The hottest rookies of the past two weeks

August 4th, 2021

It seems like a lot of rookies didn’t get the memo about the dog days of summer. Ignoring the concept that many rookies hit a wall as the long season wears on, several players turned up the heat with their own performances to land on this edition of the Rookie Hot List, covering games played July 21-Aug. 3.

Some are names that could be in contention for Rookie of the Year votes, some are more unheralded rookies making surprising contributions to big league teams. There were so many strong offensive performances that standout rookies like Brent Rooker, Ryan Jeffers, Dylan Carlson and Jonathan India didn’t make the cut.

Here are the hottest rookies from the past two weeks.

1. Randy Arozarena, OF, Rays (graduated from Top 30)
Arozarena led all rookies during this period with 34 total bases and put up a .378/.429/.756 slash line, with his 1.184 OPS also leading this red-hot group. After hitting .251/.333/.400 in the first half, the Rays outfielder is off to a .344/.394/.705 start since the All-Star break. Arozarena had five homers over the past two weeks, also tops among rookies, giving him 16 for the year.

2. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/OF, Orioles (graduated from Top 30)
After hitting .372/.413/.744 for a 1.157 OPS over the last two weeks, Mountcastle is now up to .262/.307/.468 for the year. That puts him sixth among all qualified rookies in slugging percentage. His four homers in this period give him 18, placing him in a tie for second among rookies, and his eight RBIs brings his season total to 60, good for second.

3. Andy Ibáñez, INF, Rangers (ineligible for Top 30)
The 28-year-old infielder was on the Rangers’ Top 30… back in 2017. It’s taken him a while, but he’s making an impact now with regular playing time. Ibáñez hit .324/.432/.649 over the last two weeks (1.080 OPS) with five extra-base hits, including three of the four home runs he has on the season. That’s helped him bring his season line up to .230/.286/.385 and a positive 0.8 WAR to date.

4. Andrew Vaughn, OF, White Sox (graduated from Top 30)
Vaughn hit .359/.419/.615 over the past two weeks as it looks like the 2019 No. 3 overall pick seems to be figuring things out, with his 1.034 OPS fourth among all rookies during the period. The stretch helped Vaughn finish July with a .308/.347/.516 line, his best month to date. He’s up to 12 homers, tied for sixth among rookies and he’s now crept into the top 10 in rookie OPS for the year (.776).

5. Tanner Houck, RHP, Red Sox (No. 6)
Houck was up for a while in April and returned in mid-July to help out the Red Sox big league staff, and he’s having success. While his workload is being monitored -- he pitched 8 2/3 innings over two starts during this period -- he’s still dominated, allowing just one earned run on four hits (.133 batting average against) while walking three and striking out 15, tied for third among all rookie pitchers. He’s amassed just 22 innings in the big leagues this year, but has a 2.45 ERA and 12.0 K/9 ratio to show for it.

6. Wil Crowe, RHP, Pirates (graduated from Top 30)
Wins might be hard to come by for the Pirates, but they weren’t for Crowe, who won both of his starts over the last two weeks. He totaled 11 1/3 innings, allowing just two runs on five hits (.132 BAA), walking five and striking out 13. That helped him cap off his most effective month, ending July with a 3.46 ERA and .223 BAA in five starts.

7. Eric Haase, C, Tigers (graduated from Top 30)
Haase was the best rookie run producer of the last two weeks, driving in 17 runs over 12 games. He also hit four homers and had three doubles to finish with a .643 SLG and .983 OPS for the period. His production moved him into a tie for second in the rookie homer race with Mountcastle (18) and fourth in RBIs (46), while his .549 SLG trails only Patrick Wisdom.

8. Kyle Muller, LHP, Braves (No. 5)
While the seven walks in 14 IP weren’t great, the big lefty was dominant otherwise, allowing just 10 hits (.204 BAA) and two runs, while striking out 13 over his two starts. His .555 OPS against led all qualified rookies during the period and he now has a 2.43 ERA, .184 BAA and a 10.0 K/9 rate over the first 29 2/3 IP of his big league career.

9. Emmanuel Clase, RHP, Indians (graduated from Top 30)
A number of rookie relievers performed well over the last two weeks, and Clase gets one of the last two spots on this list as he continues to get it done in high-leverage situations. He didn’t allow a run over six outings spanning 6 2/3 innings, yielding just three hits and walking none. He struck out four and went 3-for-3 in save opportunities, building his rookie-leading total to 14 saves for the year, to go along with a 1.81 ERA and .220 BAA.

10. Louis Head, RHP, Rays (unranked)
A 31-year-old rookie who was initially drafted by the Indians back in 2012, Head has been called up on five separate occasions by the Rays, most recently on July 23. With the way he pitched since coming back up, he might not have to head back to Durham. The right-hander appeared in six games, spanning eight innings, allowing just one unearned run on four hits (.138 BAA), walking two and striking out 12. That gives him a combined 1.42 ERA and .156 BAA in 13 games in the big leagues, picking up from his fine work in Triple-A (1.96 ERA, .214 BAA) whenever he’s been given an opportunity.