7 Latino MLB Players On The Rise in 2022 — From Oneil Cruz to Andrés Giménez

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres
Art by Stephany Torres
Read more

Major League Baseball (MLB) has had countless Latino players for decades. From Roberto Clemente to Fernando Valenzuela to Sammy Sosa, our communities have a rich history in the MLB. In fact, the first Latino MLB player was Luis (Lou) Castro who played for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1902. 

From Castro, it would take decades before Latino players would become more commonplace. The most celebrated of those players undoubtedly is Roberto Clemente, who debuted with the Pirates in 1955, and has a day and an award named after him. And by the late 1960s, players from our communities were present on just about every team in the league.

But, what about in 2022? What Latino players are hitting it big in the MLB and breaking records? Who is, not only following in the footsteps of baseball players that came before them, but also forging their own path? We’ve got a list to help figure that out.

From Julio Rodriguez to Andrés Giménez and Oneil Cruz, here’s a list of Latino players that are the future of the MLB and baseball in general.


Julio Rodriguez

Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez has propelled his team to compete for a playoff spot for the first time in 21 years. A heavy favorite to win the American League Rookie of the Year for 2022, Rodriguez is known for his combination of speed and power. Nicknamed “J-Rod,” he hails from Loma de Cabrera in the Dominican Republic. The sky is the limit for Rodriguez.


Yordan Álvarez

Speaking of power, Cuban-born Yordan Álvarez may end the 2022 season with 40 home runs. Álvarez won the Rookie of the Year award in 2019 for the Houston Astros. That season, he set a record by becoming the first player in league history to drive in 16 runs in his first 12 games. He has already been to the World Series twice. At age 25, Álvarez is cementing himself as one of the most feared left-handers in the league.


Luis Arráez

Luis Arráez is a throwback kind of player. In the modern game where hitting for average is largely eschewed, Arráez is an elite hitter despite only having 14 home runs in 377 career games. Arráez slaps balls the other way and walks more than he strikes out. He is the kind of player baseball just never sees anymore.

The Venezuelan native is competing for his first batting title in 2022 while making his first All-Star team for the Minnesota Twins.



Nestor Cortes Jr.

Cuban-born Nestor Cortes Jr. is one of the most entertaining pitchers to walk in Major League Baseball. He employs trickery in his wind-up that varies from quick-pitching to rocking back and forth before delivering his pitch. After making his first All-Star team in 2022, he is looking to lead the New York Yankees rotation on a deep playoff run this October.


Oneil Cruz

Named after former Yankee Paul O’Neil, Cruz is a 6’7 shortstop from the Dominican Republic. That’s right — 6’7. Cruz is a walking record-setter. He has already broken statcast records for the hardest-hit ball and hardest-thrown ball in 2022. A member of the rebuilding Pittsburgh Pirates, Cruz is an exciting player to watch whenever he steps on the field. 


Sandy Alcántara

Sandy Alcántara is well on his way to winning his first Cy Young award. Born in the Dominican Republic, Alcántara leads all pitchers in innings pitched in 2022. Alcántara throws a fastball capable of hitting triple digits and moving in ways that defy the laws of gravity. Alcántara is a two-time All-Star who has improved every season and is now one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball.


Andrés Giménez

Andrés Giménez is having a revelatory year. In 2022, Giménez made his first All-Star team while batting nearly .300. A native of Venezuela, Giménez proved that he could be an elite hitter if given full-time starts on the field. His glove is arguably even better than his bat. His sudden rise to elite play has also helped the Cleveland Guardians surprise everyone by being in first place in the AL Central for most of 2022.