Last Updated Apr 07, 2022, 1:38 PM

Seiya Suzuki is the New Rookie of the Year Favorite

There is a new favorite to win the National League Rookie of the Year, and he wasn’t on the board when we took a look at the NL ROY race last month. The Chicago Cubs signed Seiya Suzuki to a five-year, $85 million contract n mid-March, and that has upended the odds to win NL Rookie of the Year. Suzuki is now the frontrunner as a 27-year-old that has already had a lot of success in Japan.

2022 NL Rookie of the Year Opening Betting Odds

  • Seiya Suzuki +380
  • Oneil Cruz +400
  • Hunter Greene +700
  • Bryson Stott +800
  • Joey Bart +900
  • C.J. Abrams +900
  • Sixto Sanchez +1500
  • Alek Thomas +2000

We have seen three Japanese players come over and win Rookie of the Year. Hideo Nomo was the first back in 1995 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Ichiro Suzuki was named Rookie of the Year and MVP in 2001. Shohei Ohtani was an easy Rookie of the Year choice in 2018, and Seiya Suzuki is looking to follow in those giant footsteps.

Suzuki is in the prime of his career and helped lead Japan to the gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics. He hit .317/.433/.636 last season, and he is a five-time NPB All-Star. There’s no doubt he needs less polish than the younger players that will be his competition in the race for this award, but Japanese players have been notoriously hit or miss when coming to the US.

Oneil Cruz was the favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year early last month. However, the Pittsburgh Pirates have decided to have Cruz start the season in the minor leagues in order to give the club additional control over the future of their new star. No one expects Cruz to be at AAA Indianapolis for long, but that does hurt his chances of being named NL ROY.

The injury to Fernando Tatis means that C.J. Abrams will likely be on the Opening Day roster for San Diego. Abrams has been impressive in Spring Training, but he will have a steep learning curve as he has played just 76 games in the minor leagues and 42 games at AA. Still, Abrams will be in position to succeed with a lot of quality bats around him, so he might have the best value on the board.

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