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2023 MLB Rookie of the Year Race 1.0

2023 MLB Rookies

2023 MLB rookies are making an impact already in different ways after eight weeks of baseball. In the American League, there’s some clear favorites including Japanese import Masataka Yoshida. While he’s been a star for the Boston Red Sox, two other players are right behind him in the hunt. Meanwhile, the National League has a potential frontrunner from Arizona. It’s still early, but anything can happen moving forward.

This is our first edition of the 2023 MLB Rookie of the Year race. It will be updated each month until the end of the regular season.

Early 2023 MLB Rookie of the Year Favorites

Editors note: All stats are from June 2, 2023

American League

Masataka Yoshida

Stats: .312/.389/.500, 58 H, 7 HR, 31 R, 31 RBI, 3 SB, 138 OPS+, 1.1 bWAR

Yoshida has been living up to the hype since the World Baseball Classic. Yet, he doesn’t play like a rookie, as he’s looking more adjusted to life in the majors. The 29-year-old currently ranks third in the American League with a .312 batting average. His discipline at the plate is amazing since he has the same amount of walks as strikeouts, with 21. However, his -3 DRS in left field undermined his overall value. If he continues to develop his game as the season progresses, he can emerge as one of the best rookies in baseball.

Hunter Brown

Stats: 5-3, 3.61 ERA, 11 G, 11 GS, 62 1/3 innings, 74 SO, 1.235 WHIP, 0.9 bWAR

Brown made some noise after a brief September call-up last season. The right-hander posted a 0.89 ERA in 20 1/3 innings, good enough to make the Houston Astros postseason roster. With the departure of Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers Jr. out with an injury, Brown has made an impact since joining the rotation as the No. 3 starter. He leads all AL rookies with 62 1/3 innings and 74 strikeouts. In May, he steadied the ship with 27 strikeouts with three walks in his last three starts.

Josh Jung

Stats: .290/.336/.524, 61 H, 12 HR, 37 RBI, 40 R, 1 SB, 135 OPS+, 1.9 bWAR

Jung already amassed ten home runs and 35 RBI thanks to his incredible batting line for an improved Texas Rangers team. Jung leads all American League rookies in slugging percentage, total bases, extra-base hits, and runs. He’s tied for home runs, RBI and finished second in average and OPS (.917). He’s the fourth rookie in team history to record 60 bases or more in a month, joining Adolis García, Chris Davis, and Ruben Sierra. The 25-year-old capped off May on a 14-game hitting streak.

National League

Corbin Carroll

Stats: .288/.374/.888, 55 H, 9 HR, 24 RBI, 37 R, 16 SB, 143 OPS+, 2.1 bWAR

Of the 2023 MLB Rookies, Carroll has done a little bit of everything for the up-and-coming Arizona Diamondbacks. With a .282/.369/.503 line, the No.2 prospect on has a solid command of the strike zone. His 14 steals in 16 attempts ranks 99th percentile in sprint speed. Carroll also ranks in the 93rd percentile in outs above average.

Francisco Álvarez

Stats: .246/.361/.509, 28 H, 8 HR, 19 RBI, 14 R, 121 OPS+, 1.0 bWAR

Álvarez started the season in Triple-A Syracuse to give him time to develop his game defensively. After being recalled from the minors, he’s become one of the hottest young hitters over the month. From May 16-30, he slashed .324/375/.784 with an astounding 1.159 OPS+. Plus, he hit five home runs for 12 hits and 13 RBI in 40 plate appearances. Overall, he’s hitting .353/.405/.853 with five home runs and 13 RBI in 37 plate appearances. 

Spencer Steer 

Stats: .286/.363/.495, 59 H, 8 HR, 28 RBI, 30 R, 2 SB, 123 OPS+, 0.9 bWAR

Joey Votto’s absence opened the door for Steer to take over as the Cincinnati Reds‘ first baseman. Despite being a third-round draft pick and the Minnesota Twins trading him, Steer finished May on an excellent. He hit six home runs, eight doubles, and 19 RBI courtesy of a .318 batting average. Steer is the type of hitter the Reds can rely on in their lineup, someone who can anchor the middle of the lineup for the future.

Other Notable 2023 MLB Rookies: Bryce Miller, Kodai Senga, Gunnar Henderson, James Outman, Tanner Bibee, Esteury Ruiz

Photo Credit: © Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Players mentioned:

Masataka Yoshida, Hunter Brown, Justin Verlander, Lance McCullers Jr., Josh Jung, Adolis García, Chris Davis, Corbin Carroll, Francisco Álvarez, Spencer Steer, Joey Votto, Bryce Miller, Kodai Senga, Gunnar Henderson, James Outman, Tanner Bibee, Esteury Ruiz


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