Future Watch: Baseball Rookie Cards: National League Rookie of the Year Candidates – Last week, I looked at American League Rookie of the Year candidates. This week, I’m focusing on the National League. Here are my top picks:
Ke’Bryan Hayes was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the 32nd overall pick in the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft. He’s the son of former Pirate and well-traveled third baseman Charlie Hayes. Ke’Bryan is a chip off the old block, also playing third base, and he’s better at the dish. In 2018, Hayes played for the Altoona Curve where he became an Eastern League AA All-Star while hitting .293 with seven homers and 47 RBI. After his 2019 season ended, he was sent from the AAA Indianapolis Indians to the Pirates 40-man roster. Last September, Hayes hit a home run in his first major league game. He’s now the face of the Pirates.
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Dylan Carlson was selected 33rd overall by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft. I’ve profiled him before, and his update is the 6-2 power hitter is the starting center fielder for the Cards. He hit two homers and drove in eight in his first 17 spring training games in 2021. There’s no problem with him in the field, and if his power picks up like the team thinks it will, he will be in the Rookie of the Year race. His .327 on-base percentage in the spring will help him stay up in the batter order as well. Carlson has had 125 major league at-bats, so he has some experience to help guide him.
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Ian Anderson was drafted third overall by the Atlanta Braves in 2016. This starting pitcher has been throwing over 100 innings a year for the past three years in the minor leagues. You never know when a pitcher will put it all together, but it seemed to happen in 2019 when he pitched for the AA Mississippi Braves. He was 7-5 and struck out 147 in 111 innings! After a short stint in AAA, the future was more in focus for him. In the shortened 2020 season, Anderson pitched 32 innings in short stints with the Braves. Many think he is the top candidate to win the award.
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Seth Beer was drafted 28th overall by the Houston Astros in 2018. It’s hard to not cheer for a guy with this last name. He’s also 6-2, 213 pounds, and has the measurements teams love for a first baseman and sometimes outfielder. After starring at Clemson University, Beer has made five stops in the minors, his best for the AA Amarillo Sod Poodles where he slugged 16 homers with 52 RBI and a .299 batting average in 2019. Last season Beer reported to the Diamondbacks Alternate Site. Beer has strength and mental toughness.
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Mickey Moniak is my longshot. He was drafted first overall by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2016 and has been a project until this year. He had a good spring, hitting two doubles and two homers with a .273 batting average. Moniak was sent to the AAA Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs before Spring Training ended, but it was a numbers game in the outfield, and if there’s an injury he will be back soon. He is much stronger now, and it has helped his power game. He’s 22, let’s see what happens.
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Future Watch: Baseball Rookie Cards: National League Rookie of the Year Candidates – Image Gallery
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