Last week, the Seattle Mariners made a bit of a surprising move and promoted top prospect Jarred Kelenic to AA Arkansas for the final few weeks of the 2019 season. It just happened again.
This time, it was the second-best position player in the Mariners system, Julio Rodriguez, turn. This morning, reports have surfaced that Rodriguez has been promoted from A ball West Virginia to Advanced-A ball Modesto for the last 3 weeks of the season.
Rodriguez, who has played this entire season as an 18-year-old, began the season in West Virginia along with fellow top prospects Logan Gilbert and Kelenic. He got off to a hot start before he was sidelined with a fractured wrist.
While he has watched his friend Kelenic get promoted twice, as well as Gilbert, Rodriguez has steadily been one of the best and most consistent bats in the entire Sally League, an impressive accomplishment for an 18-year-old in his first season of stateside ball.
In 67 games for the Power, Rodriguez slashed .293/.359/.490 with 10 homers, 20 doubles and walks, and 50 RBI. A consensus Top 100 prospect in the game, Rodriguez will get a bump in competition for a few weeks, setting him up to get a run in the Arizona Fall League.
A league typically crawling with top prospects, Rodriguez could use the playing time after missing more than a month with his wrist injury, and seeing better competition now could set him up for success in the premier Arizona Fall League.
According to the Seattle Times Ryan Divish, both Rodriguez and Kelenic are expected to play in the AFL, a welcome sight for Mariners fans.
Overall, the demotion this late in the season has the same logic as the Kelenic promotion. It was almost a certainty that Julio was going to start 2020 in Modesto and giving him the final few weeks of this year to get a feel for the Cal League isn’t going to ruin him.
Calling the promotion aggressive is fine. Calling it a rush job is unfair. The Mariners are showing significant growth in their player development and rushing guys through the minors before they are ready does not seem to be an issue with this regime.