As the final full month of the MLB season is upon us, I think it is a good idea to look at all the rookies and see how they are doing.
My Prediction: Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves
In the National League, my favorite to win this award is Braves OF Ronald Acuña Jr. Acuna has been a standout star for the Braves and has played a key role in the Braves push for a playoff spot with them currently sitting 2.5 games up in the NL East. Acuna has also set many records during his rookie campaign. Some of these include being the Braves franchise leader in lead-off home runs, the first to lead off both games of a doubleheader with a homer since Baltimore’s Brady Anderson did it in a 1999 doubleheader against the White Sox, and being the youngest player in the live-ball era to hit a Home Run in 4 straight games.
Second Place: Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
If not for Nationals OF Juan Soto, Acuna Jr. would be running away in the rookie of the year voting. Soto is currently the youngest player in the Majors at 19, but that has not stopped him from standing out as he is currently batting .298 and has 16 home runs. Some impressive facts about Soto are that he homered on the first pitch he saw in his first at-bat and that he technically hit a home run in a game that started BEFORE his Major League debut. Yes, you read that right. The game between the Yankees and Nationals initially began on May 15th when Soto was still in Double-A Harrisburg. However, the game was postponed mid game due to rain and was later finished on June 18th when Soto was in the majors. The resumption of this suspended game between the Nationals and Yankees from May 15 left room for the unusual and quirky. As Soto was still eligible to play. Tyler Austin (now on Minnesota) was responsible for driving in all three Yankees runs, but he began the day in Triple-A. Adam Eaton made a pinch-hitting appearance, even though it began five days after he had undergone ankle surgery.
Longshot: Harrison Bader, St. Louis Cardinals
Now, this is the hardest race to predict. There are three people who have legitimate cases on why they should win the award.
My Prediction: Miguel Andújar, New York Yankees
Despite his inconsistent defense, Yankees 3B Miguel Andújar has made up for most of it with his hitting. Andújar currently leads all rookies with 63 Extra-Base Hits, 76 RBI’s, one behind the rookie lead in home runs with 23, and is third amongst rookies batting .296. Also, during his nine-game run from August 7th-15th, Andújar hit .378/.410/.892 with nine runs, 14 hits, four doubles, five home runs, and 11 RBI’s.
Second Place: Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees
Gleyber Torres is not far behind his Yankee teammate. Since taking over the second base job, Torres has lived up to the hype and has performed great for the Yankees. Torres has bounced back nicely from a six-week slump, beginning play Tuesday having hit .386 since Aug. 18. His on-base average is .478 in that stretch. Torres was named AL Rookie of the Week on Monday for hitting .478 with three home runs, five walks, and 10 RBI’s.
Third Place: Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Personally, I do not believe that Ohtani should be on this list. The definition of a “rookie” is someone who is in their first year of playing a professional sport. And for me, Ohtani does not fit that definition as he has previously played professional Baseball in Japan. The only reason I have put him on here is that he is “technically” eligible for the award. That aside, Ohtani is having an incredible year as both a pitcher and a DH. As a pitcher, Ohtani had posted a 4-2 record with a 3.31 ERA before he had gotten injured and had been recommended for Tommy John surgery. Yet, he has decided to finish off the season as a hitter before he decides about the surgery. He is currently batting .290 with 19 home runs setting the record for most home runs by a Japanese rookie and homered twice en route to a four-hit night for the Angels only hours after receiving a recommendation to undergo Tommy John surgery.