Baseball America 2020 Rookie Of The Year Watch: Week 4
Below is the fourth 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 August 19.
1. Kyle Lewis, OF, Mariners
Forget leading all rookies. Lewis is chasing the lead in a number of league-wide categories. Lewis’ latest big week has him tied for the American League lead in hits (33), second in the AL batting title race (.351) and fourth in the AL in on-base percentage (.426). He leads all rookies in those categories as well as slugging percentage (.521), runs (17), RBI (17) and walks (13). To top it all off, he’s making weekly highlight-reel catches in center field. Lewis is not only the leader in the AL Rookie of the Year race—he’s pulling away from the field.
2. Luis Robert, OF, White Sox
Robert hasn’t done anything wrong. Lewis is just playing at an insane level. Still, there is no doubting the White Sox center fielder’s immense talent. Robert emerged from a mini-slump with five extra-base hits (two doubles, three home runs) in six games last week to go with four runs scored, seven RBI and a highlight-reel catch. He left Tuesday’s game with a minor hand injury suffered on a dive attempt, but X-rays fortunately came back negative.
3. Randy Dobnak, RHP, Twins
Dobnak continues to keep the ball on the ground and the Twins in the win column. The 25-year-old won his fourth straight decision with 5.1 innings and two runs allowed against the Royals in his last start. He has the second-highest ground ball rate (64.5 percent) in the majors and, consequentially, the fifth-lowest ERA (1.42) behind only Trevor Bauer, Max Fried, Shane Bieber and Lance Lynn.
Nick Solak, OF, Rangers
Solak’s recent hot streak has quietly pulled him into second place behind only Lewis in batting average (.280) and on-base percentage (.379) among all rookies. The 25-year-old has reached base in eight of his last 10 games—including four multi-hit games and a three-walk game—and is batting .361 overall during that stretch. While he still has a way to go to catch Lewis and Robert, he’s moving in the right direction.
Cole Sulser, RHP, Orioles
The American League is loaded with sensational rookie relievers in James Karinchak, Josh Staumont, Jordan Romano, Matt Foster, Jonathan Hernandez and Blake Taylor, but it’s nearly impossible for a reliever to win Rookie of the Year unless they get saves. The 30-year-old Sulser is the leader on that front, recording five saves in seven opportunities as the Orioles closer. The 2013 25th-round pick from Dartmouth has had all three of his pitches working for him this year, with his fastball (.176 opponent average), slider (.067) and changeup (.143) all proving difficult to hit.
Jake Cronenworth Trade Continues To Pay Big Dividends For Padres
Increasingly, it’s become clear the Padres bested the Rays in the deal that brought Jake Cronenworth to San Diego.
1. Jake Cronenworth, 1B/2B, Padres
If there’s something Cronenworth can’t do, it hasn’t been revealed yet. For his first trick, he was an elite defensive first baseman. For his second, he took over as the Padres everyday defensive second baseman and has been equally slick there, while also playing shortstop and third base. All the while, he’s hit .333/.394/.617 and leads all National League rookies in hits (20), runs (nine), doubles (seven) and OPS (1.011). Among all rookies, he ranks behind only Luis Robert (12) with 11 extra-base hits.
2. Dustin May, RHP, Dodgers
May continues to rank either first or second among National League rookies in innings pitched (24), ERA (3.00) and strikeouts (19). The next step is improving his pitch efficiency. He needed 88 pitches to get through 4.1 innings in his last start, a step backward after he completed six innings in each of his previous two starts.
3. David Peterson, LHP, Mets
Peterson was scratched from his last start and placed on the injured list with shoulder inflammation, but his performance when healthy still stands out in a shallow NL Rookie of the Year field. The 6-foot-6 lefty leads all qualified NL rookie starters with a 2.91 ERA and won three of his first four career starts before hitting the IL. He pitched five innings with only one hit and one (unearned) run allowed in his last outing against the Nationals.
Alec Bohm, 3B, Phillies
The third overall pick in the 2018 draft was lauded for his bat and hasn’t wasted any time showing why. Called up on Aug. 13, Bohm has notched a hit in four of his first six career games and has more walks (4) than strikeouts (3), an impressive feat for his first week against major league pitching. He’s already earning high praise from manager Joe Girardi and doesn’t figure to leave the Phillies lineup anytime soon.
Tony Gonsolin, RHP, Dodgers
You have to feel for Gonsolin. The righthander has pitched 14.2 scoreless innings this season, but was just optioned to the Dodgers alternate site because of the Dodgers immense pitching depth. Gonsolin has allowed only six hits, walked two and struck out 12 in his 14.2 shutout frames. When he’s actually in the majors, he’s been as dominant as any rookie pitcher in baseball.