Bobby Witt Jr. named Royals' player of the year

Bobby Witt Jr.
Posted at 12:18 PM, Nov 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-14 13:19:39-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals announced their 2022 team award winners Monday and Bobby Witt Jr. was named the Les Milgram Player of the Year as voted by the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Witt becomes the fourth rookie to be named the team's player of the year, joining Bob Hamelin (1994), David DeJesus (2004) and Mike Aviles (2008).

Bobby Witt Jr. already had serious expectations from Royals fans since he was drafted by the team No. 2 overall in 2019. After his first season in the majors, he is exceeding expectations.

Despite being the youngest player to ever make his MLB debut for the Royals, Witt Jr. led the team in most of the major categories, including in games played (150), runs (82), hits (150), doubles (31), triples (6), RBIs (80) and stolen bases (30). Witt's 20 home runs were only second behind Salvador Perez, who won the team's two previous player of the year awards.

Witt Jr. also became the fifth player in Royals history to record a 20 home run and 20 stolen bases season, joining Jeff Francoeur (2011), Carlos Beltrán (1999, 2001-03), Bo Jackson (1988-89) and Amos Otis (1978) to ever achieve that feat.

He was the fifth player in the last 49 years to collect at least 20 home runs and 30 steals in his age-22 season or younger, joining an impressive list of Ronald Acuna Jr. (2019), Mike Trout (2012-13), Álex Rodríguez (1998) and Barry Bonds (1987).

Witt's 80 RBIs were the most by an American League first-year player since Jose Abreu in 2014.

In addition to Witt achieving player of the year, Brady Singer was named Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year and Perez was named the Joe Burke Special Achievement Award winner.