Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Harris II wins National League Rookie of the Year award

Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Harris II (23) makes a running catch on a fly ball from...
Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Harris II (23) makes a running catch on a fly ball from New York Mets Jon Berti in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)(John Bazemore | AP)
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 9:10 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) (AP) - Seattle’s Julio Rodríguez and Atlanta’s Michael Harris II had a lot in common — perhaps too much.

The 21-year-old center fielders were voted Rookies of the Year on Monday after seasons of power and speed that both ended in early postseason elimination.

Rodriguez hit .284 with 28 homers, 75 RBIs, and 25 stolen bases in helping the Mariners reach the postseason for the first time since 2001. He won the American League honor by receiving 29 of 30 first-place votes and one second for 148 points from a Baseball Writers’ Association of America panel.

“I went through some shaky times at the beginning of the year, but I was able to stick to myself, trust myself,” said Rodriguez, who made the Mariners’ opening-day roster and hit .205 in April.

“All the doubts I had throughout the year,” he said, “I know it’s going to serve me well along my career.”

Harris batted .297 with 19 homers, 64 RBIs, and 20 steals after making his debut on May 28. He was voted the National League award, getting 22 firsts and eight seconds for 134 points from a different BBWAA panel.

Seattle advanced past Toronto in the new wild-card round, then was swept by eventual champion Houston in the Division Series. Defending champion Atlanta lost a four-game Division Series to Philadelphia.

Baltimore catcher Adley Rutschman was second in the AL with 68 points, getting the other first-place vote, 18 seconds, and nine-thirds.

Cleveland left fielder Steven Kwan was third with 10 seconds and 14-thirds for 44 points. Kansas City infielder Bobby Witt Jr. had seven points, and Houston shortstop Jeremy Peña finished fifth with two points.

Voting was conducted before the postseason; Peña was voted MVP of the AL Championship Series and World Series.

Atlanta pitcher Spencer Strider was second with the other eight first-place votes on the NL side and 21 seconds for 103 points. Cardinals utilityman Brendan Donovan was third with 22 third-place votes and 22 points.

Rodríguez, the only rookie at this year’s All-Star Game, became the fifth Seattle player to win the honor after first baseman Alvin Davis in 1984, right-handed reliever Kazuhiro Sasaki in 2000, right fielder Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 (when he also was voted MVP) and center fielder Kyle Lewis in 2020.

Rodríguez is excited about a planned offseason parade in his hometown in the Dominican Republic.

Harris is the seventh Atlanta player to win the award, joining catcher/infielder Earl Williams in 1971, third baseman Bob Horner in 1978, outfielder/first baseman David Justice in 1990, shortstop Rafael Fucal in 2000, reliever Craig Kimbrel in 2011, and outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. in 2018.

Rodríguez and the Mariners agreed in August to a $209.3 million, 12-year contract starting next season that would be worth $469.6 million over 17 years if he wins two MVP awards.