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MLB Rookie of the Year Odds, Best Bets: Our Staff’s Top Picks For AL, NL Newcomers

MLB Rookie of the Year Odds, Best Bets: Our Staff’s Top Picks For AL, NL Newcomers article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured: Riley Greene, Joe Ryan, and Seiya Suzuki

  • The MLB rookie class is loaded this season, particularly in the American League.
  • Our analysts have picks for both leagues to bet on for the top prizes.
  • Continue reading for our staff's best bets on AL and NL Rookies of the Year ahead of Opening Day.

Prospect watching in Major League Baseball is more popular than ever. Fans are regularly scanning the top prospect lists waiting for their team’s next big star to hit the majors.

That, in turn, has made Rookie of the Year betting more popular than ever, and this year there’s a fresh and exciting crop of rookies ready to take it to the next level.

Our MLB experts are all over it. We have three bets to recommend placing ahead of Opening Day, including a National League favorite and two intriguing youngsters in the Junior Circuit.

Here are our best bets for American League and National League Rookie of the Year ahead of Opening Day of the 2022 MLB season.

MLB Rookie of the Year Best Bets

NL: Seiya Suzuki +500

Odds via Caesars

Sean Zerillo: Seiya Suzuki is my biggest wager for any player prop or awards bet in 2022.

Not only does Suzuki top my NL rookie WAR projection on volume by a relatively significant margin, but he also sits atop the NL list on an average basis (0.09 WAR accumulated per 25 plate appearances). It should be challenging to pass Suzuki in WAR with less playing time.

Unlikes Pirates prospect O’Neill Cruz — who will remain in the minor leagues likely until the Super Two cutoff — Suzuki will be in the majors on opening day.

And while Cruz offers more optimistic projections than my own (as high as 3.1 WAR in 113 games) for 2022, some projections for Suzuki (high of 3.9 WAR from Steamer in 130 games) place him closer to the MVP discussion, as opposed to top rookie honors.

AL: Joe Ryan +3000

Odds via Caesars

Collin Whitchurch: People might not know Ryan, but prospect folks have been waiting for this for a while. He came to Minnesota from Tampa in the Nelson Cruz deal and, in fact, was traded while away pitching for Team USA in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA Projections have Ryan’s 50th percentile outcome for the 2022 season as the 20th most valuable pitcher in baseball in 2022. Not rookies, of any pitcher. 

His WARP projections of 2.4 is in line with such established pitchers as Freddy Peralta, Julio Urias, Blake Snell, Jose Berrios, Yu Darvish.

In a cup of coffee last year Ryan made five starts and struck out 30 batters against just five walks in 26 ⅔ innings. 

Ryan has great velo and solid command of three secondaries. He doesn’t have a true “out” pitch, and is unlikely to be some sort of fire-breathing future ace, but he has all the makings of a solid mid-rotation guy, and he’s going to get the opportunity to start the entire season in the Minnesota rotation, so the opportunity is there.

AL: Riley Greene +1500

Odds via PointsBet

Jules Posner: While there is a lot of hype (and rightfully so) surrounding the Kansas City Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr, don’t sleep on Riley Greene of the Detroit Tigers for AL Rookie of the Year.

While Greene suffered an injury late in spring training that will keep him out for the beginning of the season, it’s possible he wouldn’t have made the Opening Day roster anyway, and once he’s ready, he has all the tools to win this award. The fact that, despite the injury, his odds have only dropped to +1500 (and that’s the best number you’ll find) says as much.

Greene is presently the No. 4 prospect in the league, per Baseball America, and he seems to have a pretty clear path to consistent playing time in Detroit once he is healthy. He has hit at every level, but he also demonstrates great plate discipline and above-average raw power. Additionally, he has the defensive ability to patrol center field, which could give him a huge edge if he finds himself in a platoon with Victor Reyes or Derek Hill.

Riley Greene’s left-handed bat slots in nicely to a pretty right-handed Tigers lineup that looks to make some noise in the AL Central this year. Greene has graded out with a 70 hit tool, and his elite plate discipline and potential LH platoon option could really help pad his offensive stats.

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