Jackson Merrill

Jackson Merrill

Height: 6-3
Weight: 195 lbs
Age: 21
San Diego Padres

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The ScoreMLB ROY Rankings: Imanaga, Miller cream of early crop

Welcome to the first edition of theScore's 2024 Rookie of the Year rankings, where we look at the top five rookies in each league. Let's run through some of the best performances through the first month and a half of the season. Odds courtesy theScore Bet.American League5. Wenceel P rez, Tigers Norm Hall / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS WAR ODDS 30 3 13 .888 1.0 N/A P rez has been a nice surprise for the Tigers since his major-league debut on April 8. The 24-year-old outfielder is slashing .299/.373/.515 and owns the highest OPS (.888) among qualified AL rookies. He's averaging basically one hit per game, with 11 of his 29 knocks going for extra bases. The speedy youngster also has a rookie-best four triples to go along with four steals.4. Wilyer Abreu, Red Sox Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS WAR ODDS 42 4 17 .821 1.2 +750 Injuries have opened up an opportunity for Abreu, and he's taken full advantage. The Red Sox outfielder ranks among the top qualified AL rookies with a 128 wRC+, .351 on-base percentage, and .200 isolated power thanks to a hard-hit percentage that ranks in the 84th percentile. Abreu also possesses one of the game's top outfield arms and has already been worth two outs above average for a Red Sox defense that's greatly improved from 2023.3. Luis Gil, Yankees Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty IP ERA FIP K WHIP ODDS 49 2.39 3.13 62 1.08 +700 The Yankees began the season with uncertainty in their rotation due to Gerrit Cole's injury, but Gil's tremendous start is making up for the loss. Gil's 2.39 ERA leads all Yankees starters, while his five wins and 11.4 K/9 are tops among qualified AL rookie starters. Gil's arsenal has been nearly unhittable when he's been in the zone, with all of his pitches generating batting averages of .167 or less. He also broke Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez's Yankees rookie record with 14 strikeouts in his last start.2. Colton Cowser, Orioles Daniel Shirey / Major League Baseball / Getty GP HR RBI OPS WAR ODDS 43 6 23 .879 1.7 +225 Baltimore fans are coming out in droves to fill up "The Pasture" at Camden Yards to see Cowser. The 24-year-old leads all qualified rookies in fWAR and home runs, and sits second in RBIs and OPS. He's also looked terrific defensively, ranking 96th percentile or better in OAA, fielding run value, and arm strength.1. Mason Miller, Athletics Mike Stobe / Getty Images IP ERA FIP K SV ODDS 19.1 0.93 -0.01 38 8 +175 Miller began the season in the bullpen after spending his college and minor-league careers as a starter. The 25-year-old's made easy work of hitters as Oakland's closer thanks to an average four-seam fastball velocity of 100.9 mph. His 17.7 K/9 and minus-0.01 FIP (yes, you read those stats right) lead all hurlers with at least 10 innings pitched. The A's bullpen ranks sixth in the majors in fWAR and ninth in strikeout percentage thanks to Miller's fine work.National League5. Jackson Merrill, Padres Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS WAR ODDS 46 3 20 .724 1.0 +1400 Merrill's left an impression since the moment he stepped onto a big-league field. The 21-year-old's cemented himself as San Diego's everyday center fielder, appearing in 46 of 50 games while collecting 20 RBIs and seven steals. Both of those rank top five among qualified rookies, while his 1.0 fWAR is sixth-best overall.4. Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Dodgers Yuki Taguchi / Major League Baseball / Getty IP ERA FIP K WHIP ODDS 54 3.17 3.00 61 1.06 +450 Remove Yamamoto's first start of the season - five runs allowed in one inning - and he may be higher on this list. The Japanese right-hander's allowed zero earned runs in four of his ten starts, striking out an average of over 10 hitters per nine innings. The 25-year-old's 1.06 WHIP ranks fourth among rookies with at least 30 innings pitched, while his 3.00 FIP sits third. His 1.3 fWAR, meanwhile, is second among qualified rookies, and in the top 20 overall.3. Jared Jones, Pirates Justin Berl / Getty Images Sport / Getty IP ERA FIP K WHIP ODDS 53 2.89 3.43 63 0.91 +750 Jones has looked sensational, giving Pirates fans an early glimpse at what could become a dominating starting duo alongside Paul Skenes. Jones' 30.6% strikeout rate ranks third among rookie starters and he's maintained it over 53 innings, the fourth-most of any freshman. Even further, his Baseball Savant page is littered with red thanks to elite percentile rankings in fastball velocity, chase percentage, whiff percentage, and more.2. Joey Ortiz, Brewers Stacy Revere / Getty Images Sport / Getty GP HR RBI OPS WAR ODDS 41 5 15 .931 1.5 +2000 The addition of Ortiz has looked like a spectacular move after he was sent to the Brewers in the Corbin Burnes trade. The 25-year-old ranks second among rookies in fWAR and first in wRC+ (164), slugging percentage (.533), and on-base percentage (.398). His eye at the plate has been tremendous, with him rarely chasing or whiffing, leading to a walk percentage in the 92nd percentile.1. Shota Imanaga, Cubs Michael Reaves / Getty Images IP ERA FIP K WHIP ODDS 53.2 0.84 2.22 58 0.91 +105 The Cubs southpaw has allowed five earned runs all season, giving him an MLB-best 0.84 ERA, which is the lowest in MLB history through the first nine starts of a career. He's also tied for the NL lead in fWAR, leads the NL outright in FIP, and owns the ninth-lowest home-run-to-fly-ball ratio (4.8%). Imanaga dominates the rookie leaderboards in every meaningful category and looks like the steal of the offseason after Chicago signed him to a four-year, $53-million deal.Copyright © 2024 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Source: The Score
Tuesday, May 21, 2024