2022 NL Rookie of the Year Odds: Michael Harris New Favorite With Oneil Cruz, Seiya Suzuki Falling Off

2022 NL Rookie of the Year Odds: Michael Harris New Favorite With Oneil Cruz, Seiya Suzuki Falling Off article feature image

Pictured: Michael Harris. Courtesy of Getty Images.

NL Rookie of the Year Odds

Odds via FanDuel as of July 6

Michael Harris+300
Oneil Cruz+430
Spencer Strider+500
MacKenzie Gore+750
Seiya Suzuki+1200
Nolan Gorman+1300
Brendan Donovan+1700
Jack Suwinski+1800
Juan Yepez+2000
Christopher Morel+2700
Alek Thomas+3000
Roansy Contreras+8500
Luis Gonzalez+8500

The NL Rookie of the Year race has begun to calcify over the dog days of summer and a new leader has emerged.

Braves center fielder Michael Harris has pulled away as the new odds-on favorite through his play on both sides of the ball. The rookie has registered five outs above average at center on account of his speed and range since being called up in May.

And at the plate, Harris has put together a 126 OPS+ and a bWAR of 1.2.

Interestingly, Harris is hardly the best rookie in the National League, according to bWAR.

That honor goes to St. Louis Cardinals utility man Brendan Donovan, who has registered a 1.8 bWAR so far this season. But while Donovan's contributions at the plate deserve plaudits, he's been a negative value add defensively.

Despite his versatility, Donovan has registered below-average advanced fielding metrics at every position he's played except first base. And at first base, he's recorded 0 outs above average at a position he's played at in just four full games.

Still, his odds at +1700 imply just a 5.55% that he wins this award. If he continues to put up a .400 on-base percentage for a solid playoff team, a flier on that ticket could yield dividends.

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The second-highest bWAR in the race goes to Harris' teammate, Spencer Strider, who began the season as a reliever but was slotted into the starting rotation in late May. Strider has a 1.6 bWAR and a 2.87 ERA over 59.2 innings of work.

Since becoming a full-time starter, Strider has put together a 3.31 ERA with just under eight strikeouts per contest. With more starts of that caliber, there's an avenue for the 23-year-old to usurp his teammate.

Curiously, second-best favorite Oneil Cruz has one of the lowest bWARs among the contenders at 0.4.

Cruz had been a preseason favorite to win this award. His current implied odds of about 19% (+430) are an indication of his pedigree and preseason value, not his actual contributions on the field, which have been mild thus far.

Meanwhile, Seiya Suzuki has seen his odds drop precipitously due to injury. The five-time Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star injured his left ring finger in May and just returned to action earlier this week.

Suzuki had been the odds-on favorite — as short as +100 — a few weeks before his injury. He registered roughly 1.0 bWAR before he was forced to miss time.

Books like PointsBet, for instance, were offering cash-out options on Suzuki NL ROY tickets that would have resulted in a roughly 66% profit on a +500 ticket in mid-April — for a line that wouldn't settle until November.

Now, Suzuki's odds are at +1200, but that's up from about +2500 in mid-June.

For some perspective: when Suzuki first landed on the injured list on May 26, Harris hadn't yet suited up in a Braves uniform.

This is to say that these rankings are incredibly fluid and subject to change.

Injuries — more than form, oddly — end up becoming the single biggest factor that affects award races down the stretch. That creates constraints when wagering these markets, so be mindful of those risks before jumping head-first into the deep end.

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