Hard as it is to believe, we’re about set to begin the second half of the 2023 MLB season. Throw out those pleas to small sample sizes; it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and see who’s really ready to make a run towards the postseason — and postseason awards. The NL Rookie of the Year landscape has shifted quite a bit since mid-June — Corbin Carroll’s been battling a shoulder injury, Eury Perez has been shut down for workload-management reasons while the Mets duo of Francisco Alvarez and Kodai Senga have caught fire — and the futures market has responded accordingly.
Updated NL Rookie of the Year odds as of July 13
Corbin Carroll -300 Elly De La Cruz +250 Matt McLain +2800
Francisco Alvarez +4000 Spencer Steer +5000 Kodai Senga +5000
Jordan Walker +7500 Andrew Abbott +8000 Miguel Vargas +10000
Eury Perez +10000 Brett Baty +10000 Casey Schmitt +10000
NL Rookie of the Year race: Takeaways and best bets
Any other player but Corbin Carroll, +250
Sure, you could take De La Cruz at +250, counting on his otherworldly talent at the plate, in the field and on the bases to make up for a deficit in games played. Or you can take Elly and every other NL rookie at those very same odds. Look, Carroll is almost certainly going to take home this award, and for good reason — he’s been worth nearly two more wins above replacement than anyone else on the Senior Circuit so far, with 18 homers, 26 steals and a .915 OPS. But he also missed nearly all of the 2021 season with a shoulder injury, the same shoulder that’s begun bothering him again over the past couple of weeks. There’s reportedly nothing structurally wrong, and both he and the Diamondbacks insist he’ll be fine, but it can’t hurt to put a chip down on the field in case the worst-case scenario comes to pass.
Kodai Senga, +5000
Of course, if you’d like to take a stab at a long-shot, maybe pay attention to what Senga’s done lately: a 2.97 ERA with 81 strikeouts over 63.2 innings since May 1. He got off to a rocky start to his MLB career, and it’s been largely overshadowed by the angst and general bad vibes that have defined the Mets’ 2023 season so far, but the Japanese righty has been among the very best pitchers in the NL for more than two months now. If Carroll were to go down, or even suffer a prolonged slump as he attempts to play through the shoulder pain, Senga is as good a bet as anyone to fill the void — he doesn’t have the same games-played concerned as De La Cruz, he could be the main reason why New York gets things turned around and makes a playoff charge down the stretch. (That would require the Mets to get out of their own way first, but humor me here.)