Seattle Mariners Instructional League: Julio Rodriguez hitting the ball hard

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 20: Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners poses during the Seattle Mariners Photo Day.(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 20: Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners poses during the Seattle Mariners Photo Day.(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

The Seattle Mariners Instructional League team has played 14 games. How is top prospect Julio Rodriguez doing?

Julio Rodriguez is the 15th highest-ranked prospect in the MLB. He is the Mariners’ second-ranked prospect behind Jarred Kelenic. The 19-year-old outfielder is getting ample playtime in Arizona with the Instructional League team. Like all other minor leaguers, Rodriguez did not have an opportunity to play an entire minor league season so the Instructional League is very important for players like Rodriguez.

Rodriguez also suffered a hairline fracture in his wrist during summer workouts which limited his practice time even further and was not able to participate in taxi squad scrimmages. Rodriguez is not playing every day in Arizona as the coaching staff wants to take the best care for Rodriguez’s health. Rodriguez will receive more practice time when he goes to the Dominican Republic to play in the Dominican Winter League season.

Nonetheless, Rodriguez has played well considering he had not played at all until the Instructional League. This is his stat line through 14 games:

  • Average .250
  • OBP (No HBP included) .464
  • Doubles 3
  • HR 1
  • Strikeouts 8
  • At Bats 28

You should consider the numbers above as approximations. The Seattle Mariners did not publish too many numbers from the Instructional League so the stats could be inaccurate.

You can see his at-bats are down because of Rodriguez’s days off. Taylor Trammell for example has played almost every game and inning and has accumulated 52 at-bats.

Another stat to look at is his exit velocities. The Mariners have been sharing each player’s highest exit velocities off the bat from each game. For Rodriguez, his average max exit velocity is 104mph. That is the highest on the team.

His hardest-hit ball of the Instructional League was hit 111.5mph. And according to the stat line, the ball he hit resulted in a single or a double. To put it into perspective, the hardest-hit ball in the 2020 regular season came from Pete Alonso at 118.4mph according to Baseball Savant.

Carlos Santana, Justin Upton, and Evan Longoria’s hardest-hit ball in 2020 was 111.5mph. It is cool to see Rodriguez matching those three well-established MLB hitters as a 19-year-old.

It is good to see Rodriguez on the field despite his recent injury in early summer, but the organization should be extremely cautious about his health moving forward. Rodriguez clearly has the talent of a future star in the big leagues, but that could all be gone with nagging injuries. Hairline fractures are no jokes and Rodriguez should be given extra care. Last year at around the same time, he strained his lower back and was shut down for the Arizona Fall League.

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It will be exciting to continue tracking Rodriguez’s development as the Instructional League ends this month, and he makes his way to the Dominican Winter League.