MLB

NL Rookie of the Year Odds: Will Anyone Challenge Yoshinobu Yamamoto?

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD

Spring training is officially under way, which means the MLB season is right around the corner. Via the MLB odds at FanDuel Sportsbook, there are plenty of ways to get in on the action, and we at FanDuel Research have you covered with writeups on several futures markets.

Below are the odds for the National League Rookie of the Year award, followed by a breakdown of the top options.

MLB odds via FanDuel Sportsbook. Statistics via FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference unless otherwise stated.

NL Rookie of the Year Odds

NL Rookie of the Year
Odds
Yoshinobu Yamamoto+180
Jackson Chourio+850
Jung Hoo Lee+900
Shota Imanaga+1100
Noelvi Marte+1100
Pete Crow-Armstrong+1800
Kyle Harrison+1800
View Full Table

Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Dodgers (+180)

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto is the favorite to win the 2024 National League Rookie of the Year award. At +180 odds, Yamamoto's implied probability to win the award is 35.7%.

Yamamoto is the latest Japanese star to get posted to the MLB from the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). The 25-year-old spent seven seasons in the NPB, compiling a 70-29 record, 1.82 ERA, and 9.3 K/9 over 897 innings.

One of the most decorated international players of his generation, Yamamoto closed his NPB career with three consecutive MVPs. He won the Triple Crown in all three MVP seasons, tacking on three Eiji Sawamura Awards (the NPB's equivalent to the Cy Young) for good measure. He helped lead his team to an NPB title in 2022 and owns a pair of international gold medals from the 2020 Olympics and 2023 World Baseball Classic.

It's not easy to project Yamamoto in the MLB, but we can look back at previous NPB pitchers who came to the MLB.

Year
Player
ROY Finish
2007Daisuke Matsuzaka4th
2012Yu Darvish3rd
2014Masahiro Tanaka5th
2016Kenta Maeda3rd
2018Shohei Ohtani1st
2023Kodai Senga2nd

Shohei Ohtani is the most notable former NPB hurler to make a splash in the majors, but the NPB has consistently produced players who compete for the Rookie of the Year. Yamamoto is arguably the most accomplished pure pitcher -- not counting Ohtani, the two-way star -- to come from the NPB, so it's easy to envision him at least matching the rookie seasons of those before him.

Yamamoto should benefit from the Dodgers' 103.5-win total, and he's a deserving favorite for NL Rookie of the Year given his incredible track record.

Jackson Chourio, Brewers (+850)

Jackson Chourio will have just turned 20 years old when the Milwaukee Brewers throw their first pitch of 2024, but he has the second-shortest odds to win the NL Rookie of the Year. With only six games of Triple-A experience under his belt, Chourio isn't guaranteed to start the season in the bigs. That said, he inked an eight-year, $82 million contract this offseason, so he should see plenty of major league at-bats in 2024.

Chourio enters the year as the MLB.com's second-ranked prospect. He racked up 22 home runs and 44 steals across Double-A and Triple-A last season and has posted an OPS of at least .800 in all three minor league seasons.

It's rare to see 65-grade power from a player of Chourio's stature -- 5'11" and just 165 pounds -- but the outfielder can absolutely mash. Over three minor league seasons, Chourio compiled a combined .490 slugging percentage.

It was encouraging to see Chourio maintain a weighted on-base average (wOBA) north of .350 while cutting his strikeout rate to under 20% last season. In a six-game sample of Triple-A ball, he posted a 57.1% hard-hit rate.

The upside is clear with Courio, and there's a good chance he's Milwaukee's starting centerfielder on opening day. Across both leagues, an outfielder has won Rookie of the Year four times in the last six seasons. If Chourio adjusts quickly to major league pitching, he could very well become the latest Rookie of the Year outfielder.

Jung Hoo Lee, Giants (+900)

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) MVP in 2022, Jung Hoo Lee has the third-shortest odds to win NL Rookie of the Year after signing with the San Francisco Giants this offseason. Lee is expected to open the season as San Francisco's everyday leadoff hitter and centerfielder.

There isn't a huge track record of KBO hitters in the MLB, but former Texas Rangers DH Shin-Soo Choo did make the All-Star team in 2018. San Diego Padres utilityman Ha-Seong Kim had a breakout season last year, but neither have quite the list of accomplishments that Lee racked up before coming over. He was the first high school rookie to start every game for a KBO team -- doing so in 2017, winning Rookie of the Year and setting the KBO's rookie hits record that campaign

Lee was a five-time Golden Glove winner in the KBO, but his bat is what gives him a chance to win Rookie of the Year. Over five KBO seasons, Lee posted a .340 average and .898 OPS.

Though Lee isn't known for his power, he hit 23 home runs in his 2022 MVP season. He compiled a .443 wOBA that year, racking up 113 RBI in the process.

The transition to the MLB could prove difficult for Lee, but he has the bat skills and plate disciple to adjust. In his final KBO season, Lee compiled a 12.7% walk rate and 5.9% strikeout rate.

He faces an uphill battle to win this award given the wealth of standout rookies in the National League, but Lee could prove to be a real value at +900 if he hits the ground running.

Shota Imanaga, Cubs (+1100)

While Yoshinobu Yamamoto is the NPB hurler everyone is talking about, don't let Shota Imanaga fly under the radar. Imanaga has the fourth-shortest odds to win the NL Rookie of the Year at +1100. The 30-year-old southpaw signed with the Chicago Cubs following a standout 2023 season.

Imanaga lead the NPB Central League with 188 strikeouts last season, posting a 2.66 ERA in the process. Over eight seasons in the NPB, Imanaga compiled a 64-50 record, 3.18 ERA, and 9.2 K/9.

The lefty appeared in three games for Japan in last year's World Baseball Classic. He gave up seven hits and two runs across 6.0 innings, striking out seven. Imanaga notably started the championship game against the United States, giving up four hits and a single run over 2.0 innings.

Known in Japan as "The Throwing Philosopher," Imanaga has a long track record of success over his eight professional seasons. He's more of a longshot to win NL Rookie of the Year, but he'll benefit from opening the year with a spot in Chicago's rotation.

Noelvi Marte, Reds (+1100)

Cincinnati Reds infielder Noelvi Marte currently checks in as MLB.com's 21st-ranked prospect, but he peaked at No. 11 back in 2022. He will have his work cut out for him to earn consistent playing time in a crowded Cincinnati infield, but he proved more than capable of putting up numbers last season. At +1100 odds, Marte is an intriguing longshot for the NL Rookie of the Year.

The Reds promoted Marte to the bigs in August last season. He appeared in 35 of Cincy's final 38 games, during which he led the Reds with a .316 batting average.

Marte isn't known for any one thing, but he's a well-rounded hitter. In four seasons of minor league baseball, Marte compiled a .282 average and .834 OPS. He stole 24 bags between two levels last season after swiping 23 and 24 bases the prior two years.

It's not unrealistic to expect Marte to flirt with 30 steals in his first full campaign. Although it's never this simple, if we extrapolate Marte's 35-game MLB sample over the course of a full season, he'd wind up with roughly 14 home runs, 69 RBI, and 27 steals. That probably wouldn't be enough to win Rookie of the Year, but there's room for more counting stats if he works his way up the order.

As mentioned, Marte's biggest obstacle for winning the NL Rookie of the Year is playing time. The Reds already had a crowded infield last season, but they've since added veteran Jeimer Candelario to the mix. If Marte can carve out an everyday role, he has the skills to compete for Rookie of the Year.


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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.