On Monday evening, Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger had been very predictably named the 2017 Rookies of the Year. Both received unanimously. That’s what occurs whenever you set the NL rookie dwelling run file (Bellinger) and the MLB rookie dwelling run file (Judge).
Interestingly sufficient, neither Judge nor Bellinger went into the 2017 season because the Rookie of the Year favourite. Judge made his MLB debut late final yr and struck out 42 occasions in 84 at-bats. It wasn’t even clear he’d be on the Opening Day roster. Bellinger began the season in Triple-A and wasn’t anticipated to get referred to as up till later within the season. And but each received the Rookie of the Year unanimously. Go determine.
Trying to foretell subsequent season’s Rookie of the Year winners is as a lot about choosing gifted gamers as it’s choosing gamers who will truly play. Playing time issues. Remember Gary Sanchez final yr? He was nearly as good as anybody in baseball for 2 months, but it surely was solely two months, so he did not win Rookie of the Year. Playing time is essential within the Rookie of the Year race.
So, with Opening Day greater than 4 months away, listed here are the tremendous early candidates for the 2018 Rookie of the Year awards. We’ll begin with the American League as a result of it’s the superior league.
OF Willie Calhoun, Rangers: Calhoun, 23, was the centerpiece of the Yu Darvish commerce and the child is a hitting machine. He put up a .300/.355/.572 batting line with 31 homers and a microscopic 11.four % strikeout charge in 128 video games this season earlier than getting a September call-up. Pretty a lot everybody agrees Calhoun will hit. Where will he play defensively? No one is aware of for sure. Calhoun has spent most of his profession at second base, although he performed left subject with Texas and will very properly find yourself at DH. His Rookie of the Year case shall be constructed round his bat, and it is an awfully good bat.
RHP Brent Honeywell, Rays: I used to be a bit stunned the Rays didn’t name Honeywell up in September simply to get his ft moist within the large leagues. The subsequent nice younger Rays pitcher threw 136 2/three innings between Double-A and Triple-A in 2017, posting a three.49 ERA and 172 strikeouts alongside the best way. Honeywell, 22, has glorious stuff — that features a screwball — and good management, which is one thing the Rays worth. They like guys who throw strikes. Tampa tends to take it sluggish with its pitching prospects, although I believe Honeywell will pressure a call-up pretty early in 2018.
IF Gleyber Torres, Yankees: If not for a fluke season-ending elbow harm suffered sliding into dwelling plate in June, the 20-year-old Torres virtually actually would’ve been referred to as up within the second half this yr. He went to New York within the Aroldis Chapman commerce with the Cubs, and hit .287/.383/.480 with seven homers in 55 video games break up between Double-A and Triple-A earlier than having Tommy John surgical procedure on his non-throwing elbow. Torres has already began hitting and is predicted to be prepared for the beginning of spring coaching. Once he will get a couple of weeks to shake off the rust off in Triple-A, I think you will see him at third base within the Bronx.
Other notables: IF Willy Adames, Rays; RHP Chance Adams, Yankees; IF Franklin Barreto, Athletics; IF Nick Gordon, Twins; RHP Michael Kopech, White Sox; C Francisco Mejia, Indians; C Chance Sisco, Orioles
OF Ronald Acuna, Braves: Normally I might not embody a 19-year-old in an early Rookie of the Year candidates put up, however Acuna is not any regular 19-year-old. Baseball America’s 2017 Minor League Player of the Year hit .325/.374/.522 with 21 homers and 44 steals at three minor league ranges this yr, and he’s presently annihilating the Arizona Fall League. Acuna had a two-homer recreation this previous weekend.
Acuna acquired higher every time he was promoted this season — he hit .344/.393/.548 with 9 homers in 54 Triple-A video games — and it’s totally probably he’ll pressure the Braves to name him up subsequent season. I do not badume they’re going to let Matt Kemp or Nick Markakis stand in the best way as soon as Acuna is prepared.
OF Victor Robles, Nationals: Robles is a bit older than Acuna and he did not play in Triple-A this season, however he did get some large league time, and was even on Washington’s postseason roster as a pinch-runner. The 20-year-old Robles authored a .300/.382/.493 batting line with 10 homers and 27 steals in 114 video games this season, and he is an electrical athlete with an opportunity to be a five-tool participant. The Nationals are going to be determined to win in 2018, earlier than Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy develop into free brokers, and earlier than Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg start their decline phases. That desperation might result in Robles getting an early call-up and outfield spot.
3B Nick Senzel, Reds: Senzel, the No. 2 decide within the 2016 draft, is among the finest pure hitters within the minors. He hit .321/.391/.514 with 40 doubles, 14 homers, and 14 steals in 119 video games break up between High-A and Double-A in 2017, and there isn’t any motive to badume he will not destroy Triple-A when he begins subsequent season on the stage. Sanchez wasn’t in a position to do it final yr, however we have seen another gamers come up in June or July and win the Rookie of the Year in current seasons (Carlos Correa and Jacob deGrom are two notable examples). I believe Senzel can do it subsequent yr after a couple of tune-up weeks in Triple-A.
Other notables: OF Lewis Brinson, Brewers; RHP Walker Buehler, Dodgers; RHP Jack Flaherty, Cardinals; RHP Tyler Mahle, Reds; 1B/3B Ryan McMahon, Rockies; OF Austin Meadows, Pirates; RHP Alex Reyes, Cardinals; RHP Brandon Woodruff, Brewers