, signing a near-lifetime contract, while helping turn Seattle into a playoff team. Adley Rutschman is on his heels though, pushing to make the playoffs himself in Baltimore.
In the National League, the Braves have a pair of rookies in Michael Harris II and Spencer Strider that are set to split all the Rookie of the Year votes.
Baseball is in great shape with young players constantly doing things we have never seen before on a diamond. With just over 30 games left to play, award races are starting to narrow, as superstars make their last cases for some hardware.
Let’s take a look at the odds to see who has the best chance to become Rookie of the Year in each league this season.
AL Rookie of the Year Odds
- Julio Rodriguez -550
- Adley Rutschman +450
- Jeremy Pena +6600
- Bobby Witt, Jr. +6600
- Steve Kwan +6600
- George Kirby +6600
- Jose Miranda +10000
This race is Julio Rodriguez’s to lose. The Seattle Mariners have struck gold with their five-tool, 21-year-old center fielder. J-Rod is leading all rookies in home runs (22), runs scored (69), RBIs (66) and fWAR (3.8), while ranking in the top five in pretty much every other statistical category.
While Rodriguez seems like the slam dunk to win the award, that is not necessarily the only place where you should be putting your money right now. Adley Rutschman might just be the best value proposition on the board, as we can see a narrative quickly form on his behalf to win the award.
The Baltimore Orioles are making a push for the playoff right now, currently sporting a 69-61 record on the season. The thing is, Rutschman’s play clearly correlates to the team’s success, as they are 49-33 in the 82 games the rookie catcher has appeared in.
On the season, Rutschman’s 3.4 fWAR narrowly trials Rodriguez’s top mark of 3.8, but since June 15th, Rutschman leads all rookies with a 3.3 fWAR. Since then, the 24-year-old backstop is hitting .268/.384/.484, with a 149 wRC+. His 15.5% walk rate is the fifth-best mark in baseball during that span.
The Orioles are 42-25 since Rutschman’s season took off on June 15th, as they have made up significant ground in the Wild Card race on teams like Rodriguez’s Mariners. If the Orioles make the playoffs over Seattle, Rutschman could be rewarded with some hardware.
NL Rookie of the Year Odds
- Spencer Strider -175
- Michael Harris +125
- Brendan Donovan +10000
- Chris Morel +10000
It is not often we have two standout rookies on the same team, much less ones who are both worthy of winning Rookie of the Year. That is exactly the case though with the Atlanta Braves, who might even have three rookies in this race if Vaughn Grissom made his debut a bit sooner.
Michael Harris II has been by far the best rookie position player in the National League this year. The 21-year-old center fielder is hitting .298/.344/.523, with 14 home runs, 16 stolen bases and a 138 wRC+. Since making his debut, the Braves have taken off, winning 59 of the 85 games he has played in. Harris’ 3.7 fWAR is the top mark among all rookies in the NL not named Spencer Strider.
Strider is fresh off setting a franchise record for the Atlanta Braves last night, striking out 16 batters across eight brilliant innings pitched, where he allowed just two hits and no runs to the Colorado Rockies. Strider is the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year and for good reason. He has a 4.2 fWAR and has instantly looked like a top-20, if not a top-10 starter in all of baseball.
Among starting pitchers, Strider’s 13.66 K/9 is the best in the sport and his 2.67 ERA is tied with Shohei Ohtani for the 14th-best mark. The Braves have won six of Strider’s last seven starts, with the rookie earning wins for five of those performances.
It is certainly looking like Strider will be the NL Rookie of the Year, but a strong final month for Harris could always change that. This is one of the closest ROY races in some time and it’s between two teammates. The future is bright in Atlanta.