One of the closest awards races this year is going to be between two Atlanta Braves in Michael Harris and Spencer Strider for National League Rookie of the Year. Strider going to the injured list certainly helps Harris’ case especially if he continues to play well, but both would be very worth contenders in any season.
Baseball America announced their selection of Braves centerfielder Michael Harris II as a finalist for their 2022 MLB Rookie of the Year award which they ultimately awarded to the Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez. Harris won out for consideration for the BA award over teammate Spencer Strider, who himself was also a very serious candidate in the National League. Note that this is the Baseball America award. The official MLB NL Rookie of the Year will not be named until after the season is over.
Who do you think will be announced the winner TONIGHT? pic.twitter.com/aV7xxxdTMa— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) September 26, 2022
Harris, the 21-year old native of Stockbridge, Georgia who grew up a huge Braves fan, put together an impressive rookie season to get the nod in the National League from BA despite less than a full year of at bats. Harris, heading into Monday night, is hitting .305/.346/.535 with 19 homers and 19 steals in 21 attempts over 407 plate appearances while also playing impressive defense at a premium defensive position.
While Strider is an equally deserving candidate, the spark that Harris has given the Braves with his defense and clutch hitting in addition to his .891 OPS, has really helped the team cut the gap that was between them and the first place Mets when he was brought up from the minors for the first time on May 28th. Harris has also been among the most valuable players in all of baseball since that time despite being a 21-year old rookie as he ranks among the leaders in all of Major League Baseball in WAR per 600 plate appearances.
The competition for Harris for the award is a pair of players from the American League in Seattle star outfielder Julio Rodriguez and Baltimore catcher Adley Rutschman. Rodriguez is currently hitting .280/.342/.502 with 27 homers and 25 steals over 549 plate appearances, helping to lead the Mariners toward a playoff push. Rutschman has been a key part in the Orioles 2022 breakout, and has hit .256/.361/.447 with 12 homers in 432 plate appearances.