By Seth McCaskill
Cody Bellinger, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers, .270 AVG, 36 HR, 83 RBI, .945 OPS
There is a clear front runner for the NL rookie of the year, and he’s having one of the best rookie seasons in baseball history. Although Cody Bellinger isn’t close to the home run total of the immortal Giancarlo Stanton, he has set the Dodgers’ rookie record and has an outside shot at Mark McGwire’s MLB rookie record of 49. He hasn’t slowed down all season, and no one else in the NL stands a chance of taking this award from him.
Josh Bell, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates, .258 AVG, 24 HR, 83 RBI, .814 OPS
While not on the same level as Bellinger, Josh Bell has had a solid rookie season, slugging 24 home runs with an OPS of more than .800. He was one of the most hyped prospects in baseball in recent years, and it’s certainly translating the power he showed in the minor leagues to the next level.
Rhys Hoskins, LF, Philadelphia Phillies, .298 AVG, 16 HR, 34 RBI, 1.179 OPS
Although Hoskins doesn’t have real shot to be the rookie of the year, you can’t help but marvel at what the 24-year-old has been able to do in his first two months in the pros. He’s the fastest player ever to reach 16 home runs, which is pretty incredible considering what Trevor Story and Gary Sanchez were able to do in 2016. Although Hoskins’ slugging percentage is off the charts at .754, he just hasn’t had enough playing time to truly be considered.
Aaron Judge, RF, New York Yankees, .273 AVG, 41 HR, 90 RBI, .986 OPS
Aaron Judge’s second half slump has been widely documented, but that doesn’t do so much as put a dent in his rookie of the year resume, and he is still an MVP candidate. He leads the league in OPS, which is pretty incredible for a rookie who hit below the Mendoza line, and is within shouting distance of the rookie home run record. Not much else needs to be said about Judge, other than he basically has this award locked up.
Andrew Benintendi, LF, Boston Red Sox, .274 AVG, 19 HR, 79 RBI, 18 SB, .788 OPS
Andrew Benintendi hasn’t quite been able to replicate his batting line as a September call-up in his first full season, but he has still put up solid numbers. He also is a good defender at an important position, which is one thing he has going for him over other rookies. In a normal year, Benintendi would probably be leading the pack, but there’s just no one that comes close to the kind of season that Judge is having.
Trey Mancini, LF, Baltimore Orioles, .289 AVG, 23 HR, 74 RBI, .830 OPS
After hitting three homers in five games last season, Orioles’ rookie Trey Mancini has been able to carry over similar production to his 2017 campaign, helping to keep a struggling team in the Wild Card hunt. He has also transitioned from first base to left field about as smoothly as possible, which is something a lot of players struggle with. With all of the talk about the other standout rookies, Mancini has often been left out of the conversation, which is unfair considering his talent. The American League rookie class for 2017 is one of the strongest of all time, but in the end, all will have to rise for the Judge.