Julio Rodriguezthe dynamic young Seattle Mariners midfielder was named American League Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Monday, beating the Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley traction man and Cleveland Guardians left fielder StevenKwan.
Rodriguez received 29 out of 30 votes for first place and a second for 148 points from a panel of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. rutschman finished second with one vote for first place, 18 votes for second place, and nine thirds. Kwan finished third with Royals infielder Bobby Witt Jr., Astro’s shortstop Jeremy Pena and Mariner’s pitcher George Kirby also get votes.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) November 15, 2022
Rodriguez electrified the city of Seattle and captivated a nation of baseball fans with his youthful exuberance, distinct swagger and wide-ranging talent. At 21, he was hitting .284/.345/.509 with 28 home runs, 25 stolen bases and 25 doubles while propelling the Mariners to their first postseason berth since 2001 and breaking the longest active drought among the big four North American pro sports.
Along the way, Rodriguez kept coming through at big points, dazzling with his defense, power and speed. His 5.3 FanGraphs wins over backup tied Slipman’s for the rookie lead and was surpassed by just 21 positional players in the entire sport.
Rodriguez is the fifth Mariners player to win the Rookie of the Year title after Alvin Davis (1984), Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000), Ichiro Suzuki (2001). Kyle Lewis (2020).
Only two other players since 1900 have accumulated at least 28 homers, 25 stolen bases, and 25 doubles in their 21-year-old or younger seasons – Mike Trout and Andrew Jones. Rodriguez is the first player ever to combine 25 home runs with 25 stolen bases in his freshman season in the major leagues, and the third to do so while still qualified as a rookie, along with Trout and Chris Young, according to the investigation from ESPN Stats & Information.
rutschman finished with a .254/.362/.445 slash to keep up with 13 homers and 35 doubles while navigating the strains off home plate. The Orioles, who are widely expected to finish bottom in the hard-fought AL East, started the 2022 season 16-24 but went 67-55 after TRUCKMAN’s debut on May 21 and nearly made the playoffs .
Already one of the sport’s most experienced batsmen, Kwan hit .298/.373/.400 with 168 hits, the most by a Cleveland rookie in the expansion era (since 1961). The only player in the majors with a higher contact rate last season was the Minnesota Twins infielder Luis Arraezwho won the AL batting title.
The Mariners saw Rodriguez as a potential star when they signed him for $1.75 million from the Dominican Republic in the summer of 2017, but he profiled himself more as an outfielder with a powerful corner. Rodriguez worked to transform into a five-tool midfielder, zoomed through the Mariners’ minor-league system – despite losing a full season in 2020 to the COVID-19 pandemic – and cracked the opening day list this spring teams.
Rodriguez struggled mightily in his freshman month, averaging .544 OPS during that stretch, but he recovered enough to make the All-Star Team and eventually put on a show during the Home Run Derby from Dodger Stadium.
“I went through some shaky times earlier in the year but I was able to hold on to myself, trust myself,” said Rodriguez. “With all the doubts I’ve had all year, I know it will serve me well in my career.”
The Mariners eventually rewarded Rodriguez with a long-term renewal that will net him between $210 million and $470 million over the course of his career, an unprecedented — and highly motivated — contract for someone with less than a full year of major league service.