2020 MLB All-Rookie Team
Assessing rookies in a shortened, 60-game season is a difficult exercise. Many played only 40-50 games and didn’t have time to adjust to the league or, on the other hand, have time for the league to adjust to them.
Many of the season’s top rookies slumped dramatically in the September as opponents became more familiar with them. Others called up later weren’t around long enough for opponents to make those adjustments.
Still, many rookie position players stood head and shoulders above their peers at their respective positions. Orioles outfielder Ryan Mountcastle and Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes were two late callups who didn’t receive enough at-bats to graduate from prospect eligibility, but their performances were so loud they trumped other contenders for the final spots on the All-Rookie Team.
With a wide range of starting pitchers to choose from, greater weight was placed on starts and innings pitched over lower ERAs achieved in fewer innings. Many of the top pitchers who did not make the cut because their excellence encompassed less than 40 innings, such as Braves righthander Ian Anderson, Marlins righthander Sixto Sanchez, Indians righthander Triston McKenzie and White Sox righthander Dane Dunning, will remain rookie-eligible in 2021.
Players must be eligible for the American and National League Rookie of the Year Awards to make the All-Rookie team. All statistics are through the end of the regular season.
C Sean Murphy, Athletics
Murphy finished seventh among qualified rookies with an .821 OPS and led all rookie catchers with seven home runs, 14 RBI and 21 runs scored. Behind the plate, he caught the second-most games in the American League and turned in a .994 fielding percentage and a 29 percent caught stealing rate.
1B Jared Walsh, Angels
Walsh didn’t begin playing every day until Aug. 31 and still finished third among all rookies with nine home runs. His 11 at-bats per home run rate was third-best in the major leagues among players who made at least 100 plate appearances. Walsh also had the longest hitting streak of any rookie this year (14 games) and finished second among qualified rookies with a .970 OPS.
2B Jake Cronenworth, Padres
Cronenworth moved into the Padres starting lineup when Eric Hosmer was sidelined by a stomach ailment and never left. Cronenworth slid from first to second base once Hosmer returned and led all rookies this season with 22 extra-base hits (15 doubles, 3 triples, 4 home runs) and finished sixth with an .831 OPS, all while playing standout defense at both first and second base.
3B Alec Bohm, Phillies
Bohm ascended to the Phillies on Aug. 13 and was batting in the middle of their lineup within a month. Despite the later debut, Bohm finished second among rookies with 54 hits, third with 11 doubles and sixth with 24 runs. His .338 batting average, .400 on-base percentage and .481 slugging percentage all ranked in the top five among qualified rookies.
SS Willi Castro, Tigers
Castro went 3-for-4 in his first game and never stopped hitting. He recorded a hit in 28 of 36 games, had more multi-hit games (13) than hitless games (8) and finished sixth among rookies with 45 hits despite not making his debut until Aug. 12. Overall, Castro led all rookies with at least 100 at-bats in batting average (.349), slugging percentage (.550) and OPS (.932).
OF Kyle Lewis, Mariners
Lewis jumped out right away in the American League Rookie of the Year race and held the lead to the end. He led all rookies in runs (54), tied for the lead in home runs (11) and finished second in hits and RBI. His .800 OPS was third-highest among rookies with at least 150 at-bats, and he did it all while playing a highlight-reel center field.
OF Luis Robert, White Sox
Robert got off to a scorching start before falling off dramatically. Still, he tied for the rookie lead with 11 home runs and led all rookies with nine stolen bases, helping the White Sox end their 12-year postseason drought. He also led all American League outfielders in putouts, made only one error and notched a pair of assists while playing a sterling center field.
OF Ryan Mountcastle, Orioles
Mountcastle joined the Orioles on Aug. 21 and immediately asserted himself as one of the top rookie hitters this season. His 42 hits and five home runs both ranked top-10 among rookies despite the late debut and he finished fifth among qualified rookies in both batting average (.333) and OPS (.878). That was enough for the Orioles to keep him their primary left fielder despite subpar defense.
DH Ke'Bryan Hayes, Pirates
Hayes played only 24 games but was immensely impactful. Despite the limited playing time, he still finished in the top 10 among rookies in doubles (7) and triples (2) and finished just outside the top 10 in hits (32) and home runs (5). He complimented that performance with sensational defense, ranking tied for sixth among all MLB third baseman in defensive runs saved as measured by FanGraphs.
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SP Dustin May, Dodgers
May got the emergency Opening Day start in place of an injured Clayton Kershaw and remained a staple of the Dodgers rotation the rest of the way. May posted a 2.57 ERA in 56 innings, the only rookie with a sub-3.00 ERA and more than 50 innings pitched, and allowed two earned runs or less in all 12 of his appearances.
SP David Peterson, Mets
Peterson made his Mets debut on July 28 and asserted himself as the Mets’ top starter behind Jacob deGrom. His 1.5 wins above replacement, as measured by Baseball-Reference.com, was the highest of all rookie starters. He allowed two earned runs or less in seven of his 10 appearances and finished in the top 10 among qualified rookies in wins (6), ERA (3.44), innings (49.2) and opponent average (.202).
SP Tony Gonsolin, Dodgers
Gonsolin began the year on a 16.2 inning scoreless streak and kept batters in check the entire way. His 0.84 WHIP that was the lowest among qualified rookie starters, his 2.41 ERA was third-lowest and his .193 opponent average was fifth-lowest. His 6.57 K/BB ratio was the best among all qualified rookies this season, a full strikeout ahead of the next-closest pitcher.
SP Cristian Javier, Astros
Javier stepped into a hollow Astros rotation and became a bright spot in an otherwise underwhelming season for defending American League champions. Javier went 5-2, 3.48 and finished third among rookies with 54 strikeouts. His 0.99 WHIP was third-lowest among qualified rookie pitchers this season and his .179 opponent average was and fourth-lowest.
SP Brady Singer, Royals
Singer jumped from Double-A to the Royals’ Opening Day rotation and held his own in his debut. He led all rookies with 64.1 innings and 61 strikeouts while posting a 1.17 WHIP and .220 opponent average, both top-10 among qualified rookie starters. Notably, Singer got better as the year went on. Over his final four starts, he went 3-1, 1.50 with 25 strikeouts in 24 innings.
RP Devin Williams, Brewers
Armed with an upper-90s fastball and a devastating changeup, Williams blossomed into MLB’s most dominant reliever in 2020. He allowed only eight hits and one earned run in 27 innings and did not allow a single run, earned or unearned, over his final 18 appearances. Williams struck out 53 of the 100 batters he faced, the highest strikeout percentage of any pitcher who threw at least 10 innings.