Julio Rodriguez and Michael Harris II did far more than outshine their rookie classes in the American and National leagues this season. They also pushed their respective clubs to heights not reached in decades while serving notice they may be perennial All-Star performers.
Rodriguez was named the AL’s rookie of the year and Harris the NL honoree in balloting announced Monday night by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Rodriguez, 21, was named an All-Star and a Silver Slugger in his first season and finished the season with 28 home runs, 25 stolen bases and an .853 OPS in 132 games as Seattle reached the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
Harris, 21, debuted on May 28, joining an Atlanta team that was 22-24 and 7 1/2 games behind the New York Mets in the NL East. But the Braves went 79-37 after Harris joined them to win 101 games – topping 100 for the first time since 2003 – and run down the Mets in the East.
In addition to his Gold Glove caliber defense, Harris hit .297 with 19 home runs and 20 stolen bases, outpointing teammate Spencer Strider to become the third Atlanta player in the past 12 years to be named the league’s top rookie.
Current Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. (2018) and free agent reliever Craig Kimbrel (2011) also won the award.
Harris received 22 of 30 first-place votes and 134 total points in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Strider received the other eight first-place votes and finished second with 103 points. St. Louis Cardinals infielder Brendan Donovan finished third.
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Rodriguez received 29 of 30 first place votes, topping Baltimore catcher Adley Rutschman and Cleveland outfielder Steven Kwan to become the second Mariners rookie honoree in three seasons, joining outfielder Kyle Lewis, the 2020 winner. Rutschman received the other first-place vote.
Kansas City Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. finished fourth while Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Peña received two third-place votes to finish fifth in balloting conducted before the postseason.
Harris, 21, was promoted directly from Class AA to the majors and…