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MLB

Who are the 2022 Major League Baseball rookie of the year candidates?

With just over a month of the season left to play, one of MLB’s annual awards has already got a few clear contenders.

Update:
With just over a month left to play, one of MLB’s awards already has a few clear contenders for it.
Lachlan CunninghamAFP

Being a rookie in MLB is not easy. The teams mess with your work clock to ensure more years on a contract, which means you end up playing less than you could or being called up in May when you were ready in April. You get to face better pitchers and hitters than you have ever encountered before and have to adjust to them. You have to earn your playing time among guys who have been with the club for years and know how to be consistent while you are still learning how the league works. In that position, being able to make an impact is even more impressive, so the rookie of the year is an award for both a player who had an astounding season and whose future seems bright. These are the main contenders for the 2022 MLB rookie of the year award in each league:

American League ROY

Julio Rodríguez

Already a star, Rodríguez is a centerfielder with above average defense, elite base running and a great hit tool, but more than anything he is what the Mariners were waiting for. The Dominican 22-year-old has had a spectacular season despite a slow start and a few injuries here and there, breaking some records and smashing a few home runs during the All-Star. He has a 134 OPS+ good enough for 4.4 WAR, which makes him part of the club of amazing Mariners rookies alongside Ken Griffey Jr, Álex Rodríguez and Ichiro Suzuki. Rodríguez has slumped a bit the past few weeks, but he has been part of the Mariners since Opening Day and his impact makes him the frontrunner for the AL award.

Adley Rutschmann

As the Baltimore Orioles expected, Adley Rutschmann “is him”. He was called up later in the season due to injuries but he has been smashing the ball ever since, which combined with his stellar defense at center makes him one of the most valuable players in the league as of now. Rutschmann is breaking Orioles records and accelerating the rebuild in precisely the way fans wanted him to.

Jeremy Peña

The Astros shortstop was put in a tough position as Carlos Correa’s replacement, but the first couple of months made everyone in Texas forget about the now Twins player. Peña showed more pop than expected and an impressive defensive range at age 24 after a few good seasons in the minors, but his bat has quieted down ever since. Peña still has a great 3.6 WAR figure but his league average 99 OPS+ makes it hard for him to compete for the award bar a late season offensive resurgence.

National League ROY

Michael Harris II

When an outfielder is handed a contract for over $100 million during his rookie season, you can easily imagine what his team and the league in general think of him. Harris may not have the most pop or the highest ceiling, but he has showed a level of competency that instantly made him a valuable piece in a Braves team that is contending for the championship once again and can only play good players. Harris is one of them, as his .833 OPS and outfield defense show every day.

Spencer Strider

A team race for the award as the Braves rookie class also has a great pitcher in it, with Strider having already reached 100 innings with a sub-3 ERA, which makes him one of the best pitchers on his team in his rookie season after his first cup of coffee in the majors in 2021. He has an impressive 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings and a 2.05 Fielding independent pitching this season, which just shows that Strider’s dominance is no statistical fluke and may well continue for years down the line.

No other player in the NL stands much of a chance for the award right now, but Seiya Suzuki with the Cubs or Oneil Cruz with the Pirates have also made strong impressions during their rookie years, a complete one in the case of the Japanese and a very short one for the Dominican SS.

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