NL Rookie of the Year Odds: Can Anyone Keep Up With Paul Skenes?

Gabriel Santiago
Gabriel Santiago@gps_onthemic
NL Rookie of the Year Odds: Can Anyone Keep Up With Paul Skenes?

Of all the MLB accolades and awards, the annual Rookie of the Year races provide excitement for both the present and future.

When looking at the Senior Circuit this season, the NL's Rookie of the Year odds are not exactly reflecting a close competition. For one of the top storylines in baseball this season, Pittsburgh Pirates rookie pitcher Paul Skenes has been absolutely nails since joining the Majors.

Skenes is currently the odds-on favorite to win the 2024 NL ROY award. Be that as it may, we've completed approximately half of the regular season, and that leaves ample time for another National Leaguer to challenge for this elusive designation.

To start the final week of June, let's dive into the NL ROY betting market, highlighting the authentic contenders.

All MLB odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.

Paul Skenes-175
Jackson Merrill+420
Shota Imanaga+550
Joey Ortiz+1100
Masyn Winn+2700
Jared Jones+2700
Gavin Stone+3500
View Full Table

2024 NL Rookie of the Year Odds

Paul Skenes, P, Pirates (-175)

As noted, Paul Skenes has been nothing short of electric in 2024. Since making his MLB debut on May 11th, the rookie right-handed hurler is the league's latest dominant mustache on the mound -- something that pitchers Goose Gossage, David Wells and anyone from the 1970s Oakland Athletics can appreciate.

Transparently, Skenes is an undefeated 4-0 throughout 46.1 IP in the Majors. His current 11.85 K/9 clip is razor-sharp. From there, he owns an efficient 2.40 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA).

Skenes has gone against a few quality lineups over eight starts, but he has yet to allow over three earned runs. Additionally, he has never walked more than two hitters in game since getting called up.

The most recent season wherein a pitcher claimed the NL Rookie of the Year award was 2020 a la reliever Devin Williams. Regardless, what Skenes is doing as a starter cannot be denied. Hence, the 22-year-old Pirate is currently yielding short -175 odds to win NL ROY.

Jackson Merrill, OF, Padres (+420)

Jackson Merrill of the San Diego Padres is enjoying a fine season at the plate and in center field. Entering June 24th, Merrill's 2.3 WAR is the top mark on this San Diego ball club.

The 21-year-old outfielder presently owns a .355 xwOBA. From there, Merrill has popped 10 home runs, which is tied for fourth among all 2024 rookies. His wheels (5.1 speed score) make him a threat when on board as Merrill has gone 9-for-11 on stolen base attempts this season.

Notably, outfielders have been named NL Rookie of the Year in each of the past two campaigns. Since MLBers really only get one shot at this award, baseball writers and voters seem to prefer everyday guys. Between 76 lifetime winners in the National League, 53 (69.7%) have been position players.

Merrill is labeled with enticing +420 odds at FanDuel's ROY market. Given that the Padres are contending more respectably than the Pirates within the Senior Circuit, perhaps Merrill can ascend here by making pivotal plays in crucial situations. The Friars have 20-to-1 odds to win the National League. Comparatively, Skenes' team (PIT) shows 110-to-1 to take the pennant.

Shota Imanaga, P, Cubs (+550)

As one of several Japanese sensations around MLB in 2024, Shota Imanaga of the Chicago Cubs is the real deal. He is 30 years old, which makes him not a traditional rookie. Still, with +550 odds here, the southpaw Imanaga is well worth consideration to win ROY.

Imanaga -- boasting a 7-2 record on 1.10 WHIP -- is almost certainly headed for an All-Star nod in his inaugural season. By and large, he has been Chicago's best starting pitcher. His 3.23 FIP shines while his 3.41 SIERA laments his efficiency.

Interestingly enough, Imanaga and Skenes are rivals within the NL Central. They've yet to face off head-to-head, but the lefty has thrown just over 30 more innings than Skenes. Still, Imanaga's strikeout rate is noticeably lower at 9.23 K/9.

Throughout the middle weeks of June, the Cubbies slipped behind the Buccos in the standings. If Chicago and Imanaga can heat up down the stretch, the Japanese hurler will stay in this NL ROY race.

Keep in mind: Chi-Town in a major media market, meaning the Cubs will stay relevant with voters. Hopefully Imanaga and Skenes can directly duel over the remaining six games between Chicago and Pittsburgh, which would give Imanaga an opportunity to propel his ROTY case.

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