The winner of the 2022 Jackie Robinson American League Rookie of the Year is Seattle Mariners' superstar Julio Rodríguez, MLB announced Monday night. Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman finished second with Cleveland Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan coming in third.
Astros shortstop Jeremy Peña, the ALCS and World Series MVP, was not a finalist for Rookie of the Year, but finished fifth in the voting. Here are the voting results from the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA):
- Julio Rodríguez, Mariners (29 first-place votes)
- Adley Rutschman, Orioles (one first-place vote)
- Steven Kwan, Guardians
- Bobby Witt Jr., Royals
- Jeremy Peña, Astros
- George Kirby, Mariners
A fellow center fielder -- Michael Harris II of the Braves --.
Rodríguez, 21, made the Mariners out of spring training instead of being sent down for a weeks to for purposes of service-time manipulation. He got off to a slow start, but having the full season meant he had plenty of time to adapt on the fly and he did so. He caught fire starting with a 2-for-4 game on April 22, hitting .298/.357/.542 with 24 doubles, three triples, 28 home runs, 73 RBI, 80 runs and 21 stolen bases in his last 120 games. Along the way, he played great defense in center field for a team that snapped a 20-plus year playoff drought.
On the season, Rodríguez had 6.2 WAR on Baseball-Reference (bWAR) and 5.3 on Fangraphs (fWAR). He clubbed 28 homers and stole 25 bases, making him the third rookie in history to go 25-25 and the fastest ever to those marks (125 games), beating Mike Trout's previous record of 128.
Rodríguez now adds the AL Rookie of the Year award to his mantle alongside his Silver Slugger after he was an All-Star and made some noise in the Home Run Derby. He signed a monster contract extension that'll likely keep him in Seattle for the next decade-plus while he's making generational money. Quite an age-21 year, huh?
The runner-up, Rutschman, gets a full year of service time despite having only appeared in 113 games, thanks to the top-two Rookie of the Year finishers stipulation in the new collective bargaining agreement. In those 113 games, Rutschman hit .254/.362/.445 (128 OPS+) with 35 dobules, a triple, 13 home runs, 42 RBI, 70 runs, four stolen bases, 5.2 bWAR and 5.3 fWAR.
He threw out 11 of the 36 would-be basestealers, which is 31 percent caught stealing against a league average of 25 percent. He only allowed two passed balls all season. The Orioles' pitching staff had a 3.97 ERA on the season, but it was 3.78 when Rutschman caught.
Kwan, 25, hit .298/.373/.400 (124 OPS+, heavy on the OBP) with 25 doubles, seven triples, six homers, 52 RBI, 89 runs, 19 steals, 5.5 bWAR and 4.4 fWAR. He rated out as one of the top defensive left fielders in baseball and was a catalyst at the top of the batting order for a division champion.
The rest of the BBWAA awards will be handed out this week, with Manager of the Year on Tuesday, Cy Young honors on Wednesday and MVP on Thursday.