One of the hardest awards to predict in the MLB, it's the Rookie of the Year honors. While there are always hot prospects to watch going into a given year, an injury opening up playing time or an unforeseen promotion to The Show can lead to breakout performances that allow previous unknowns to take the hardware. Ahead of Spring Training, here are six early favorites for this year's Rookie of the Year honors between the two leagues.
6. Victor Robles
Opportunity is the biggest question for Victor Robles. He got the call-up late last season and was on the postseason roster for the Nationals, but fellow outfielder Adam Eaton is expected to be healthy again. With Eaton, Bryce Harper and the emerging Michael Taylor, there is not a consistent spot for Robles in the outfield.
Still, these things always find a way to work themselves out, and the talent of the Nationals' No. 1 prospect is undeniable. If he plays, then he will be in the conversation for the award at the end of the year.
5. Lewis Brinson
Lewis Brinson was just in the the news as the main prospect coming back to the Marlins in the Christian Yelich trade.
Brinson will almost certainly leave Spring Training as the starting center fielder for the Fish, giving him the perfect opportunity to win himself a trophy. He did not have a lot of success in his first cup of coffee with the Brewers last year, but with no real pressure on an awful team, Brinson's true five-tool talent should show out this season.
4. Ronald Acuna
If there is one clear-cut favorite for NL Rookie of the Year, it is Ronald Acuna.
The 20-year-old outfielder has drawn early comparisons to the best player in baseball, Mike Trout, setting huge expectations on the young phenom's shoulders. With the Braves still going through a rebuild, Acuna should find himself in the bigs sooner rather than later.
3. Gleyber Torres
Gleyber Torres looked so good this time last year that we heard Yankees coaches pleading for him to make the jump from Class A straight to the majors out of Spring Training.
Tommy John surgery derailed his 2017 campaign, but Torres is now healthy and ready to contribute. The Bombers have yet to address their infield through free agency, which shows they have complete confidence in Torres starting the season with the club.
Whether starting at second or third, Torres will get a lot of playing time to showcase his elite talent in 2018.
2. Willie Calhoun
Willie Calhoun came over to the Rangers in the Yu Darvish trade last season and figures to be the starting left fielder for Texas in 2018. He has hit 58 home runs in his last two seasons in the minor leagues, and that type of elite power will translate well in the MLB.
Expect a lot of dingers and a chance at the AL Rookie of the Year for this young stud.
1. Michael Kopech
Michael Kopech has the chance to be one of the most electric starting pitchers in all of baseball.
With a fastball that has touched 105 mph in live action, this flamethrower may find himself blowing hitters away at an alarming clip in 2018. Kopech just needs to get the opportunity to start 20 games for the White Sox this year for him to be an attractive candidate for the AL's best first-year player.