National League Rookie of the Year Odds
The Best of the National League Rookies: 2020 NL Rookie of the Year Odds
Perfectly aligned with the idyllic summer imagery of baseball is that of the Rookie of the Year, a youngster coming up for his first season in the big leagues and putting on a show. The Rookie of the Year award was first bestowed in 1947, on never-a-more deserving candidate than Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Two years later, it was determined to give an award to the most outstanding rookie in both the American and National Leagues. Forty years after he broke the sport’s color barrier and won the trophy himself, the Rookie of the Year award was renamed by Major League Baseball as the Jackie Robinson Award.
The Continued Domination of the Dodgers in the NL Rookie of the Year Award
Dodgers’ players, starting with Robinson and then teammate and fellow pioneer Don Newcombe in 1949, have won the award an amazing 18 times, more than twice as many as any other
franchise. Other trailblazing Dodger Rookies of the Year include: 1981 phenom Fernando Valenzuela, whose oddball windup, charm, and popularity in both the Latin communities in LA and worldwide spawned “Fernandomania;” his Japanese counterpart, 1995 winner Hideo Nomo, a star from Nippon Baseball who crossed the Pacific with his own tornado-like windup and cultural hero status, inspired “Nomomania.” Valenzuela has the added prominence of being the only player in major league history to win the Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young award in the same season.
Jackie Robinson is joined by 10 other National League Rookie of the Year award winners to have punched their tickets to Cooperstown with outstanding careers that started with outstanding rookie years. They are: Willie Mays (1951), Frank Robinson (1956), Orlando Cepeda (1958), Willie McCovey (1959), Billy Williams (1961), Tom Seaver (1967), Johnny Bench (1968), Andre Dawson (1977), Jeff Bagwell (1991), and Mike Piazza (1993).
Albert Pujols (2001) will surely join them once he hangs up his cleats, and Scott Rolen (1997) may do so in the next Hall of Fame ballot. Ryan Howard (2005), Ryan Braun (2007), and Buster Posey (2010) are also in the near-future mix for enshrinement.
The Long Careers of Most NL Rookie of the Years
While there have been some AL Rookies of the Year who quickly disappeared from the limelight, most NL RoYs have stayed around long enough to have a decent career. Chris Coughlin played for nine seasons after winning in 2009 with the Marlins: the Rockies’ Jason Jennings (2001), Reds’ Pat Zachary (1976), and Cards’ Bake McBride (1973) all played for around ten years. Following a tie in 1986 between Cubs’ centerfielder Jerome Walton, and Padres’ pitcher Butch Metzger, the voting methods were changed to lessen the chances of a shared award.
Pete Alonso of the Mets bashed his way to the award in 2019, leading the league in home runs and winning the All Star Weekend Home Run Derby along the way. The Rockies and Pirates have produced one Rookie of the Year apiece; the Arizona Diamondbacks are the only team in the majors without a RoY winner.
Which Players Should Have the Best NL Rookie of the Year Odds
Dodgers’ middle infielder Gavin Lux seems to be generating the most chatter for the 2020 award. Other prospects to watch include Pirates pitcher Mitch Keller, Padres pitcher MacKenzie Gore, Nationals infielder Carter Kiebooom, and Braves outfielder Cristian Pache.