National League Rookie of the Year Odds

The Best of the National League Rookies: 2020 NL Rookie of the Year

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. 

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Milwaukee Pitcher Devin Williams Takes Home The Award In The NL

In November, Brewers’ Relief Pitcher Devin Williams was named the 2020 National League Rookie of the Year. Williams became the first relief pitcher to win the award since Craig Kimbrel did it for the Braves back in 2011. Williams also became the first pitcher in history to be named the award winner despite not logging a single win or save during the 2020 season.

So that leaves us asking one question: why did Devin Williams win the 2020 NL ROTY award? The 26-year-old pitched in 22 games for a total of 27.0 innings pitched. In those 27 innings pitched, Williams surrendered only eight hits for four total runs resulting in an ERA of 0.33. He also managed to record 53 strikeouts in his limited appearances this past year.

Williams had some truly inspiring words to say following his win. He decided to honor some of the previous black baseball players to win the award. “I feel like you need someone who looks like you to show you it’s possible,” Williams said. “Growing up, I had guys like Derek Jeter and other biracial and Black players who just kind of opened the door to that possibility for me. When you don’t see anyone who looks like you, it doesn’t feel like it’s attainable, in a way.”

Devin Williams became just the third player in Brewers’ history to be named Rookie of the Year. Ryan Braun won the award in 2007, and Pat Listach was named the league ROTY in 1992. This victory marked the second award Williams earned last season. He was selected as the National League Reliever of the Year in 2020 as well.

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 ROTYs 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 ROTY winner.  

Which Players Currently Have the Best NL Rookie of the Year Odds in 2021?

Here are some of the candidates most likely to impress in the 2021 season according to MLB.com:

Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates
Ian Anderson, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Miami Marlins
Dylan Carlson, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Joey Bart, C, San Francisco Giants