Wednesday, February 1 2023

Julio Rodriguez and Michael Harris II did far more than outshine their rookie classes in the American and National leagues this season. They also pushed their respective clubs to heights not reached in decades while serving notice they may be perennial All-Star performers.

Rodriguez was named the AL’s rookie of the year and Harris the NL honoree in balloting announced Monday night by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Rodriguez, 21, was named an All-Star and a Silver Slugger in his first season and finished the season with 28 home runs, 25 stolen bases and an .853 OPS in 132 games as Seattle reached the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

Harris, 21, debuted on May 28, joining an Atlanta team that was 22-24 and 7 1/2 games behind the New York Mets in the NL East. But the Braves went 79-37 after Harris joined them to win 101 games – topping 100 for the first time since 2003 – and run down the Mets in the East.

Braves center fielder Michael Harris led all National League rookies with 5.3 Wins Above Replacement.Braves center fielder Michael Harris led all National League rookies with 5.3 Wins Above Replacement.

Braves center fielder Michael Harris led all National League rookies with 5.3 Wins Above Replacement.

In addition to his Gold Glove caliber defense, Harris hit .297 with 19 home runs and 20 stolen bases, outpointing teammate Spencer Strider to become the third Atlanta player in the past 12 years to be named the league’s top rookie.

Current Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. (2018) and free agent reliever Craig Kimbrel (2011) also won the award.

Harris received 22 of 30 first-place votes and 134 total points in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Strider received the other eight first-place votes and finished second with 103 points. St. Louis Cardinals infielder Brendan Donovan finished third.

Julio Rodriguez hit 28 home runs and had 75 RBIs for a Mariners team that ended a 21-year playoff drought.Julio Rodriguez hit 28 home runs and had 75 RBIs for a Mariners team that ended a 21-year playoff drought.

Julio Rodriguez hit 28 home runs and had 75 RBIs for a Mariners team that ended a 21-year playoff drought.

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Rodriguez received 29 of 30 first place votes, topping Baltimore catcher Adley Rutschman and Cleveland outfielder Steven Kwan to become the second Mariners rookie honoree in three seasons, joining outfielder Kyle Lewis, the 2020 winner. Rutschman received the other first-place vote.

Kansas City Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. finished fourth while Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Peña received two third-place votes to finish fifth in balloting conducted before the postseason.

Harris, 21, was promoted directly from Class AA to the majors and immediately took over as the team’s starting center fielder. Despite the late start, he finished fifth among all center fielders with eight Defensive Runs Saved on the season.

Strider made his major league debut with two relief appearances in 2021, but made his first start this past May and became a force on the mound, posting a 38.3%  strikeout rate that led the majors among pitchers with at least 130 innings.

Rodriguez debuted on Opening Day and after a slow April was the catalyst for a Mariners club that won 90 games, earned a wild-card berth and defeated Toronto in the opening round of the playoffs. His 6.2 wins above replacement ranked fifth among AL position players and he led all AL outfielders in range factor.

Rutschman produced an .806 OPS in 470 plate appearances for the Orioles, who were 67-55 after Rutschman’s debut. No catcher has earned either AL or NL top rookie honors since San Francisco’s Buster Posey in 2010.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Julio Rodriguez, Michael Harris II win 2022 rookie of the year awards

Source: Yahoo Sports

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