Detroit — It was always going to be a tall task, plucking one shiny star out of the rubble of an irredeemably disappointing 96-loss season. And the balloting by the Detroit chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America certainly showed there was no perfect choice for the 2022 Tiger of the Year award.
When the votes were counted, seven different players received first-place votes and four others got second-place votes. But at the top of the list with seven first-place votes was Riley Greene, who becomes the first rookie to be named Tiger of the Year since Mark Fidrych in 1976.
Greene, who made his big-league debut on June 18, missing the first two months of the season because of a broken bone in his foot, slashed .253/.321/.362 with an OPS-plus of 99 (Major League average is 100). He hit five home runs, knocked in 42 runs and scored 46 in 93 games.
His biggest impact was in center field, where he posted a plus-2 defensive runs saved and was a regular contributor to web gem and top-10 highlight segments on ESPN and MLB Network.
His best moment of the year might’ve been his first career home run — which came on July 2 against Kansas City, and it just happened to be a dramatic walk-off blast into the shrubs beyond the center field wall at Comerica Park.
Greene ends Jeimer Candelario’s two-year reign as Tiger of the Year.
Tarik Skubal got five first-place votes and Eric Haase got four. Harold Castro, Miguel Cabrera, Javier Baez and Gregory Soto also got first-place votes.