An Early Look at Betting the 2020 American League Rookie of the Year

by Mark Daloisio | March 23, 2020 |

The Chicago White Sox have a good shot of having the Rookie of the Year on their Roster.  (OF) Luis Robert & (P) Michael Kopech are considered the favorites to win the award entering the 2020 season.  Let’s take a look at a few of the candidates.

(P) Michael Kopech (White Sox)(+400) – Michael was one of the two key pieces that came over when the White Sox traded Chris Sale to the Red Sox along with Yoan Moncado who became a full-time starter in 2018 for Chicago and has done quite well.  Michael made 4 starts that did not go so well at the end of 2018 going 1-1 with a 5.02 era but did strike out 15 batters in the 14.1 innings pitched before ending the year with Tommy John surgery and missing all of 2019.  You know he has potential if it was just him and one other young guy to pry away Chris Sale for the team. He regularly hits 100 mpg on the radar gun and has reached 105 mph in a minor league game before. In doing a lot of reading about MLB pitching recently have about the importance of spin on the ball and how they have in recent years been rating pitchers in that category (I know, they have so many things I don’t even know what they all mean anymore), but they say Kopech has elite spin. In closing, all I can say this guy must have the stuff to be considered the frontrunner for the ROY award since he is coming off Tommy John surgery and has not started a major league game since the surgery.

(OF) Luis Robert (White Sox)(+400) – Luis has certainly proven himself across the board at all three levels of the minors leagues in 2019 and has been given a shot to prove he can do it at the next level.  Last season between A, AA & AAA he hit .328 with 32 home runs and 36 stolen bases, so he has that rare combination of power and speed. He definitely has raw power and should put up 30/40 home runs on a regular basis once he makes his adjustments to big-league pitching.  The White Sox think he has star written all over him or they would have never signed him to a 6-year $50 million deal. Before the season came to a screeching halt Luis was looking very good this spring and looked ready for opening day. I personally am excited to watch him play.

(P) Casey Mize (Detroit)(+500) – Casey had some shoulder issues in June last season that landed him on the IL and was inconsistent upon returning and was shut down halfway through August to protect his shoulder.  Assuming he is healthy to start the 2020 season he should be fine. Before the shoulder problems last season he dominated in the minors and even threw a no-hitter in his Double-A debut.  He throws three pitches that are considered better than average and they say the really has a feel for how to pitch for such a young guy and that is something that most pitchers don’t develop for years.  Being a member of the Detroit Tigers can work against you in the ROY voting. You don’t figure to get many wins but if you do you are probably dominating hitters. I personally love seeing great pitchers pitch on bad teams and dominated.  I hope that is the case for young Casey Mize.

(P) Jesus Luzardo (Oakland)(+600) – Jesus was supposed to be in the starting rotation 3 last season before a rotator cuff strain & lat strain wiped out most of his season, but he worked his way into the bullpen making 6 appearances.  It is too hard to judge his work on just 12 innings pitched but it went will with 2 saves & 2 holds with a 1.50 era, so it is easy to imagine what he is capable of.  He throws a 96 mph sinker, 97 mph four-seam fastball, an 83 mph curveball, and an 87 mph changeup to keep hitters off-balance, All four pitches are considered plus potential pitches.  The issue he will have this season will be building up stamina after losing most of last season due to injury. He is considered to have staff ace type of stuff.  

(P) Brendan McKay (Tampa Bay)(+800) – Let’s start with what Brendan did in the minors last year before his call up.  He dominated pitching 73.3 innings with a 1.10 era, a 0.81 WHIP and struck out 102 batters while walking just 18.  He was the 4th pick in the 2017 draft. He got the call and his MLB debut was amazing, 6 innings of one-hit ball vs Texas in a 5-1 win.  In 11 starts he went 2-4 with 5.14 era allowing 53 hits in 49 innings pitched but struck out 56 batters. Many talented pitched have had worse starts to their careers.  The big thing is he got a taste of big-league hitters and could get a sense of the difference between that and those in the minors.  

(OF) Jo Adell (Angels)(+1000) – Jo is more of a longshot than originally thought and that may be due missing two months to start last season.  He did well until he reached Triple-A where he struggled and was just a little better than average in the Arizona Fall League.  Everybody says he has raw talent which you do now see often but is still a work in progress but once it starts clicking lookout.  Some feel that it could all happen this season. I personally think it will not be this year and he is at least a year away. Keep in mind the guy is only 20 years old and still needs to mature.  I am not even convinced he will stick with the team this season.  

A few other longshots to consider but not very likely:

  • (1B) Evan White (Seattle)(+1200)
  • (P) Forrest Whitley (Houston)(+2000)
  • (P) Deivi Garcia (NY Yankees)(+2000)
  • (3B) Wander Franco (San Francisco)(+2000)
  • (P) Nate Pearson Toronto)(+2000)

My Best Bet: (OF) Luis Robert (White Sox)(+400) 

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