The list of American League and National League Rookie of the Year winners over the past decade includes some of the biggest stars in the sport. From Jacob deGrom (2014) to Aaron Judge (2017) and Shohei Ohtani (2018) in consecutive seasons, to Julio Rodríguez and Michael Harris II last season, it’s tempting to say that the most talented players generally show up and start dominating from the moment they’re promoted.
Predicting which rookies will thrive isn’t an exact science, however. Remember Bobby Witt Jr., who was the overwhelming favorite to win AL ROY a year ago? Seiya Suzuki was the NL favorite for a large portion of last season until two Braves phenoms took off and lapped the field over the season’s final few months before earning long-term extensions.
Corbin Carroll, a toolsy outfielder who comes into this season with more hype than any qualified rookie, didn’t even need a ROY campaign to get a nine-figure extension from the Diamondbacks, and he seems primed to go wire-to-wire and win the award in 2023. But there are no guarantees. Every team, from the rebuilding squads to the reigning pennant winners, will need contributions from first-year players. The Athletic’s baseball writers took their best guesses at which ones will shine in 2023.
Rookie: Corbin Carroll, OF
This one’s easy. Carroll is the odds-on favorite to win Rookie of the Year, which is part of the reason the Diamondbacks waited until there were fewer than 45 days left in the 2022 season to call him up. If Carroll makes the Opening Day roster (he will) and wins the award (as he might), the Diamondbacks will get a fancy draft pick. On the field, Carroll looks ready to hit for average and surprising power, all while tearing up the basepaths and playing plus defense, mostly in left field.
Rookie: Dylan Dodd, LHP
In his first two spring appearances, the lefty had seven strikeouts with no walks and three hits allowed in 4 1/3 scoreless innings. A third-round pick in 2021 from Southeast Missouri State, Dodd will turn 25 in June; he’s not a kid the Braves must be careful with, and could help as a starter or reliever this summer. He has good command of a 90-93 mph fastball and two average-or-better secondary pitches in a changeup and a slider. In 2022, Dodd made 26 starts at three levels (25 starts below Triple A) and had 153 strikeouts with 31 walks in 142 innings.
Rookie: Gunnar Henderson, 3B
Times sure have changed for the Orioles. They have two of the most highly regarded Rookie of the Year candidates heading into this season, one year after catcher Adley Rutschman placed second in the AL voting. Henderson, a 21-year-old, slick-fielding infielder with an outstanding hit tool, is the favorite because he already has MLB experience (32 games and 132 plate appearances in 2022) and is the 2023 starting third baseman. Big right-hander Grayson Rodriguez, 23, has a chance to make the Opening Day roster and is potentially a future ace. But since Henderson has a job locked up already, he’s the guy here.
Boston Red Sox
Rookie: Triston Casas, 1B
Casas very well could be in the American League Rookie of the Year conversation this season. The 23-year-old displayed impressive plate discipline in 27 games in his debut at the end of last season, drawing 19 walks and 23 strikeouts in 95 plate appearances while also slugging five homers. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound first baseman has plenty of power and figures to be a key piece of the Red Sox lineup this year.