Early AL ROY Predictions

Posted: April 9, 2013 in by Freddy Berowski

As Spring Training came to a close, there were a few surprise cuts and a few surprise additions to Major League rosters.  This Opening Week of the 2013 Major League Baseball season I am presenting my list of top candidates for American League Rookie of the Year.  Some players not on the list may have higher upside than some on it, but this is all about getting the chance to play and earn the award.

Boston Red Sox: Jackie Bradley Jr., LF

Boston’s centerfielder of the future lit up pitchers in Spring Training and performed so well there was no way Sox brass could send down the 23 year-old igniter.  This spring Bradley posted a .419/.507/.613 line in 75 plate appearances and on Opening Day appeared in the line-up batting 8th and playing leftfield.  He walked three times and scored twice while driving in one.  There’s no reason why Bradley can’t hit close to .300 with a .360 or so on-base-percentage this season, playing stellar outfield defense and swiping 20 bags batting down in the line-up.  The only thing that keeps Bradley from being my odds on favorite to take the award is how he may be handled, should he slump, with several other players waiting in the wings to jump on that left field job. Come 2014 he should be ready to step in and take over centerfield duties while batting lead-off.

Tampa Bay Rays: Wil Myers, OF

It’s not a question of whether Wil Myers will be called up this season, it’s a question of when.  The 22 year-old slugger has dominated at every level in the Minor Leagues and has little left to prove.  I expect Myers to get a little more seasoning at Triple-A and be ready for the call up to the big club once his Super-Two status is no longer in question sometime in mid-June.  There is a possibility that could change if an injury hits the offensively challenged Rays, or they get desperate, but I don’t see the later scenario playing out.  I see Myers getting into about 100 games and hitting 15-20 home runs while slugging close to .500.  He should slide into the 5-hole in Tampa’s line-up one his time comes.

Minnesota Twins: Aaron Hicks, CF

Aaron Hicks won the centerfield job with a stellar Spring Training where he put up a .370/.407/.644 line in 81 plate appearances.  Batting in the lead-off spot Hicks should have plenty of chances to get on base and wreak havoc, but with the weak offense sported this year by the Twins he won’t score an exorbitant amount of runs.  He should put up a line very similar to his five year minor league averages of .271/.379/.421, with 25-30 steals while playing very good defense.  I don’t see Hicks facing any competition for the center field job on the rebuilding Twins, and that is why he is my odds-on favorite to take home the hardware.

Seattle Mariners: Danny Hultzen, P

The Mariners aren’t expected to contend in 2013 but they’ve been surprisingly competitive over their first few games.  Hultzen dominated AA last year but only managed flashes of brilliance at AAA.   A good half season at AAA this year should give the southpaw all the seasoning he needs and a mid-season call up will be in the cards, especially if the M’s defy odds by staying in the hunt.  With a strikeout ratio better than a batter per inning, Hultzen has the kind of live arm that could give Seattle what Michael Pineda gave them in the first half of 2011.

Baltimore Orioles: Dylan Bundy, P

The Orioles surprised the baseball world 2013, and if they hope to perform as well this year they’re going to need Dylan Bundy’s arm in the rotation at some point.  The O’s staff came together quite nicely last year but a lot of it was smoke and mirrors rather than pure talent.  The 20-year-old Bundy brings that talent.  I see the righty hurler giving the team a shot in the arm around mid-season, with the potential to win around eight games with great strikeout totals.

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