Rogers, Garcia favored but vulnerable in MLB Rookie of the Year races

Jay Dieffenbach

There’s not a ton of mystery where baseball’s MVP voting is concerned, but can you isolate an unbeatable favorite in either the National League or American League Rookie of the Year (ROY) race?

There's bound to be some MLB futures value to be found in the respective Rookie of the Year futures markets, and the landscape shows that the current favorites could be overtaken down the stretch.

National League Rookie of the Year: Will favorite Rogers be derailed by Marlins’ place in the standings?

Trevor Rogers, pitcher, Miami Marlins (NL Rookie of the Year Odds: -165 at both BetMGM and FanDuel)

ROY futures investors have to squint a little bit to make a quality case against Rogers, a first-round pick of the Marlins in 2017.

Rogers has been terrific, posting a 7-6 record, a 2.37 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 19 starts. It’s a remarkable rebound from last season’s 6.11 ERA in 28 innings pitched.

Since a string of four consecutive starts of at least six innings ended June 15, Rogers has failed to last that long in five straight outings. His ERA in July is 3.86 — not exactly alarming but not up to his early excellence.

So, if Rogers is somewhat vulnerable (while virtually unbettable at his current ROY price), here are a couple of options:

Jonathan India, infielder, Cincinnati Reds (Odds: +400 BetMGM, +300 FanDuel)

If you like your ROY candidates to be position players and not pitchers, the hard-working India continues to impress.

His all-around game provides the kind of value found during award season. He’s hitting .278 through Tuesday with an on-base average north of .400. He registered a .462 OBP from late May through early last week and has displayed a quality learning curve.

India is on a two-month roll, following a .303/.425/.455 June slash line with a .316/.471/.468 slash line in July, with these past two months producing 55 of his 84 hits this season. He’s also riding a recent hot streak, going 8-for-26 over his past six games.

That’s a serious trend.

If the Reds can make a bit of a run, India figures to be a major part of their success.

Dylan Carlson, outfielder, St. Louis Cardinals (Odds: +1500 BetMGM, +1400 FanDuel)

Producing good power at the top of the Cardinals lineup, Carlson has 11 homers and 43 RBIs with a .255 batting average entering today. Over his last six games, he is hitting .292 (7 for 24) with two doubles, three homers, and six RBI.

If the Cardinals put together a hot streak the next month or two – and if Rogers stumbles down the stretch –Carlson could return investors a nice payout.

American League Rookie of the Year: Rangers slugger Garcia holds on at the top amid July slump

We have a very vulnerable favorite in this race.

Texas Rangers slugger Adolis Garcia, as of Wednesday, was –130 at both FanDuel and BetMGM, but is showing real signs that his amazing 2021 season headed south.

If you believe objects in motion tend to stay in motion, now would be a good time to pounce on some ROY value.

Adolis Garcia, outfielder, Texas Rangers (AL Rookie of the Year Odds: -130 at both BetMGM and FanDuel)

He’s undoubtedly outperformed his expectations, clubbing 22 home runs through Wednesday’s games, and earning his status as AL ROY favorite.

But over the last couple of weeks, Garcia is 5 for 39 (.128) with no homers and no RBI. In July, he is 16 for 80 (.200) with two homers and seven RBI.

Add to the intrigue the fact that Garcia does not have top-line pedigree. He was designated for assignment by the St. Louis Cardinals in December 2019, and then found more doubt when he was DFA’d by the Rangers in the weeks before the 2021 season began.

There were no teams interested, so the Rangers decided to re-sign him.

His average was down to .254 entering today and, if the Rangers were to deal away slugger Joey Gallo by Friday’s trade deadline, Garcia would lose some valuable lineup protection.

Three candidates are worth considering this week, Randy Arozarena, Akil Baddoo and Luis Garcia.

Randy Arozarena, outfielder, Tampa Bay Rays (Odds: +900 BetMGM, +1200 FanDuel)

Last 15 days: .293 (12 for 41), three doubles, three homers, six RBI

A sensation last season during the playoffs during which he hit 10 home runs in 18 playoff games, Arozarena also could keep rolling and put some serious pressure on Adolis Garcia down the stretch.

The 26-year-old also has speed, stealing 11 bases entering Wednesday’s action, he led all rookies with 60 runs scored (Adolis Garcia had 44; Baddoo 39) and has the opportunity for a higher profile down the stretch with the first-place-contending Rays.

Luis Garcia, pitcher, Houston Astros (Odds: +375 BetMGM, +550 FanDuel)

The right-hander has quietly put up some very consistent, and impressive, numbers in 2021.

Garcia landed a firm spot in the first-place Astros rotation in late April and now has a 7-5 record with a 3.19 ERA and a sensational 1.08 WHIP.

Prior to a rough start Monday in Seattle, Garcia had put together four out of five starts allowing two runs or fewer while striking out 33 batters in 28 innings. Opposing batters are hitting only .210 against him this season.

Akil Baddoo, outfielder, Detroit Tigers (AL Rookie of the Year Odds: +1000 BetMGM, +450 FanDuel)

Last 15 days: 14 for 48 (.292), three doubles, one triple, four homers, 12 RBI, 10 runs scored

After Wednesday’s game, he had 10 homers, 40 RBIs and 14 stolen bases with a slash line of .275/.348/.496.

Another with a serious lack of pedigree, the Tigers outfielder is not going away and is gaining admirers. This, from a Barstool Sports story last week:

Since May 15, he has an .889 OPS, his walk rate has nearly doubled and his strikeout rate has basically been cut in half. That’s a nearly impossible feat for any player, let alone a Rule 5 rookie. He’s hitting for power, he’s hitting for average, he leads the Tigers in stolen bases …

Baddoo is only 22 years old and, as a guy who was left unprotected by the Minnesota Twins and grabbed by Detroit via the Rule 5 draft, would seem to have plenty of runway for further improvement.

Prior to his big-league debut, Baddoo had not played above Class-A ball.

A few more outside contenders also worth a look at their prices:

American League: The Orioles’ Ryan Mountcastle (+1200, per FanDuel) and the White Sox’s Andrew Vaughn (+2000, per FanDuel).

National League: The Marlins’ Jazz Chisholm and the Giants’ Lamonte Wade Jr., both at +2000, per FanDuel.

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