Ten Prominent Players Who Will Remain Rookies In 2021

Image credit: Randy Arozarena (Mark Lomoglio/Icon Sportswire Via Getty

Major League Baseball and the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced the 2020 Rookie of the Year award finalists on Monday night. Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm, Padres third baseman Jake Cronenworth and Brewers reliever Devin Williams were named the National League finalists, while Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis, White Sox outfielder Luis Robert and Astros righthander Cristian Javier were named the American League finalists.

MLB made a slight change to rookie eligibility rules to account for the shortened 2020 season. The limits of 130 at-bats, 50 innings pitched and 45 days on the active roster remained the same, but MLB adjusted how it calculated the 45-day limit.

Previously, days on the active roster after Sept. 1 were not counted toward a player’s service time. But with no September callups this year, days on the active roster in September 2020 were counted toward the 45-day active roster limit. As such, players like Mets infielder Andres Gimenez and Angels outfielder Jo Adell exhausted their rookie eligibility when, in previous years, they would have remained rookies heading into the following season.

However, by virtue of the shortened 60-game season, many other players who spent more than half the season with their teams will remain rookie-eligible in 2021, even with the adjustment to service time calculations.

Here are 10 notable players who made an impact in 2020 and still will be eligible for Rookie of the Year awards in 2021. All career statistics are through the end of the 2020 season.



1. Randy Arozarena, OF, Rays

Career at-bats: 84

The October hero set new records for hits and home runs in a single postseason. Arozarena spent less than a month in the majors during the regular season and most of his pre-2020 big league time came as a September callup, so he will officially remain a rookie in 2021.

2. Ian Anderson, RHP, Braves

Career innings: 32.1

Anderson posted a 1.95 ERA in six starts and took over as the Braves No. 2 starter behind Max Fried. He wasn’t called up until Aug. 25, so he remained under the 45-day active service time threshold to maintain his rookie eligibility.

3. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pirates

Career at-bats: 85

Hayes got called up Sept. 1 and laid waste to opponents in his debut, batting .376/.442/.682 with seven doubles, two triples and five home runs in 24 games and playing standout defense at third base. He remained safely under the rookie limits for at-bats and service time and will enter 2021 as a top NL Rookie of the Year award contender.

4. Sixto Sanchez, RHP Marlins

Career innings: 39

Sanchez went 3-2, 3.46 in seven starts for the Marlins and was a part of their playoff rotation with Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez. He debuted on Aug. 22 and thus remained under the 45-day active service time limit in addition to the rookie innings limit.

5. Ryan Mountcastle, OF/1B, Orioles

Career at-bats: 126

Mountcastle lived up to his reputation as a premium hitter by batting .333/.386/.492 and rising to the No. 3 spot in the Orioles lineup by the end of the year. He finished four at-bats under the rookie limit of 130 and a few days under the service time limit after debuting Aug. 21.

6. Triston McKenzie, RHP, Indians

Career innings: 33.1

McKenzie joined the Indians rotation shortly after Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac were sent to the alternate training site for violating COVID-19 health and safety protocols. McKenzie went 2-1, 3.24 in eight appearances (six starts) after debuting Aug. 22, staying under the rookie service time and innings limits.

7. Nick Madrigal, 2B, White Sox

Career at-bats: 103

Madrigal took over as the White Sox’s second baseman a week into the season and hit .340/.376/.369. But because he missed more than three weeks with a separated shoulder, he fell under the 45-day active roster limit as well as the at-bats limit to remain a rookie in 2021.

8. Dane Dunning, RHP, White Sox

Career innings: 34

Dunning went 2-0, 3.97 in seven starts for the White Sox and started the decisive Game 3 of their Wild Card Series against the A’s. Dunning debuted on Aug. 19 and spent another 10 days at the alternate site before joining the White Sox for good on Aug. 30, keeping him under the rookie service time limit.

9. Joey Bart, C, Giants

Career at-bats: 103

Bart took over as the Giants’ starting catcher and struggled in his first taste of the majors, batting .233/.280/.320 with 41 strikeouts and three walks in 111 plate appearances. He debuted Aug. 20, so he fell just under the 45-day active roster limit to remain a rookie.

10. Dylan Carlson, OF, Cardinals

Career at-bats: 110

Carlson hit just .200/.252/.364 over two stints in the majors, but was significantly improved in his second callup and hit cleanup for the Cardinals in their Wild Card Series against the Padres. He debuted Aug. 15 and was sent down to the alternate site for 10 days in September, staying under the active service time and at-bats limits.

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