MLB Rookies of the Year 2022: Julio Rodríguez, Michael Harris II Win AL, NL Awards

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVNovember 15, 2022

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 11: Julio Rodriguez #44 of the Seattle Mariners reacts after scoring a run against the Houston Astros during the first inning in game one of the American League Division Series at Minute Maid Park on October 11, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Seattle Mariners star Julio Rodríguez and Atlanta Braves star Michael Harris II were honored as the top rookies in the American and National Leagues on Monday.

Rodríguez topped the AL Rookie of the Year ballot in decisive fashion, collecting 29 first-place votes.

Seattle Mariners @Mariners

🏆 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JulioROYriguez?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#JulioROYriguez</a> 🏆 <a href="https://twitter.com/JRODshow44?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JRODshow44</a> is the 2022 Jackie Robinson AL Rookie of the Year!<br><br>🔗 <a href="https://t.co/DSckxHh5Jw">https://t.co/DSckxHh5Jw</a> <a href="https://t.co/NEZs2PSZlK">pic.twitter.com/NEZs2PSZlK</a>

Baseball Is Dead @baseballisdead_

Imagine not voting JRod for Rookie of the Year 🤔 <a href="https://t.co/hvPokEjx0M">https://t.co/hvPokEjx0M</a>

Harris had a somewhat slimmer 22-8 margin on teammate Spencer Strider for first-place votes in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.

Atlanta Braves @Braves

Congratulations to <a href="https://twitter.com/MoneyyyMikeee?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MoneyyyMikeee</a> on being named the 2022 National League Rookie of the Year!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForTheA?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForTheA</a> <a href="https://t.co/w6JtMWJTzK">pic.twitter.com/w6JtMWJTzK</a>

Rodríguez was the heavy favorite in the American League after he established himself as a franchise cornerstone while helping guide Seattle to the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

The 21-year-old finished with 28 home runs, 75 RBI and a .284/.345/.509 slash line. Despite only appearing in 132 games, he was 21st in WAR (5.3) among position players and tied for 14th in wOBA (.366).

Baseball Reference @baseball_ref

Julio Rodríguez is the American League Rookie of the Year! 🏆<br><br>Rodríguez was the 3rd rookie ever to have 25+ home runs and 25+ stolen bases.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Mariners?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Mariners</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SeaUsRise?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SeaUsRise</a> <a href="https://t.co/UUbJ6PtEXl">pic.twitter.com/UUbJ6PtEXl</a>

Beyond his contributions on the field, Rodríguez's youthful exuberance symbolized a new era for the Mariners. He's the organization's best young talent since Alex Rodriguez, and the comparisons to Ken Griffey Jr. are inescapable, though not embraced by the man himself.

"Quit comparing him to me," Griffey told The Athletic's Sam Blum in July. "Let that man create his own path."

The Mariners have already tied Rodríguez down with a 12-year, $209.3 million extension. He'll be calling the Pacific Northwest home for a long time, and there's no reason to believe the success he and the team enjoyed in 2022 represents a false dawn.

Ben Verlander @BenVerlander

Julio Rodriguez is going to be one of the all-time greats. <br><br>There. I said it. <br><br>What a pleasure to watch him this year. An absolute stud and I can’t wait to watch his career play out

While the National League lacked a clear consensus pick, the Rookie of the Year battle was widely considered a two-horse race between Strider and Harris.

Strider wasted little time in becoming the ace of Atlanta's staff. In 131.2 innings the right-hander struck out 202 batters and posted a 1.83 FIP. According to Baseball Savant, he ranked in the 97th percentile in expected batting average (.179) and in the 96th percentile in expected slugging (.279).

Harris, meanwhile, provided an immediate impact after getting called up in May. The center fielder finished with an .853 OPS and a 135 OPS+ in 114 appearances. He helped the Braves lead the majors in slugging (.443) and isolated power (.190), per FanGraphs.

Atlanta acted quickly to reward both players for their efforts. Strider signed a six-year, $75 million extension, and Harris put pen to paper on an eight-year, $72 million deal.

The Braves have won five straight NL East titles, and their dominance of the division may not be winding down anytime soon.