- BetOnline has Luis Robert (+400) and Michael Kopech (+400) as the co-favorites to win AL Rookie of the Year
- Top prospects like Casey Mize (+500), Nate Pearson (+2000) and Wander Franco (+2000) will all start the season in the minors
- Oakland A’s lefthander Jesús Luzardo (+600) has already proven he can strikeout major-league hitters
Of the past eight American League Rookie of the Year winners, only one has been a pitcher (the Tigers’ Michael Fulmer in 2016), yet four of the top-five candidates for this year’s award are hurlers.
This would seem to suggest that White Sox center fielder Luis Robert is the rightful leader in the clubhouse at +400, but there are other youngsters we have an eye on.
Let’s check the odds at BetOnline and offer a few potential winners.
2020 AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
|Player (Position, Team)||Odds|
|Luis Robert (OF, White Sox)||+400|
|Michael Kopech (P, White Sox)||+400|
|Casey Mize (P, Tigers)||+500|
|Jesus Luzardo (P, Athletics)||+600|
|Brendan McKay (P/DH, Rays)||+800|
|Jo Adell (OF, Angels)||+1000|
|Evan White (1B, Mariners)||+1200|
|Deivi Garcia (P, Yankees)||+2000|
|Forrest Whitley (P, Astros)||+2000|
|Nate Pearson (P, Blue Jays)||+2000|
|Wander Franco (SS, Rays)||+2000|
|A.J. Puk (P, Athletics)||+3300|
THE FAVORITES: KOPECH AND ROBERT
Make no mistake: Luis Robert is the safest bet to win AL Rookie of the Year. Described by teammate Eloy Jimenez as “the next Mike Trout,” the 22-year-old Cuban phenom hit .328 with 32 home runs and 36 stolen bases in the minors last year.
Showcasing power, speed and athleticism, the five-tool talent is also off to a fantastic start this spring with a .375 average. Best of all, Robert signed a six-year, $50 million contract in the offseason so he’ll begin the season at center field for a young White Sox club that should make a major leap.
“I’ve seen him hit balls with one hand out of the park.”
The legend of Luis Robert is coming.https://t.co/O9eOcDDEQ0
— NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSChicago) March 3, 2020
The same can’t be said for his teammate, and award co-favorite, Michael Kopech (+400). The 23-year-old right-hander is unlikely to start his season in the majors as Chicago eases him back from Tommy John surgery.
An innings-limit will also prevent Kopech from logging anywhere near the 159 innings that Fulmer logged in his ROY-winning 2016 campaign.
BUYER BEWARE ON TOP PROSPECTS
Despite out-dueling the Yankees’ $324 million ace Gerrit Cole in his first start of the spring, Detroit prospect Casey Mize (+500) seems poised to start his season at Triple-A Toledo. The 22-year-old only pitched 109 innings last season, so expect the Tigers to take it easy with their prized arm.
The Blue Jays will take a similar tact with 23-year-old Nate Pearson (+2000), who used his 100 MPH fastball to strikeout three Red Sox hitters over two scoreless innings in a recent spring start. Like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. last year, Toronto will keep him in the minors until at least May, ensuring he doesn’t become a free agent until 2026, rather than 2025.
Top #BlueJays prospect Nate Pearson presents challenges to hitters beyond overpowering stuff. “He’s got a short arm motion, so it gets on you quicker than someone that’s more fluid with a longer arm action that you can time up a little better.” https://t.co/MGFPERoPut
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) February 22, 2020
However, with the news that the 19-year-old shortstop will play for the Dominican Republic as the country tries to qualify for the Olympics later this month, he’s unlikely to see the majors until late in the summer.
BEST BET: JESUS LUZARDO (+600)
Unlike the other top rookie hurlers on the board, Jesús Luzardo will start the year in Oakland’s rotation.
As the best left-handed pitching prospect in the game, Luzardo posted a 3.19 ERA across seven starts in triple-A last summer before impressing in a late-season call-up to the majors.
I think this Jesus Luzardo dude is supposed to be pretty good…
Here are all 8 Ks from his 3.1 IP outing today pic.twitter.com/lhBVBpyt8c
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) March 7, 2020
The 22-year-old Peruvian posted a 1.50 ERA and 0.667 WHIP for the A’s last September, striking out 16 batters in 12 innings out of the bullpen.
Boasting a curve, slider, change-up and a 98 MPH fastball, Luzardo has also been dominant this spring, allowing only four hits in 8 1/3 innings with 13 strikeouts.