Julio Rodriguez, the Seattle Mariners’ dynamic young center fielder, was named the American League Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Monday, edging out Baltimore Orioles wide receiver Adley Rutschman and Cleveland left fielder GuardiansSteven Kwan.
Rodriguez received 29 of 30 first-place votes and a second for 148 points from a Baseball Writers’ Association of America panel. Rutschman came in second with one vote for first place, 18 votes for second place and nine thirds. Kwan came third with Royals infielder Bobby Witt Jr., Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena and Mariners pitcher George Kirby also receiving votes.
Rodriguez electrified the city of Seattle and captivated an entire nation of baseball fans with his youthful exuberance, pronounced swagger and varied talent. At 21, he slashed .284/.345/.509 with 28 home runs, 25 stolen bases and 25 doubles while propelling the Mariners to their first playoff spot since 2001, ending the longest active drought among the major four sports. North American professionals.
Along the way, Rodriguez has always stood out in the big points, dazzling with his defense, power and speed. His FanGraphs 5.3 wins over substitution tied Rutschman’s for the rookie lead and was only topped by 21 position players throughout the sport.
Rodriguez is the fifth Mariners player to win Rookie of the Year, following Alvin Davis (1984), Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000), Ichiro Suzuki (2001) and Kyle Lewis (2020).
Only two other players since 1900 have racked up at least 28 home runs, 25 stolen bases and 25 doubles in their seasons aged 21 or younger — Mike Trout and Andruw Jones. Rodriguez is the first player to combine 25 home runs with 25 stolen bases in his first major league season and the third to do so while still eligible as a rookie, along with Trout and Chris Young, according to ESPN Stats & Research. Information.
Rutschman finished with a slant line of .254/.362/.445 to go along with 13 home runs and 35 doubles while handling the rigors behind home plate. The Orioles, widely expected to finish last in the hyper-competitive AL East, started the 2022 season 16-24 but went 67-55 after Rutschman’s debut on May 21, nearly making the playoffs.
Kwan, already one of the most skilled hitters in the sport, hit .298/.373/.400 with 168 hits, the most by a Cleveland rookie in the expansion era (since 1961). The only Majors player with a higher contact rate last season was Minnesota Twins infielder Luis Arraez, who won the AL batting title.
The Mariners envisioned Rodriguez as a potential star when they signed him out of the Dominican Republic for $1.75 million in the summer of 2017, but he presented himself more as a hard-hitting corner fielder. Rodriguez has worked to transform into a five-tool center fielder, navigating the Mariners’ minor league system — despite losing an entire season to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 — and opening the roster for team for opening day this spring.
Rodriguez struggled mightily in his first month, posting a .544 OPS during that streak, but he recovered enough to make the All-Star team and eventually put on a show in the Dodger Stadium Home Run Derby.
Less than two months later, the Mariners rewarded him with a long-term extension that will net him between $210 million and $470 million over the span of his career, an unprecedented – and highly incentive – deal for someone with less than one full year of major league service.
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