MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Seager, Maeda could return rookie award to LA

Newest Dodgers among 10 first-year players who should make impact

Seager, Maeda could return rookie award to LA

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rookie of the Year awards are named after Jackie Robinson, who won the first national award in 1947, the year he broke the color barrier with the Dodgers.

When the awards began being given out in each league in 1949, Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe won the first National League award. Since then, there have been 14 other Dodgers to claim the honor, including stretches of four in a row from 1979-82 (Rick Sutcliffe, Steve Howe, Fernando Valenzuela and Steve Sax) and then five straight from 1992-96 (Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo and Todd Hollandsworth).

Since Hollandsworth's selection in 1996, though, it has been a two-decade drought for the Dodgers -- a drought that could come to an end in 2016.

With shortstop Corey Seager and right-hander Kenta Maeda, the Dodgers have two players this season who are among the top candidates for the award.

Here are 10 new kids on the block who figure to stay around for some time to come:

Seager, SS, Dodgers
The younger brother of Mariners All-Star third baseman Kyle Seager, Corey plays the game with a confidence that belies the fact he is 21. He showed he fit in well with a September debut as the regular at shortstop on a team that won the NL West title a year ago, hitting .337 with an OPS of .986.

Maeda, RHP, Dodgers
With the growing injury list that includes veteran starters Brett Anderson, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, Maeda has stepped into the middle of the rotation. The 27-year-old right-hander has the experience of pitching in his native Japan, which makes the jump easier to handle.

Tyler White, 1B, Astros
They aren't the Dodgers in terms of Rookie of the Year Award winners, but the Astros could have back-to-back winners with Carlos Correa a year ago and the arrival of White to play first base in 2016. A 33rd-round Draft choice in 2013, White has the type of bat that has forced the Astros to move him along quickly. He struck out only 73 times in 403 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A last year, hitting .325 and driving in 99 runs, and earned MVP honors in the Dominican Winter League.

Hector Olivera, LF, Braves
Signed to a six-year, $65.5 million deal last May by the Dodgers, Olivera didn't show the power the Dodgers anticipated and was shipped to the Braves in the Alex Wood deal last season. He has swung the bat with authority this spring and fits nicely into left field with Atlanta.

Byung Ho Park, 1B/DH, Twins
Park is the latest in a growing number of Koreans to sign with a Major League team. The Twins posted a $12.85 million fee for negotiating rights and then signed him to a four-year, $12 million deal. Park showed this spring he's ready to make the move directly to the big leagues. A two-time MVP of the Korean Baseball Organization, he hit 105 home runs and drove in 270 runs the past two years in Korea.

Trevor Story, SS, Rockies
The door at shortstop opened with the uncertainty of Jose Reyes in light of his domestic abuse charges, and Story didn't hesitate stepping through it. Having split last season between Double-A and Triple-A, Story has never been questioned about his offensive potential, and this spring, he showed plenty of arm strength and range to play short, particularly with Gold Glove winners on each side of him in third baseman Nolan Arenado and second baseman DJ LeMahieu.

Tyler Naquin, CF, Indians
The 15th player taken in the 2012 Draft, Naquin was limited to 160 games the past two years because of a broken hand, concussion and right hip strain. This spring, however, he showed he was healthy, going into Tuesday hitting .449 with four home runs in 49 at-bats. Naquin's instincts and first-step quickness have the Indians feeling he can play center field.

Tony Zych, RHP, Mariners
Struggling with the Cubs after a series of mechanical adjustments he was asked to make, Zych was sold to the Mariners for cash considerations that turned out to be $1 a year ago and allowed to get back to the approach he used as the closer for Louisville in 2012. Now he's the one overpowering arm in Seattle's bullpen after compiling a 2.98 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A a year ago.

Seung Hwan Oh, RHP, Cardinals
The Korean-born right-hander pitched in his homeland and then, two years ago signed a 990 million yen contract with the Hanshin Tigers, the biggest deal a Japanese team has ever given a Korean player. A dominant closer, Oh caught the attention of the Cardinals in the process and was signed by them in the offseason. Considered the greatest closer in Korean history, Oh will work his way into late-inning clutch situations in St. Louis, too.

Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles
The former first-round pick underwent Tommy John surgery in 2013 and battled assorted other injuries the past two years. The Orioles don't want to overextend Bundy, but he is out of options and they will keep him in a bullpen role to limit his workload. By midseason, however, he could force his way into the rotation. Bundy is a power guy with strikeout ability.

Tracy Ringolsby is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.