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AL Rookie of the Year Race: Is the Race Closer Than Oddsmakers Think With Adley Rutschman Making a Push?

Although oddsmakers have Julio Rodriguez far out in front as the favorite for American League Rookie of the Year, Adley Rutschman is making a late push to win the award.
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AL Rookie of the Year Race: Is the Race Closer Than Oddsmakers Think With Adley Rutschman Making a Push?

To say that the AL Rookie of the Year (ROY) award is a two-man race in the eyes of oddsmakers would be a gross overstatement. For weeks, Julio Rodriguez (listed between -700 and -910) has been the presumed winner of the award. In second is Adley Rutschman with odds ranging from (+450 to +600). That gap has spread from just a few weeks ago when Rutschman was +425 and Rodriguez was -320.

But in the last few weeks, Rutschman has been gaining steam not just on the field, but among the sentiments of those that vote for these awards. Could the generational catcher prospect actually catch Rodriguez and win the award? As it stands now, it looks like there is tremendous value to betting Rutschman with less than four weeks in the regular season.

AL Rookie of the Year Odds

Adley Rutschman AL Rookie of the Year Odds (+600) (Bet $100 to Win $600)

Unlike the other rookies behind him in the odds, 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 .295/.425/.490 in the second half. His on-base percentage is at .400 for three straight months now and he has 19 extra-base hits in just 43 second-half games.

Rutschman's offense and his defense are some of the main reasons for the Orioles moving up the standings for the playoffs. Rodriguez is only slightly better in WAR this season (4.2) than Rutschman (4.0). But if we look at just the second half, Rutschman is second in the American League in WAR (2.7) behind only Aaron Judge. Rodriguez languishes outside the top 30 at just 0.9 WAR since the break. Knowing this, the betting value definitely falls on the side of Rutschman as things stand today.

Julio Rodriguez AL Rookie of the Year Odds (-700) (Bet $700 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 .258/.313/.476 in the second half with seven long balls and three steals. Those numbers are not bad, especially for a rookie, but it shows pitchers are figuring him out. It took a while, but pitchers are also finally starting to expose Rodriguez (much like they did in parts of April when he struggled), and J-Rod must make adjustments if he is to keep up the ROY pace.

Simply put, it does not seem that the gap between Rodriguez and Rutschman should be widening as we get closer to the season's finish line. If anything, it should be shrinking, particularly as Rutschman has outplayed Rodrigues at the plate and in the field. Rutschman's defensive WAR this season is 8.1 while Rodriguez is just at -0.1. It does seem that Seattle's Rodriguez is living off the savings built up in the first half, but those are certainly dwindling.

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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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