New No. 1 tops Rookie Power Rankings

May 5th, 2021

We have a new leader in the Rookie Power Rankings.

Some of that is because of a slower return from injury than anticipated from our previous leader, Ke’Bryan Hayes, some of it is because of the continued production of our new No. 1, Dylan Carlson.

A full month of big league data might have helped some cement places on the list while help some new names climb into the top 10 for the first time. With the Minor League season now underway, it will be fun to see which prospects work their way up to the big leagues and onto the RPR in the coming months.

Reminder: the RPR is a mix of performance thus far and projection of who will be good enough to compete for the Rookie of the Year Awards at season's end.

1. Dylan Carlson, OF, Cardinals (graduated from Top 30)
Previous Rookie Power Rank: 2

Carlson moves into the top spot as he continues to be a consistent producer for the Cardinals. He tops National League rookies with 47 total bases and is hitting a solid .267/.345/.465 for the season, hitting often from the No. 2 spot in the lineup while playing a solid center field.

2. Ian Anderson, RHP, Braves (graduated from Top 30)
Previous RPR: 4 (tied)

It’s been a little up-and-down for the Braves’ right-hander, with a rougher outing his last time out on May 2. But prior to that, and since the last RPR, he had two straight scoreless starts, spanning 13 2/3 innings. For the year, his ERA is now down to 3.27 and he’s striking out 9.82 per nine while holding hitters to a .215 average.

3. Jazz Chisholm Jr., 2B/SS, Marlins (graduated from Top 30)
Previous RPR: 4 (tied)

He’s cooled off a bit over the last two weeks, but the exciting infielder is still hitting a combined .290/.375/.551 with four homers and seven steals (tied for the National League lead) on the season. He leads all NL rookies with his .926 OPS.

4. Randy Arozarena, OF, Rays (graduated from Top 30)
Previous RPR: 3

While we’re all waiting for him to erupt like he did in 2020, Arozarena has largely been a solid contributor to the Rays’ lineup. He’s slashing .264/.350/.387 for the year. He’s added a homer and three steals since our last ranking, but it feels like he’s treading water right now and maintaining his spot on this list because he is playing every day and the anticipation of a breakout similar to last year.

5. Trevor Rogers, LHP, Marlins (graduated from Top 30)
Previous RPR: Unranked

Rogers makes a big jump from unranked to the middle of this list, and for good reason. He’s currently fourth in the National League with his 1.91 ERA, ninth in strikeouts (44) and ninth in batting average against (.195). He also has a 1.06 WHIP and is carrying a 12.0 K/9 rate through six starts, with all but one of them lasting at least five innings.

6. Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox (No. 2, MLB No. 33)
Previous RPR: 8

Kopech made back-to-back starts, including a five-inning, 10-strikeout performance on April 25 before coming out of the 'pen again on May 1. Whatever role he’s in, he’s dominating. The right-hander has been nearly impossible to hit (.125 BAA), is walking no one (0.64 WHIP, 4 BB in 18 2/3 IP) and continues to have one of the best strikeout rates in the big leagues at 14.46 per nine innings.

7. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pirates (No. 1, MLB No. 9)
Previous RPR: 1

Hayes had held onto his top spot from the preseason rankings, partially because of the belief he’d be back in the Pirates lineup soon. But the third baseman reaggravated his wrist injury, delaying his return. He’s played in just two games, but there’s still an expectation that once he’s 100 percent healthy, he’ll rise back up the charts.

8. Andrew Vaughn, 1B/OF, White Sox (No. 1, MLB No. 12)
Previous RPR: Unranked

It’s been on-again, off-again in the early going for Vaughn, who was on the RPR to start the season, then dropped off after a rough debut. He’s now up to .273/.369/.364 for the season. While he’s yet to record his first big league home run, he has found his footing with his approach, raising his average from .188 at the time of our last RPR, going 9-for-23 (.391) over that span.

9. Emmanuel Clase, RHP, Indians (graduated from Top 30)
Previous RPR: 10

The longer he does it, the more we’re going to believe. Clase and his 100+ mph cutter continue to dominate at the end of games for the Indians. He now has six saves in 14 total appearances and has yet to give up an earned run in 13 1/3 innings of work this season. He’s struck out better than a batter per inning while walking only three for a 0.98 WHIP and he continues to be tough to hit with a .192 BAA.

10. Yermín Mercedes, DH, White Sox (No. 20)
Previous RPR: Unranked

The Yerminator makes the list! While he’s understandably cooled off from his ridiculously scorching start, the White Sox DH still leads all rookies with 54 total bases. He’s carrying a .391/.430/.621 line with him for the season and his five homers and 16 RBIs put him in the top two among all rookies in both categories.

Others receiving votes: Dane Dunning, Tyler Stephenson

Dropping out: Triston McKenzie, Casey Mize