Seattle called Rodriguez up after the conclusion of spring training. The 21-year-old outfielder was one of baseball's top prospects. He made an immediate impact as a baserunner despite repeatedly falling on the wrong end of poor home-plate umpiring.
A slow start at the plate didn't last long, and Rodriguez was named an All-Star as an elite base stealer with a bat that earned him a spot in the Home Run Derby. There, he introduced himself to casual baseball fans with a star turn highlighted by a 32-blast round that would not be eclipsed.
Rodriguez finished the season with a .284/.345/.509 slash line, 28 home runs, 75 RBI and 25 stolen bases in 130 starts. His stolen-base tally was ninth-best in baseball, while he finished among MLB's top 30 home run hitters. His speed was a known commodity coming in, but he wasn't expected to rank among baseball's best base stealers as a 6-3, 228-pound slugger.
Rodriguez made an impact in the standings as well as the box score. The Mariners made the playoffs this season for the first time in 21 years, ending the longest postseason drought in major North American sports. They did so with Rodriguez hitting leadoff as the team's leader in batting average and stolen bases and their second-best home-run hitter.
Rodriguez beat out Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman and Cleveland Guardians outfielder Steven Kwan, who were fellow finalists for the award. Rodriguez received 29 of 30 first-place votes. He celebrated the award with his family.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) November 15, 2022
Rutschman finished in second place and secured the lone first-place vote Rodriguez didn't win.
Harris wins NL honors
Harris won in the NL after ingraining himself in the Braves lineup as an early-season callup. Much like Rodriguez, Harris established himself as a versatile outfielder on a playoff team who contributed at the plate and on the base paths.
The Braves called Harris up from Double-A in May as they dealt with early-season outfield injuries, including to All-Star Ronald Acuña Jr. He made an immediate impact as one of Atlanta's best defenders and brought a bat to match. He didn't relinquish his spot on the MLB roster or in the lineup.
Harris started 114 games for Atlanta, where he slashed .297/.339/.514 with 19 home runs, 64 RBI and 20 stolen bases. He played a key role for Atlanta as it won 101 games and secured the NL East title. The Braves rewarded him in August with an eight-year contract extension valued at $72 million. He's signed in Atlanta through the 2030 season.
Harris earned 22 of 30 first-place votes, beating out teammate Spencer Strider, who posted a 2.67 ERA and 11 wins in 20 starts for the Braves. Strider earned the remaining eight first-place votes, while St. Louis Cardinals infielder Brendan Donovan finished in third place.