Has Jeremy Pena Gained Edge Over Julio Rodriguez for 2022 MLB AL Rookie of the Year?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Sep 4, 2022 08:00 PM
Has Jeremy Pena Gained Edge Over Julio Rodriguez for 2022 MLB AL Rookie of the Year?

Time is running out in the 2022 MLB season for you to capitalize on baseball betting futures. Sure, we haven't yet hit the halfway point. There's plenty of baseball left to play. But when it comes to championship and awards betting odds, the potential for lucrative returns will dwindle once you get to that halfway or three-quarter mark. It is imperative, then, to jump on the best MLB betting odds for both player awards and the World Series as soon as possible. This time around, that means figuring out if Jeremy Penas has usurped Julio Rodriguez in the race for 2022 MLB American League Rookie of the Year, or whether there's another stud first-year player we should be investing in.

Before we get to our official predictions, here are the latest online betting odds in the American League for the 2022 Rookie of the Year field:

Pick to WinBovada
Julio Rodriguez+150
Jeremy Pena+175
Bobby Witt Jr.+900
Joe Ryan+1200
Adley Rutschman+1200
Spencer Torkelson+2500
Steven Kwan+3000
George Kirby+3000
Reid Detmers+3500
MJ Melendez+3500

Please make sure you're double-checking these odds on MLB before committing to any predictions. All MLB futures are subject to move right up until the end of the season when the winners will be announced, and our odds to win 2022 AL Rookie of the Year are accurate, entering Tuesday, June 14.

With so much time to go before the end of the 2022 MLB season, we strongly urge you to take a look at our reviews of the top online sportsbooks. The information we've compiled is designed to help you find the best betting sites for all sports, including the best MLB betting sites in 2022.

And finally, if you haven't already, you're definitely going to want—nay, need—to check out our analysis on why Mackenzie Gore is running away with the 2022 MLB National League Rookie of the Year.

Should Jeremy Pena Actually Be the Favorite to Win NL Rookie of the Year?

Jeremy Pena (+175) did not begin his rookie season under ideal circumstances. Tasked with replacing All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa, expectations were on the lower end. But he has since obliterated even the rosiest projections—and then some.

Pena enters games on Tuesday, batting .277 with a .471 slugging percentage, the latter of which is the third-highest among ALL qualified rookies. According to tracking data from MLB.com, he also ranks among the league leaders, of any experience, in sprint speed and outs above average.

Though there has been a more recent—and not at all unjustified—push for Julio Rodriguez, Pena deserves to be applauded for a defensive skill that belies his experience. Manning shortstop isn't easy, even if you're a superstar. Your responsibilities verge on endless. Pena has somehow handled the burden with elite composure consistently. Making good reads, on-target throws, and minimal errors. It won't surprise us if he regains his place as the odds-on favorite soon enough.

Jeremy Pena To win the 2022 AL Rookie of the Year Award

Can Julio Rodriguez Fend Off Jeremy Pena for 2022 NL Rookie of the Year?

If taking on shortstop as a rookie isn't the most difficult transition to make in Major League Baseball, then it has to be manning centerfield as a first-year player. And that's exactly what Julio Rodriguez (+150) is doing for the Seattle Mariners.

Much has been made of his offense, as it should be. He is clearing a .260 batting average despite leading all rookies in plate appearances. That's no small feat. Volume tends to be the enemy of newbies. But Rodriguez has held up, for the most part, without hitting a rookie wall.

At the same time, his defense has arguably been more impressive. Rodriguez has admirable arm strength and accuracy, and his capacity to cover serious ground chasing fly balls, whether he's sprinting towards the left field or right field, is a sight to behold. Almost 99.5 percent of the plays he's involved in the end with a successful assist or out, according to Baseball-Reference. That isn't just above average for a rookie, but it's noticeably above the league's overall average at his position (99).

Don't be surprised, then, if Rodriguez continues to hold it down at the top spot for oddsmakers.

Julio Rodriguez To win the 2022 AL Rookie of the Year Award

Bobby Witt Jr. Needs Strong Close to 2022 MLB Season

Bobby Witt Jr. (+900) began the season with considerable hype in his corner, but that fanfare almost immediately subsided when he got off to a slow start. He has spent the intervening weeks ranking as a dark horse in the Rookie of the Year race.

It's probably time for that to change.

Witt has quietly cobbled together a scorching-hot streak since struggling to open the year. His fielding at third base is much improved, and though his yearlong batting average remains deflated by his slow start (.241), he actually has a higher on-base-plus-slugging percentage than Julio Rodriguez.

Bobby Witt Jr. To win the 2022 AL Rookie of the Year Award

Better NL Rookie of the Year Bet: Adley Rutschman or Joe Ryan?

Both Adley Rutschman (+1200) and Joe Ryan (+1200) round out our best bets to win the American League Rookie of the Year while laying identical odds.

To be honest, Rutschman is a ceremonial inclusion for us. People are drawn to him because of his deadeye accuracy from behind the plate as a catcher and because he was the No. 1 overall pick in 2019. But his offense continues to leave much to be desired. He is batting under .190 for the year.

Ryan, meanwhile, has emerged as the ace for a Minnesota Twins team that surprisingly stands atop the AL Central division. He is 5-2 through his first eight starts (one no-decision), with an ERA below 2.3 and an average of roughly nine strikeouts per nine innings. If he keeps this up, there's a chance he unseats many of those in front of him, laying better odds.

Joe Ryan To win the 2022 AL Rookie of the Year Award

PREDICTION: Jeremy Pena Wins 2022 MLB Rookie of the Year

There's just too much going for Jeremy Pena in this Rookie of the Year race. Not only is he excelling at shortstop while getting on base, but he's packing a ton of power. He ranks third among all rookies in on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

What's more, voters have a way of gravitating toward first-year players who have an impact on winning teams. And with Houston once again floating on the outskirts of the World Series discussion, Penas checks every box of criteria. You're free to jump on Joe Ryan as an alternative, but for our money, we're taking Pena.

OSB 2022 NL Rookie of the Year Prediction: Jeremy Pena (+175)

Jeremy Pena To win the 2022 AL Rookie of the Year Award

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your 2022 MLB betting:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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