Ceiling player comp for Seattle Mariners Julio Rodriguez: Frank Robinson
Whenever you see someone provide a Hall of Fame comp for a prospect, there are usually two thoughts that go through your mind. That person is crazy… or hmmm, I could see that possibility.
With Julio Rodriguez, I honestly think it falls more in the second category. Yeah, it’s quite the comparison to ask to see a career as good as Frank Robinson, but we are looking at a ceiling here. Julio is 20 years old and already ranked as the 5th best prospect in all of baseball.
Taking a look at his toolset, you can see why lofty expectations are placed on Julio. Cannon arm… check. Monster bat… check. Hit tool… check. Oh, and we all know the kid has an incredible personality.
If not for the postponement of last year’s season, it was possible that Julio could’ve had the same start the Frank Robinson did. Making his debut for the Reds in 1956 at the age of 20, Frank would hit 38 home runs, bat .290, lead the league in runs with 122 on his way to winning Rookie of the Year, an All-Star appearance, and finishing 7th in MVP-voting.
The power was there for Robinson, and other than a blip in his 13th and 17th seasons, he would hit for at least 21 home runs in 17 of 19 seasons to start his career. It led to him being one of the greatest power hitters of all time, finishing with 586 home runs over a 21-year career. Oh, he had 528 doubles as well. 10th all-time in homers and 44th in doubles is incredibly impressive.
Check out the averages from the twelve-year stretch that Robinson had to start his career. He would win one Gold Glove, making eight All-Star games, and win two MVP’s to go alongside the Rookie of the year award I already mentioned
.304/.392/.563. 149 games. 34 home runs. 14 steals. 31 doubles. 104 runs. 102 RBI.
You’re going to be hard-pressed to find many players in the history of baseball that had that kind of a stretch for that long to start their career.
Do you know what’s crazy? Julio might be able to put together the modern-day version of that. Batting average has gone down, so if Julio was able to hit that well, he would get into another level of conversation past the Hall of Fame. I’m not ready to go there yet. My main point is that Julio is a special hitter with a rare power/hit combo. Seasons of 35+ homers and an average of around .285 shouldn’t shock you.
They are lofty expectations to place on Julio Rodriguez. It’s a comparison to an icon from the world of baseball who was one of the best hitters the game has ever seen. When it comes to a ceiling for Julio, the Frank Robinson comparison is within reach.