With only a few games remaining in this current MLB season, awards talk will ramp up. One of the hottest races will be the AL Rookie of the Year. Several names have remained constant throughout the year. However, a few players are making a case as serious Rookie of the Year contenders. Here, we’ll take a look at the favorite AL rookies and a few dark horse names that could potentially seize the Rookie of the Year award for themselves.
The Chicago White Sox centerfielder Luis Robert is currently the odds-on favorite to take home the award. In 45 games for the White Sox, Robert has been a star batting .255 with 11 home runs, 30 RBI, eight doubles and eight stolen bases, and a .820 OPS. So, it’s safe to say that Robert has all the makings of a perennial All-Star. At this point, Robert is the safe bet to take home the Rookie of the Year crown.
Another centerfielder on the list is the Seattle Mariners Kyle Lewis who is brining up flashes of another Mariners centerfielder with slick defense. Lewis is showing progressive improvement all over the field in this shortened season. It is this work ethic and pride that has Mariners fans looking forward to the future. Lewis is currently batting .295 with 10 home runs and 27 RBI. Lewis has been in a bit of a slump lately going 8-for-51 in his last 15 games. However, he is still one of the Rookie of the Year favorites and will be until the season is over.
The Dark Horses
Minnesota Twins right-hander Randy Dobnak has seemingly come from out of nowhere as he was an Uber driver at one point last season. In nine games in 2019, Dobnak posted a 1.59 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 28 and one-third innings pitched. This season in 10 starts, Dobnak boasts a not so impressive 4.05 ERA with only 27 strikeouts in 46.2 innings pitched. But, according to FanGraphs.com, his ground ball rate is currently at 62.1% which is currently highest in the majors amongst qualified starters. Though not flashy or overpowering, Dobnak still deserves serious consideration for Rookie of the Year.
Deivi Garcia has burst on to the MLB scene. In only four starts for the New York Yankees, Garcia is 2-1 with a 3.28 ERA with 24 strikeouts and only four walks in 24 and two-thirds innings. Despite being small in stature, he is only 5-foot-9, 160 pounds, Garcia uses an overpowering fastball to get ahead of batters then has them swinging and missing with his plus changeup and curve. His WHIP is 0.973 which is the lowest of any Yankees starter and he is quickly pushed his way into the postseason rotation. A few more solid outings and Garcia will find himself in the thick of the Rookie of the Year conversation.
Another pitcher on the list, southpaw Jesus Luzardo is the unexpected Oakland Athletics Rookie of the Year candidate. With A.J. Puk continuing to rehab from a left shoulder strain that has kept him out of the 2020 season, Luzardo slid into the rotation and has not disappointed. After a promising 2019 season, Luzardo is currently 2-2 with a 4.36 ERA, 45 strikeouts, and 14 walks in 50 innings pitched. Despite testing positive for COVID-19 and having to exit summer camp, Luzardo started the year in the bullpen but has made up for lost time. He leads the team in strikeouts and has shown ace-like flashes. Despite needing to pitch deeper into games, Luzardo could put himself back in the forefront of the Rookie of the Year voting with another strong outing or two.
For these AL rookies, the last two weeks of the season will be crucial. The dark horse candidates will need to be especially solid if they hope to have a shot at the Rookie of the Year. Despite being on the outside looking in, Dobnak, Garcia, and Luzardo can still stake their claim. This has been a great year for AL rookies. The season isn’t over yet and neither is the American League Rookie of the Year race.
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