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Julio Rodriguez, Michael Harris II are MLB’s rookies of the year

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Two of baseball’s youngest players took home Player of the Year awards Monday night, when the Seattle Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez and Atlanta Braves’ Michael Harris II were announced as winners of the American and National League, respectively.

Harris and Rodríguez, both 21-year-olds, are tied for third among major league center fielders in on-base percentage plus slugging (. 853), trailing only the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge (1.111) and Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout (.999). Rodriguez finished third among quarterbacks with 28 home runs. Only Judge (62) and Trout (40) had more.

Rodriguez, who spent the entire season at the Mariners’ center center, won 29 out of 30 first-place votes. The other went to Adley Rutschman of the Baltimore Orioles, who was called up in May but still finished second among major league catchers in FanGraphs account gains above replacement.

“To be able to win this Rookie of the Year award is absolutely amazing,” Rodriguez said. “You only get one chance to do that in your career, and to be able to win it feels so good.”

Harris’ closest competition came from his teammate, Spencer Stryder. Harris received 22 first place votes, with Stryder receiving the other eight. Strider, 24, rode an explosive fastball to a 2.67 ERA and averaged nearly 14 strikeouts per nine innings pitched over 131 pitches.

“I was just waiting for them to say a name, and I was kind of expecting Spencer. I feel like we were one and two,” Harris said. “It was kind of surprising to hear my name after coming in halfway through the season. … I really didn’t expect this. “

Rodríguez is one of the brightest rising stars in the game, and one player declared him potentially the centerpiece of a Mariners renaissance long before he became the fifth player in franchise history to be their Rookie of the Year. He finished second to Juan Soto On his first home run. He became the third rookie in history to hit 25 homers and steal 25 bases.

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He helped lead the Mariners to their first postseason appearance since he was less than a year old — albeit on the biggest playoff field ever in an entire season. He is under contract through at least the 2029 season after signing a 12-year contract It is said to include options for both sides Along the way, incentives that could boost the contract value to more than $400 million.

Atlanta called up Class AA Harris in late May, giving him four months to establish himself in an experienced lineup just one year after winning the World Series. He compiled a nearly 20-20 season, settling for 19 homers and 20 stolen bases in 114 games. The Atlanta-area native has become the latest to sign long-term with the five-time defending NL East champion When he signed an eight-year, $72 million deal in August.

“I thought I had at least another year in the minors — at least,” Harris said. “…but I always said to myself whenever I got a chance to call my name, I would do everything I could and make all the adjustments to make sure I stayed.”

Thanks to the new negotiation provisions in a collective bargaining agreementRodríguez earned the Mariners an extra pick after the first round. Rodríguez was among their top 100 prospects when the Mariners named him to their opening roster. The players’ association was keen to motivate teams to put promising rookies on the roster to start the season rather than wait until the perfect moment to extend their years of dominance in the team.

“Whenever they said, ‘Okay, we’ll just play you; if you can do it, we’ll take you,’ I was really grateful for the opportunity,” Rodriguez said.

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The CBA also calls for Stryder and Rochman to give runner-up finishers a full year of service time despite their mid-season call-up and includes provisions for each winner to receive a portion of a pre-arbitration bonus pool intended to compensate young players more proportionately to their contributions than their minimum allowable amount of time. MLB salaries. Any pre-judgemental player who finishes in the top five in MVP or Cy Young voting or in the top two for Rookie of the Year awards gets a portion of the $50 million pool.

Harris and Rodriguez have, of course, agreed deals that guarantee them far more money than most players who win this award are guaranteed. So did Stryder, who agreed to a six-year, $75 million deal as part of Atlanta’s plan to sign all of their most promising young players long-term. Rutschman, the #1 draft pick in 2019, has hit the bottom line this season. His career earnings, at least for the time being, will increase exponentially due to the change.

MLB will announce its Managers of the Year Tuesday, followed by the Cy Young winners on Wednesday and the MVPs on Thursday.

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