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Inbox: Hearing from top prospects Collins, Gore

@JonathanMayo
January 9, 2020

MIAMI -- It never ceases to amaze me how impressive the future stars of baseball are. We get to see that between the lines all the time, but the annual Rookie Program provides a glimpse of how the game’s top prospects carry themselves off the field. Every year, the Rookie

MIAMI -- It never ceases to amaze me how impressive the future stars of baseball are. We get to see that between the lines all the time, but the annual Rookie Program provides a glimpse of how the game’s top prospects carry themselves off the field.

Every year, the Rookie Program, a joint effort between Major League Baseball and the Players Association, provides guidance and training for attendees on things like dealing with the media, financial planning, respect and inclusion. And every year, the players seem wise beyond their years in terms of their insights and maturity, not to mention their eloquence in doing interviews with us for MLB.com.

Knowing we would have access to these prospects this week, we thought we’d ask fans to send in questions for them to answer for this week’s Pipeline Inbox. Here are a pair of video answers along with a bonus written response from me.

Could pitchers win Rookie of the Year honors in both leagues? It’s certainly possible. And you didn’t even mention the A’s Jesus Luzardo or AJ Puk, or the Rays' Brendan McKay, in the American League, all of whom have a better chance (in my opinion) of breaking camp in a big league rotation than the Blue Jays' Nate Pearson or the Astros' Forrest Whitley.

There aren’t quite as many obvious options in the National League. Your suggestion of Mitch Keller is a good one because he almost certainly will be a part of the Pirates rotation from the get-go. Dodgers right-hander Dustin May is another solid candidate. I could see Kyle Wright, if he can get headed back in the right direction, being one of the Braves’ starters at the beginning of the season. I would love to see guys like MacKenzie Gore reach San Diego and Sixto Sanchez join the Marlins, but we might have to wait a bit for that and it could come down to whether they get enough time to be ROY types.

Now, this isn’t discounting the young hitters in each league. Does anyone really want to say that Dodgers infielder Gavin Lux isn’t a front-runner for Rookie of the Year in the NL right now? I’d keep an eye on Carter Kieboom in Washington, too, and don’t discount Brendan Rodgers in Colorado if he’s 100 percent healthy. Over in the AL, you have to figure Evan White will be the Mariners’ first baseman on Opening Day and Luis Robert will be part of the White Sox sooner rather than later, given their contract extensions. Luzardo and Puk should get to throw to catcher Sean Murphy, another contender.

In other words, it looks like we’re headed for another “Year of the Rookie.”

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly MLB Pipeline Podcast.