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AL Rookie of the Year Odds: Can Adley Rutschman Catch Julio Rodriguez in the AL Rookie of the Year Race?

Despite not making his debut until May 21, Adley Rutschman has been gaining on the AL Rookie of the Year race this season. Can Julio Rodriguez hold him off to secure the award?
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AL Rookie of the Year Odds: Can Adley Rutschman Catch Julio Rodriguez?

Despite not making his debut until May 21, Adley Rutschman has been gaining on the AL Rookie of the Year race this season. Can Julio Rodriguez hold him off to secure the award? Here is a breakdown of the latest AL Rookie of the Year odds.

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AL Rookie of the Year Odds Breakdown

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Steven Kwan AL Rookie of the Year Odds (+8000) (Bet $100 to Win $8000)

For proof that baseball is a long season and what happens in the beginning of the season does not predict the end, just look at the April Rookie of the Month award. Both Steven Kwan and Seiya Suzuki won for their respective leagues and looked on track to have magnificent seasons. Suzuki suffered a slump and then a wrist injury, deflating any juice he had around a ROY campaign. After hitting .354/.459/.500 in April, Kwan hit .173/.271/.253 in May and gave way for Julio Rodriguez to overtake him for the award.

Kwan has hit much better in the second half, checking in at .360/.416/.482 since the All-Star break, but the slump plus the overwhelming numbers put up by J-Rod will have Kwan on the outside looking in this year. But Kwan looks like an on-base machine at the top of the Guardians lineup for years to come, and is a big part of the reason they are surprisingly in the playoff hunt.

Jeremy Pena AL Rookie of the Year Odds (+4000) (Bet $100 to Win $4000)

Jeremy Pena, on the other hand, saved his slump for the second half. After debuting with a strong first few months, hitting .263/.310/.454 with 13 home runs, he has only 2 bombs in the second half plus a .202/.231/.313 slash line.

This looks like a clear case of a player having some initial success, but then the pitchers figuring out his weak spots to attack, causing Pena to hit the rookie wall. Pena has the stud prospect pedigree to pick up the pace on his production, but time is running out for Pena this season. I would not be surprised to see him fall to fifth in ROY odds by the time we review these odds again in a couple of weeks. Kwan has been on a tear and Pena is doing little to boost his offensive game.

Bobby Witt, Jr. AL Rookie of the Year Odds (+3500) (Bet $100 to Win $3500)

With 15 home runs and 23 steals this year, Witt has been just about as good as advertised when he debuted this season as the top prospect in all of baseball. He has had plenty of ups and downs, however, and right now seems to be a down period, which has dropped him completely out of the ROY race.

In August, Witt is slashing just .228/.254/.281 and has just one home run this month. There were months this year when Witt was getting 5-6 home runs and 6-8 steals per month, so the slump comes at a bad time considering the surge he made towards the beginning of the summer. It just shows us that no prospect or rookie, no matter how hyped, is immune from the rookie adjustment period. Witt will be a fabulous five-tool player in his career, but the struggles throughout the season will prevent him from adding a ROY award to what will surely be a decorated trophy case.

Adley Rutschman AL Rookie of the Year Odds (+425) (Bet $100 to Win $425)

Now we get to the really interesting part of the AL ROY debate. Unlike the other rookies behind him on this list, Rutschman has been tearing up the league (along with the rest of the Orioles) during the second half. Despite hitting only .222/.302/.420 in the first half (he debuted May 21st), he is pouring it on since then, batting .308/.456/.487 in the second half. His on-base percentage is above .400 for two straight months now and he has 10 extra-base hits in just 103 second-half plate appearances.

Rutschman's offense and defense are some of the main reasons for the Orioles moving up the standings for the playoffs. He has become a national story now. According to Alex Fast, Rutschman led all catchers in OBP in July and his 119 wRC+ and .339 wOBA were fifth among all backstops. This is a player who is clearly moving up as the season winds down, and with a very strong last six weeks might just have enough momentum to make this a close ROY race. The betting value definitely falls on the side of Rutschman as things stand today.

Julio Rodriguez AL Rookie of the Year Odds (-320) (Bet $320 to Win $100)

The other side of the coin as to why Rutschman is gaining on Rodriguez is that the talented Mariners' outfielder is also running up against the rookie wall lately. Rodriguez looked like he had the Rookie of the Year award all locked up after a first half where he hit .275/.337/.477 with 16 home runs and 21 stolen bases. But he is at only .208/.255/.417 in the second half with three long balls and zero steals. It took a while, but pitchers are also finally starting to expose Rodriguez (much like they did in parts of April), and he must make adjustments soon.

There are signs that a turnaround may happen soon, however. In the second half, he has increased his line drive rate and fly ball rate while decreasing his groundball rate. The walk rate is similar and his BABIP has tanked to a very low .233 since the All-Star Break. These things point to some course correction coming, and he better hope it happens soon so he can hold off Rutschman's challenge for the award.

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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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