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Can Bobby Witt Jr. still win AL Rookie of the Year?

Can Bobby Witt Jr. still win AL Rookie of the Year?

by Jacob UrishJune 28, 2022

Before the 2022 season even started, Kansas City Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. was the clear frontrunner to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award at +300 odds. However, a slow start to the season where Witt had a .215 batting average as of June 7, has dropped Witt down the totem pole to +500 to win the award.

There’s still plenty of time left in the season, but will it be enough time for Witt to make his case to win AL Rookie of the Year?

Recent revival

Witt has turned things around since June 7, slashing .324/.377/.603 in his last 63 at-bats while also driving in 10 runs and hitting four home runs. It’s been a pretty somber year for the Royals, but Witt has displayed why the franchise selected him with the second-pick in the 2019 MLB draft.

So far, Witt leads the Royals in RBIs (38), stolen bases (12), runs (40) and is tied for the lead in home runs with catcher Salvador Perez at 11. Witt still has half the season to climb into the top spot of the AL Rookie of the Year race, but his rookie counterparts have shown no signs of slowing down, so it will be an uphill battle for the Texas native.

The competition

Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodríguez took over the driver’s seat in the Rookie of the Year race a couple weeks ago and hasn’t looked back. As it stands now, Rodríguez is -125 to take home the hardware, and behind teammate Ty France, Rodríguez has been the Mariners’ best player.

Rodríguez leads the team in runs (39), and stolen bases (19) while being in the top-three in batting average (.269), RBIs (35), hits (75), home runs (11) and OPS (.776).

The Mariners have the hardest strength of schedule remaining and appear to be out of the playoff race, so the Rodríguez Rookie of the Year campaign is probably going to be a priority in the franchise and fanbase.

The Houston Astros lost shortstop Carlos Correa in free agency, but their replacement has filled in quite nicely. Shortstop Jermey Peña began the year with +1100 odds which were the fourth best odds at the time.

However, Peña has climbed to the second-best odds at +400 and he’s been a big factor in leading the Astros to the third-best record in the MLB. In the 55 games that Peña has appeared in, he owns a slash line of .277/.332/.472 while adding 27 RBIs, nine home runs and six stolen bases.

So far, Peña has done a good job at replacing Correa’s past production, and if he picks it up just a little bit more, he could take over the award race like he did in late May.

Down to the wire

All signs point to the AL Rookie of the Year race going down to the wire, and the three aforementioned players each have strong cases, but for now, Rodriguez’s is the clear frontrunner.

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About The Author
Jacob Urish