Mariners Position Analysis: Center field is closed with Julio Rodriguez

Dressed in a classic black tuxedo meticulously tailored to his linebacker-like frame, Julio Rodriguez stood on the ballroom podium at the Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan to formally accept Jackie Robinson’s American Rookie of the Year award at the 98th annual Baseball Writers’ Dinner in New York.

Flashing his signature smile, displaying his impossible charm, Rodriguez delivered a brief speech to those present.

After thanking his family, actors, and other winners of the annual Baseball Writers Association of America awards, Rodriguez reflects on his journey, growing up in the small town of Loma de Cabrera in the Dominican Republic in a magical rookie season with the Mariners. In the year 2022 and one of the future stars of baseball.

“To all these young men out there,” he said, “I really hope there are other guys who come along and do this and feel motivated by my role as well.” “I just hope they continue to reach new heights and also take the game to the next level by playing the game the right way by enjoying it and continuing to represent their family. Don’t let anyone set your limits. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do that. See To my ideal, I am truly blessed with that.”

Rodriguez received a standing ovation for his heartfelt comments.

It was a fitting end to an exciting rookie season that exceeded the expectations of everyone involved, even Rodriguez.

In the fourth installment of Position overviews of our marinersHere’s a look at the center field:

The 21-year-old arrived at spring training looking slimmer but still oddly strong with improved speed, agility and motivation to make the Mariners’ opening roster starting center fielder.

Since his first strikeout of the spring, which was a 431-foot homer with an out speed of 117 miles per hour, Rodriguez has played his way to the coveted role, showing a maturity and acumen to match his precocious talent in baseball.

The intense work ethic with which Rodriguez dealt every day with his teammates. The enthusiasm and joy he displayed on the field and his natural charisma made him a fan favourite.

Even as he struggled in his first month of the season, including some unfavorable treatment from umpires, who called him for several so-called third strikes on pitches outside the strike zone, Rodriguez’s confidence did not waver. He believed in his approach and process.

“He didn’t freak out,” said Scott Service, the director. “A lot of young players panicked, and he didn’t.”

And he was right.

He started hitting and wouldn’t stop. Rodriguez became the Mariners’ most dangerous player and best all-around player, leading the organization to its first postseason appearance in 21 years.

Along the way, he was named to the American League All-Star Team and put on a magical display of power during the annual home derby, finishing second to Juan Soto, but establishing himself as a candidate for stardom. He signed a contract extension with the organization that could pay him nearly $500 million through the 2039 season, making him a mariner for life.

By the end of the season, Rodriguez posted a .284/.345/.509 slant streak with 84 runs scored, 25 doubles, three triples, 28 home runs, 75 RBI, 40 walks and 25 stolen bases in 132 games. He was twice placed on the 10-day injured list in the second half of the season, forcing him to miss 21 games.

He led all major league rookies in home runs, total bases (260), slugging percentage (. 509), on-base plus slugging percentage (. 853), baseball reference WAR (6.0) and FanGraphs WAR (5.3). He ranked second in runs, RBI, extra base hits (57) and stolen bases and third in hits (145).

He became the third rookie in major leagues history and the first in his debut season with 25 home runs and 25 stolen bases. He also became the fastest player in major league history (125 career games) to reach those milestones, surpassing Mike Trout (128 career games).

Stats aside, the face of the Mariners franchise became almost as popular with the arrival of Ken Griffey Jr. in 1989.

So what’s next for Rodriguez?

A sophomore slump doesn’t seem likely given his tireless drive to be the best.

“I’m going to keep that a secret,” he said of his goals in the offseason. “There is definitely a lot of room for improvement. We’re going to explore it. We’re going to keep working. We’re going to do some small adjustments, and we’re going to keep working.”

Finding a way to avoid the infected list would be an obvious goal. Rodriguez hated being out of the squad due to injury. He should also prepare for the prospect of seeing fewer hitter pitches as the Mariners’ deadliest hitter.

“Julio is an amazing learner,” said Service. “If he makes a mistake, he’ll talk about it. He learns from it. It’s a great sign of a young player with so much talent. The same player, you couldn’t ask for a better package, but the thing that separates them is personality. It’s the smile on his face. That’s what draws fans to him, and he is He’s not afraid of it. Some players just don’t like the lights on on them. He loves when the lights are on, and the brighter they are, the happier he is. It’s very unique to find in today’s game.”

in the palace

The status of sailors in the plantation system:

Triple A Tacoma

  • Cady Marlowe
  • Taylor Trammell

Double A Arkansas

  • Tanner Kerwer
  • Alberto Rodriguez

Hi A Everett

Low-A Modesto

University of Arizona Complex

  • George Velez
  • Curtis Washington

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