Seattle Mariners rookie sensation Julio Rodriguez got the award season started a little early by being named the Baseball America 2022 Rookie of the Year! This is obviously a well-deserved honor, but it is extra special because Baseball America only gives out one of these awards, they do not give one to an America League rookie and another to a National League rookie. No doubt this is just the first of many awards for his standout rookie year, but let’s look at his numbers more.
Julio Rodriguez has obviously been incredible, but what makes him special is how great all five of his tools are. He can hit, and that has developed more throughout the season. He can hit for power, and we have seen him hit more homers later in the year. He can play a great defensive center field, he has a plus arm, and he has elite speed.
Julio Rodriguez is a special talent and seems like he is just getting started
The most impressive thing about Julio this year has been that he is one of three rookies ever to hit 25 home runs and steal 25 bases. Another key reason that Julio won this prestigious award is that he helped lead the Mariners to the postseason for the first time in over 20 years! Even though he wasn’t playing in the game where the Mariners clinched, he helped put the M’s in a position to make the playoffs.
His overall stats look amazing for the year. He slashed .280/.342/.502 with a 144 wRC+ and an even 5 WAR. Even his statcast metrics are off the charts. He has many red dots on the top of his page, many of which are from his hard-hit percentages, elite speed, and defense in center field. He is in the 93rd percentile in Outs Above Average, and just above average in Outfield Jump. Overall he had a tremendous rookie season, showing off his immense potential.
Not only did he have great numbers on paper, but he also had incredible moments that stand out in everyone’s mind. In Houston, the Astros were throwing at some Mariners players and the benches cleared. In the next half inning, Julio went deep to give the Mariners the lead. There was the go-ahead grand slam in Texas before the All-Star break to give the M’s the lead again. And who could forget the Home Run Derby when Julio introduced himself to the world on a national stage?
All in all, Julio Rodriguez earned his Baseball America Rookie of the Year award undoubtedly. He should absolutely be the winner of the American League Rookie of the Year as well. He is truly an incredibly special player who deserves to be celebrated and cherished. With his near-lifetime contract, he will be the player every Mariners fan will root for in the many years to come.