With the regular season winding down, all eyes are on the divisional battles as teams fight for a postseason spot. While the postseason chase is full of intrigue, it is also a good time to start looking at who has set themselves up best for regular season awards.
In the American League, the Rookie of the Year Award features four players with odds of +800 or better. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the contenders for this year’s award.
Randy Arozarena (-160)
After a remarkable 2020 postseason where he hit .377/.442/.831 with 10 home runs, 14 runs batted in and 19 runs scored in 20 games, it is easy to forget that Randy Arozarena still qualifies as a rookie this season.
While the Tampa Bay Rays ultimately came up short in the World Series last year, the 26-year-old outfielder has once again helped his team get in a spot to make a postseason run. At 84-49, the Rays lead the AL East by seven games and are currently +350 to win the American League and +800 to win the World Series.
For Arozarena, he is hitting .281/.382/.641 this season with 18 home runs, 59 runs batted in, 78 runs scored and 12 stolen bases. If anyone thought that last postseason was just a fluke, Arozarena has proven them wrong this year.
Adolis Garcia (+600)
Unfortunately for Adolis Garcia, he is the only player on this list that is not on a team competing for the playoffs. In fact, at 47-86, the Rangers have the second worst record in the American League.
That has not stopped the 28-year-old outfielder from absolutely raking this season. On the year, Garcia is hitting .249/.296/.486 and leads the team with 29 home runs, 77 runs batted in and 67 runs scored.
Aside from also being a top contender for the Rookie of the Year Award, Adolis Garcia holds something else in common with Randy Arozarena. Both players were originally St. Louis farmhands and have since broken out with other organizations.
Luis Garcia (+600)
As the only pitcher to make this list, Luis Garcia has been absolutely filthy with the Houston Astros this season. On the year, he is 10-6 with a 3.23 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and has struck out 150 in 128.1 innings. Opponents are also hitting just .218 against him.
He has actually been so good on the mound that he is tied for the seventh best odds of winning the American League Cy Young Award (albeit at +20000).
It will be interesting to see how the Astros manage his workload down the stretch. He has already surpassed his career high in innings pitched, and with a five game lead in the AL West, the Astros will want him available for the postseason.
Houston is currently the favorite to win the American League at +195.
Wander Franco (+800)
The arrival of Wander Franco has been something that baseball enthusiasts have salivated over for years. At just 20-year-old, he certainly has not disappointed.
In just 216 at bats this season, Franco is hitting .277/.339/.459 with seven home runs, 35 runs batted in and 43 runs scored. If he could sustain that over an entire season, he would certainly be in the conversation.
There are a couple things holding Franco back from winning this award, though. First, we only got a snapshot of his abilities as he has only played in 54 games thus far. With others having significantly more time on the field, it makes it an uphill battle for Franco to compete.
Possibly even more of a disadvantage for Franco is the fact that his own teammate, Randy Arozarena, has put up better numbers in the competition for the same award.
For no fault of his own, +800 might be generous as he is probably more of a longshot than that to win the ROY Award.
Who Will Win?
This one probably comes down to Randy Arozarena or Luis Garcia. The only reason that Adolis Garcia is being ruled out is simply that he plays the same position as Arozarena but has not had as good of a year.
Thus, it is the slugger versus the pitcher. While Luis Garcia has been phenomenal this season for the Astros, he has still only impacted 25 games. When it comes to many MLB awards, everyday players simply have the upperhand on pitchers.
For that reason, the smart bet is on Arozarena to earn some hardware for his impressive rookie season.