MLB NL Rookie of the Year Odds Update: Is Seiya Suzuki Already a Lock to Win?

Has Seiya Suzuki already locked himself as the MLB NL Rookie of the Year winner? Ryan Kirksey breaks down the MLB NL Rookie of the Year odds.
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MLB NL Rookie of the Year Odds Update: Is Seiya Suzuki Already a Lock to Win?

Has Seiya Suzuki already locked himself as the MLB NL Rookie of the Year winner? Ryan Kirksey breaks down the MLB NL Rookie of the Year odds.

Click Here for NL Rookie of the Year Award Odds

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Ryan Pepiot (+3000, Previous: Unranked) (Bet $100 to Win $3000)

With Andrew Heaney, David Price, and Danny Duffy injured, and the Dodgers still wanting to go with a six-man rotation, they turned to rookie Ryan Pepiot this week to make his first major league start. It was a successful, albeit short, outing. He went three innings, gave up no runs, struck out three, but gave up an alarming five walks. You can likely chalk that up to first start adrenaline and nerves, but this is a guy who is going to be handled with kid gloves. If he even sticks with the big club.

Pepiot only has about 200 career minor league innings since his minor league career began in 2019. He only had 48 innings between 2021-2022 before he got the call-up this week. But Pepiot will be 25 before the season ends, so the time is now to see if he is truly some kind of special talent. His 12.30 K/9 and 2.05 ERA through six starts in AAA this year prompted the call. He does have a track record of about 4.00 BB/9 for his career, but if he can keep that under control, there might be some real dark horse value.

CJ Abrams (+2800, Previous: +1400) (Bet $100 to Win $2800)

Abrams was sent back down to AAA earlier this week, helping to make way for Luke Voit and Wil Myers returning from the IL. Abrams' performance was demotion-worthy. A .182/.270/.273 audition isn't going to cut it when a team has World Series aspirations, but it certainly didn't help that Abrams was literally playing just five out of every 10 games. We saw his massive power and production in Spring Training, but through 65 plate appearances in the regular season, the Padres felt that they had seen enough.

As a result, his odds tumbled down to +2800 this week. It's tough to say whether or not there is any value here because there is always the looming return of Fernando Tatis Jr. in two months that would further block Abrams' path back to the majors. What it feels like to me is a case of the Padres saying "let's see if we've got something here" when Abrams had a big spring. But at just 21 years old, he may need some more seasoning before a full-time role is warranted. I'll likely be staying away unless some major playing time opportunity arises.

Oneill Cruz (+2500, Previous: +1600) (Bet $100 to Win $2500)

One would think with all the disappointment among NL rookies through the first month, a special talent like Cruz would make some gains in preparation for him moving up to the majors. However, Cruz's first month in the minors this season has been so bad, that oddsmakers are now doubting whether he will even make it up to the Pirates with enough time to make an impact on the NL ROY race.

In 26 games, Cruz is slashing .186/.308/.324. He does have two homers and eight steals, but his 32 strikeouts in 102 at-bats are not helping his case that he belongs in a big-league batter's box. The slugging percentage is ticking up in May (.429) so maybe there is hope for a turnaround, but the longer he stays down, the farther these odds are going to fall until he is out of the race completely.

Mackenzie Gore (+500, Previous: +2500) (Bet $100 to Win $500)

Mackenzie Gore is one of a very few NL rookies who meet the following two criteria. First, he hasn't performed miserably enough to tank his chances (See: Abrams, CJ and Greene, Hunter), and second, he is actually playing in the major league right now. Many of the top-12 favorites for NL Rookie of the Year by the odds are still toiling away in the minors, making gains because those with the big clubs are mostly falling on their faces.

Gore continues to impress after the poor year in AAA in 2021. His 2.42 ERA and 9.7 K/9 lead the rookie class, and he has his walk somewhat more under control with 3.12 per nine innings. The walks are what haunted him in the minors last season. He posted rates of 7.20, 8.00, and 5.40 BB/9 across three levels last season, but the control with the Padres has been much better. Even when Blake Snell returns, his spot in the rotation looks secure.

Seiya Suzuki (-125, Previous: +350) (Bet $125 to Win $100)

You actually have to search to find Suzuki at -125 right now (available at DraftKings Sportsbook) as other books have him listed at -135 to -150. Is he truly that much of a lock one month into the season? He started the season on absolute fire but has cooled off considerably since. Will he be able to bounce back enough to maintain this massive lead all summer? The short answer is probably, yes.

In April, the 27-year-old "rookie" his .279/.405/.529 with four homers and 13 RBI. So far in May, he has bottomed out at .192/.250/.346 with no home runs or runs batted in. This is a common occurrence with new players in the league, particularly players who are adapting to a completely new culture. Pitchers find out ways to adjust and where the holes are, and that's what happened with Suzuki. But the elite hitters - and make no mistake, Suzuki is one - then will counterattack and find ways to get their production back where it needs to be. This slump won't last forever, but if it causes the odds to lengthen, jump all over it.

MLB NL Rookie of the Year Odds

PlayerOddsPrevious Odds
Seiya Suzuki-125+300
Mackenzie Gore+500+2500
Oneill Cruz+2500+1600
CJ Abrams+2800+1400
Ryan Pepiot+3000Unranked

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Proudest husband and dad you will ever find. When I'm not with my wife and two kids I split my time working in higher ed, grinding DFS and season-long, collecting silver age comics, studying behavioral economics, and drinking coffee. I once played Pat Connaughton in an actual NBA DFS lineup for money. Astros, Rockets, and Texans for life.

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