The shortened 2020 MLB season didn’t give us much of a chance to look at some of the game’s best young players.
American League Rookie of the Year candidates
Fortunately, that won’t be the case in 2021, as we have a full season to watch youngsters shine.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the top AL Rookie of the Year candidates in 2021.
Deivi Garcia, Yankees
He might be a little undersized at 5’9’’ and 163 pounds, but Deivi Garcia’s stuff is electric.
Even if one poor outing in spring training costs him a spot on the opening day roster, Garcia will be back with the Yankees at some point.
He flashed his potential at times during the 2020 season and is undoubtedly good enough to be a frontline starter. Garcia is still just 21, but if he can get a little more seasoning in the minors, he’ll be ready to shine at some point in 2021 and could be among the best rookies in baseball.
Randy Arozarena, Rays
The Cardinals are no doubt kicking themselves for trading away Randy Arozarena given the state of the St. Louis outfield right now.
The Rays knew exactly what they had when they called him up last year and he became arguably their best offensive player late in the season. In 23 games, he hit .281 with seven home runs, posting an OPS of 1.022.
He then proceeded to hit .377 with 10 home runs in 20 postseason games. Arozarena was a revelation, and yet, he retains Rookie of the Year eligibility. Frankly, he could be an MVP candidate much less the Rookie of the Year frontrunner.
Triston McKenzie, Cleveland
Injuries have held back development, but Triston McKenzie is going to be something special when he puts everything together.
Despite a rough spring, there’s plenty of time for him to turn things around and have a breakout season in 2021.
He posted a 3.24 ERA over 33.1 innings in 2020 and should be able to build on that. Given Cleveland’s recent history of grooming young pitchers, McKenzie is an AL rookie to watch closely.
Ryan Mountcastle, Orioles
In just 35 games last season, Ryan Mountcastle flashed serious potential, hitting .333 with five home runs and five doubles.
On a rebuilding Baltimore team, there’s no question that he’ll be an everyday player, giving Mountcastle the opportunity to put up the kind of numbers that will give him Rookie of the Year consideration. After a strong spring, Mountcastle looks poised to hit the ground running and have a huge 2021 campaign.
Nate Pearson, Blue Jays
The Blue Jays have high hopes for Nate Pearson, who figures to be a key figure in Toronto’s rotation sooner or later. His first taste of the majors last year didn’t go as planned while injuries this spring could delay the start of his 2021 season.
But he was sensational in the minors in 2019, and as long as he’s healthy, the Blue Jays are going to give him every opportunity to shine this season.