Three Arizona Diamondbacks who could be Rookie of the Year contenders next year

Which Arizona Diamondbacks could win the Rookie of the Year next season?

Oct 15, 2022; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Salt River Rafters infielder Jordan Lawlar (1) walks away from home
Oct 15, 2022; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Salt River Rafters infielder Jordan Lawlar (1) walks away from home / Alex Gould/The Republic / USA TODAY
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Jordan Lawlar

I’m sure I’m not the only person who thinks Jordan Lawlar could be a Rookie of the Year contender next season. The shortstop is one of the best prospects in baseball. FanGraphs, Baseball America, and MLB Pipeline each rank Lawlar in the top ten on their top 100 prospects list. Lawlar got a brief taste of MLB pitching last season but should get an extended look in 2024.

Lawlar spent most of the 2023 campaign at Double-A with a 16-game cameo at Triple-A mixed in too. Between the two levels, Lawlar had a .278/.378/.496 triple-slash. He also owned a .389 wOBA and 129 wRC+. He was a major speed/power threat, who went yard 20 times with a .218 isolated slugging percentage and also stole 36 bases in 41 attempts. These are all great numbers, but we haven’t even discussed the most promising aspect of Lawlar’s season.

There was concern heading into the 2023 season as to how Lawlar’s hit tool would develop. While he hit over .300 in 2022, he also struck out in about a quarter of his plate appearances. It was even worse in the second half of the year, as he had a 27.8% K-rate after the All-Star break. But Lawlar lowered his strikeout rate to just 20.6% last year. Unlike in 2022, he got better as the season went on and had a sub-20% K-rate in the second half (17.8%, to be exact). Plus, he had a respectable 11.4% walk rate.

Lawlar only appeared in 14 big league games and struck out 11 times with just four singles in 34 total plate appearances. His defense looked great, however, as he posted +1 DRS and +2 OAA in less than 100 innings at shortstop. He projects as a great defensive shortstop with 30/30 potential.

If the Diamondbacks gave Lawlar the starting shortstop role early into the year, there’s definitely the possibility he could win Rookie of the Year. At the very least, he has the potential to do so. It will be fun to see Lawlar get an extended look next season.