When the 2021 Major League Baseball season ended, Randy Arozarena of the Tampa Bay Rays claimed the Jackie Robinson American League Rookie of the Year Award. The 26-year-old outfielder, who had played in 25 postseason games over the previous two years for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Rays, kept his rookie status in 2021. Arozarena won the award with 22 first-place votes and 124 votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, who vote on the Rookie of the Year Award. Luis Garcia of the Houston Astros, with two first-place votes and 63 points, was the runner-up for the award.
Arozarena was the fourth player in Rays history to win the Rookie of the Year. The other players to win the award were Wil Myers (2013), Jeremy Hellickson (’11) and Evan Longoria (’08).
The Rookie of the Year nod was not the only award Arozarena took home in 2021. He was also named the American League Championship Series MVP during the playoffs. He is the only rookie position to ever win an LCS MVP award. Three pitchers have won LCS awards — Mike Boddicker (1983 ALCS MVP), Livan Hernández (’97 NLCS and World Series MVP) and Michael Wacha (2013 NLCS MVP).
Before we look at the players in the running for the 2022 Jackie Robinson American League Rookie of the Year Award, check out our 2022 MLB Props Betting Guide as well as the best sites for betting on MLB in 2022.
2022 AL Rookie of the Year Award picks
|To Win 2022 AL Rookie of the Year Award|
|Bobby Witt Jr.||+650||+650|
Julio Rodriguez had a rough start to his season with the Seattle Mariners. The outfielder went 6-for-44 and struck out 22 times, but he has gotten things together since then and he is now hitting .269 with six home runs and 24 RBIs. Rodriguez leads the majors in stolen bases with 16. He is the leading rookie in hits with 53, while checking in at second among rookies in RBIs and third in home runs. Rodriguez has an OPS of .740
Jeremy Pena had a lot of pressure on his shoulders heading into his first season with the Houston Astros. Not only was he in his first year in the majors, he had the task of replacing Carlos Correa, who left the Astros to sign a three-year deal with the Minnesota Twins worth more than $105 million. Pena has responded well to the pressure.
Pena is hitting .273 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs. His home run number is first among rookies and his RBIs have him in third in that stat among first year players. Pena is second among MLB rookies in hits (45) and he has an OPS of .795.
Pena has also played very well defensively in the demanding position of shortstop.
Bobby Witt Jr.
Bobby Witt Jr. struggled in April for the Kansas City Royals. He hit .216 that month with no home runs. Witt has righted the ship since then. He is now hitting .228 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs. Witt’s home run total is second among MLB rookies and he leads first-year players with his 28 RBIs. Witt is also third in hits among rookies with 43. Thirteen of those hits have been doubles (first among rookies) and his three triples are also best among first year players. Witt is also playing well on defense for the Royals.
It really is a three-player race for the Jackie Robinson American League Rookie of the Year Award. Any of the above players could get red hot and pull ahead of the other two. However, looking at what we know about these three players at this point in the MLB season, I am going to lean with Jeremy Pena because of his offensive and defensive play and the role he has been able to fill on the Astros roster.
Pick: Jeremy Pena to win 2022 American League Rookie of the Year.
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