Young hitters have taken over the American League this season, but only 1 can be named Rookie of the Year.
Today I will break down the 3 most likely candidates for this exclusive prize. Each of them happens to be a hitter as no AL pitcher is having an exceptional 2019 season.
Here is who I would pick to finish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd for Rookie of the Year in the American League if I had to decide today.
1st Place – Daniel Vogelbach – Mariners – 1B/DH
The 26-year-old has been up since the Mariners’ first game and started hitting immediately – mashing 5 home runs in his first 5 starts while splitting time between 1st base and DH.
Vogelbach has maintained a terrific pace all season long, earning him the highest rookie Off and the top spot on my ROY list. He is the gold standard for rookies in the AL.
The biggest knock against Vogelbach is that he is only hitting .234. While this average is low, the Vogelbach’s walk rate is an impressive 16.5% – the highest mark among qualified rookies and 4th-highest overall.
All of these walks give Vogelbach a .363 on-base percentage – not bad for someone on pace to hit 36 home runs and drive in 93.
No other hitter in the American League can match the production and consistency of Daniel Vogelbach. It will take a mammoth final 2 months for another hitter to even get close to catching him.
2nd Place – Brandon Lowe – Rays – 2B
Brandon Lowe’s numbers do not compare with those of Vogelbach, but the 25-year-old second baseman is having a very nice rookie season.
Lowe’s batting average could be much higher, but he routinely shoots himself in the foot with strikeouts. At 33.9%, Lowe’s K rate is the highest among rookies. Although Lowe is several plate appearances shy of qualifying, his strikeout rate is worse than any qualifying hitter in the MLB.
Lowe draws very few walks – only walking in 7.2% of his plate appearances this year. This gives him a .339 OBP. Lowe’s poor plate discipline has kept his Off down, but his 15.5 number is still the 3rd-highest among rookies.
If Daniel Vogelbach is the gold standard of AL rookies, Brandon Lowe is a dingy silver. Lowe is putting together a good rookie season but has been too inconsistent and strikeout-happy to accumulate monster numbers.
3rd Place – Yordan Alvarez – Astros – DH
If anyone has a chance to catch Vogelbach for ROY, it is the Astros Yordan Alvarez. Alvarez did not receive a call to the big leagues until June 9th but has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball since.
Alvarez has done all of this damage in just 155 plate appearances. Since his June 9th call up, Alvarez has been the 5th-best offensive player in baseball behind only Yuli Gurriel, Rafael Devers, Mike Trout, and Xander Bogaerts.
If Alvarez can maintain this pace through the final 2 months of the season, which he most likely will not – he could overtake Vogelbach for the ROY crown.
Although Yordan Alvarez is currently the hottest AL rookie, he has not had enough at-bats this season to accumulate big time stats.
I love watching young guys play well. They make exciting bets, too! See you on top!