While it’s becoming common knowledge that the 2021 MLB season is loaded with rookie talent, not every young star is getting the attention they deserve.
Whether it’s due to playing in a small market or playing for a non-contending team, some young stars have gone unnoticed.
These three American League rookies are worth keeping an eye on as the Rookie of the Year race heats up throughout the season.
3. Luis Garcia
Luis Garcia is the real deal.
Last season, Garcia made his MLB debut and impressed over limited appearances.
Over five outings (four of which were relief appearances) and 12.1 innings, Garcia posted a 2.92 ERA.
He even tossed two scoreless innings in a playoff game just to prove that the moment wasn’t too big for him.
This year, we’re getting a full dose of Garcia, and he has been phenomenal.
The 24-year-old has made 10 appearances (eight starts) and has a 2.93 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 10.6 strikeouts-per-nine.
Luis Garcia is legit. He’s got a 2.93 ERA in 46 innings, held his own against the Yankees earlier this month and pitched six innings of one-run ball against the Dodgers tonight.
— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) May 27, 2021
He has allowed three runs or fewer in all of his appearances and has had no trouble pitching on any amount of rest (sometimes three days, sometimes four, sometimes five or more).
Garcia is firmly in the Rookie of the Year mix and could really be a threat to some of the other players on this list if he keeps it up.
2. Yermin Mercedes
Although he has cooled off lately, Yermin Mercedes is having a ridiculous rookie season.
The 28-year-old designated hitter is slashing .311/.366/.480 over 48 games.
He has been an integral part of his first-place Chicago White Sox’s success and deserves all the credit in the world for having such a great season despite some difficult circumstances (i.e. Tony La Russa).
Through May 14, Mercedes led the league in batting with a .384 mark and also had a 1.019 OPS.
He’s currently fighting a 12-for-65 skid which is frankly the only reason he’s not in the top spot on this list.
When Mercedes inevitably regresses to the mean, it will be very interesting to see whether he’s closer to the player we saw over the first six weeks of the season or the player we’ve seen over the last two weeks.
1. Adolis Garcia
Adolis Garcia has had quite the big-league journey.
Garcia defected from Cuba and signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017 before he was ultimately designated for assignment and released.
His second MLB stint came with the Texas Rangers, but his fate proved to be the same there: DFA’d.
This time, however, Garcia ended up being outrighted.
The Rangers eventually gave him another shot at the MLB level, and it’s safe to say they’re glad they did.
Garcia is currently batting .286 with a .911 OPS.
He leads the league in home runs with 16 and has driven in 41.
Garcia has also added some stellar defense in the outfield, as you can see here:
🚨 ROBBERY 🚨
ADOLIS GARCIA DOES IT ALL 👏
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 28, 2021
Garcia’s 2.8 WAR is going to put him in the MVP conversation if he remains on this pace.
He’s one of the best stories this season and will surely be a player in the Rookie of the Year race up until the results are announced.