American League Rookie of the Year Odds
The Best of the American League Rookies: 2020 AL Rookie of the Year Odds
Of all the baseball awards, the Rookie of the Year is probably the most democratic. In general, little else other than basic stats–and now advanced stats–goes into the decision-making process. The award, actually named the Jackie Robinson Award, is given to the player who had the most outstanding first year. It can be awarded to positional players or pitchers, starters or relievers, even designated hitters. The success and status of the player’s team is of little consequence in the voting whereas it can be much more so for MVP or Cy Young awards.
Some of the game’s greatest players have opened their careers with Rookie of the Year awards and have gone on to be enshrined in Cooperstown. Derek Jeter who will be welcomed to the Hall of Fame this summer, won the award in his rookie campaign in 1996. Other AL RoY HoFers are Cal Ripken, Jr. (1982), Eddie Murray (1977), Carlton Fisk (1972), Rod Carew (1967), and Luis Aparicio (1956). Among more recent Robinson Award winner on a Hall of Fame track are Ichiro Suzuki (2001), Justin Verlander (2006), and Mike Trout (2012).
Maybe Not Hall of Famers, but Other AL Rookie of the Years Have Had Serviceable Career
In many other cases, Rookies of the Year go on to have well-known baseball careers, like Tony Oliva (1964), Mark Fidrych (1976), and Sandy Alomar, Jr. (1990). And sometimes the outstanding rookie season was just a blip on the radar of an otherwise forgettable baseball resumé. Jeremy Hellickson won the award in 2011 with a 13-10 record and a sub 3.00 ERA in 29 games for the Tampa Bay Rays; he has hung around the game for ten years with a career 76-75 record with and a 4.13 ERA in 232 appearances.
Andrew Bailey was Oakland’s star rookie closer in 2009, sporting 26 saves to go with a 6-3 record; he had two more strong seasons with the A’s in an 8-year career with 94 total saves and a 16-14 record. Hammerin’ Bob Hamelin slugged 24 homers and 65 RBIs and a .987 OPS in 101 games for the 1994 Royals; five years later, he was out of the game, a career slash line of .246/67/209.
Why Betting on the Completely Polished AL Rookie of the Year Could be Smart
Controversies are relatively rare in Rookie of the Year voting. There are years with two or more strong candidates, and the voters are generally not wrong, even if the occasional discrepancy between stats and votes awards it to “the other guy.” The biggest brouhaha has been about the awarding of the trophy to stars from other places who come to MLB as already mature players, not wet-behind-the-ears youngsters.
Did Nippon Baseball star Ichiro deserve the award as a Mariners’ rookie, but not a baseball rookie, in 2001? Did a 32 year-old Kaz Sasaki deserve it in 2000, or Jose Abreu, who came to the 2014 White Sox with 178 career homers and .341 average in ten seasons in Cuba?
The Yankees (9) and Athletics (8) have produced the most AL Rookies of the Year, with the A’s bringing a record three straight out of their farm system with Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, and Walt Weiss from 1986-88. All American League teams have brought along at least two AL RoYs. Red Sox outfielder Fred Lynn (1975) and Ichiro are the only players to have won the Rookie of the Year and the MVP in the same season.
Which Players Should Have the Best AL Rookie of the Year Odds
Players to keep an eye on for potential outstanding rookie campaigns include White Sox outfielder Luis Robert, Tampa Bay shortstop Wander Franco, A’s pitchers Jesus Luzardo and AJ Puk, Mariners first baseman Evan White, Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman, and Royals shortstop Bobby Witt, Jr.
They will be trying to follow in the footsteps of Yordan Alvarez, who burst on to the scene with a bang (maybe literally considering the Astros sign stealing scandal) after starting the 2019 season in the minor leagues. So, keep an eye on the players listed above as well as some players that are still lingering in Double-A or Triple-A as you figure out the AL Rookie of the Year odds and make your bet.