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Mariners OF Julio Rodriguez wins AL Rookie of the Year, Braves’ Michael Harris II wins in NL

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Julio Rodriguez was named AL Rookie of the Year on Monday after a breakthrough campaign in which he surpassed the huge expectations that followed him with the Seattle Mariners.

Atlanta Braves outfielder Michael Harris II won in the NL.

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Seattle called Rodriguez after the conclusion of spring training. The 21-year-old outfielder was one of baseball’s most promising prospects. He made an immediate impact as a baserunner despite repeatedly falling off the wrong side of a bad home court.

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The slow start at the plate did not last long, and Rodriguez was named an All-Star as an elite batsman on base, earning him a place in the Home Run Derby. There, he presented himself to casual baseball fans with a stellar turn, highlighted by 32 explosive rounds that couldn’t be eclipsed.

October 5, 2022;  Seattle, Washington, USA;  Seattle Mariners center Julio Rodriguez (44) returns to the dugout after losing to the Detroit Tigers during the third inning at T-Mobile Park.  Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Julio Rodriguez adds the Rookie of the Year trophy to his remarkable debut season with the Mariners. (Joe Nicholson/Reuters)
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Rodriguez finished the season with a .284/.345/.509 slant line, 28 home runs, 75 RBIs, and 25 stolen bases in 130 starts. His number of stolen bases was ninth in baseball while he finished among the top 30 hitters in MLB home runs. His speed was a known commodity, but he was not expected to rank among the top baseball players as a 6-3, 228-pound batter.

Rodriguez influenced both the standings and the overall score. The Mariners made the playoffs this season for the first time in 21 years, ending the longest off-season drought in major North American sports. They did so when Rodriguez led the team in batting average and stolen bases, as well as their second best home run.

Rodriguez defeated Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutchman and Cleveland Guardians outfielder Stephen Kwan, who were also finalists for the award. Rodriguez received 29 out of 30 first place votes. He celebrated the award with his family.

Rutchman came in second and secured the only first place vote that Rodriguez did not win.

September 9, 2022;  Seattle, Washington, USA;  Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Harris II (23) gives five to teammates in the dugout after hitting a single home run against the Seattle Mariners during the sixth inning at T-Mobile Park.  Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Harris II – NL Rookie of the Year. (Joe Nicholson/Reuters)

Harris wins NL awards

Harris won in the NL after joining the Braves early in the season. Like Rodriguez, Harris established himself as a versatile outfielder on the playoff team who contributed both on the plate and on the base lanes.

The Braves called Harris out of the Double Five in May as they dealt with early-season injuries in the outfield, including All-Star Ronald Acuna Jr. He made an immediate impact as one of Atlanta’s top defensemen and brought the bat to the game. He hasn’t relinquished his place on the MLB roster or in the roster.

Harris started 114 games for Atlanta in which he cut .297/.339/.514 with 19 home runs, 64 RBI, and 20 stolen bases. He played a pivotal role for Atlanta, who won 101 games to clinch the NL East title. In August, The Braves awarded him an eight-year, $72 million contract extension. He signed with Atlanta for the 2030 season.

Harris earned 22 of 30 first-place votes, beating out teammate Spencer Strider, who posted a 2.67 ERA and 11 wins in 20 starts for the Braves. Strider earned the remaining eight first-place votes, with St. Louis Cardinals infielder Brendan Donovan coming in third.


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