Skip to content

Handicapping the AL Rookie of the Year race

Apr 1, 2013, 1:50 AM EDT

Aaron Hicks AP

Bringing back something I used to do each year for fun, here’s a look at the American League Rookie of the Year possibilities, with odds posted for several of the favorites. I’ll follow suit with the National League tomorrow.

Please note: Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin is ineligible for Rookie of the Year honors. He spent too much time in the majors last season. Otherwise, he’d likely be the second favorite.

Mike Olt (1B-3B Rangers) – 25:1 – Olt was being considered for a bench spot entering spring training, but a poor showing (.194/.324/.419 in 31 AB) got him sent down to play everyday. Since he’s 24, that’s the right move anyway. Olt would be starting at third base for a few teams right now, and he’s also an option at first base and maybe in the outfield corners in case injuries begin piling up in Texas. Alternatively, he could be the team’s best trade bait if it needs help in July. If he has to wait until then, it’ll probably be too late for a ROY bid.

Projection: .241/.327/.408, 12 HR, 40 R, 42 RBI, 3 SB in 316 AB

Dylan Bundy (RHP Orioles) – 20:1 – Bundy would have gotten better odds if not for the presence of Orioles 2012 first-round pick Kevin Gausman, who might have taken his place in line for a May callup. Bundy remains the game’s No. 1 pitching prospect, but Gausman is closing in on a spot on the top five, and Gausman is probably the more polished of the two, having been drafted out of LSU. Bundy, a high school product drafted fourth overall in 2011, went 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA and a 119/29 K/BB ratio in 103 2/3 IP in the minors last year, topping out in Double-A. He’s a phenomenal talent, but since he’ll be limited to around 150 innings this year, he’ll only have so much of a chance to show what he can do.

Projection: 8-5, 3.88 ERA, 1.321 WHIP, 112 Ks in 109 IP

Carter Capps (RHP Mariners) – 20:1 – Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen was shaky towards the end of the spring, giving up six runs in his final six innings. Capps, on the other hand, was just about untouchable, allowing one earned run and striking out 13 in nine innings overall. I fully expect him to emerge as the Mariners’ long-term closer, and while that might not happen at any point during this year, he’s a sleeper candidate here. Rookie of the Year voters love their saves.

Projection: 4-3, 7 Sv, 3.16 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 79 Ks in 68 1/3 IP

Chris Archer (RHP Rays) – 15:1 – The Rays are always thinking long-term with their rookies, and that usually means keeping them on the farm for a couple of extra months, even when they look ready. Archer allowed just one hit in seven scoreless innings during the early part of the spring, but the Rays quickly sent him down and proceeded with Roberto Hernandez and Jeff Niemann as their fifth-starter candidates. It’s Hernandez’s job now, but Archer should be the answer come June. If he were up now, he’d be my ROY pick.

Projection: 7-4, 3.82 ERA, 1.334 WHIP, 94 Ks in 96 2/3 IP

Wil Myers (OF Rays) – 12:1 – As soon as the Rays traded James Shields to the Royals for Myers, it was a given that the slugger wouldd spend that he’d spend this first month or two in Triple-A to limit his service time. Myers doesn’t really have much left to prove in Triple-A after hitting 24 homers in 99 games there last year. Overall, he hit .314/.387/.600 with 37 homers in 134 games at two levels. Still, it would be nice to see him cut back on the strikeouts a bit; he fanned 140 times last year. He figures to take over as the Rays’ right fielder in June.

Projection: .240/.312/.429, 15 HR, 47 R, 56 RBI, 2 SB in 366 AB

Brandon Maurer (RHP Mariners) – 12:1 – Supposedly behind Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton in the Mariners chain, Maurer pulled off a stunner in securing a spot in Seattle’s rotation this spring. The 22-year-old showed a strong slider in striking out 25 in 24 innings during the Cactus League season, and he’s always had very good command. He may not have the upside of Walker or Hultzen, but it looks like he’ll be a solid choice to put behind them come 2014 and ’15.

Projection: 9-10, 4.19 ERA, 1.366 WHIP, 126 Ks in 161 IP

Jurickson Profar (2B-SS Rangers) – 9:1 – Now that the Rangers have reportedly chosen to commit to Elvis Andrus for a whopping eight years, Profar’s future appears to be at second base, with Ian Kinsler moving to first base or an outfield corner. It will be interesting to see if the Rangers try to pull that off during the season; asking an All-Star to suddenly switch positions in May or June isn’t something that happens often. Profar, though, will force the Rangers to make a move soon enough. He’s one of their nine best players right now, and the Rangers have too much competition in the AL West to not use their best players.

Projection: .263/.330/.412, 8 HR, 51 R, 42 RBI, 11 SB in 376 AB

Bruce Rondon (RHP Tigers) – 8:1 – Last year was the first year since 2008 that a Rookie of the Year award was not won by a closer (Andrew Bailey in 2009, Neftali Feliz in 2010, Craig Kimbrel in 2011). Rondon was demoted to Triple-A following a very shaky spring, but the Tigers are still hoping he’ll run away with the ninth-inning gig at some point this season. If it happens by May 15, he’d still be a candidate for 30 saves, which would likely lead to at least a top-three finish in the balloting.]

Projection: 2-2, 11 Sv, 3.86 ERA, 1.393 WHIP, 50 Ks in 46 2/3 IP

Jackie Bradley (OF Red Sox) – 6:1 – Arguably the breakout star of the Grapefruit League, Bradley hit .419/.507/.613 in 62 at-bats to make the Red Sox as their left fielder with David Ortiz out. If he hits, he’s going to have to stay when Ortiz returns; it’s not like Jonny Gomes was ever a good plan as a starting left fielder anyway. However, if he doesn’t get off to a fast start, the Red Sox will probably return to the original plan of giving him some Triple-A time. Such a move would push back his free agency an extra year. My guess is that he does wind up back in the minors, at least for a month or so.

Projection: .267/.340/.407, 9 HR, 54 R, 45 RBI, 11 SB in 378 AB

The field – 5:1 – Trevor Bauer (RHP Indians), Kevin Gausman (RHP Orioles), Dan Straily (RHP Athletics), Hiroyuki Nakajima (SS Athletics), Martin Perez (LHP Rangers), Nick Tepesch (RHP Rangers), Jonathan Schoop (2B-SS Orioles), Kyle Gibson (RHP Twins), Danny Hultzen (LHP Mariners), Mike Zunino (C Mariners), Nick Castellanos (OF Tigers), Brandon Guyer (OF Rays), Avisail Garcia (OF Tigers), Austin Romine (C Yankees), Nate Freiman (1B Athletics), Jonathan Singleton (1B Astros), Grant Green (2B-OF Athletics), Taijuan Walker (RHP Mariners), Allen Webster (RHP Red Sox)

Aaron Hicks (OF Twins) – 4:1 – As the lone AL rookie set to get 550 at-bats, Hicks is the safest of the Rookie of the Year picks. The 23-year-old is jumping from Double-A to the majors after hitting .370/.407/.644 with four homers and three steals this spring to beat out Darin Mastroianni and Joe Benson for the Twins’ center field job. Hicks hit a modest .271 in five minor league seasons, but he offers a strong walk rate, emerging power and a strong glove in center field. I don’t see him wowing as a rookie, but I’m also not sure anyone will overtake him.

Projection: .257/.334/.392, 11 HR, 83 R, 48 RBI, 23 SB in 544 AB

Latest Posts
  1. Pete Rose joins FOX as a baseball analyst

    Apr 18, 2015, 4:19 PM EDT

    pete rose getty Getty Images

    You’ll be seeing MLB’s all-time hits leader Pete Rose in FOX’s coverage of baseball this season.

  2. VIDEO: Bryce Harper hit a mammoth home run today vs. the Phillies

    Apr 18, 2015, 4:12 PM EDT

    Bryce Harper AP

    The home run traveled at a distance of 461 feet. My goodness.

  3. Home plate umpire Brian Knight leaves game after being hit in mask by pitch

    Apr 18, 2015, 3:58 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Detroit Tigers Getty Images

    Scary moment in today’s Phillies-Nationals game, as home plate umpire Brian Knight was forced to exit after he was hit in the facemask by a pitch in the top of the ninth inning.

  4. Royals closer Greg Holland placed on disabled list with pectoral strain

    Apr 18, 2015, 3:47 PM EDT

    Greg Holland AP

    Greg Holland has been one of the game’s best relievers dating back to 2011, but the Royals will have to make due without him for a little while.

  5. Matt Holliday exits game with back tightness

    Apr 18, 2015, 2:56 PM EDT

    St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

    The Cardinals are calling Holliday’s exit “precautionary,” so it’s probably safe to consider him day-to-day.

  6. Marlins claim left-hander Matt Tracy off waivers from Yankees

    Apr 18, 2015, 2:27 PM EDT

    Matt Tracy AP

    Tracy, 26, was designated for assignment by the Yankees last Sunday.

  7. Yunel Escobar to undergo MRI for groin injury

    Apr 18, 2015, 2:11 PM EDT

    Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies Getty Images

    The Nats’ infield depth is being tested in the early part of the season.

  8. Jonathan Schoop diagnosed with PCL tear and MCL sprain in right knee

    Apr 18, 2015, 1:24 PM EDT

    poses on photo day at Ed Smith Stadium on March 1, 2015 in Sarasota, Florida. Getty Images

    Schoop was off to a nice start so far this season, batting .259 (7-for-27) with three home runs and a .940 OPS over nine games.

  9. Reds activate Homer Bailey from disabled list to make season debut

    Apr 18, 2015, 1:01 PM EDT

    Homer Bailey AP

    Reds right-hander Homer Bailey landed on the disabled list at the end of spring training while he completed his rehab from surgery to repair a tear of the flexor tendon in his elbow, but he has been activated to make his season debut this afternoon against the Cardinals.

  10. Giancarlo Stanton says “the fire is not there” with Marlins

    Apr 18, 2015, 12:18 PM EDT

    Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

    The Marlins are off to a disappointing 3-8 start this season and slugger Giancarlo Stanton doesn’t like what he has seen.

  11. Report: Angels and Josh Hamilton discussing a number of scenarios to resolve dispute

    Apr 18, 2015, 12:10 PM EDT

    Josh Hamilton AP

    Josh Hamilton’s future with the Angels is in question, as the two sides are discussing a number of scenarios to resolve their dispute.

  12. Victor Martinez back in Tigers lineup for first time since last Sunday

    Apr 18, 2015, 11:29 AM EDT

    cD05ODdlNmNhY2MwMjRlZWQzNTJhM2ViYTQ1Y2VlY2YzOCZnPTA3YWM0OGUxZTdmMjA0M2RmODI4MTg2N2M5NDVjYjRh Getty Images

    V-Mart took a few days off this week to rest his knee.

  13. Indians keeping Danny Salazar in starting rotation, moving Zach McAllister to bullpen

    Apr 18, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT

    Danny Salazar AP

    Danny Salazar was optioned to Triple-A after struggling during spring training, but he’ll now get an extended opportunity in Cleveland’s rotation.

  14. Josh Collmenter threw the first shutout of the 2015 MLB season last night

    Apr 18, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    Josh Collmenter AP

    It’s safe to say that nobody would have guessed this one.

  15. Settling the Score: Friday’s results

    Apr 18, 2015, 8:51 AM EDT

    Bartolo Colon AP

    A quick recap of a busy Friday around MLB, including the exploits of Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon.

  16. Josh Hamilton’s teammates say he’s in great shape and ready to play

    Apr 18, 2015, 7:17 AM EDT

    Josh Hamilton Josh Hamilton

    There are, increasingly, two Angels camps when it comes to the Josh Hamilton matter: Arte Moreno and everybody else.

  17. Josh Hamilton’s California house is for sale

    Apr 18, 2015, 6:49 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 6.46.17 AM

    When Angels owner Arte Moreno was asked if Josh Hamilton would ever play for the Angels again, he said “I will not say that.” With this listing, perhaps Hamilton is saying so himself.

  18. Ruben Amaro on Andy Oliver’s decision to elect free agency: “I think it was a very foolish move on his part, but that’s OK.”

    Apr 17, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT

    Andy Oliver Andy Oliver

    Ruben Amaro seems a little upset that Andy Oliver didn’t want to start the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

  19. Mets will bring back Rafael Montero as a starting pitcher near the end of April

    Apr 17, 2015, 10:50 PM EDT

    Rafael Montero Rafael Montero

    The Mets will be stretching out Rafael Montero as a starter at Triple-A Las Vegas before bringing him back to the majors for a spot start against the Marlins.

  20. Mike Trout hit his 100th career home run to become the youngest member of the 100 HR/100 SB club

    Apr 17, 2015, 9:58 PM EDT

    Mike Trout Mike Trout

    Mike Trout became the youngest to join the 100/100 club with a two-run home run on Friday night.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Salazar (3427)
  2. D. Span (3364)
  3. B. Gardner (3278)
  4. D. Mesoraco (3252)
  5. Y. Puig (3150)