The Kansas City Royals' impressive crop of rookie talents has already seen three players land on MLB Pipeline's All-Rookie teams, and the nominations aren't stopping there. Per Lynn Worthy of The Kansas City Star, infielder Bobby Witt Jr. has been named a finalist for the Major League Baseball Players Choice Award for Outstanding Rookie in the American League.
#Royals Bobby Witt Jr. is a finalist for the Players Choice Award for AL Outstanding Rookie along with Seattle's Julio Rodriguez and Baltimore's Adley Rutschman.
The Players Choice Awards, which have been in place dating back to 1992, are voted on solely by MLB players and recognize "the on and off-field achievements of their peers." Each league (AL and NL) votes for an Outstanding Player, Outstanding Pitcher, Outstanding Rookie and Comeback Player.
There's also a league-wide award for Player of the Year and Marvin Miller Man of the Year, per the official Players Choice Awards website. The 31st edition of the Players Choice Awards will see another wave of players get recognized and additional money be donated to charity on behalf of those winners.
This season, Witt slashed .254/.294/.428 while clobbering 20 home runs and stealing 30 bases and driving in 80 runs. His 99 wRC+ sells his rookie campaign short, as he became just the fifth player in Royals history to join the prestigious 20-20 club. The budding star was just the fifth rookie ever to join that list. He became the fourth-fastest big-league player to reach the mark and made countless dazzling plays throughout the year to provide Kansas City with plenty of hope about what his future has in store. Here's what the 2022 Players Choice Awards finalists page had to say about Witt:
Bobby Witt Jr. became part of an elite group with his power-speed combination in his debut season with the Royals. He joined Barry Bonds (1987), Álex Rodríguez (1998), Mike Trout (2013) and Ronald Acuña Jr. (2019) as only the fifth player since 1974 to record at least 20 home runs and 30 steals in his age-22 season or younger. Witt became the third rookie in MLB history to collect at least 20 homers, 30 doubles and 25 steals in a season, following Devon White and Ellis Burks, who both accomplished the feat in 1987.
Joining Witt as finalists for this year's Players Choice Award for AL Outstanding Rookie are Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners and Adley Rutschman of the Baltimore Orioles. Rodriguez is the clear favorite for Rookie of the Year after hitting 28 home runs, posting a 146 wRC+ and being worth 5.4 fWAR in a historic first season on a playoff team. Rutschman, however, was also impressive and posted a .362 OBP while being worth 5.3 fWAR in his own right. The future of baseball is bright, and these three players are more than deserving candidates.
Salvador Perez named a finalist for Silver Slugger Award
In other Royals news, catcher Salvador Perez was announced by Louisville Slugger as a finalist for a 2022 American League Silver Slugger Award. The veteran joins the likes of Alejandro Kirk of the Toronto Blue Jays, Martín Maldonado of the Houston Astros, Sean Murphy of the Oakland Athletics, Cal Raleigh of the Seattle Mariners and the aforementioned Rutschman.
Despite missing 48 games this season, Perez slashed .254/.292/.465 with 23 home runs. If he wins the award, this year would mark the fifth time he's brought home some Silver Slugger hardware. Perez won in 2016, 2018, 2021 and 2021, and his four Silver Slugger Awards are the most in franchise history and the fifth-most ever by a catcher.