Michael Harris new favorite with Oneil Cruz, Seiya Suzuki to drop


NL Rookie of the Year Odds

Odds via FanDuel from July 6th

player opportunities
MichaelHarris +300
Oneil Cruz +430
Spencer Strider +500
MacKenzie Gore +750
Seiya Suzuki +1200
Nolan Gorman +1300
Brendan Donovan +1700
Jack Suwinski +1800
Juan Yepez +2000
Christopher Morel +2700
Alexander Thomas +3000
Roansy Contreras +8500
Luis Gonzales +8500

The NL rookie-of-the-year race has started to calcify over the dog days of summer and a new leader has emerged.

Braves midfielder Michael Harris has established himself as the new favorite by playing on both sides of the ball. The rookie has had five above-average outs at center since his call-up in May due to his speed and reach.

And on the record, Harris compiled 126 OPS+ and a bWAR of 1.2.

Interestingly, according to bWAR, Harris is hardly the best rookie in the National League.

That honor goes to the St. Louis Cardinals’ Brendan Donovan, who has recorded a 1.8 bWAR so far this season. But while Donovan’s contributions to the record deserve praise, defensively he was a negative asset.

Despite his versatility, Donovan has registered below-average advanced fielding metrics in every position he’s played except first base. And at first base, he has 0 outs above average in a position he has played in just four full games.

Still, his odds of +1700 only imply 5.55% that he will win this award. If he continues to come up with a .400 base percentage for a solid playoff team, a flyer on this ticket could yield dividends.

The second-highest bWAR in the race goes to Harris’ teammate Spencer Strider, who started the season as a helper but was added to the starting rotation in late May. Strider has a 1.6 bWAR and a 2.87 ERA over 59.2 innings of work.

Since becoming a full-time starter, Strider has compiled a 3.31 ERA with just under eight strikeouts per contest. With more starts of this caliber, there’s an opportunity for the 23-year-old to usurp his team-mate.

Curiously, second best favorite Oneil Cruz has one of the lowest bWARs among contenders at 0.4.

Cruz was a preseason favorite to win that honor. His current implied odds of around 19% (+430) are indicative of his pedigree and preseason value, not his actual contributions on the field, which have been small to date.

Meanwhile, Seiya Suzuki’s chances have dropped precipitously due to injury. The five-time Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star injured his left ring finger in May and only returned to action earlier this week.

Suzuki had been the clear favorite – just +100 – a few weeks before his injury. He registered about 1.0 bWAR before being forced to miss the time.

Books like PointsBet, for example, offered withdrawal options for Suzuki NL ROY tickets that would have resulted in a gain of about 66% on a +500 ticket in mid-April – for a line that would not settle until November.

Now Suzuki’s odds are +1200, but that’s up from around +2500 in mid-June.

For some perspective, when Suzuki first landed on the injured list on May 26, Harris hadn’t yet donned a Braves uniform.

This means these rankings are incredibly fluid and subject to change.

Injuries – oddly more so than form – end up becoming the biggest single factor impacting prize races down the line. This creates limitations when betting on these markets, so consider these risks before you jump headlong in at the deep end.

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