MLB rookie Julio Rodriguez did not win the 2022 Home Run Derby on Monday night, but he did steal the show. The 21-year-old Seattle Mariners star hit 81 total dingers and ultimately finished runner-up to champion Juan Soto.
For his efforts, Rodriguez earned $750,000 for a second-place finish – a well-earned paycheck for an entertaining night at Dodger Stadium. But here is the shocking part: Rodriguez’s entire salary for the 2022 season is only $700,000.
As a part of the new collective bargaining agreement, MLB rookies actually received a “big” “raise” from 2021-to-2022. Last season, first-year players made a salary of only $570,500. Still, Rodriguez is outproducing that at an extraordinary level.
With his 15th home run of the season on July 4, Rodriguez became the fastest player in MLB history – yes, MLB history – to reach 15 home runs and 20 stolen bases in his career. He reached those numbers in only 81 games.
The Mariners have three more years of team control before Rodriguez will be eligible for arbitration in 2026. Seattle may attempt to sign him to a contract similar to what the Pittsburgh Pirates did with Ke’Bryan Hayes this offseason. Hayes and the Bucs agreed to an eight-year, $70 million extension that covered multiple seasons of team control, arbitration and free agency.
In the meantime, Rodriguez will continue to produce like the All-Star that he is, while getting underpaid for it. Luckily for the MLB and MLBPA, that is exactly what they want.
Eight Star Sluggers Provide Fireworks in 2022 Home Run Derby
As the first competitor of the night, Julio Rodriguez started off the 2022 Home Run Derby with a bang. Well, 32 bangs to be exact. The rookie hit 32 dingers in the first round to defeat Corey Seager (24) and then 31 more in the second round to knock off two-time defending champion Pete Alonso (24).
On the other side, Soto hit 18 in the first round to edge Jose Ramirez (17) and then 16 in the second round to squeak by 42-year-old “career achievement” All-Star Albert Pujols (15).
In the finals, the time shrunk from three minutes to two minutes. Rodriguez started out with a respectable 18 dingers. But Soto responded with 19 and took home his first Home Run Derby title. The 23-year-old Washington Nationals star bounced back from a loss to Alonso last year at Coors Field to make history.