New leader emerges in latest ROY poll
In MLB.com’s second Rookie of the Year Award poll of 2022, we have a new leader in a tight American League race, while the National League favorite is running well ahead of the rest of the field.
Once again, voters were asked to rank their top five Rookie of the Year candidates in each league based on what has happened so far and what they expect will happen in the months to come. Rookies received vote points on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale -- five points for a first-place vote, four points for a second-place vote and so on, with 48 voters participating. Here are the results.
1. Julio Rodríguez, Mariners (21 first-place votes)
DraftKings Rookie of the Year odds: 1.15-1
Rodríguez actually placed second in the first-place vote tally, but he racked up enough vote points elsewhere to take a slight lead over Astros shortstop Jeremy Peña, who finished atop the first MLB.com ROY poll of the season. After a slow start, the Mariners outfielder has put up a .289/.351/.497 slash with eight homers, 22 RBIs and eight steals in 42 games since the start of May. Overall, he leads the Majors with 17 stolen bases, and he entered Wednesday's game with a 120 OPS+.
2. Jeremy Peña, Astros (23 first-place votes)
DraftKings odds: 2.1-1
Carlos Correa’s replacement at shortstop in Houston ranks among the AL’s top 10 in Baseball-Reference wins above replacement with 2.9, as he’s made a notable impact with the bat, on the bases and in the field. However, the 24-year-old has slowed down at the plate in June (.744 OPS) after putting up an .871 OPS in May, and he recently went on the injured list with left thumb discomfort, opening the door for Rodríguez to widen his lead.
3. Bobby Witt Jr., Royals (2 first-place votes)
DraftKings odds: 8-1
Witt’s season has closely paralleled Rodríguez’s -- both players ranked among the top three on MLB Pipeline’s preseason Top 100 prospects list (Witt first and Rodríguez third) and made their debuts on Opening Day before struggling in April. Like Rodríguez, Witt has taken off since the start of May, hitting .260/.308/.519 with eight homers, 27 RBIs and six stolen bases across 41 games.
4. Joe Ryan, Twins (2 first-place votes)
DraftKings odds: 17-1
Only a bout of COVID-19 has been able to slow down Ryan this season. The right-hander had a 2.28 ERA over his first eight starts before going on the IL on May 25. He finally returned Tuesday against the Mariners and looked sharp early but faded in the middle innings and didn’t make it out of the fifth as his ERA rose by more than a half-run to 2.81.
5. Jake Burger, White Sox
DraftKings odds: 30-1
Burger had two homers and a .628 OPS through 21 games when the White Sox sent him to Triple-A on May 9, but all he’s done is hit since being recalled on May 24. Over his past 17 games, the 26-year-old has put up six homers, 16 RBIs and a .311/.373/.689 slash.
Others receiving votes: Adley Rutschman, Steven Kwan, MJ Melendez, Reid Detmers, Brock Burke, Alex Faedo, George Kirby, Oscar Gonzalez, Vinnie Pasquantino, Jhoan Duran
1. MacKenzie Gore, Padres (39 first-place votes)
DraftKings odds: 1.7-1
Gore had his worst start of the season on Saturday, allowing six runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Rockies, but his first-place vote share nonetheless grew to 81.3% after he garnered 49% in the first Rookie of the Year poll. The left-hander had a 1.50 ERA through nine starts before Saturday’s hiccup, and entering Wednesday his four-seamer was the single most valuable pitch in the Majors this season with a run value of +13.
2. Brendan Donovan, Cardinals (1 first-place vote)
DraftKings odds: N/A
The Cardinals have received significant contributions from a number of rookies this season, none more impressive than Donovan. The 25-year-old has made at least seven appearances at five positions (1B, 2B, 3B, SS, RF) and owns a .448 on-base percentage and a .913 OPS, both tops among rookies with at least 50 PAs.
3. Spencer Strider, Braves
DraftKings odds: 15-1
After dominating with 100 mph heat and a wicked slider as a member of the Braves' bullpen, Strider recently moved to a starting role and has continued to shine while steadily building up his pitch count. The mustachioed righty racked up 11 K's over 5 2/3 innings of one-hit, two-run ball on Wednesday against the Nationals, throwing a career-high 106 pitches to help the Braves win their 14th straight game. On the year, Strider has a 2.45 ERA with a 13.9 K/9 in 44 innings, holding batters to a .161 average -- third lowest among MLB pitchers who have faced at least 150 batters in 2022.
4. (tie) Nolan Gorman, Cardinals (1 first-place vote); Seiya Suzuki, Cubs (1 first-place vote)
DraftKings odds for Gorman: 4-1
DraftKings odds for Suzuki: 7-1
The second Cardinals rookie to crack the NL's top five, Gorman has run into a cold spell lately, but he made a strong first impression on voters with a 1.133 OPS over his first 11 games and received enough support to earn a fourth-place tie with Suzuki. The Cubs outfielder was April’s NL Rookie of the Month, but he hit .183 with zero homers and 30 K’s in his last 91 plate appearances before a left ring finger sprain landed him on the injured list, where he remains while dealing with lingering swelling.
Others receiving votes: Hunter Greene (2 first-place votes), Christopher Morel (1 first-place vote), Luis González (1 first-place vote), Juan Yepez (1 first-place vote), Alek Thomas, Michael Harris II, Jack Suwinski, Oneil Cruz, Bryson Stott, Graham Ashcraft (1 first-place vote), Andre Pallante, Roansy Contreras, Alexis Díaz