It is no surprise to Mariners’ fans that Julio Rodriguez is MLB’s Jackie Robinson’s Rookie of the Year (ROY) for the American League!
I had a similar feeling during the All-Star Homerun Derby, namely, even more people will now come to see who Julio is and what he can do.
Julio Rodriguez received 29 of 30 votes for the American League Rookie of the Year award
Plenty of people have seen him in action already, primarily players and their fans who played against him in the American League. FanGraphs gave him a WAR of 5.3, a batting average of .284, an on-base percentage of .345, and a slugging percentage of .509. He also hit 28 home runs by the end of the season. In Centerfield, his fielding percentage was .984.
Julio Rodriguez also reached an elite status, the only rookie to have made 25 home runs and 25 steals in his first year playing in the MLB. He won an American League silver slugger award as an outfielder. The Mariners administration and the fans have high expectations for Julio in the future. He does not become a free agent until 2030 or perhaps later.
The statistics that Julio put up only convey part of what he has brought to the Mariners’ community. As a spectator, I regularly saw a man in love with his sport and so often smiling. Apparently, Julio became the DJ of the clubhouse and his teammates could recognize there was something very special about this player.
It was all but confirmed that Julio was going to win the award when it was announced earlier in the afternoon that Mr. Mariner himself, Alvin Davis, was going to be the one presenting the award to Julio. It was an incredible moment, with the first ROY winner for the Mariners presenting the award to the new face of the franchise.
The Mariners also had a rookie of the year, Kyle Lewis, in 2020. He joins a short list of Mariners to have won the award, with Ichiro Suzuki having won in 2001, Kazuhiro Sazaki in 2000, and Alvin Davis in 1984.