2022 MLB Rookie of the Year Is One Fascinating Race

2022 MLB Rookie
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The 2022 MLB Rookie of the Year race is coming to a close. With two weeks left of the season, these rookie players have performed best as part of a strong first-year class. Both leagues feature a few up-and-comers who have the potential to be future stars of the game. Here’s a final look at the main front runners for each league’s 2022 MLB Rookie of the Year Award. 

(Editors note: All stats are through Monday)

2022 MLB Rookie of the Year Race

American League

Adley Rutschman

2022 stats: .257/.367/.453, 97 G, 61 R, 87 H, 31 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 36 RBI, 3 SB, 71 K

Adley Rutschman is quickly becoming the best overall catcher in baseball. He’s also helping the Baltimore Orioles make a push for the playoffs. But, he was limited to only 10 games in May, hitting .180 (7-for-39) with two doubles. Despite the slow start for Rustchman, the Orioles are 65-50 since his call-up. The 24-year-old catcher is .257/.363/.453 with a 136 wRC+. The franchise hasn’t had a face since the Cal Ripken Jr. days, but they do now with Rutschman.

Julio Rodríguez

2022 stats: .279/.343/503, 126 G, 80 R, 137 H, 23 2B, 3 3B, 27 HR, 73 RBI, 25 SB, 140 K

The Seattle Mariners have their first five-tool star since Ken Griffey Jr. Julio Rodríguez leads all rookies with 27 home runs, 73 RBI, and 80 runs. The 21-year-old is the third rookie in MLB history with a 25-25 season. In addition, he’s the fastest to reach the plateau at 125 games, surpassing Mike Trout’s record of 128. Before May 1, Rodríguez hit .205 with no home runs in 20 games. Since his first career homer on May 19, he’s been hitting .287/.352/.561. 

Bobby Witt Jr.

2022 stats: .247/.289/.434, 136 G, 73 R, 132 H, 27 2B, 6 3B, 20 HR, 74 RBI, 27 SB, 123 K

Bobby Witt Jr. is an electric power-speed threat, just like Rodríguez. He has 20 home runs with 27 stolen bases, which ranks fourth in the AL. Witt became the fifth rookie in MLB history to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in his first season. He has slashed .247/.289/.434 with 27 doubles, six triples, 20 homers, 74 RBI and 27 steals. According to Stacast, he’s one of the fastest players in the AL, and he’s made great improvements defensively at third base. Witt can potentially join both the 30/30 and 40/40 clubs in future seasons.

National League

Spencer Strider

2022 stats: 11-5, 2.67 ERA, 31 G, 202 K, 45 BB, 131 2/3 IP, 0.995 WHIP, 155 ERA+

Spencer Strider was a fourth-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. Now, he continues to lead the way in the NL Rookie of the Year race. He became the first rookie in the Modern Era to record a 200-strikeout season. On September 1, Strider tossed a career-high eight innings against the Colorado Rockies, setting an Atlanta Braves franchise record with 16 strikeouts in the game. The Braves are 13-7 in games started by the young right-hander, who’s posted a 2.77 ERA in those 20 outings. 

Michael Harris II

2022 stats: .305/.344/541, 99 G, 69 R, 109 H, 26 2B, 2 3B, 18 HR, 58 RBI, 16 SB, 93 K

Strider’s teammate, Michael Harris, is the reigning NL Rookie of the Month. Harris hit .337 with a .990 OPS, four homers and five steals in August. With the honors, he’s hitting .305 with 18 home runs and a .885 OPS in the first 99 games of his career. Even though he debuted in the final week of May, Harris entered Monday leading all NL rookies with a 4.3 fWAR. The centerfielder appears to be a legitimate five-tool threat who will be a part of Atlanta’s outfield for the next eight years. 

Brendan Donovan

2022 stats: .282/.391/.373, 113 G, 55 R, 99 H, 18 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 40 RBI, 2 SB, 65 K

Brendan Donovan is the St. Louis Cardinals‘ most versatile player. His ability to get on base has been crucial to the Cardinals this season. Donovan has played all four infield positions, including right and left field. He’s reached base at a 39% clip as he provided 21 extra-base hits in 310 at-bats. He owns the fourth-highest offensive runs above average (wRAA) of any rookie as he protects the Cardinals from injuries all over the field.

Other Rookies: José Miranda, George Kirby, Jeremy Peña, Jake McCarthy, Seiya Suzuki, Oneil Cruz

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Players mentioned:

Adley Rutschman, Cal Ripken Jr., Julio Rodríguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Trout, Bobby Witt Jr., Spencer Strider, Michael Harris II, Brendan Donovan, José Miranda, George KirbyJeremy Peña, Jake McCarthy, Seiya Suzuki, Oneil Cruz