2022 Baseball America All-Rookie Team
The 2022 rookie class was one to remember.
BA Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez became the fastest rookie to reach 25 home runs and 25 stolen bases, beating a record previously held by Mike Trout, and led the Mariners to the postseason for the first time in 21 years.
Preseason No. 1 prospect Adley Rutschman debuted for the Orioles in late May and steered them to their first winning record in six years with standout performances both offensively and defensively behind the plate.
Outfielder Michael Harris energized a sagging Braves team after he was called up in late May and fueled a turnaround that led Atlanta to its fifth straight National League East title.
And that’s to say nothing of the pitchers. Braves righthander Spencer Strider became the fastest pitcher to reach 200 strikeouts in a season, breaking a record held by Randy Johnson. Mariners righthander George Kirby set a record with 24 consecutive strikes to start a game and went 8-5, 3.39 to help push the Mariners to the postseason. Angels lefthander Reid Detmers threw a no-hitter and posted a 3.04 ERA after the all-star break. Orioles righthander Felix Bautista held opponents to a .167 average while emerging as a dominant closer for Baltimore.
All in all, it was a banner season for rookies in 2022. As such, the strength of the class means many worthy candidates were squeezed out of a spot on our All-Rookie team.
An exceptionally strong rookie outfield class of Rodriguez, Harris and Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan left no room for D-backs outfielder Jake McCarthy and Guardians outfielder Oscar Gonzalez, who both had worthy seasons. Pirates righthander Roansy Contreras, Marlins lefthander Braxton Garrett, Cardinals swingman Andre Pallante, Rangers reliever Brock Burke, Reds reliever Alexis Diaz and Twins reliever Jhoan Duran all had excellent years and were simply pushed off by an outstanding rookie pitching class.
Nationals first baseman/outfielder Joey Meneses and Royals first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino both mashed after their callups, but fell short of making the All-Rookie team because their performances took place over small samples. Braves second baseman Vaughn Grissom had a season worthy of recognition in a short sample, as well.
Below is the 2022 Baseball America All-Rookie team as selected by staff.
C Adley Rutschman, Orioles
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Rutschman debuted on May 21 and quickly showed why he’s been hailed as the cornerstone of the Orioles rebuild. He shook off a slow start to finish with an .807 OPS, fourth among qualified rookies, and asserted himself as the O’s leader defensively behind the plate. He graded out as one of the best pitch framers in the American League and threw out 29% of attempted basestealers. Rutschman’s influence was clear for all to see as the season progressed: the Orioles went 65-55 after he became their everyday catcher.
1B Jose Miranda, Twins
Miranda began the year in Triple-A and slumped badly in his first month in the majors, but he turned things around to become a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season for the Twins. He hit .286/.347/.446 from June through the end of the season and overall finished in the top 10 among qualified rookies in hits, doubles, home runs, RBIs, batting average, on-base percentage and OPS.
2B Brendan Donovan, Cardinals
Donovan served as a jack-of-all-trades for the Cardinals but played second base more than any other position. No matter where he played, the 2019 seventh-round pick was a critical table-setter and on-base threat. His .394 on-base percentage led all rookies and was second on the Cardinals behind only Paul Goldschmidt, helping propel them to the National League Central division title.
3B Bobby Witt Jr., Royals
Witt demonstrated his lauded power and speed combination immediately in his debut season, hitting 20 home runs and stealing 30 bases to join Rodriguez as the only rookies to go 20-20. Witt led all rookies in steals and RBIs and finished second in hits, doubles and triples, helping him make an impact even with a sub-.300 on-base percentage and below-average defense at both shortstop and third base.
SS Jeremy Peña, Astros
Peña had the unenviable task of replacing Carlos Correa and capably did the job to help the Astros post the best record in the American League. Peña finished in the top five among rookies in hits, home runs and RBIs, but his defense shined even brighter. With soft hands, smooth footwork and a strong arm, Peña was one of baseball’s best defensive shortstops by any measure and helped stabilize the Astros middle infield after Correa’s departure.
OF Michael Harris, Braves
The DeKalb, Ga. native debuted for his hometown team on May 28 and helped save the Braves season, filling a massive hole in center field and emerging as one of the team’s most dynamic players. Harris led all qualified rookies with a .514 slugging percentage, finished second with a .297 batting average and finished one home run shy of a 20-20 season despite spending most of the first two months in the minors. He complimented his offense with standout defense in center field, repeatedly making highlight-reel plays and proving reliable with a .992 fielding percentage, fourth-highest among NL center fielders.
OF Steven Kwan, Guardians
Kwan began his debut season by going 116 pitches without his first swing and miss, a modern record, and continued to demonstrate those elite contact skills throughout the year. His 3.1% swinging strike rate was the second-lowest in the major leagues and he led all qualified rookies with a .298 batting average. Kwan complimented his offensive production with premium defense in the outfield. He led all American League left fielders in putouts, total zone runs and range factor as measured by Baseball-Reference.
Puerto Rico Beats Dominican Republic To Advance, But Loses Edwin Diaz To Injury
Puerto Rico beat the Dominican Republic, 5-2, to advance to the World Baseball Classic quarterfinals, but closer Edwin Diaz was injured in the postgame celebration.
OF Julio Rodriguez, Mariners
Rodriguez made the Mariners’ Opening Day roster with an electrifying showing in spring training and carried it through the year. He hit .284 with 28 home runs, 75 RBIs, 25 stolen bases and an .853 OPS, all while playing above-average defense in center field. He made his first all-star team, won BA’s Rookie of the Year Award and carried the Mariners to the postseason for the first time since 2001.
DH Seiya Suzuki, Cubs
Suzuki signed the largest contract ever for a position player from Japan and overcame a sprained finger to deliver solid production for the Cubs in his first season. Despite playing only 111 games, he still finished in the top 10 among rookies in hits, doubles and home runs along with all three slash line categories. He struggled defensively in right field early, but he improved as the year went on.
SP Reid Detmers, Angels
Detmers pitched a no-hitter against the Rays on May 10 and was quietly one of baseball’s most effective lefthanded pitchers in the second half of the season after he went down to Triple-A and reworked his slider. The 2020 first-rounder held opponents to two runs or less in 15 of his 25 starts and finished with the third-lowest ERA among Angels starters behind Shohei Ohtani and Patrick Sandoval.
SP George Kirby, Mariners
Kirby got called up for his major league debut on May 8 and remained in the Mariners rotation the rest of the year. Long known for his elite control, Kirby had 133 strikeouts and just 22 walks in 130 innings to post the best strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.05) of any qualified rookie starter. Overall, he finished in the top five among qualified rookies in ERA, innings pitched, walks, strikeouts and WHIP and helped the Mariners end their 21-year postseason drought.
SP Nick Lodolo, Reds
Lodolo didn’t become a regular fixture of the Reds rotation until July and still finished fifth among all rookies with 131 strikeouts. The 24-year-old lefthander made only three starts before going on the injured list with a back injury, but he dominated when he returned. He held opponents to three earned runs or less in 13 of his 16 starts after coming off the IL and was the only Reds pitcher to finish with a sub-4.00 ERA aside from the traded Luis Castillo.
SP Joe Ryan, Twins
Ryan was named the Twins Opening Day starter out of spring training and lived up to the billing. He led the Twins in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts and finished second in ERA behind only two-time all-star Sonny Gray, who pitched nearly 30 fewer innings. On the strength of his exceptional riding fastball, Ryan finished second among all qualified rookie starters in WHIP and opponent average.
SP Spencer Strider, Braves
Strider moved from the bullpen to the rotation in late May and was instrumental in turning the Braves season around. The 23-year-old righthander racked up 202 strikeouts in only 131.2 innings and set a Braves single-game record with 16 strikeouts against the Rockies on Sept. 1, breaking the old team record of 15 by Hall of Famer John Smoltz. Overall, Strider led all qualified rookie starters in ERA, strikeouts, WHIP and opponent average. The only negative to his season was an oblique injury that sent him to the injured list for the final two weeks of the season.
RP Felix Bautista, Orioles
Bautista helped anchor the Orioles unexpectedly exceptional bullpen this season, stepping in as the team’s closer following the deadline trade of Jorge Lopez and converting 15 saves in 17 opportunities. With an electric fastball that averaged 99 mph and a devastating splitter, Bautista limited opponents to just a .167/.245/.291 slash line.