The Baltimore Orioles have the American League’s worst record and will miss the postseason for a fifth straight season. But there’s optimism inside Camden Yards, with a farm system that ranks among the best in baseball and a handful of young hitters showing promise in 2021.
At the top of that list is Ryan Mountcastle, who entered the MLB’s All-Star break with +1500 odds, via PointsBet Sportsbook, to win American League Rookie of the Year award.
The last Orioles position players to win the award were Eddie Murray (1977) and Cal Ripken Jr. (1982), so Mountcastle would be joining an elite group if he’s able to string together a dominant second half of the year.
Here’s a look at what he has done and the competition he’s up against to take home the honors.
Mountcastle Dominates In June As AL’s Best Rookie
Though he has just the sixth-best odds at Maryland betting sites among AL rookies, no one had a better June than Mountcastle. He slashed .352/.410/.681 and led American League batters in just about every major category and was named AL Rookie of the Month — the first Oriole to win the award since 2010.
A breakout month for Mounty. pic.twitter.com/1votp4ZbAP— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) July 2, 2021
His June included a three-homer game; a four-hit, four-RBI game; a four-game stretch in which he went 10-for-17 and raised his batting average 15 points to .266; and a five-game stretch in which he walked seven times after walking just eight times in his first 74 games.
That June helped him enter the All-Star break with: .789 OPS (ranked second among rookies), 19 home runs (second), 71 RBIs (first), 19 doubles (second), and 51 runs (second).
He has been one of the league’s best rookies and reading the sports betting odds, he has put himself in the Rookie of the Year conversation after a splendid June.
He scuffled some toward the end of the first half and was happy to see the Midsummer Classic arrive — he had four hits and a .542 in eight July games — but he should right the ship coming out of the break.
Mountcastle Faces Steep Competition
Despite those excellent numbers, Mountcastle is still facing an uphill battle to join the ranks of Murray and Ripken in Orioles lore. For those into Maryland MLB betting, here’s a look at the five players battling with Mountcastle in the AL Rookie of the Year race:
Adolis Garcia, OF, Texas: The 28-year-old All-Star has been the frontrunner from Day 1 after he slugged 11 homers with a .981 OPS in May. He has slowed down in June and July — a .748 OPS over his last 35 games — but retains the top odds at +250.
Randy Arozarena, OF, Tampa Bay: Last year’s World Series star has been electric in 2021 for the Rays. He has been consistent all year and headed into the break with 10 homers, 41 RBIs, and an AL rookie-best 11 stolen bases. His +350 odds won’t be lengthening anytime soon.
Emmanuel Clase, RP, Cleveland: Milwaukee relief pitcher Devin Williams won the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2020, and Clase is trying to do it in the AL. He certainly has the resume: 11 saves and a 1.72 ERA in 38 appearances. The Indians somehow getting back into contention could help his +500 odds.
Yermin Mercedes, C, Chicago White Sox: Seemingly out of nowhere, Mercedes put up video game numbers in April: five homers, 16 RBIs, .415 batting average, and a 1.113 OPS. But Mercedes has seen those numbers fall off a cliff, with a June in which he slashed .159/.221/.190 resulting in his demotion to Triple-A Charlotte. His +550 odds will continue to plummet.
James Kaprielian, SP, Oakland: The only starting pitcher on this list, Kaprielian didn’t debut until May 12 but has made his impact felt in Oakland. The A’s starter is 4-3 with a 2.90 ERA in 11 starts. Oakland is 6-5 in his starts but he has tossed a few gems to get him on the leaderboard here. He’d be just the second starter in the last decade to win AL Rookie of the Year (Shohei Ohtani in 2018 not included), making his +1000 odds just an average play.