Sweeping any award category is almost impossible, although we almost had to saw the MVP trophy in half in 2020 and give a piece to Marcel Ozuna. Atlanta is sure to have a plethora of rookies in the conversation for rookie of the year, and there could still be names coming to Truist that we aren’t expecting right now. Of course you have to account for outside names like Ke’Bryan Hayes, Sixto Sanchez, and Mackenzie Gore before any other inevitable dark horses makes their name in the bigs. However, I think Atlanta absolutely has the talent to have all three finalists. If you remember Craig Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman finishing first and second in 2011, and Jason Heyward was only a sophomore. If he debuted a year later, it wouldn’t be too crazy to imagine. I don’t think it will happen in 2021, but if any team COULD do it — it’s the Braves. Here are a few names that could be in the conversation.
Drew Waters (N/A)
I think Waters is the longest shot on this list, but don’t be shocked if he’s making noise for the 2022 NL Rookie of the Year. Waters is a true five tool prospect, but with Marcel Ozuna in the fold and the DH sticking around for at least one more season, Waters may have to wait his turn. Unless injury strikes, I’d be shocked to see Waters in Atlanta before September call ups. Don’t worry, he has the talent. Waters tore up AA & AAA for a .819 OPS, 40 doubles, 16 steals, nine triples, and seven home runs.
William Contreras (+3000)
It doesn’t ever feel like a catcher will win rookie of the year, as the last guy to do it was Buster Posey in 2010. It’s so hard for young guys to adjust to playing defense, calling a game, managing a staff, AND hitting well enough to win the award. However, Contreras certainly has the potential. He played fantastic defense in limited action in Atlanta in 2020, and he got himself four base hits in ten at-bats. With no other established catcher besides Travis d’Arnaud on the roster, it looks like Contreras will be on the roster on Opening Day.
Cristian Pache (+1200)
Pache certainly has the opportunity to catch the eye of the mainstream media with his stellar defense, but his bat will have to carry him to Rookie of the Year. Pache didn’t see much action until the postseason, but he looks primed to take over in center field for the Braves and hit in a very stacked lineup. His long home run in a forgettable playoff game against the Dodgers is just a taste of his gap to gap power.
Ian Anderson (+800)
If you’re a betting man, Ian Anderson at 8/1 is an absolute steal. I think Anderson will make some noise for the Cy Young award, and his FIP indicates that his dominant 2020 regular season and playoff performances were no fluke. Anderson is incredibly poised for a pitcher his age, and his changeup is one of the best in all of baseball already. He’s only going to get better, and I think he could run away with Rookie of the Year in 2021.
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