Following a brilliant rookie year that set multiple records for Major League Baseball and the Mariners, all that’s remaining in the award season for Julio Rodriguez to earn/win is the Jackie Robinson American League Rookie of the Year.
The latest accolade for the Mariners’ precocious superstar came Thursday afternoon when he was announced as one of three outfielders selected in the American League for the Silver Slugger award going to the top hitter in each league at the position. He was joined by Aaron Judge of the Yankees and Mike Trout of the Angels.
Rodriguez already has been named Baseball America’s Major League Rookie of the Year, The Sporting News American League Rookie of the Year and Baseball Digest’s American League Rookie of the Year. He is expected to be named the BBWAA Jackie Robinson American League Rookie of the Year on Monday during a broadcast on MLB Network, starting at 3 p.m. PT.
He was the only member of the Mariners to earn a Silver Slugger award for the 2022 season. His teammate, catcher Cal Raleigh, was named a finalist but was not chosen, despite leading all catchers in MLB with 28 homers. Alejandro Kirk of the Blue Jays was the award for American League catcher.
The last Mariners player to win a Silver Slugger was Nelson Cruz in 2017. He was the only Seattle player to win the award from 2010 to 2022, also taking it home in 2015.
The last Mariners rookie to win a Silver Slugger award was Ichiro, who also won a Gold Glove, was named the American League Rookie of the Year, and the American League MVP in 2001. That’s a pretty good rookie season. To be fair, Ichiro was only a rookie in MLB. He was already a superstar in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and was age 27 in 2001.
Rodriguez won’t win the AL MVP though he’s likely to finish somewhere in the top 10 in the balloting.
Rodriguez, 21, posted a .284/.345/.509 slash line with 84 runs scored, 25 doubles, three triples, 28 home runs, 75 RBI, 40 walks and 25 stolen bases in 132 games this season. He was twice placed on the 10-day injured list in the second half of the season, forcing him to miss 21 games.
He led all major league rookies in home runs, total bases (260), slugging percentage (.509), on-base plus slugging percentage (.853), Baseball Reference WAR (6.0) and FanGraphs WAR (5.3). He ranked second in runs scored, RBI, extra-base hits (57) and stolen bases and third in hits (145).
Rodriguez became just the third rookie in major league history and the first player in his debut season to reach 25 home runs and 25 stolen bases. He also became the fastest player in major league history (125 career games) to reach those feats, surpassing Mike Trout (128 career games).
He is one of four American League players 21 or younger to hit 25+ home runs in his debut season, along with Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio (1936), Ted Williams (1939) and Eddie Murray (1977).
He was named to the American League All-Star team, the only rookie All-Star in 2022. Rodriguez became the third Mariners player 21 or younger to be named an All-Star, joining Ken Griffey Jr. (twice) and Alex Rodriguez (twice). Julio Rodriguez also participated in the MLB Home Run Derby at Dodger Stadium, hitting the most home runs (81) and finishing second to Juan Soto.
Rookies to win a Silver Slugger awards
- 1981 — Fernando Valenzuela (P)
- 1987 — Benito Santiago (catcher)
- 1987 — Matt Nokes (catcher)
- 1989 — Craig Biggio (catcher)
- 1993 — Mike Piazza (catcher)
- 1997 — Nomar Garciaparra (SS)
- 2001 — Ichiro Suzuki (OF)
- 2001 — Albert Pujols (3B)
- 2007 — Micah Owings (P)
- 2012 — Mike Trout (OF)
- 2014 — Jose Abreu (1B)
- 2016 — Corey Seager (SS)
- 2017 — Aaron Judge (OF)
- 2022 — Julio Rodriguez (OF)
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the third AL outfielder who won the award. It was Mike Trout, not Kyle Tucker.