Rookie of the Year Watch: Corbin Carroll, Masataka Yoshida in Pole Position


Image credit: Masataka Yoshida (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

With just over one month remaining in the season, the Rookie of the Year races are coming down to the wire.

Season-long NL favorite Corbin Carroll has slowed a bit and hit .264 with five home runs since the All-Star Break. Early AL favorite Josh Jung suffered a fractured thumb on Aug. 6 and may be out for the year, although he will try to make a late-season comeback. Midseason comet Elly De La Cruz is batting .179 with a 39% strikeout rate since the All-Star Break as the league has adjusted to him and flamethrowing righthander Eury Perez spent a month down in Double-A as the Marlins sought to manage his workload.

With those developments, both Rookie of the Year races are yet to be decided. While some favorites have emerged, the situation is fluid, and there is a chance the races won’t be decided until the season’s final week.

Here is a look at where the Rookie of the Year races stand now. All statistics are through August 29.


1. Masataka Yoshida, OF, Red Sox

Josh Jung’s thumb injury has thrown the AL Rookie of the Year race wide open. So far, Yoshida is the player best positioned to take advantage. The Japanese import leads all qualified rookies with a .295 batting average, holds the AL rookie lead in hits and doubles and will soon surpass Jung for the lead in total bases. If he can reverse his recent slump (.218/.243/.300 in his last 29 games), he’ll be in good shape to hold off what has become a crowded AL field.

2. Josh Jung, 3B, Rangers

Even with his injury, Jung’s season remains one of the best in the class. The 25-year-old third baseman hit .274/.323/.489 with 22 home runs and 67 RBIs in 109 games before going down. Despite the fact he hasn’t played a game since Aug. 6, he is still tied for the AL rookie lead in home runs, leads in RBIs and ranks second in runs scored. If he is able to successfully return before the end of the season and produce, he still has a chance to take the Rookie of the Year award.

3. Triston Casas, 1B, Red Sox

The hulking first baseman has been overshadowed by other rookies on his own team (Yoshida) and in his division (Gunnar Henderson), but his production has been every bit as good. Among rookies who have played at least 100 games, Casas ranks second behind only Carroll with an .847 OPS. His 21 home runs are just one back of the AL rookie lead and he has been one of baseball’s best hitters in the second half. Since the All-Star Break, Casas is batting .323 with a 1.081 OPS, the fourth-highest OPS in the majors.


Gunnar Henderson, 3B, Orioles

Henderson continues to shake off his slow start and has put himself firmly in the ROY mix with his hot summer performance. He is tied for the AL rookie lead with 22 home runs, ranks second with 76 runs scored and is third with 48 extra-base hits. He still sits outside the top five among qualified AL rookies in all three slash line categories (.251/.329/.477) and his .806 OPS ranks sixth, but he’s trending upward and could push his way up with a hot final month.


Yainer Diaz, C, Astros; Edouard Julien, 2B, Twins; Tanner Bibee, RHP, Guardians

There probably isn’t enough time left in the season for Diaz, Julien or Bibee to overtake the ROY leaders, but all have been sensational since their callups. Julien is batting .285/.378/.474 and owns the highest OPS (.852) of any AL rookie with at least 80 games played. Diaz is batting .282/.303/.526 with 19 home runs and 49 RBIs in only 87 games and has thrown out 35% of attempted basestealers behind the plate. Bibee has emerged as the Guardians’ latest homegrown pitching success story and is 10-3, 3.17 with 117 strikeouts and 37 walks in 119.2 innings. All will receive ROY votes, and with more time, any of them could have risen to the top of the field.


J.P. France, RHP, Astros – 10-5, 3.49, 116 IP, 86 K, 34 BB, 1.29 WHIP

Bryce Miller, RHP, Mariners – 8-4, 3.90, 101.1 IP, 95 K, 21 BB, 1.04 WHIP

Logan Allen, LHP, Guardians – 6-7, 3.61, 107.1. IP, 102 K, 41 BB, 1.35 WHIP

Tyler Holton, RHP, Tigers – 46 G, 2.11 ERA, 61 K, 17 BB, 0.88 WHIP, .179 opp. BA

Zack Gelof, 2B, Athletics – .269/.335/.551, 10 HR, 21 RBI, 9 SB


1. Corbin Carroll, OF, D-backs

Even amidst a minor second half slump, Carroll remains the top rookie in the game. The 23-year-old outfielder leads all qualified rookies with an .884 OPS and holds the ML rookie lead in runs (96), triples (8), home runs (23), extra-base hits (56) and total bases (238). As long as he holds steady, the National League Rookie of the Year Award will be his.

2. Kodai Senga, RHP, Mets

As the Mets season has spiraled, Senga has emerged as a stabilizing force. The Japanese import has quietly been one of baseball’s best pitchers since the middle of June and overall is 10-7, 3.17 in 24 starts with an ML-rookie high 164 strikeouts. He leads all rookies in strikeouts and innings pitched, is tied for the rookie lead in wins and owns the lowest opponent average (.210) of any rookie who has pitched at least 80 innings. It’s not just among rookies he’s been impressive—his ERA is seventh-lowest in the majors.

3. Matt McLain, SS, Reds

Elly De La Cruz gets most of the attention, but it’s McLain who has been the best of the Reds midseason callups. The 2021 first-round pick leads all qualified NL rookies with a .290 batting average, is second only to Carroll with an .864 OPS and ranks among the top five among NL rookies in hits, runs, doubles, triples, home runs and RBIs despite playing only 89 games. To add a cherry on top, he’s been an above-average defender at both shortstop and second base.


Spencer Steer, 1B/3B/OF, Reds

Without much fanfare, Steer continues to be one of the best rookies in the National League. The 25-year-old leads all NL rookies in hits, doubles and RBIs, ranks second behind only Carroll in extra-base hits and total bases and ranks fourth with an .807 OPS. He’s done it all while playing at least 30 games at first base, third base and left field, providing a valuable blend of offensive production and defensive versatility.


Nolan Jones, OF, Rockies; Eury Perez, RHP, Marlins; Francisco Alvarez, C, Mets

Jones has quietly been one of the season’s best midseason callups and is batting .271/.353/.488 with 13 home runs, 39 RBIs and eight stolen bases in 76 games while showing one of the strongest arms in the game. Perez has been the game’s most dominant rookie pitcher when he’s been on the mound but has pitched only 74 innings. He is 5-4, 2.68 with a 1.04 WHIP and .202 opponent average. Alvarez’s .213/.286/.434 batting line isn’t overly exceptional, but he’s tied for second among NL rookies with 21 homers and been excellent defensively behind the plate.


Andrew Abbott, LHP, Reds – 8-4, 3.35, 88.2 IP, 99 K, 34 BB, 1.22 WHIP, .227 opp BA.

James Outman, OF, Dodgers – .254/.358/.438, 17 HR, 59 RBI, 14 SB

Elly De La Cruz, SS, Reds – .241/.296/.435, 11 HR, 34 RBI, 22 SB

Bobby Miller, RHP, Dodgers – 8-3, 4.00, 87.2 IP, 79 K, 25 BB, 1.19 WHIP, .236 opp BA

Jordan Walker, OF, Cardinals – .258/.328/.411, 11 HR, 36 RBI

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