MLB Rookies Contending for Rookie of the Year

MLB rookies this year are unique. The 2021 class features two surprising but older rookies who are both 28-years old. A few top outfield prospects from Randy Arozarena and Dylan Carlson continue to their mark in their respective leagues too. Expect this list to change throughout the season as Ke’Bryan Kayes returns from the IL for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Top prospects such as Bobby Witt Jr. and Wander Franco are likely to arrive from the minors later this season.

We’re six weeks into the season; here are the top rookies who are early contenders for the Rookie of the Year awards.

All statistics are through May 11.

MLB Rookies

American League

Yermín Mercedes, DH/C, Chicago White Sox 

Yermín Mercedes is one of the most exciting stories of the season. The 28-year-old was a surprise addition to the Chicago White Sox roster. Once Opening Day began, Mercedes continues to pound the baseball as the team’s DH. He earned AL Rookie of the Month honors for April, hitting a slash line of .386.426/.614 with five doubles, five home runs, and 16 RBI. The injuries to Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert will offer Mercedes more opportunities to deliver at the plate. He currently leads all rookies in batting average along with all three slash line categories. 

Randy Arozarena, OF, Tampa Bay Rays 

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena burst out of a rocket last October when he belted three home runs against the New York Yankees in the ALDS. He hit four homers in the ALCS against the Houston Astros, and he topped it off with three home runs in the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The big question coming into the 2021 season is if Arozarena can continue his success. In his first 33 games and 142 plate appearances, he has five doubles, three home runs, four stolen bases, and 12 RBI.

Adolis García, OF, Texas Rangers

Adolis García is behind Mercedes as the biggest surprise among rookies. Before the Texas Rangers acquired García, he was very productive in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system, hitting a combined .290 with 34 doubles, 15 home runs, and 15 stolen bases at Double and Triple-A. He struggled in his first call up to the majors in 2018, but he spent more time in the minors to develop his game. García has been on fire ever since getting called up on April 13. He’s slashing .292/.333/.585 overall, while ranking in the top 10 in the AL in slugging, nine home runs, and three outfield assists. 

National League

Dylan Carlson, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

After Dylan Carlson debuted last year with the Cardinals, his power this year has been similar in doubles and home runs. Carlson spent the first month of the season playing center field after Harrison Bader suffered an injury. He’s been impressive so far, leading all NL rookies with 36 hits, 23 runs, and 56 total bases. 

Jazz Chisholm, 2B, Miami Marlins

Acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks at the 2019 trade deadline, no one was sure of Jazz Chisholm. He struggled to impress the Diamondbacks, but the Miami Marlins saw something in their promising infielder. Now, he is the real bright spot on the Marlins roster, hitting a .290/.375/.551 slash line. Chisholm has four home runs and doubles, seven RBI, and a league-leading seven stolen bases. The second baseman should continue to make an impact after landing on the IL with a strained hamstring.

Trevor Rogers, LHP, Miami Marlins 

Trevor Rogers has taken a significant step with the Miami Marlins this season. The southpaw had a dismal 2020 debut with a 6.11 ERA in seven starts. He won the final spot in the Marlins rotation in spring training. So far, he’s been Miami’s most polarizing pitcher. The 23-year-old was the NL Rookie of the Month for April. He ranks first among rookie starters and sixth among all starters with a 1.89 ERA. 

Other Notable MLB Rookies

Akill Baddoo, Zach McKinstry, Alex Kirilloff, Jonathan India, Emmanuel Clase, Pavin Smith, Nick Madrigal, Andrew Vaughn.

 

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