FLUSHING, NY — J-ROD IS ON A NEW LEVEL!
Seattle’s face of the franchise Julio Rodríguez, a transcendent talent on-and-off the diamond, born and raised in Loma de Cabrera, Dominican Republic, was enshrined into LatinoMVP history prior to Saturday’s game against the Mets at Citi Field — receiving the 2022 American League LatinoMVP Rookie award — the oldest and most prestigious award given to Latino baseball players, dating back to 1990.
The Mariners superstar, known by many as ‘J-Rod,’ was presented the 2022 AL LatinoMVP Rookie award by Julio Pabón, the founder and president of Latino Sports, with our well-renowned LatinoMVP artists Maz Adams and James Fiorentino alongside.
PRESENTATION TIME! Julio Rodríguez received his 2022 American League LatinoMVP Rookie award today🏆⚾️🇩🇴
— Latino Sports (@LatinoSports) September 3, 2023
Each LatinoMVP finalist and winner is determined, and voted on in a thorough process by the Latino Sports Writers and Broadcasters Association (LSWBA) throughout the respective offseason. In essence, we prefer to present the award to each winner during Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) at their home ballpark, however, in certain cases with MLB teams, Latino Sports takes initiative and surprises the player while on the road at a visiting stadium.
For example on Saturday night: J-Rod in the Big Apple receiving his AL LatinoMVP Rookie award, or as many MLB players and coaches deem it a ‘Latin Grammy.’
Ultimately, on our voting ballot for the 33rd Annual LatinoMVP awards pertaining to the American League LatinoMVP Rookie class — Rodríguez defeated Jeremy Peña of the Houston Astros, Félix Bautista of the Baltimore Orioles, and Jose Siri of the Tampa Bay Rays.
J-Rod finished his 2022 Rookie campaign at the age of 21 with the following numbers:
28 home runs (1st in AL among Rookies)
75 RBI (2nd in AL among Rookies)
145 hits (3rd in AL among Rookies)
.854 OPS (1st in AL among Rookies)
25 stolen bases (2nd in AL among Rookies)
260 total bases (1st in AL among Rookies)
Nevertheless, numbers and statistics are not the only factor taken into consideration throughout the LatinoMVP voting process — what carries volume is a player’s off-the-field actions such as interacting with fans and the youth, fulfilling the responsibility of being a role-model, giving back to their community and representing Latinos to the highest degree on a global scale. J-Rod hit that benchmark and some.
Ever since he made his MLB debut back in April of 2022, Rodríguez rose up on the scene, making every child in the D.R. want to tune in to Mariners games and for those lucky enough in the ballpark? Majority of those kids leave the game with a smile and lifelong memory.
I witnessed this at Yankee Stadium back in June as J-Rod took more than 15 minutes in pre-game to sign autographs and take selfies with nearly a hundred fans (mostly under the age of 12) on the third-base side.
On-and-off the diamond, he simply does it all. Seattle’s face of the franchise and potentially the next face of Major League Baseball. How about the 2023 American League LatinoMVP award winner?
On behalf of all of us here at Latino Sports, we would like to congratulate Julio Rodríguez on his career-achievement of winning the 2022 AL LatinoMVP Rookie award. We look forward to continuing to witness the rise of The J-Rod Show in the Pros.
Robert Rizzo is a journalist and co-editor of Latino Sports – Email: RobertRiz994@gmail.com
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