Although Spring Training is behind us and the focus is on the Mariners regular season, it’s good to reflect on how top prospect Julio Rodriguez performed in this year’s Spring Training. Julio was one of the bright spots in March and we learned a lot about him in just a month.
Julio Rodriguez showed his plus power
JRod has 65-grade power on his scouting report card and he showed it in Arizona. Rodriguez played in 18 Cactus League games and hit two home runs, two doubles, and six singles. The 20-year-old outfielder was crushing baseballs and it seemed like a regular thing to see tweets from Daniel Kramer on how hard Rodriguez hit the ball during March.
For context, the hardest-hit ball in 2020 was 118.4 mph by Mets first baseman, Pete Alonso. The highest average exit velocity by a player was Fernando Tatis Jr., at 95.9 mph. Just by knowing those two numbers, you should be able to get a sense of where JRod is at. I was able to find a couple of clips where he hit the ball harder than at least 100 mph.
Julio Rodriguez showed his maturity
It’s rare to see a 20-year-old have great plate discipline and put together good at-bats. I guess there’s a reason that he has been given a 60-grade hit. This Spring, JRod walked six times and struck out 11 times in 38 plate appearances. He finished with a .421 OBP which is 108 points higher than his batting average from the Cactus League.
It’s hard to quantify maturity and having an understanding of the strike zone, but watching Rodriguez on TV told me enough about where he is as a young hitter. He spoiled good pitches, laid pitches off the plate, and smacked the pitches in the zone.
Julio showed his athleticism
Julio Rodriguez is a large dude, standing 6’3″ and weighing in at 180lbs, but I think he looks bigger than that. Despite his size, he can still run pretty well. Scouts have given him a 50-grade run but I think it might be an understatement.
The young prospect stole three bases this Spring Training which was tied for third-most on the team. So either Julio Rodriguez is fast, he’s good at stealing, or the catcher’s sucked. I am hoping for the first two to be true.
The Mariners prospect has lived up to the hype thus far and the 2021 minor league season will give us a better sense of how far away he is from the big leagues.