By Stuart Kirsch
NL Rookie of the Year Odds: Do the NL RoY Odds Bleed Dodger Blue?
It is astonishing that in the 72 years since Jackie Robinson took home the first Rookie of the Year award in Major League Baseball, the award has been given to a member of a single franchise in a full quarter of those years. The Dodger faithful hope to continue the heritage of Robinson, Newcombe, Valenzuela, Piazza, Nomo, Seager, and Bellinger through the heralded former first-round pick, Gavin Lux.
The second baseman-of-the-future hung some gaudy offensive numbers throughout his minor-league career and had some highlight-reel games in an otherwise run-of-the-mill September call-up. While the odds for a Gavin Lux 2020 NL Rookie of the Year award are a league-favorite +300, Lux was optioned off the big club roster to start the season in alternative camp.
NL RoY Odds: Another Middle Infielder Thumper
The number one prospect in the World Champion Washington Nationals’ system is also a middle infielder with prodigious power. Carter Kieboom will have to make the move to third base in the major league lineup, taking the spot of Anthony Rendon, a key cog in the Nats’ triumph.
Kieboom had an OPS over .900 and 16 homers in Triple-A Fresno but struggled at the dish and in the field in a brief call up to DC, even with 2 more dingers. Carter Kieboom’s odds for the NL ROY are +500. Colorado 2B Brendan Rodgers, yet another hard-hitting top prospect in the middle of the diamond, starts the season in the Rockies’ alternative camp; his ROY odds are +1000.
Why Some Pitchers are in the NL Rookie of the Year Odds Debate
San Diego Padres’ southpaw Mackenzie Gore is primed to make the jump from Double-A to the majors in the jumble that is the San Diego roster. Gore has a high-leg kick and locates his mid-90s fastball well. He only pitched five games in Double-A Amarillo but struck out 25 in 21 innings. Gore’s Rookie of the Year odds are +800.
Mitch Keller had a less-than-auspicious start to his major league career for the Pirates in 2019 but having pitched only 48 innings over his 11 starts, he maintains his rookie status. He went 1-5 with a 7.13 ERA but fanned 65 hitters. Keller, who spent his time during the break on increasing the spin efficiency of his fastball, also has odds of +800 for the NL Rookie of the Year. 22-year old righty Dustin May of the Dodgers was sent to alternative camp, having had a decent debut over 32 innings last year. May’s odds are +900.
Looking Down on the Farm in the NL RoY Odds Race
Mixing a strange 60-game season and 60-player pool with no minor league season and traditional service-time clocks, many rookies who may have come up early- or mid-season in a full year find themselves–and their Rookie of the Year chances–in limbo in alternative camp.
Among those who may get the nod to the majors in the coming days are Cardinals’ outfielder Dylan Carlson (+1000), Giants’ catching prospect extraordinaire Joey Bart (+2000), and Phillies’ hurler Spencer Howard (+5500).