MLB Rookie of the Year rankings: Jung injury looms large, Senga rising

MLB Rookie of the Year rankings: Jung injury looms large, Senga rising

Welcome to the fourth edition of theScore’s 2023 Rookie of the Year rankings, where we pick five top candidates from each league.

American League

5. Edouard Julien, Twins

David Berding / Getty Images Sport / Getty

GP
HR
RBI
R
AVG/OBP/SLG
WAR
ODDS

66
10
18
34
.291/.383/.500
1.9
+15000

Julien enters the rankings for the first time all season after collecting eight multi-hit games over the last four weeks. Six of those contests came during a blistering stretch in mid-July when he recorded 15 hits in just seven games. The 24-year-old’s run vaulted him into the AL rookie lead for OPS (.883). He’s also first for on-base percentage and fourth in fWAR.

4. Josh Jung, Rangers

Tim Heitman / Getty Images Sport / Getty

GP
HR
RBI
R
AVG/OBP/SLG
WAR
ODDS

109
22
67
70
.274/.323/.489
2.7
+2200

Jung’s chances to win AL Rookie of the Year took a major hit after the third baseman fractured his thumb in early August. He’s expected to miss six weeks following surgery, but the Rangers believe he’ll return before the regular season ends. The 25-year-old was the front-runner for the award prior to the injury. He still leads AL rookies in homers, RBIs, and runs and is second in hits.

3. Masataka Yoshida, Red Sox

Mitchell Leff / Getty Images Sport / Getty

GP
HR
RBI
R
AVG/OBP/SLG
WAR
ODDS

101
12
55
57
.304/.362/.477
1.4
+280

Yoshida is having a wonderful first campaign in the majors. However, the recent play of Tanner Bibee and Gunnar Henderson has taken the attention away from the Red Sox outfielder. The 30-year-old’s production has also dipped, as he’s slashing .264/.292/.429 with two homers over his last 22 games. He owns an 89 wRC+ since July 14. Overall, the numbers are still very solid. Yoshida’s in the top five for every major offensive category among qualified AL freshmen.

2. Tanner Bibee, Guardians

Logan Riely / Getty Images Sport / Getty

IP
ERA
FIP
K
WHIP
WAR
ODDS

101.2
2.92
3.74
101
1.22
2.0
+6600

Bibee debuts in the No. 2 spot in the rankings following a sensational stretch since the beginning of July. The right-hander has allowed only eight earned runs with 44 strikeouts over his last seven starts (42 1/3 innings). The 24-year-old finds himself second in innings pitched and strikeouts and third in ERA and batting average against among qualified AL rookie hurlers.

1. Gunnar Henderson, Orioles

Rob Carr / Getty Images Sport / Getty

GP
HR
RBI
R
AVG/OBP/SLG
WAR
ODDS

103
19
51
62
.242/.328/.471
2.6
-300

The offseason favorite to win AL Rookie of the Year is now the player to beat. Henderson has gone hitless in just seven games since the All-Star break while helping the surprise Orioles maintain the top spot in the division. The 22-year-old infielder is second in homers, runs, and fWAR among first-year major leaguers in the Junior Circuit. Henderson has a real shot to run away with the award if he continues to hit like he has over the last few months.

National League

5. Patrick Bailey, Giants

Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

GP
HR
RBI
R
AVG/OBP/SLG
WAR
ODDS

63
5
35
20
.262/.309/.411
2.4
+6600

Bailey is the best defensive catcher in baseball. It’s not even close. The 24-year-old’s defensive rating (18.1) is almost double that of the next closest backstop, according to FanGraphs. He’s in the 100th percentile for framing and 95th percentile for pop time to second base, which has helped him throw out 32% of potential base-stealers.

4. Francisco Alvarez, Mets

Mike Stobe / Getty Images Sport / Getty

GP
HR
RBI
R
AVG/OBP/SLG
WAR
ODDS

85
21
44
41
.231/.295/.487
2.2
+5000

Alvarez has accrued the second-best defensive rating among major-league catchers behind Bailey, according to FanGraphs. The stat is surprising since the 21-year-old has made headlines with his power. He’s tied for the NL lead for first-year players with 21 round-trippers. Alvarez’s slugging percentage is also fourth in the Senior Circuit among qualified rookies.

3. Kodai Senga, Mets

Norm Hall / Getty Images Sport / Getty

IP
ERA
FIP
K
WHIP
WAR
ODDS

116.2
3.24
3.63
142
1.30
2.3
+6600

Senga turned out to be the best Mets pitcher in a rotation that started the year with future Hall of Famers Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. The Japanese right-hander has surrendered three runs or more in just one start since July 5. He’s also amassed 41 strikeouts during that stretch, which has added to his NL-leading total among freshmen pitchers. Senga also ranks fourth in ERA and batting average against for the same cohort.

2. Matt McLain, Reds

Andy Lyons / Getty Images Sport / Getty

GP
HR
RBI
R
AVG/OBP/SLG
WAR
ODDS

74
12
40
53
.297/.364/.512
2.8
+2500

The trio of Spencer Steer, Elly De La Cruz, and McLain could all be mentioned in the rankings. However, the latter is having the best campaign out of the three. The 24-year-old has recorded eight multi-hit games since the All-Star break, including three three-hit contests. As a result, he leads qualified NL rookies in batting average while sitting in second to Corbin Carroll for slugging percentage and OPS. McLain’s fWAR is also the third highest among first-year NL players.

1. Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks

Norm Hall / Getty Images Sport / Getty

GP
HR
RBI
R
AVG/OBP/SLG
SB
WAR
ODDS

110
21
59
79
.273/.353/.514
36
4.1
-10000

Carroll is the overwhelming favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year. An injury scare with this shoulder in July caused some panic, but the dynamic outfielder remained on the field. The 22-year-old has amassed the seventh-highest fWAR total in the NL. Carroll is also on pace to become the first rookie in MLB history to record a 30-50 campaign.

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