Why Gunnar Henderson Is Just About A Shoe-In For AL Rookie of the Year

Baltimore Orioles v Minnesota Twins
Baltimore Orioles v Minnesota Twins / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

The Orioles are on the up and up. They have a deep field of developing talent that gives them the potential to be World Series contenders, provided that they play their cards right. The two most talked-about young stars are Adley Rutschman and today’s topic, third baseman Gunnar Henderson.

Henderson is currently the betting favorite to win AL Rookie of the Year. Fanduel Sportsbook has Henderson at +240 odds to win, triple the odds of the man in second place, Masataka Yoshida of the Red Sox, who’s at +650. 

Other competitors, though all talented in their own right, might be at a disadvantage seeing as they may not get enough playing time to be serious ROTY contenders. Henderson’s fellow Oriole Grayson Rodriguez is one of the league’s top pitching prospects, but with as deep of a talent pool as the O’s have it’s unlikely he’ll get enough time on the mound to really stand out. 

Hunter Brown is the number five starting pitcher for the Astros, and that’s only because Lance McCullers is currently out with an injury. 

Anthony Volpe of the New York Yankees is another eye-catching defensive player. If the Yankees choose to promote him to second baseman, he could be a real dark horse in this race. 

Masataka Yoshida is arguably the biggest threat to Henderson’s stronghold. His breakout performance in the World Baseball Classic turned a lot of heads and won over a lot of skeptics. However, Yoshida still needs to adjust and prove he can keep up with the long, grueling MLB schedule. 

Notice that the rest of the field’s cases to win involve a lot of moving parts, a lot of ifs and ands. These don’t exist for Gunnar Henderson, who is already being slated as a top player for the Orioles. Henderson will be playing in every game and has a remarkably high ceiling due to his versatility as a player. Some fans grew concerned with Henderson’s slow start in spring training, but his recent appearances have shown that he’s shaking off the rust and will be more than ready for the season ahead.