2020 MLB Rookie Of The Year Watch: Luis Robert Makes His Move
Below is the sixth 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. 2.
1. Luis Robert, OF, White Sox
Kyle Lewis has a higher batting average than Robert by nearly 40 points and a higher on-base percentage by nearly 90 points. He has more hits, runs scored and a higher OPS. By stats, Lewis is the pick. But Robert has been a man on fire the past week, hitting three home runs in a four-game stretch—including a walkoff—to help keep the White Sox in the thick of a tight race for the AL Central lead. He’s followed that stretch with back-to-back 0-for-4 games, however. If Robert can just find a little consistency down the stretch, his presence as a premier talent on a contending team will have him in position to win the award.
2. Kyle Lewis, OF, Mariners
Through no fault of his own, Lewis hasn’t been able to add to his numbers recently with the Mariners series against the A’s postponed following a positive test for COVID-19 in Oakland’s organization. Lewis still leads all AL rookies in most categories, and at this point he and Robert are more 1 and 1A as opposed to clearly separated. With the Mariners scheduled to resume play against the Rangers today, Lewis has every opportunity to pad his statistical lead even more and become the leader for the award.
3. Randy Dobnak, RHP, Twins
Dobnak got hit hard in his last start at Detroit, but it was an outlier in what otherwise has been a productive season for the 25-year-old righthander. Dobnak has allowed two earned runs or less in six of his seven starts and, even after getting rocked for six runs in 4.1 innings against the Tigers, ranks 10th in the American League in ERA.
Ryan McBroom, 1B, Royals
Lewis leads all qualified AL rookies with a .945 OPS. Second—ahead of Robert—is McBroom with a .906 OPS, albeit in a much smaller sample size. Relatively anonymous outside of Kansas City, the 28-year-old West Virginia product is batting .297/.328/.579 and is tied for third among AL rookies with five home runs in only 64 at-bats. While his slash line numbers are likely inflated by his small sample, he’s showing his power is real with eight extra-base hits in 67 plate appearances.
Triston McKenzie, RHP, Indians
It’s too late for McKenzie to climb to the top of the AL ROY race, but the prized Indians righthander is showing why he was so highly touted. The 23-year-old delivered another stellar start with six scoreless innings, three hits allowed, no walks and six strikeouts on Wednesday against the Royals. McKenzie now has a 1.69 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 16 innings in his first three career starts, giving the Indians yet another standout in their exceptional starting rotation.
The Padres Blended Analytics, Scouting To Acquire Two Key Contributors
The trades to acquire Trent Grisham and Jake Cronenworth were consummated in late November/early December, but the process began much earlier.
1. Jake Cronenworth, 2B, Padres
The question at this point is not whether Cronenworth will win the NL Rookie of the Year award. It’s whether or not he will be unanimous. Cronenworth—not Robert, not Lewis—leads all rookies in batting average (.346), slugging percentage (.606) and OPS (1.011). He’s done that while playing jaw-dropping defense at both first and second base, and he’s doing it all as a key player on a playoff contender. Cronenworth has to keep it up for three-and-a-half more weeks, but at this point the NL Rookie of the Year award is his to lose.
2. Dustin May, RHP, Dodgers
May continues to be a model of consistency for baseball’s best team. The 22-year-old righthander has allowed two earned runs or less in all seven of his starts, leads all NL rookies with 35.1 innings pitched and ranks 12th in the league with a 2.83 ERA. While he’s not striking many batters out, May has stayed out of trouble with a 52.3 percent ground ball rate, 14th-highest in the majors among pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched.
3. Alec Bohm, 3B, Phillies
How’s this for a quick start: Bohm has played only about half as many games as most of the NL rookie field, and yet already ranks fifth among NL rookies in hits (17) and second in doubles (5). The 2018 first-rounder already has five multi-hit games under his belt and continues to steadily climb into the upper tier the NL Rookie of the Year field. He hasn't been too shabby on defense, either.
Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Marlins
The things Sixto Sanchez does on a mound are positively demonic. There’s this. And this. And this. The 22-year-old righthander has simply been one of the most exhilarating pitchers in baseball since he debuted Aug. 22. With unreal stuff, pristine control (19 strikeouts and one walk in 19 innings) and plenty of flair, Sanchez will be in prime position to raise his stock as the Marlins make their push for the playoffs.
Sam Hilliard, OF, Rockies
Hillard is actually the NL rookie leader in home runs (5) and owns .825 OPS, third among qualified NL rookies. He moved into an everyday role when David Dahl went on the injured list Aug. 18 and has taken advantage. In the 14 games since, he’s hit .300/.364/.500 and is tied with Trevor Story for the Rockies team lead with 26 total bases.