MLB Rookie Watch: How The Premier Rookies Faired On Opening Day

MLB Rookie Watch: How The Premier Rookies Faired On Opening Day
Image ©Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Frank Weber
Frank Weber
May 19th 2023

We finally made it–opening day came and went, and it was as beautiful and entertaining as I thought it would be. While I’d like to believe that no one was as excited for yesterday as I was, I, unfortunately, have to concede the excited crown. 

That, my friends, goes to the young rookies who made their MLB debuts yesterday, of which there were many. From the Yankees' Anthony Volpe to the Dodgers' Miguel Vargas, there were many rookie of the year hopefuls that suited up for their teams for the first time yesterday, and I’m here to tell you how they did.

If you want to bet on any of these rookies, you can do so through any of these online casinos. DraftKings Sportsbook has been offering a variety of promos revolving around Opening Day, so I recommended you take advantage of these DraftKings Promos before they run out.

So, without further to do, here’s your opening day rookie report.

Anthony Volpe, NYY: 0-2, BB, K, SB

The Anthony Volpe hype machine has been tearing down the tracks since February–and while some expected it would meet its untimely end on Opening Day, many were pleased to see that the journey seems just to be getting started. 

Just a few days ago, the Yankees announced that not only will their #1 prospect be making the Opening Day roster, but he will also be the starting shortstop in their premier game. This immediately set the fanbase on fire–everyone seemed to have Anthony Volpe fever–and boy, did that show on Opening Day.

The fans went nuts every time Volpe did anything as little as blink. If Volpe turns out to be what we all think he is, then his first curtain call will definitely go down in Yankees history–the bleacher creatures put some extra mustard on his name, chanting it louder than I’ve ever heard before. And the cherry on top? Volpe acknowledged them by turning over to the section and kissing the Yankee logo on his jersey. 

How can you not be romantic about baseball?

Romance aside, Volpe had a pretty good debut. Although he’s still waiting on his first MLB hit, Volpe managed a walk in his first at-bat, and even grabbed a stolen base (with ease, might I add). 

Defensively, it seemed like the ball was being hit his way all day–so he had plenty of chances to flash his leather. He left one throw to first a little short, but luckily Rizzo was able to make an incredible pick–so no harm, no foul.

Jordan Walker, STL: 1-5, 1 RBI, K

This Cardinals/Blue Jays game was really something, and to make it even better, we got to see Jordan Walker, the #4 prospect in all of baseball, record his first ever Major League hit AND RBI. 

In his first-ever MLB at-bat, Walker recorded his first-ever Major League hit, slapping a single to center field. He would later ground out and strikeout, but would come up CLUTCH in the seventh with a groundball to the shortstop that would score the go-ahead run.

Unfortunately for Walker and the Cardinals, the Blue Jays would go on to score two runs in the top of the ninth and win the game, but it was a big test for Walker–and he passed.

Sure, it wasn’t pretty–fielder's choice RBIs never are–but the fact that he was able to put the ball in play and do his job is extremely promising. Walker had no hiccups defensively either, and is currently has the second best odds to win the NL Rookie of the Year award (according to FanDuel Sportsbook).

Miguel Vargas, LAD: 0-2, 2 BB, K

Miguel Vargas started making headlines in the spring for not swinging his bat–it wasn’t a nerves thing, he was just taking orders. While recovering from an injury, he was instructed to NOT swing the batt in a handful of at bats, and to just track the pitches. Well, to many people's surprise, he actually got walked PLENTY of times in that stretch, and that trend seemed to carry over to opening day.

While he was certainly allowed to swing on Opening Day, he proved that he really doesn’t have to–walking twice in the game, Vargas would even end up scoring a run in the sixth. 

While it wasn’t a sexy debut for Vargas, I always love seeing my guys get on base–so I don’t think Dodger fans have anything to complain about.

Brice Turang

Masataka Yoshiada, BOS: 2-4, RBI

It was a tough day to be a Red Sox fan yesterday, losing their opener 10-9 at the hands of the Orioles. However, if there’s any silver lining, it’s that Masataka Yoshida looked fantastic yesterday. 

Yoshida is a bit different from these other rookies, because we were at least able to watch him in competitive play earlier this Spring in the World Baseball Classic. Well, it looks like the WBC really warmed him up, because Yoshida collected two hits yesterday and even hit in a run.

Yoshida is currently third on the list of favorites to win the AL Rookie of the Year, behind Gunnar Henderson and Anthony Volpe. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, he is listed at +500.

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