The Dodgers have two ROTY candidates

Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s outing against the Marlins was a condensed version of how his first season in the majors has gone. He gave up a home run on the very first pitch of the game, settled in, and dominated hitters the rest of the way.

Yamamoto’s big league debut came in Seoul, South Korea, against the Padres. He gave up five runs in the first inning and was pulled from the game. Over seven starts since his disastrous first appearance, he is 4-0 with a 1.75 ERA.

Against Miami, Yamamoto completed a career-high eight innings, giving up two runs while allowing only five batters to reach base.

“When he takes the baseball, you start to have that feeling that it’s Yamamoto’s day; this is win day,” said Dave Roberts. I personally have been hesitant to put that on him. I just wanted him to get his feet wet and get acclimated to big league baseball, but to his credit, he’s kind of earning that right to be looked at as such.”

Now that he is settled in Yamamoto looks every bit the 325-million-dollar pitcher the Dodgers paid him to be. His strong start has him ranked as one of the top NL Rookie of the Year contenders.

“We have a great environment. I think having Shohei here, and the Japanese support that he has here made this transition a lot easier for him, faster than I think he would have expected, and I do think that that’s led to the success and confidence that you’re seeing now,” said Roberts.

Another first-year player for the Dodgers is putting himself in a position to give Yamamoto a run for his money. The damage Andy Pages has done at the plate gives Los Angeles two of the top rookies in the league.

Since debuting in mid-April, Pages has had a four-hit game, strung together a ten-game hitting streak, and produced the Dodgers’ first walk-off win of 2024. The 23-year-old can rake. He hit .371 in Triple-A before being called up and has continued to produce at the next level, batting .307 with four home runs in 19 games for the Dodgers.

“Every time he gets up there, it seems like he takes a good at-bat. The moment certainly doesn’t get too big for him,” said Roberts after his walk-off single against the Braves. “I just love the fight, and he wasn’t going to let anyone else win that game for us tonight.”

Pages crushed in Spring Training as well when he posted an absurd 1.571 OPS, but he still failed to make the opening-day roster due to Los Angeles’s veteran talent. The way he has been swinging the bat all year makes him now an important piece of the puzzle that is here to stay.

“We have a lot of really good players on this team, and I have had a lot of conversations with them. They have helped me, and I have been able to take the things I have learned and use them on the field,” said Pages.

The Dodgers have always been one of the most aggressive teams when it comes to signing international players, and their minor league talent is top-tier year in and year out. Los Angeles is fortunate to be a star-driven organization, but what makes them elite is their ability to develop stars in-house as well.

Having one Rookie of the Year candidate is great, but having two on a team that was already the favorite to win the World Series heading into the season is the icing on the cake.

Top image caption:

PHOENIX, AZ – MAY 01: Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto pitches during the Major League Baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz. (Photo by Wilfred Perez/Icon Sportswire)

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