India stays atop Rookie Power Rankings

September 22nd, 2021

It’s getting down to brass tacks, as they say.

With the Major League season winding down, this is the penultimate Rookie Power Rankings, with the final edition coming after the completion of the regular season. These rankings, as voted on by the staff of MLB Pipeline, are a reflection of how we think the Rookie of the Year voting will play out at the end of the year and use a combination of performance and what we will think will happen for the rest of the season. Reds infielder and leadoff man Jonathan India holds steady in the top spot, but there’s some jostling going on behind him.

1. Jonathan India, 2B, Reds
Previous RPR: 1

Sometimes steady wins the race. While India hasn’t been quite as hot of late, he’s still ninth in the National League with his .373 OBP and he tops all qualified rookies in the both leagues in that category, while his .829 OPS is second among MLB qualified rookies as well. He leads rookies in walks (64) and is tied with the Cardinals’ Dylan Carlson with 29 doubles.

2. Randy Arozarena, OF, Rays
Previous RPR: 4

A .300/.371/.544 line in the second half is a big reason why Arozarena, many people’s favorite to win AL ROY honors before the season started, has continued to be in the conversation after a rough first half. He’s sixth among all rookies in OPS for the year (.800) and he’s in the top 10 in homers (19) and steals (15), while also landing in the top five in doubles (28) and RBIs (65).

3. Trevor Rogers, LHP, Marlins
Previous RPR: 2

Rogers’ return to the mound in September after a long layoff dealing with back spasms, while not as dominant as pre-injury, has helped him stay in NL ROY talk. The lefty is third among all rookies in strikeouts (his 141 are the most among all NL rookies) and in batting average against (.222 also tops the NL list) and he leads rookie pitchers in both leagues with his 2.71 ERA.

4. Luis Garcia, RHP, Astros
Previous RPR: 3

Garcia has been missing fewer bats of late and has been more hittable in September, a reason for him dropping a spot. He’s still among the best rookie starting pitches in baseball, though, leading all of them with 11 wins, standing second overall with 160 strikeouts and he’s fourth in WHIP (1.16) and BAA (.228)

5. Adolis García, OF, Rangers
Previous RPR: 7

While García’s second half hasn’t been nearly as good as his first, he still leads all rookie hitters in total bases (243) and is tied for the lead in homers (30) and RBIs (83). And while we tend to focus mostly on offensive numbers for awards like these, it should be pointed out that he has been one of the better defensive outfielders in baseball this year.

6. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/OF, Orioles
Previous RPR: 8

Mountcastle is right there with García in the power/run production categories, tied with the Rangers’ outfielder for the home run and RBI lead among rookies. His .808 OPS is fourth-best, lifted by an .898 OPS in the second half, with García’s defensive excellence the reason he’s ahead of the O’s rookie on this list.

7. Emmanuel Clase, RHP, Indians
Previous RPR: 6

Clase continues to be at the head of the class in terms of rookie closers, with his 23 saves more than triple anyone else's total. He last blew a save on July 16, a string of 12 successful save conversions in a row. He’s also only given up one earned run since that blown save, giving him an ERA of 0.33, a .118 BAA and an eye-popping 27/2 K/BB ratio over 27 outings in that span.

8. Garrett Whitlock, RHP, Red Sox
Previous RPR: unranked

Whitlock has flown under the radar for much of the year and he just landed on the injured list with a pectoral strain. Before that, he had settled in as an important setup man for the Red Sox, with a very solid 1.99 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. He’s tied for second among all rookie relievers with 14 holds and has an impressive 4.65 K/BB ratio.

9. Patrick Wisdom, 3B, Cubs
Previous RPR: 9

While the bat has cooled late in the year, Wisdom still leads all rookies with his .530 SLG and .834 OPS this season. His 27 homers trail only García and Mountcastle, though his 11.89 at-bats per home run mark easily beats either of those sluggers and puts him atop the rookie leader board in that category as well.

T10. Wander Franco, SS, Rays
Previous RPR: 5

You’re not the only one wondering what might have happened in the ROY race if Franco hadn’t been sidelined with his hamstring injury. He still has that massive on-base streak intact and it sounds like he might be back this weekend. Since he didn’t come up until late June, he probably hasn’t played enough to really compete for the award, but his .285/.347/.463 line had a big up-arrow next to it since he was swinging the bat so well before the injury.

T10. Jazz Chisholm Jr., SS, Marlins
Previous RPR: unranked

Chisholm leads all rookies with 22 steals and is just three homers shy of being the lone rookie in the 20-20 club this year (Arozarena needs five steals and one homer to get there). The infielder is a bit streaky with some swing-and-miss tendencies, but his power-speed combination should not be overlooked.

Also receiving votes: Casey Mize, RHP, Tigers; Shane McClanahan, LHP, Rays