Sporting News 2022 MLB awards: Aaron Judge named best player; Spencer Strider and Julio Rodriguez named best rookies
The 2022 MLB season was a compelling campaign laced with historic moments and record-breaking performances, not to mention a healthy dose of other drama, and the results of this year’s Sporting News MLB awards reflect all of these elements.
In September and early October, the annual survey of players, managers, and executives was conducted to determine the MLB Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, and Executive of the Year.
Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees has been named MLB Player of the Year.
In 2022, Aaron Judge was as dominant a hitter as any team could want. He not only set a new single-season American League home run record, but he also put up MVP-like numbers all around. He had the most runs, RBIs, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, and total bases in the league. Not to mention his flirtation with the Triple Crown.
In the end, it resulted in a 10.6 bWAR and a convincing victory for Sporting News MLB Player of the Year.
Judge received 66 percent of the vote in a survey of 360 players, easily outpacing second-place finisher Shohei Ohtani, who received about 18 percent.
While seven players received at least one vote in the category, 2022 was clearly the Aaron Judge Show in the minds of the vast majority of voters.
Spencer Strider, Braves, is the National League Rookie of the Year.
Spencer Strider’s achievement of 200 strikeouts in a season faster than any pitcher in history was perhaps the most surprising of all the records and historic achievements in 2022.
That’s impressive for anyone, let alone a rookie. But Strider has done nothing but impress this season. It’s easy to see why his peers chose him as the 2022 Sporting News National League Rookie of the Year.
Strider went 11-5 and established himself as a key piece of the Braves’ starting rotation with a triple-digit fastball and nasty breaking pitches. His 2.67 ERA ranked first among all qualified rookie starters, and his 202 strikeouts were easily the most in the rookie class.
Strider received 47 percent of the vote in a poll of 212 players for the NL rookie award, finishing ahead of teammate Michael Harris II, who received 41 percent. These findings help to explain why Atlanta’s future appears so promising.
Brandon Drury, Reds/Padres, is the National League Comeback Player of the Year.
Brandon Drury got a fresh start in Cincinnati in 2022 after back-to-back disappointing seasons in which he played a total of 72 MLB games with the Blue Jays and Mets.
Drury hit 20 home runs and had an.855 OPS in 92 games with the Reds before being traded to the Padres for the stretch run. Drury hit eight more home runs in San Diego, assisting the Padres in their playoff push. His overall performance was enough for his teammates to vote him the Sporting News National League Comeback Player of the Year.
Drury easily won the award with a 49 percent vote share in a poll of 206 MLB players, beating out the Braves’ Ronald Acua Jr., the Padres’ Mike Clevenger, and the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols.
They were all memorable comebacks, but Drury’s stood out the most among his peers.
Buck Showalter, Mets, is the National League Manager of the Year.
Mets baseball entered a new era in 2022, with a new outlook, attitude, and energy that resulted in 101 wins and the team’s first playoff appearance since 2016.
Buck Showalter, the new manager, was a big part of that freshness in Flushing.
After years of turmoil and drama for the franchise, Showalter brought a calming presence and decades of baseball knowledge that helped the Mets maintain a high level of play throughout the season. His fellow National League managers noticed, and he was named Sporting News NL Manager of the Year.
Showalter narrowly beat out Phillies manager Rob Thomson in a close race among six NL managers who received votes. It is Showalter’s fourth Sporting New Manager of the year.
Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez is the American League Rookie of the Year.
In the American League in 2022, there were several standout rookies, but Julio Rodriguez stood out far above the rest.
Rodriguez made a big impact this season, and he was a big reason why the Mariners finally ended their 21-year playoff drought. Rodriguez led Seattle in average, on-base percentage, runs, OPS, OPS+, total bases, and stolen bases with 28. Not to mention a hard-hit rate in the 95th percentile of the league and elite sprint speed and arm strength.
His teammates were clearly impressed, as he was unanimously selected as the Sporting News American League Rookie of the Year. In a poll of 133 players, Rodriguez received an overwhelming 80 percent of the vote.
Rodriguez, if his 2022 season is any indication,
Justin Verlander, Astros, was named AL Comeback Player of the Year.
Then there are COMEBACKS. In 2022, Justin Verlander will be the second best pitcher in baseball.
Verlander returned to his Cy Young form in 2022, after making just one start in 2020 and missing the entire 2021 season due to Tommy John surgery. With a league-best 18-4 record and 1.75 ERA, the 39-year-old Verlander continued to perplex batters in yet another All-Star season — and also left no doubt in the race for the Sporting News American League Comeback Player of the Year.
Verlander received 78 percent of the vote in a poll of 116 players, easily outpacing the competition.
Given his performance this season, Verlander is almost certain to decline his 2023 player option and test the free-agent waters once more.
Brandon Hyde, Orioles, is the AL Manager of the Year.
What happened in Baltimore this season was miraculous rather than improbable. Despite trading away talent at the trade deadline, the Orioles joined the land of winning around mid-May after averaging 111 losses in their previous three full seasons.
With a young roster that demonstrated its potential, the Orioles finished the season with a winning record for the first time since 2016.
And captaining the ship the entire time was manager Brandon Hyde, who got more out of his young team than anyone expected and kept them in contention for the playoffs until the very end.
Hyde’s contribution to Baltimore’s turnaround earned him the respect of his fellow AL managers, who voted him MVP.
MLB Executive of the Year: Chris Antonetti, Guardians of the Galaxy
Perhaps only the executives themselves understand the difficulties of being an MLB executive. So, when the same name appears on multiple ballots for Sporting News Executive of the Year, it’s safe to assume that person has impressed their peers in ways that only they can understand.
So, Chris Antonetti, please take a bow.
The Guardians’ president of baseball operations was the clear winner in a survey of 29 executives for the second time in five years, receiving nearly twice as many votes as anyone else.
Antonetti oversaw MLB’s youngest roster, with little power, but the team’s 92 wins and AL Central title are a testament to Antonetti and his staff’s judgment and skills.