MLB Rookie of the Year rankings: New names keeping things interesting
Welcome to the third edition of theScore's 2021 MLB Rookie of the Year rankings. The race is heating up, with a few new names joining some familiar mainstays.
5. Alek Manoah, Blue Jays
Manoah owns the lowest ERA among AL rookie starters and ranks fifth in strikeouts per nine innings. While the 23-year-old has played fewer frames than some of his rookie peers, his case is bolstered by his emergence as a critical starter for a potential playoff team. If there was a rookie MVP award, Manoah's value to the Blue Jays this season might make him the front-runner.
4. Eric Haase, Tigers
Haase has been a revelation for the Tigers after just six hits in 26 games combined between 2018-2020. The 28-year-old catcher leads all qualified rookies in slugging percentage, is second in OPS, and is third in homers. Haase has gone deep 18 times this season after coming into 2021 with one career long ball.
3. Randy Arozarena, Rays
Arozarena has come back to Earth after his historic run in the 2020 playoffs, but his .808 OPS is still tops among first-year players with at least 250 at-bats. The 26-year-old Cuban also leads all rookies with 104 hits and 67 runs. He's played a large role for a Rays club that surprisingly leads the AL East after losing several key pieces to free agency and injuries.
2. Adolis Garcia, Rangers
At least Rangers fans can still cheer for Garcia after the club traded star outfielder Joey Gallo. Garcia, 28, has come out of nowhere to hit 25 round-tippers and collect 68 RBIs, which are both tops for rookies. His .490 slugging percentage is also the best such mark for first-year players with at least 250 at-bats.
1. Luis Garcia, Astros
From one Garcia to another. The Astros right-hander is the favorite for the Rookie of the Year award thanks to his impact on a Houston rotation that has the club positioned to win another AL West title. The 24-year-old leads qualified first-year hurlers in ERA, WHIP, WAR, and strikeouts. He's given up just three homers all season, and his eight wins are second among rookies behind Rays left-hander Josh Fleming.
5. Dylan Carlson, Cardinals
If Carlson only played at Busch Stadium, he might be running away with the race. The 22-year-old outfielder owns an .826 OPS at home compared to .698 on the road. While Carlson has definitely improved from his 2020 debut with the Cardinals, it feels like there's another gear or two he's yet to unlock.
4. Ian Anderson, Braves
Shoulder inflammation derailed Anderson's season in early July, though he is slated to return to the Braves' rotation at some point in August. The 23-year-old right-hander hasn't allowed more than four earned runs in any of his 18 starts and has allowed two or fewer in half his outings. If he can keep his walks under wraps upon his return - they were ticking upward before his IL stint - then he has a shot at salvaging the remainder of his rookie campaign.
3. Patrick Wisdom, Cubs
Wisdom has been one of the few bright spots for the Cubs this season. The 29-year-old finally secured a regular job with Chicago after several cups of coffee between 2018-20, and he hasn't looked back. He leads NL rookies with 17 homers and has provided solid defense at three positions. Wisdom's done enough to garner serious consideration for this honor as a late-blooming rookie.
2. Jonathan India, Reds
India showed flashes early in the season but was still slashing .230/.333/.349 with a trio of homers through the end of May. He's been one of baseball's most exciting hitters since the calendar flipped to June, however, going hitless in consecutive games only once. The 24-year-old has played a key role in keeping the Reds' playoff hopes alive, and it wouldn't be a surprise if he took over the top spot on this list by staying hot down the stretch.
1. Trevor Rogers, Marlins
Rogers, 23, would be the front-runner in either league due to his elite strikeout stuff and ability to suppress the long ball. But he hasn't finished six innings in a start since mid-June and has only made one start since July 20, so his stranglehold on the top rookie hardware has loosened somewhat. Still, he's part of an impressive crop of young Marlins pitchers and may be the rotation's anchor for years to come.