Although players like Shelby Miller and Julio Teheran will receive recognition for spending the entire season in the starting rotation, it’s the in-season call-ups that tend to get everyone excited about the Rookie of the Year award.
In late April of 2012, we saw major league promotions of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, both of whom went on to make baseball history. While there are no players expected to make that type of impact in this year’s class, it’s clear that the second half of the season will determine who takes home the hardware.
Here’s a look at the odds of the top in-season call-ups winning the 2013 Rookie of the Year award.
Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
The legend of Yasiel Puig continues to grow. After another three-hit performance on Wednesday night against the Giants, Puig is now batting a robust .435/.467/.729 through his first 22 games in the major leagues.
And while the average will eventually stabilize, the 22-year-old has the potential to be one of the top run producers in the National League over the second half of the season.
I know it’s technically not supposed to matter, but Puig will be a lock for the Rookie of the Year award if the Dodgers reach the postseason.
Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Myers noticeably settled in over his first week in the major leagues and even put together a solid eight-game hitting streak that was snapped on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old outfielder has also showcased a knack for driving in runs so far, as seven of his eight RBI this season have come with two outs and runners in scoring position.
Compared to some of the other players on this list, Myers is more of a streaky hitter—expect both home runs and strikeouts to come in bunches over the second half of the season.
Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Regardless of whether Cole remains in the starting rotation or is sent down to Triple-A in the near future, the right-hander will play a crucial role in the Pirates' success this season.
Having won each of his first three starts in the major leagues, it’s going to be difficult for the organization to demote Cole when he’s pitched so well. But if that does ultimately happen, they’ll use it to their advantage so as to control his workload.
While it’s kind of a long shot at the moment, the 22-year-old could possibly steal a few first-place votes if he helps the Pirates reach the postseason.
Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals
Rendon saw some time in the major leagues in late April before Ryan Zimmerman’s return from the disabled list forced him back to Triple-A. But due to the Nationals’ lack of production from second base, the organization decided to promote the 23-year-old once more in early June.
Since shifting across the infield to the keystone, Rendon has been on a tear and is now batting .392/.416/.554 with nine doubles over the last 18 games.
Rendon’s my sleeper pick to shoot into the Rookie of the Year discussion by the end of the season, though it’s difficult to envision him overtaking either Shelby Miller or Yasiel Puig.
Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies
Arenado has impressed on both sides of the ball this season since his promotion from Triple-A to the major leagues in late April.
Through his first 55 games for the Rockies, the 22-year-old is batting .266/.302/.449 with seven home runs and 23 RBI. And while he may flirt with 20 home runs this season, I don’t expect the average to exceed .280.
More significantly, Arenado’s defense has been outstanding this season. It has resulted in 14 defensive runs saved, according to FanGraphs.
Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets
After an impressive debut against the Braves on June 18, Wheeler was all over the place in his highly anticipated follow-up start against the White Sox on Tuesday night. Besides the rumors that he was/is tipping his pitches—which is very fixable—the right-hander struggled to stay closed with his front side at times, which, in turn, impacted the consistency of his release point.
Of all the great young arms in the game right now, Wheeler seemingly has the most room to still develop—which is a good thing considering he’s already 23 and pitching in the major leagues. If he continues to make adjustments from start to start, he should quietly put together an impressive second half.