Since he made his big league debut near the end of June, Jordan Westburg has become a prominent figure in the Baltimore Orioles middle infield. Given the timing of his debut, his rookie status will carry over into 2024, which gives him a good chance to be an early frontrunner for the AL Rookie of the Year next season.
Jordan Westburg is putting in performances that suggest he will be the 2024 Rookie of the Year
The 24-year-old from New Braunfels, Texas is already establishing himself as an asset to Brandon Hyde. Jordan Westburg is batting .277 as of this writing. He fields the ball extremely well and can play third base in addition to his preferred position at second. Finally, the youngster has stolen bases at an impressive clip since making his major league debut. If he continues his hot form, Westburg could be bringing home both personal and team awards.
Why Westburg's status as a complete baseball player could get him Rookie of the Year
There are many factors that determine who wins the Rookie of the Year; some of which are out of a player's control. A farm system product could be called to the majors on an opposing team and shake up the whole race.
Injuries can end a player's run to win the award, as well as getting traded into a new and unfamiliar setting. However, when something is so hotly contested, there is one surefire way to drop out of contention; possessing key weaknesses.
Many baseball players have one or two weaknesses that prevent them from being an all-star or earning the big contracts you see the superstars signing. Those same weaknesses often determine personal awards, with picking the MVP for the season sometimes coming down to which candidate fielded better if both hit the ball well that year. As of the moment, taking into consideration that he has not played a full season at the top level, Westburg does not possess any glaring weaknesses.
A new concern for Westburg is his recent injury scare, but the youngster has otherwise been exactly what the red-hot Birds have asked from him and more. Focusing more on contact hitting than power hitting, the 24-year-old can still a single into a double with his quickness. Speaking of, Westburg has stolen four bases in five attempts. It is not a large enough sample size to claim the multi-position infielder is going to be prominent on the basepaths, but it could be in the back of pitcher's minds.
Westburg fields at an arguably elite level and has the arm strength to complete his awareness and glove skills. He has yet to make an error at second base, with 134 balls hit at him. These stats mirror his minor-league performances where, combining his games at all infield positions, Westburg fielded at a percentage around .960. Currently, though, the youngster has not faced a ground ball that has gotten the better of him, suggesting that the Baltimore trainers have worked out any hiccups he may have had.
Is Westburg the favorite to win next year's Rookie of the Year? Maybe. He has as good a chance as any player currently eligible to win that award. There is no singular weakness that can be used against him, and with time left to improve, Westburg could be developed into an all-star by midway 2024. Until then, Hyde and the Orioles hope to use all of his skills as they continue their run towards winning the American League East and clinching the top spot in the quickly approaching playoffs.