With the 2022 MLB All-Star game in the rearview mirror, it’s time to get serious about which players are going to be in the running for the end of 2022 MLB season awards. In the National League Rookie of the Year race, one player has separated himself from the rest of the pack. That player is Atlanta Braves pitcher Spencer Strider. Somewhat surprisingly, the only true competition Strider has at the moment comes from his teammate, Braves’ centerfielder Michael Harris.
When the 2021 Major League Baseball season came to an end, Jonathan India of the Cincinnati Reds was a near-unanimous pick for the National League Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award. India was one vote away from a sweep for the award. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America, which votes on the award, had India with 29 first-place votes. The runner-up for the award, Trevor Rogers of the Miami Marlins, had one first-place vote and 26 second-place votes. Dylan Carlson of the St. Louis Cardinals was the only other player to earn second-place votes, with three.
India was the eighth player from the Reds to win the award. He joined Scott Williamson (1999), Chris Sabo (1988), Pat Zachry (1976), Johnny Bench (1968), Tommy Helms (1966), Pete Rose (1963), and Frank Robinson (1956).
2022 NL Rookie of the Year Award picks
|To Win 2022 National League Rookie of the Year|
Spencer Strider started the 2022 MLB season in the bullpen for the Atlanta Braves. The 23-year-old right-hander moved to the starting rotation in May after he posted a 2.22 ERA to go along with a 38.9 percent strikeout rate in 24 1/3 innings of relief work.
Strider has started 13 games for the Braves. His overall numbers this season have him posting a 3.11 ERA with 138 strikeouts.
The Cleveland Indians selected Strider in the 35th round of the 2017 MLB draft. Strider did not sign with Cleveland. Instead, he enrolled at Clemson. An injury in 2019 forced Strider to undergo Tommy John surgery. The Braves then picked him in the fourth round of the 2020 MLB draft.
Michael Harris is third on the Atlanta Braves in batting average at .286. The 21-year-old outfielder has played in 63 games for the club since getting the call to join the MLB team from the Class AA Mississippi Braves. At the time he got the call, Harris was the youngest player on an MLB roster.
The Braves selected Harris in the third round of the 2019 MLB entry draft. Harris has ten home runs, 33 RBIs, an OBP of .322 and an OPS of .804 since joining the big league club.
Oneil Cruz was one of the preseason favorites to win the 2022 NL Rookie of the Year. However, the shortstop did not make the Pittsburgh Pirates roster out of spring training. The Pirates called up Cruz in June.
Cruz has played in 41 games for the Pirates. He is hitting .204 with nine home runs and 32 RBIs. Cruz has an OBP of .247 and an OPS of .688.
The Los Angeles Dodgers selected Cruz, who hails from the Dominican Republic, as an international free agent in 2015. Los Angeles traded Cruz to the Pirates along with Angel German for Tony Watson in 2017.
The 23-year-old has fallen from his position at the top of the Rookie of the Year leaderboard and is now a longshot to win the NL award for a best first-year player.
The Atlanta Braves have not had a Rookie of the Year winner since 2018, when Ronald Acuna Jr. earned those honors. That looks like it will change in 2022. With the progress, Spencer Strider has made this year and the consistency he has shown, Strider looks like he will get the nod over teammate Michael Harris.
Pick: Spencer Strider to win the 2022 National League Rookie of the Year.
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