April performances in baseball will be long forgotten at the end of the season when awards voters cast their ballots. Seiya Suzuki has taken the lead in the NL Rookie of the Year race. In the AL, Bobby Witt Jr. and Julio Rodriguez -- the preseason favorites -- haven’t done anything and are both at risk of being sent down to Triple-A if they don’t turn it around at the plate soon.
Let’s focus on four players -- two in the AL and two in the NL -- that could impact the Rookie of the Year races if/when they get called up.
Triston Casas (1B/DH), Boston Red Sox
Best Odds: 60/1 (DraftKings/FanDuel)
Casas hit his fourth home run for Triple-A Worchester on Thursday night. Currently hitting .240/.381/.520 in 63 PA at Triple-A. Hitting for power, six of his 12 hits have been for extra bases (2 doubles, four home runs), 11 walks vs. 12 strikeouts. With Bobby Dalbec hitting .175/.250/.275 in Boston, the door is open for Casas to get called up and get regular at-bats in the Red Sox lineup.
Grayson Rodriguez, P, Baltimore Orioles
Best Odds: 66/1 (BetMGM)
Grayson Rodriguez is the O’s top pitching prospect and probably the No. 1 pitching prospect in all of MLB right now. In his third start of the season, Tuesday against Durham, Rodriguez pitched 5.1 innings, giving up one hit, striking out eight batters and lowering his ERA for the season to 1.26.
Thru 14.2 Triple-A innings, Rodriguez has a 1.26 ERA, 2 ER, 1 HR, 23 strikeouts and two walks with opponents hitting .109 against him.
Rodriguez is MLB-ready right now, the only issue is starting his service time clock and maybe getting him stretched out to throw a bit deeper into games. One or two more Triple-A starts is probably all that’s left before Rodriguez is in the Baltimore rotation.
Nolan Gorman, 2B/3B, St. Louis Cardinals
Best Odds: 50/1 (DraftKings/FanDuel/BetMGM)
Gorman has hit a home run for the Memphis Cardinals in seven straight games. A first-round pick in the 2018 MLB draft, Gorman was in the mix for the DH job this year in spring training but was sent to Triple-A to get more seasoning. Currently hitting .327/.389/.755 at Triple-A Memphis, Gorman is close to a promotion to St. Louis but he’s going to need to cut down on his strikeouts, which is probably the final thing holding him back. He’s currently struck out 18 times in 49 at bats. When he’s not hitting home runs, he’s striking out. He’s also blocked at 3B by Nolan Arenado. I don’t think the Cardinals can hold him down much longer, and Albert Pujols is a great story but he won’t prevent Gorman from getting at bats at DH when the Cardinals decide he’s ready.
Max Meyer, P, Miami Marlins
Best Odds: 70/1 (DraftKings/FanDuel)
The Marlins have a great rotation already anchored by Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez, but they have not reached their full potential yet, not with Max Meyer and Eury Perez still getting experience in the minors. While Eury Perez is probably a candidate for 2023, Max Meyer is ready to take someone’s spot in the Marlins rotation.
Meyer is currently sporting a 1.23 ERA thru 14.2 Triple-A innings at Jacksonville with 20 strikeouts vs. three walks and batters batting .102 against him. He pitched 5.2 innings in his last start and threw 85 pitches. Like Rodriguez he’s just about ready for a shot at the major leagues, his pitch count is high enough where he could be promoted next time his turn in the rotation is up. But the Marlins are likely going to let him pitch another time or two in Triple-A before they consider a call up. If Trevor Rogers doesn’t turn his season around quick, though, it would not surprise me to see Rogers out of the rotation and replaced by Meyer sooner rather than later. With another dominant outing or two in Jacksonville, Meyer could force Miami’s decision.