In life — and by extension, baseball — things do not always go the way they’re supposed to. But this year’s MLB Rookie of the Year finalists buck that trend, as many of them were destined for great things.
Alec Bohm and Kyle Lewis were first-round draft picks. Devin Williams was chosen in the second round. And Luis Robert, owner of a $26-million bonus as an international signee, was once a consensus top-three prospect in the sport.
These are the types of players who are supposed to compete for ROY honours. Now they are.
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the other finalists (Jake Cronenworth and Cristian Javier). Take a closer look at all the league’s top up-and-comers below:
Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies
2020 stats: GP: 44 | HR: 4 | AVG: .338 | OBP: .400 | SLG: .481 | OPS+: 136 | 0.7 bWAR
Bohm sprinted to ROY candidacy with seven multi-hit games in the final week and a half of the season. But he was solid throughout the year, too, tying for second among rookies in hits (54) and finishing third in doubles (11) despite missing more than a quarter of the season.
He was also second among rookies in all three slash line categories, a testament to his balance of contact and power.
And as a weird-but-noteworthy aside, Bohm doubled in his first and last at-bats of the season.
Jake Cronenworth, San Diego Padres
2020 stats: GP: 54 | HR: 4 | AVG: .285 | OBP: .354 | SLG: .477 | OPS+: 128 | 1.4 bWAR
Five years ago, Jake Cronenworth was arguably a better prospect as a pitcher than as a hitter. Things have certainly changed since then for the former University of Michigan closer, who came to the Padres as the lesser-known asset in last December’s Tommy Pham trade.
All Cronenworth did in his first MLB season was lead rookies in doubles (15) and finish top-five in hits (49) and runs (26).
He was just outside the top-five in slugging percentage and OPS while playing 54 games, which is more than all but three rookies. So Cronenworth was able to rack up value (as noted by his 1.4 bWAR) despite not having the flashiest rate stats.
Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers
2020 stats: IP: 27.0 | ERA: 0.33 | FIP: 0.86 | K/9: 17.7 | WHIP: 0.630 | ERA+: 1375 | 1.2 bWAR
Warning: some of Williams’ numbers will look like typos, but I’m here to tell you they aren’t (yes, even the adjusted-ERA metric that suggests he was 1,275 per cent better than the average pitcher this year at preventing runs).
Trying to overstate the dominance of Williams in 2020 would be a fool’s errand. After allowing four runs (one earned) in his first four outings, he didn’t allow any runs in his final 18. On the season, he had 53 strikeouts while yielding just 18 baserunners (eight hits, 10 walks).