Julio Rodríguez

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Note: This page is for outfielder Julio Rodríguez who made his major league debut in 2022; for others with a similar name, click here.

Julio Yamel Rodríguez
(J-Rod)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 3", Weight 228 lb.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Julio Rodríguez was one of baseball's top prospects in 2021, having already starred for the Dominican national team. He made his major league debut at the start of the 2022 season and went on to win the 2022 American League Rookie of the Year Award.

He was signed by Seattle Mariners scouts Kelvin Dominguez, Eddy Toledo and Tim Kissner. [1] He made his pro debut with the 2018 DSL Mariners, hitting .315/.404/.525 with 50 runs, 9 triples, 30 walks and 10 steals (never caught) in 59 games; he had six outfield assists to two errors. He tied for the Dominican Summer League lead in three-baggers, was 5th with 115 total bases (between Joerlin De Los Santos and Felix Valerio), ranked 7th in slugging (between Victor Heredia and De Los Santos) and placed 9th in OPS (between Jeferson Morales and Axel Andueza).

Rodríguez produced at a .293/.359/.490 clip with 20 doubles, 50 runs and 50 RBI in 67 games for the 2019 West Virginia Power and .462/.514/.738 with 19 RBI and 13 runs in 17 games for the Modesto Nuts. He missed almost two months when his left hand was fractured by a pitch from Jake Wong. [2] Despite missing a significant chunk of time, he still was third in the M's chain in RBI, behind Cal Raleigh and Jake Fraley. Baseball America rated him as the #2 prospect in the South Atlantic League, behind fellow Power outfielder Jarred Kelenic.

He hit .288/.397/.365 with ten RBI in fifteen games for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League. Baseball America rated him as the #8 prospect in baseball entering 2020, Baseball Prospectus had him at #10 and Major League Baseball listed him at #18. The consensus was obviously that he was an elite prospect. Unfortunately, the 2020 minor league season was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic. The teenager did get to play winter ball for the 2020-2021 Leones del Escogido but looked overmatched for the first time - .196/.297/.250, splitting right field with Gregory Polanco, a MLB regular trying to bounce back from rough times.

The Loma de Cabrera native entered 2021 even higher on the prospect lists. Baseball America now had him #3 in baseball (behind Wander Franco and Adley Rutschman, just ahead of Kelenic and Spencer Torkelson) [3], Baseball Prospectus did as well and MLB had him at #5 (between Kelenic and MacKenzie Gore). [4] He began the summer well with the Everett AquaSox.

He took a break from Everett to play for his homeland in the Americas Olympic Qualifier, the youngster in an outfield that featured two-time AL home run king José Bautista (age 40), former 200-hit man Melky Cabrera (36) and fellow M's farmhand Luis Liberato (25). He proved to be the team's top star, though, hitting third and starting in right. In the opener, he singled off Luis Cruz his first time up, then scored on a Juan Francisco hit for their first run; he had two runs in the opening win over Puerto Rico. Against event champion Team USA, he singled off Edwin Jackson and scored the tying run in the 6th but the Dominicans lost. He was 3-for-5 with two homers and three RBI in a win over Nicaragua. In the Super Round, he had three hits and three RBI to beat Venezuela and was 2-for-4 with a walk, run and a RBI to beat Canada to advance to the Final Olympic Qualifier. His 9th-inning single off former Rolaids Relief Award winner John Axford scored Gustavo Núñez with the last run in a 6-5 victory. He hit .458/.480/.708 with 7 runs and 7 RBI in 5 games, while playing error-free defense. He led the event in runs (one ahead of Liberato, Luke Williams and Roel Santos) and hits (11, 3 more than anyone else). He also tied for 4th in home runs, was second in RBI (two behind Francisco) and tied Liberato for 3rd in total bases (17). [5] It was a far contrast to Kelenic, who he had been long paired with, who was struggling mightily in his first taste of the majors. Following the D.R.'s win in the 2020 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament (in which he was a more mundane 1 for 10 with two walks and two runs) [6], he was named alongside Kelenic to play for the American League at the 2021 Futures Game, then appeared in the Tokyo Olympics, being part of the bronze medal-winning Dominican team. In all he played 74 games in the minors that season, hitting a sparkling .347/.441/.560 between the Everett AquaSox of the High-A West and the Arkansas Travelers of the Double-A Central. He scored 64 runs, drove in 47, and hit 19 doubles and 13 homers in what was basically half a season.

He was a center of attention in the Mariners spring training in 2022 the question being when exactly he would be making the jump to the Show. He was so impressive that a few days before the season started, the team confirmed that he had made the Opening Day roster. He started his major league career slowly, batting .206 and slugging .260 in April, but on May 1st he blasted his first major league homer and it was a no-doubter, a 450-foot bomb against Sandy Alcantara of the Miami Marlins, part of a 3-for-4 game in a 7-3 win. In spite of having very good speed, he had never been much of a base stealer in the minors, until swiping 21 bags in 2021, but he was impersonating Rickey Henderson in the early going, being successful on all 9 of his steal attempts through 22 games to lead the American League. He was named the AL Rookie of the Month in May when he batted .309 in 28 games, with 6 homers and 17 RBIs. He won the honor again in June when he batted .280 with 7 homers, 16 RBIs and 22 runs scored. He was named to play in the 2022 All-Star Game and also took part in the Home Run Derby on July 18th, during which he belted 81 homers - more than anyone in the eight-man field - before losing the final round to Juan Soto. Still, his performance doubled his income for the year. On August 24th, he hit his 20th homer of the year and at the same time became only the fourth rookie in history to have a 20-20 season - 20 homers and 20 stolen bases - after Mitchell Page, Ellis Burks and Marty Cordova. It also took him only 107 games to reach the mark, the fewest in American League history; Mike Trout previously held the record with 112 games, but over two seasons. On August 26th, he and the Mariners agreed on a huge contract extension for 12 years with options for a possible further five years. The deal was worth a guaranteed $210 million at a minimum, and could reach up to $470 million. He finished the season at.284 in 132 games, with 84 runs, 28 homers and 75 RBIs, to go with25 stolen bases and an OPS+ of 147. In the postseason, he was 5 for 23 in the two series played by the Mariners, with 3 doubles, a triple, and five runs scored in as many games. He was a near-unanimous winner of the 2022 American League Rookie of the Year Award, receiving 29 of 30 first-place votes, and was also named to the 2022 Topps All-Star Rookie Team.

Before the 2023 season, he was named a member of the Dominican Republic national team for the 2023 World Baseball Classic, and was expected to be a leader on one of the tournament's favorites, in spite of his young age. However, the Dominicans disappointed by failing to make out of Pool D in spite of the star-studded line-up. On April 7th, he launched the 30th homer of his young career in a 5-3 win over the Cleveland Guardians, becoming the fastest player in team history to the mark, doing so in 140 games, 16 less than Jim Presley. The 2023 All-Star Game was played in his home ballpark, T-Mobile Park, and while he was not originally on the American League's roster for the game, he was later added as an injury replacement, making him a two-time All-Star. He also took part in the Home Run Derby and thrilled hometown fans with a thrilling display when he belted a record 41 homers in the first round to defeat two-time champion Pete Alonso, before bowing to eventual winner Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the second round. On August 17th, he had a career game, going 5 for 5 and driving in 5 runs in a 6-4 win over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium; the game also featured his 20th homer of the year, and over the four-game series against K.C., he went 12 for 21 with 11 ribbies. On August 19th, he went 4 for 6 in a 10-3 win over the Astros. That gave him a post-1900 major league record 17 hits in a four-game span (17 for 22). Milt Stock had previously held the record in 1925 with 16 hits in four games. He capped the month by being named the AL Player of the Month for August, having hit .429 with 7 homers and 30 RBIs in 23 games for a surging M's team. That month, he had five separate four-hit games, one short of the record held by three players; he was the first player to do this since Zeke Bonura in August of 1938. When he hit his 25th homer on September 4th, he became the first player to hit 25 homers and steal 25 bases in each of his first two seasons. Having already stolen 36 bases, a 30-30 season was a distinct possibility. Indeed. on September 11th, he hit his 30th homer to join the exclusive club, becoming only the second player in the history of the franchise to do so, after Alex Rodriguez, who had had a 40-40 season in 1998. On September 20th, he reached the 100-RBI mark for the first time of his career when he hit his 31st homer against the Oakland Ahletics.

Notable Achievements[edit]


AL Rookie of the Year
2021 2022 2023
Randy Arozarena Julio Rodríguez Gunnar Henderson

Sources[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Paul Casella: "Rookies of the Year J-Rod, Harris have future of game in good hands", mlb.com, November 14, 2022. [1]
  • Martin Gallegos: "J-Rod electrifies with 81 HRs in Derby debut: Mariners' 21-year-old star puts on show before falling to Soto in finals", mlb.com, July 18, 2022. [2]
  • Nathan Han: "'Smoking hot' J-Rod sets record with 17 hits in 4 games: Rodríguez's ridiculous run continues as Mariners secure tiebreaker against Astros", mlb.com, August 20, 2023. [3]
  • Hannah Keyser: "How Julio Rodríguez, the Mariners’ prized 6-foot-3 rookie, got fast and became MLB’s leading base stealer", Yahoo! Sports, May 17, 2022. [4]
  • Daniel Kramer and Jesse Sanchez: "J-Rod era starts in Seattle as phenom makes roster", mlb.com, April 4, 2022. [5]
  • Daniel Kramer: "Julio mashes way to Seattle's 10th 20-20 season", mlb.com, August 24, 2022. [6]
  • Daniel Kramer: "J-Rod, Mariners agree on mega-extension into 2030s", mlb.com, August 27, 2022. [7]
  • Daniel Kramer: "J-Rod's debut season culminates in AL ROY Award: 'Oh my, we might be winning something,' says 21-year-old after Mr. Mariner delivers news", mlb.com, November 14, 2022. [8]
  • Daniel Kramer: "J-Rod's hometown throws epic AL ROY parade", mlb,com, November 21, 2022. [9]
  • Daniel Kramer: "For rising superstar J-Rod, what a difference a year makes", mlb.com, February 17, 2023. [10]
  • Daniel Kramer: "J-Rod balancing elite athleticism, unnecessary risks", mlb.com, February 27, 2023. [11]
  • Daniel Kramer: "J-Rod departs for Classic: 'A dream becoming a reality'", mlb.com, March 6, 2023. [12]
  • Daniel Kramer: "J-Rod looking to play hometown hero in '23 HR Derby", mlb.com, June 23, 2023. [13]
  • Daniel Kramer: "J-Rod thrills Seattle fans with record 1st round in HR Derby", mlb.com, July 10, 2023. [14]
  • Daniel Kramer: "25 HR and 25 SB in first two seasons? J-Rod stands alone", mlb.com, September 4, 2023. [15]
  • Doug Miller: "Julio becomes 2nd Mariner to record 30-30 season", mlb.com, September 12, 2023. [16]
  • Manny Randhawa: "J-Rod gifts toys, baseball items, ambulance(!) to hometown", mlb.com, January 6, 2023. [17]
  • Jesse Sanchez: "Meet J-Rod, MLB's next superstar", mlb.com, September 2, 2021. [18]

Related Sites[edit]