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MLB: Rookie of the Year contenders

Earlier this week the 2022 Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) revealed finalists for Rookie of the Year, Cy Young Award, Manager of the Year and Most Valuable Player.

Here we look at who are the candidates for the Rookie of the Year awards in the American League and the National League.

American League

Steven Kwan (Cleveland Guardians)

Steven Kwan is a 25-year-old from California,who hit .298 with six home runs and 19 stolen bases in 147 starts for the Guardians this year.

Kwan was one of only six qualified hitters to have more walks than strikeouts (62 to 60) and he also won the Gold Glove Award last week.

Speaking to the official Guardians website, Kwan said: "It's an extreme blessing. I think at the beginning of the year I didn't know what my role would be.

"I really thought I would be a fourth guy in the outfield, maybe get in for a pinch run or something, maybe a bunt off the bench, but I've been very fortunate I had a role that I fulfilled and helped the team win a couple of times. It's very humbling."

Julio Rodriguez (Seattle Mariners)

Julio Rodriguez was named as Baseball America's Rookie of the Year a few weeks ago, the 21-year-old helped Seattle reach their first postseason in 21 years. He batted .284 with 28 home runs and 25 stolen bases.

Rodriguez also became one of only three rookies ever to hit both 25 home runs and steal 25 bases in the same season.

Rodriguez spoke to Baseball America and said: "Since I found out that the Mariners have never been to a World Series, I honestly kind of, like, took that to heart.

"Just like man, I’m part of this organisation and I'm trying to change that."

The Mariners didn't quite make it this year to the World Series, but as they have signed Rodriguez to a multi-year deal worth $120million over eight years, following that there will be multiple team options that could see Rodriguez reach around $400m in bonuses.

Speaking about his big contract offer for a rookie Rodriguez said: "I mean, what can I say? I'm just happy to be a Mariner. I'm just happy to be a Mariner for as long as I can."

Adley Rutschman (Baltimore Orioles)

Adley Rutschman had a rookie season for the Orioles where he had a .254 batting average with 13 home runs and 42 runs batted in.

The 24-year-old is a former first pick in the 2019 draft and as the Orioles complete their lengthy rebuild, he's one for the future.

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National League

Brendan Donovan (St. Louis Cardinals)

Twenty-five-year-old Brendan Donovan had a .281 batting average and is known for his defensive versatility in playing six different positions during the season.

Donovan has also won the National League’s first ever utility position Gold Glove Award. Donovan had a .394 on-base percentage which led all rookies and was second on the Cardinals team behind NL MVP candidate, Paul Goldschmidt.

Michael Harris II (Atlanta Braves)

Michael Harris II didn't arrive in the Majors until late May and immediately showcased his defensive prowess and solid approach in the batter's box.

Harris hit .297 with 19 home runs and 20 stolen bases, he was second on the team in stolen bases. Amongst all rookies, his 5.3 WAR (wins above replacement) was the highest in all of baseball.

Baseball Digest already has named Harris as rookie of the year. Sporting News also named him as a Rookie of the Year candidate at the end of October, so he will be a strong candidate for the title this year.

Harris was promoted from Double-A and solidified Atlanta’s defence with his play in centre field.

Spencer Strider (Atlanta Braves)

What a season for pitcher Spencer Strider, having begun the campaign in the bullpen for the Atlanta Braves.

Strider wasn't made a starter in the Braves’ roster till the end of May and the move clearly paid off for Atlanta and team manager Brian Snitker. 

The 24-year-old posted an 11-5 record for the year with a 2.67 ERA along with 202 strikeouts. Strider's 16 strikeouts against the Colorado Rockies on the first day of September were the most by any pitcher in a single game all season.

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