The Boston Red Sox haven’t had a Rookie of the Year winner since Dustin Pedroia in 2007. Before that, there wasn’t one since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997. And before that, there wasn’t one since Fred Lynn in 1975. It’s a rare thing to have a Rookie of the Year! Especially because it’s not something that these guys can perennially contend for like an MVP. You get one shot at it. That’s it.
Rookie of the Years being so rare is one reason why the upcoming Red Sox season is so exciting. The Boston Red Sox could have not one, but two Rookie of the Year contenders this year. Triston Casas and Masataka Yoshida. Look at any American League ROY odds you can find, and they’ll all show you the same thing; Casas and Yoshida are two of the four or five top contenders for the award. Take Draft Kings for example. The sportsbook has Yoshida sitting at +600 for the award and Casas at +900. Second and fourth, respectively. And they’re on the same team! How cool is that?
While having two ROY contenders on the same team is quite a rarity, it does happens sometimes. One can look to the 2021 Tampa Bay Rays, who had Randy Arozarena, who won the award, and Wander Franco, who finished third. Franco was a mid-season call up and managed to mash enough to contend. The reason I’m pointing this out is it’s another reason why the Red Sox situation is so exciting. The Red Sox (barring a catastrophe), will enter the season with both Casas and Yoshida in their lineup. We’ll get a full year of these two!
Nothing we’ve seen since Spring Training began has hampered expectations of either player. Casas has arguably been Boston’s best hitter (other than Raimel Tapia, for some reason) and Yoshida has been a massive part of Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic. It’s been fantastic to see both players arrive in Fort Myers (and then leave, in Yoshida’s case) and just do their thing.
The Red Sox’ dueling Rookie of the Year candidates are just one example of why it kinda ticks me off when people completely dismiss the 2023 Red Sox. Are they going to win the World Series? I don’t know, probably not. But that doesn’t mean the season is gonna be a bust! In fact, I think it’s gonna be pretty fun! And the idea of an inter-team race for Rookie of the Year between Triston Casas and Masataka Yoshida is gonna be a huge part of it.