2020 MLB Rookie Of The Year Watch: NL Race Tightens Heading Into Final Days
Below is the ninth and final edition of our weekly Rookie of the Year stock watch. Please note this is not a re-ranking of the BA Top 100 prospects or BA's preseason rookie rankings, but rather a snapshot of where the Rookie of the Year races stand at various points in time throughout the season.
All statistics are through Sept. 23.
1. Kyle Lewis, OF, Mariners
The Kyle Lewis vs. Luis Robert debate is no longer a debate. Even though Lewis has slowed down a bit, he’s still reached base in 15 of his last 18 games and widened the gap between him and Robert in almost every major category. With four days to go, he’s safely in the lead.
The only question now is not whether Lewis will win the AL Rookie of the Year award, but who will finish second.
2. Luis Robert, OF, White Sox
Robert remains a supremely talented player with a bright future. But in terms of this abbreviated season, his struggles have knocked him back to the middle of the pack of the AL rookie class. Robert is hitless in his last 26 at-bats and is now 6 for 70 with 30 strikeouts in September. He is batting .220/.291/.435, a .726 OPS that ranks eighth among qualified AL rookies. The problem is simple—Robert is swinging at everything. His 22.3% swinging strike rate is the highest in the majors among qualified hitters, and it's an issue he’s going to have to address to be a factor at the plate for the White Sox in the postseason.
3. Cristian Javier, RHP, Astros
Without much fanfare, Javier just keeps cruising along and getting the job done. The 23-year-old righthander ranks first among qualified AL rookie starters in ERA (3.33), WHIP (0.99) and opponent average (.181), third in strikeouts (48) and fourth in innings pitched (48.2)—the only AL rookie starter to be top-five in each category. His closest competition is A’s lefthander Jesus Luzardo, who has an ERA more than half a run higher.
1. Jake Cronenworth, 2B, Padres
Cronenworth leads all NL rookies in OPS (.885) and bWAR (1.6), but his hold is tenuous. Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm has pulled ahead in batting average and on-base percentage and has tied Cronenworth in hits and home runs despite 15 fewer plate appearances. Cronenworth's OPS edge is down to just 1 point. Just like the final spots of the NL playoff race, the NL rookie of the year race is going to come down to the final days.
2. Alec Bohm, 3B, Phillies
Since his major league debut Aug. 13, Bohm ranks the 12th in the entire major leagues with a .333 batting average and 17th with a .401 on-base percentage. He's moved up to the No. 3 spot in the Phillies lineup and become an impact hitter for a team with its playoff hopes on the line. The only thing holding Bohm back is the fewer games and plate appearances he's had than Cronenworth, but if he can pull ahead in hits, home runs and OPS these final four days, it may not matter.
3. Devin Williams, RHP, Brewers
It's hard to put a reliever ahead of two starters who have pitched more innings—in this case Dodgers righthanders Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May—but Williams continues to be too dominant to ignore. In his latest outing, he struck out five of the seven batters he faced over two scoreless innings. In the outing before that, he struck out four of six batters over two perfect innings. His season numbers, to this point, look like something out of a video game: 25 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 9 BB, 52 K. Gonsolin and May remain close, however, and could very well pull ahead with each slated to make one more start (or bulk relief appearance following an opener) this season.