MLB Rookie of the Year honors for the American League and National League will be handed out on Monday.
The 2021 season featured some outstanding rookie campaigns.
The AL Rookie of the Year race is a bigger mystery than the NL race, but nothing is guaranteed until the winners are announced.
Until then, let’s take a stab at making some predictions.
AL Projected Winner: Randy Arozarena
All three players had stellar seasons, but we’re giving the edge to Arozarena here.
Although the 2021 season was technically his third year at the MLB level, it was his first full campaign, as his previous two were very short.
He appeared in 141 games this past season and posted some monster numbers.
The youngster slashed .274/.356/.459, giving him an OPS of .815.
He homered 20 times, doubled 32 times, and tripled three times, and he also stole 20 bases along the way.
He finished the season with a bWAR of 4.2.
Rookie of the Year ballots are always due before the postseason beings, but Arozarena had a great playoff showing.
He batted .333 with a 1.074 OPS over four games, and he even stole home along the way.
Randy Arozarena is unreal. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/rKuooxFqr8
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 8, 2021
Franco (.810 OPS, 3.5 bWAR) and Garcia (3.48 ERA over 30 outings, 2.6 bWAR) certainly deserve credit for the seasons they had, but it seems like Arozarena is the best choice for the award.
NL Projected Winner: Jonathan India
Jonathan India is a massive favorite on the NL side, and it would be a huge surprise to see anyone but him win the award.
Make no mistake, those guys deserve respect as well, but most sportsbooks have India listed as at least a -1000 favorite to be named the NL Rookie of the Year.
It’s easy to understand why.
India finished the 2021 season with an OPS of .835, OPS+ of 113, and bWAR of 3.9.
He smacked 21 homers, 34 doubles, and two triples.
RT if Jonathan India is the NL Rookie of the Year
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 17, 2021
He also swiped 12 bags in 15 attempts.
Impressively, he flourished in high-leverage situations, batting .265 with a .939 OPS in such spots.
The 24-year-old was also arguably the Cincinnati Reds’ most important player, and here’s why:
- In Reds wins, India batted .318 with a .974 OPS
- In Reds losses, India batted .214 with a .679 OPS
He was the straw that stirred the drink for the Reds in 2021, and if that’s going to be the case moving forward, Cincinnati probably feels good about its chances to perennially contend for a playoff bid.
But let’s give the other NL finalists some attention, too: Rogers (2.64 ERA over 25 outings, 3.3 bWAR in 2021) and Carlson (117 OPS+, 3.2 bWAR in 2021) are certainly on fantastic paths.
Look for every player on this list to take a big leap in 2022.
Baseball’s future is in very good hands.
It’s hard to remember a time when there was this much young talent in the league at once.
This generation of players will put a fantastic product on the field for many, many years.
The best is yet to come, and that’s a really exciting thought.