MLB Rookie of the Year: National League

Michael Harris II wins the NL Rookie of the Year award.
John Bazemore – AP Photo

The award season for MLB has already begun with Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winners, but now they are on to the big-time awards. The first major award given out was the coveted Rookie of the Year. The rookies this season were incredibly special and made this season wonderful to watch all the way through. Here is a look at the winner from the National League, a new leader for an unstoppable team.

The National League also featured some remarkable first-year talent this season. The three finalists were Michael Harris II and Spencer Strider of the Atlanta Braves, and Brendan Donovan of the St. Louis Cardinals. These three guys were pivotal to the success of their teams, but the production that came from Harris II was unrivaled.

Harris II became the ninth Rookie of the Year winner in the storied history the Braves. Much like the Mariners, it has not been a long time since they had someone win this award. Back in 2018, it was the remarkable Ronald Acuna Jr. who put on a show and won the award.

A Helpful Harris

It took until the end of May for Harris II to finally get his shot, but his production was immediate. In his first game on May 28, he record his first MLB hit. On June 2nd, his sixth game, he had his first multi-hit game as he went 3-5 and scored two runs. Less than two weeks later on June 14 he went 3-5 with two RBI. Overall in June, he posted a wild .347 AVG (35-101) with four homers and 16 RBI.

As if he was not doing enough he one-upped himself on July 8th when he went 4-4 with four RBI and three runs scored. After a massive June, it was a bit of a disappointing July with a .222 AVG but he still racked up five homers and 15 RBI.

He got back to his hitting ways of June with a spectacular final two months. In August he had a .337 (32-95) AVG and then he wrapped up the season with a September where he posted a .324 AVG (33-102). Over the final two months, he combined for 10 homers, 34 RBI and 44 runs scored.

Over 114 games he posted a .297 batting average with 123 hits, 27 doubles, 19 homers and 64 RBI. He had some of the best months that a rookie could ever possibly dream to have. It was rather similar to Acuna Jr. in 2018 who hit .336 and .303 in his final two months respectively. In the year following their World Series title, they found themselves with one of the greatest rookies in Braves history. His presence was massive for their NL East title.

Runners Up

Harris II provided the offense while Spender Strider provided the incredible pitching. Over 31 games, 20 of which were starts, he went 131.2 innings with an 11-5 record. He posted a 2.67 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, .180 batting average against and 202 strikeouts. He started the season in a reliever role, but once he became a starter he was very impressive. Across his final 16 starts, he had 10 outings of six or more innings. He also had six starts with 10 or more strikeouts, including a career-high 16 on September 1st. He is going to be a hitter’s nightmare for many years to come.

The Cardinals had an amazing season as they tore apart their NL Central opponents. They got insane production out of their proven stars in Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, but they were more than happy with what they got from Brendan Donovan. In 126 games he had a .281 AVG with 110 hits, 21 doubles, five homers, 60 walks and 45 RBI. If the Cardinals are going to continue to succeed they need Donovan to keep up this great work.

The 2022 rookie class provided an immense amount of entertainment and jaw-dropping moments. It was a wonderful class of rookies, but Michael Harris II made the most notable impact. The Rooke of the Year winners and runner-ups are going to be even more impressive to watch next season now that they have shown what they are capable of. Now the baseball world waits to see which rookies in 2023 are worthy of this special award.

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