Rookie Of The Year Odds: Could Corbin Carroll Injury Allow a Longshot To Win?
On Thursday, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll, the odds-on leader in NL Rookie of the Year odds, left the loss to New York Mets with a shoulder injury. Carroll swung at a pitch then staggered away in obvious pain. He exited the game and didn’t return.
In response, sportsbooks took down NL Rookie of the Year odds for the time being. Carroll was around -600, or 86% implied probability, before the injury. We’ll go over what this injury means in MLB awards betting, and speculate as to some possible longshots who could emerge if Carroll’s injury proves serious.
Find NL Rookie of the Year odds below when markets reopen. Click any of the odds to place a wager at the best sports betting sites.
Carroll’s History Of Shoulder Problems
There’s good news and bad news regarding Carroll’s shoulder injury and ongoing Rookie of the Year candidacy.
The good news: the team reported Carroll’s shoulder was “strong and stable” after the injury. And the timing, if such a thing can be fortuitous, probably qualifies as such. With the All-Star Break coming up, Carroll can sit out an entire week and miss just this coming weekend’s three-game set with Pittsburgh. Nothing besides the Midsummer Classic and various smaller events is scheduled from Monday through Thursday.
The bad news is that this isn’t Carroll’s first experience with shoulder problems. It’s not even his first one in the past couple of weeks. He also left last Thursday’s game with “shoulder soreness.” He then sat out the weekend series against the Angels before returning on Tuesday. Worse yet, Carroll missed the entire 2021 season with a major injury to the same (right) shoulder.
While the team released sunny reports about Carroll’s shoulder, keep in mind that MLB clubs are not always the most forthright with these sorts of things. For example, Jacob deGrom merely had “elbow inflammation” and would return in “two to three weeks” according to reports. Turned out, he needed Tommy John surgery and may not even pitch in 2024.
Prior to the injury, Carroll led NL rookies by far with 3.7 fWAR. He had been putting together a campaign for the ages with a .290/.365/.559 triple slash, leading the Diamondbacks to a shocking first-place run in the NL West.
So, if Carroll does falter, for reasons injury-related or otherwise, who could supplant him? We’ll go over the obvious choice and a couple of longshots, with odds prior to the injury for frame of reference.
Other Possible NL Rookie Of The Year Bets
Elly De La Cruz (+700)
The Reds phenom had occupied a top-three spot in most prospect lists, but was widely considered not big-league ready. With little to lose and a weak NL Central to gain, though, the Reds opted to promote him in early June.
All he has done is produce 1.1 fWAR, putting him not far behind the per-PA pace set by Carroll. Furthermore, his penchant for highlight reel plays and Cincinnati’s subsequent ascension to first place in the division (two games up now!) has rocketed him up the odds board. He has surpassed fellow Red Matt McLain, who has produce at a similar level but was promoted earlier and therefore has more counting stats.
The good news for De La Cruz is the Reds figure to remain in the hunt all season for the NL Central. Topping the division when the team was expected to occupy the cellar would go a long way toward boosting his candidacy.
However, Statcast’s numbers paint De La Cruz as one of the leading regression candidates in MLB. If he had enough balls in play to qualify, his wOBA-xWOBA differential would lead MLB. Essentially, his quality of contact has been commensurate with a below-average batter, but his actual batted balls have produced star-level outcomes. That tracks with his prospect grades, with FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen giving him a current 30 (poor), future 40 (below average) hit tool. Indeed, his current chase rate is about 10% worse than MLB average.
Related: Evaluating Reds futures odds
Francisco Alvarez (+10000)
Alvarez ranks among the fWAR leaders with 1.5 accumulated after taking over the Mets starting catcher job due to injury and not giving it back. He should remain behind the dish as the Mets try to salvage their season, but especially if they don’t, as Alvarez gaining experience and blossoming into a star is their best chance to take a jump next season.
Alvarez hits for a ton of power (16 HR) but has been quite unlucky on batted balls with a .223 BABIP. With decent plate skills — he has a below-average chase rate — Alvarez should experience some positive regression at the plate. He has exhibited strong defense in the framing department too, ranking 10th in MLB.
If the Mets can make a Wild Card push, Alvarez figures to be a big part of it. He has the pedigree (top-10 prospect) and the opportunity to rack up some stats.
Eury Perez (+13000)
Like the Reds and Diamondbacks, the Marlins have also put together a surprising playoff run thanks in part to a phenom. Unlike those others, Perez throws the ball instead of hitting it. And he has done so exceptionally well, with a 2.36 ERA in 53.1 IP.
Pitchers have a slightly tougher time racking up WAR, though. With Perez likely capped around 130 innings this year, he figures to max out around 3 WAR, and that’s if things keep going spectacularly. Recall that Carroll has already produced more than that in just half a season.
Perez also looks like a regression candidate, with his ERA more than a full run better than his peripherals. However, that’s not a concern in terms of fWAR as FanGraphs uses FIP as its input instead of runs allowed.
Still, the Marlins look like a safe bet to remain squarely in the playoff hunt. While they don’t project well going forward — they “should be” 44-45 with neutral sequencing luck — they have built up some cushion with a multiple-game lead in the Wild Card race. FanGraphs gives them with about a 70% chance of making it. Perez being one of the best pitchers on a playoff team at 20 years old will earn some credit with the voters if Carroll ends up missing a big chunk of the season.
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