Welcome to the latest edition of MLB Pipeline’s Rookie Power Rankings. Each month, Pipeline’s experts vote on who we believe are the likeliest Rookie of the Year winners at the end of the season.
Please make sure you read that last part, because it’s essential: “at the end of the season.” We’re not trying to determine who would win if the awards were handed out today. Of course we consider performance to date, but we balance it with our expectations for the rest of the year. And obviously as the year goes on, players’ actual stats will weigh more heavily, and projections will wash out of the rankings. That also means a season-ending injury can severely affect a player’s standing – see Josh Jung, who fell out of the top 10 this month.
The pattern within the rankings remains the same as it has been recently. The top of the list has been pretty static for a while now. Outside the top few names, though, we continue to get plenty of movement. Here are the August rankings.
1. Corbin Carroll, OF, D-backs (previous rank: 1)
At one point Carroll looked like a dark-horse MVP candidate, never mind rookie honors. A bit of a second-half slump has taken care of that notion, though he’s surged a bit here lately. His overall numbers remain outstanding, the D-backs remain in contention, and he remains our pick as the single player most likely to bring home a Rookie of the Year trophy in a few months.
2. Gunnar Henderson, 3B, Orioles (previous rank: 2)
The shape of Henderson’s season is a lot different from Carroll’s -- he started very slowly, but has surged since. But the overall result is similar -- high-level production over a full season for a team in the hunt. Don’t worry too much about that .249 batting average, and instead take note of the power and the effective defense at two key positions. Henderson isn’t a shoo-in by any means but we like his chances.
3. Kodai Senga, RHP, Mets (previous rank: 5)
It’s another climb in the rankings for Senga, who hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start since mid-June. Since the last rookie rankings, he’s gone 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA in 30 innings over five starts. With probably seven starts remaining, he has an outside shot at 200 Ks on the year, which would be a nice feather in his cap when awards voting gets under way.
4. Matt McLain, SS, Reds (previous rank: 6)
McLain is a great example of how these rankings can evolve over the course of the season. He debuted in May, so for the June and July rankings, his low at-bat totals kept him in the bottom half of the rankings. But he’s kept playing, kept producing, and each month he climbs a little higher. Another seven weeks like this and he’s likely to be a finalist for NL rookie honors.
5. Triston Casas, 1B, Red Sox (previously unranked)
Somehow it seemed like it took Casas forever to arrive, didn’t it? But he’s here now, and he’s forced his way into the conversation. And he’s doing exactly what he was always expected to: hitting homers and controlling the strike zone. Casas has a ridiculous .323/.412/.697 line since the All-Star break, helping to keep the Red Sox in the Wild Card hunt.
6. Tanner Bibee, RHP, Guardians (previous rank: 10T)
A month ago, Bibee rode a six-start hot streak into the very tail end of the rankings. Now it’s 11 starts in a row without allowing more than three runs, and Bibee is knocking on the top half of the top-10. It’s been a rough year for the Guardians but Bibee is a bright spot, sporting a 3.01 ERA for the season in 20 starts. He’s throwing strikes, keeping Cleveland in games, and building his case for a spot as a finalist for AL rookie honors.
7. Francisco Alvarez, C, Mets (previous rank: 8)
Alvarez’s production has definitely slowed in the second half, but his overall numbers keep him on the list. However, the Mets have revealed that they plan to throttle his workload a little bit down the stretch, so it may get tougher for him to remain in the rankings. Still, 21 homers as a rookie catcher isn’t exactly nothing. And maybe the extra rest will help him regain his form.
8. Masataka Yoshida, OF, Red Sox (previous rank: 3)
We’re not down on Yoshida, who just keeps hitting at a steady pace and still ranks fourth among AL rookies on the list. It’s more that Bibee and Casas have been torrid, edging him down a bit. Yoshida has been one of the most consistent rookie performers in either league, though, so it won't be at all surprising if he’s back in the top half of the rankings next month.
9. Eury Pérez, RHP, Marlins (previously unranked)
The only thing holding Pérez back is volume. He’s been brilliant for the Marlins, he’s just not racking up the kind of innings it takes to win year-long awards. Pérez is still at 68 innings for the year. But he’s coming off a near-perfect outing against the mighty Dodgers, and a few more of those types of games might change the conversation around him a little bit.
10. Hunter Brown, RHP, Astros (previous rank: 7)
The second half hasn’t been kind to Brown, who has a 6.37 ERA since the start of July. His season-long numbers remain respectable, so we still think he has an outside shot at year-end awards consideration, but he’ll need to get sorted out soon if he wants to stay on the list.