AL Rookie of the Year Odds: Are Robert and Luzardo Home-Run Bets?

  • 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.

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.

Wander Franco is also enticing at +2000 given that MLB.comBaseball America, Baseball Prospectus, The Athletic and ESPN all consider him to be the top prospect in Major League Baseball.

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.

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.

Steve Dominey

Steve has almost 15 years of experience in marketing, PR and sports television. After acquiring a Journalism degree from Carleton University, he assembled highlight packs for Canada's most-watched sports network (TSN) before transitioning to a career in communications. He describes himself as a good father, great dog owner, and mediocre gambler and husband.