AL Rookie of the Year Odds: Mason Miller's Electric Start Could Lead to Hardware

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath

The 2024 American League Rookie of the Year award race is not going how we thought it was going to go entering the year. Back in February, it sure looked like this year was going to come down to a battle between bats. Now, it looks like a potential pitching duel near the top.

So, how did we get here, and who's making a case for themselves to be this year's AL Rookie of the Year? Let's take a look at FanDuel Sportsbook's AL Rookie of the Year odds and see which contenders are emerging for the prize in 2024.

AL Rookie of the Year Odds

Mason MillerOakland Athletics+170
Colton CowserBaltimore Orioles+360
Luis GilNew York Yankees+380
Wilyer AbreuBoston Red Sox+600
Wyatt LangfordTexas Rangers+2000
Wenceel PerezDetroit Tigers+2700
Junior CamineroTampa Bay Rays+3200
View Full Table

Promising batters like Wyatt Langford (+2000), Evan Carter (+5000) and Jackson Holliday (+9000) entered the season as frontrunners to win the award but have struggled out of the gates. However, the American League has still seen some exciting breakouts among its rookie ranks.

Let's take a look at some of the resumes of the top contenders through the first quarter of the season.

Mason Miller, Athletics (+170)

For the first time in what might be years, the Oakland Athletics have an exciting young player to root for in flame-throwing closer Mason Miller.

Miller isn't just putting up exciting numbers for a rookie -- he's dominating the Majors right now. His fastball is averaging 100.9 miles per hour on the year, the fastest in baseball. He's striking out 52.8% of the batters he's facing for a 100th-percentile strikeout rate. His already-elite 1.88 ERA is backed up by a 1.06 expected ERA (xERA), according to MLB's Statcast data, so he's looking like a bona-fide superstar.

The A's don't get a ton of opportunities for saves, but Miller is making sure he's not letting any chances he gets pass him by. Despite becoming the team's official closer only partway through the season, he's already up to 11 saves on the year -- tied for eighth-most. He hasn't blown a single save opportunity, either.

He's been as close to lights out as it gets so far this campaign.

It can be tough for a reliever to take home prestigious awards like the Rookie of the Year, but when they do, their seasons look a lot like what Miller is producing so far this year.

Colton Cowser, Orioles (+360)

While Baltimore Orioles top prospect and early Rookie of the Year frontrunner Jackson Holliday stumbled out of the gates, teammate Colton Cowser hit the ground running.

Between April and March, Cowser had an outstanding 1.004 OPS at the plate. He certainly seemed like he could be the second straight Orioles rookie to win Rookie of the Year after Gunnar Henderson claimed the award a season ago.

Cowser has cooled off in May, though. Since the start of the month, he's posted a disappointing .558 OPS. He's up to a 30.6% strikeout rate on the season, indicating that pitchers may have figured out his initial approach.

A glance at his Statcast data reveals that he's struggling against breaking balls and off-speed pitches but is mashing fastballs. The rookie has concerning 39.4% and 42.9% whiff rates on offspeed and breaking balls, respectively, with a brutal .100 batting average against off-speed pitches on the year.

Until he learns how to connect with those on a more consistent basis, Cowser could struggle to maintain his candidacy as the top batter in the Rookie of the Year award race.

Luis Gil, Yankees (+380)

Luis Gil was essentially a bridge starter for the New York Yankees entering the season. With Gerrit Cole opening the campaign on the Injured List, Gil was the next man up to help fill out the team's rotation. Injuries and growing pains had limited him to just 33.1 innings of Major League action dating back to 2021, so expectations were fairly low.

Gil has blown those expectations out of the water and looks like an ace in the making. He's giving up the fewest hits per nine innings (4.4) in the game right now, has an elite 2.11 ERA across 10 games, and is striking out a whopping 31.7% of batters.

His breakout campaign and 6-1 record as a starter have helped the Yankees get to an American League-best 37-19 record on the year. Their pitchers have the best combined ERA (2.80) in baseball, leading the Philadelphia Phillies' second-ranked ERA by a whopping 0.31 points. They now have the second-shortest odds to win the World Series (+500) despite Cole's preseason injury casting a shadow over the season during Spring Training.

Team success is never a bad thing when it comes to individual awards, so Gil will have that going for him.

Gil has generated whiffs at an 83rd-percentile rate. When batters do make contact, they generate hard contact only 29.2% of the time (94th-percentile for Gil). Of those, just 5.8% end up finding the barrel of the bat.

If he can keep this up for a full year while pitching one of the best teams in baseball, Gil will have an excellent case to win Rookie of the Year.

Wilyer Abreu, Red Sox (+600)

Through the right lens, Boston Red Sox outfielder Wilyer Abreu looks like one of the most exciting batters in baseball right now.

After a promising but brief stint in the Majors in 2023, he's been highly productive at the plate in 2024. Across 172 plate appearances, he's posted 6 homers, 22 RBI, 7 stolen bases, a .283 batting average and an .870 OPS. That's pretty great! He even lines up pretty favorably against Cowser, who has 7 homers, 25 RBI, 3 stolen bases, and a .240 batting average.

That said, there's a pretty glaring hole in his game that he'll need to address before he can become a legitimate Rookie of the Year contender -- he isn't playing against lefty pitchers.

While his .943 OPS against righties is an elite mark, Abreu has managed a paltry .457 OPS against lefties. As a result, the Red Sox rotate him out of the lineup against left-handers, meaning he's taken just 25 plate appearances versus lefties on the year. Less playing time gives him fewer chances to rack up counting stats.

Abreu still has a whole season ahead of him to figure that out, and he might even be turning the corner as we speak -- he's notched 2 home runs over the last seven days, with an absurd .389 batting average in that time. And with how slow the rest of the rookie batters have been to emerge this year, he could stay relevant in the Rookie of the Year conversation throughout the summer even if the Red Sox continue to hide him versus lefties.

Take your sports betting to the next level with the FanDuel Parlay Hub! Explore a curated selection of popular parlays for trending games on FanDuel Sportsbook. Learn about today’s other offers at FanDuel Sportsbook Promos.

Looking for more MLB betting opportunities? Check out all of the MLB odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook and FanDuel Daily Fantasy today!

The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author’s advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.