The video game industry is a big draw, especially when discussing multi-player sports games like Madden, NBA2K, and MLB: The Show. When looking at the latter, Sony Interactive Entertainment, in conjunction with San Diego Studio, has a blueprint that combines solid gameplay with recognizable music (Foo Fighters, Gorillaz, Travis Barker) to create a memorable experience for baseball fans. The appeal for MLB: The Show is evidenced by 2 million sales worldwide and 4 million players in 2022.
In the last few weeks, we've seen developers stir up conversations and excitement on social media platforms with vague posts regarding the cover of this year's version. Over the last five years, MLB The Show has targeted young stars from the league to represent their new game. As a result, the lineup from 2018 through 2022 is starstudded with Aaron Judge, Bryce Harper, Javier Báez, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Shohei Ohtani gracing the cover of the popular video game.
Sony continued this trend when they tabbed Marlins' superstar Jazz Chisholm for this year's edition of MLB: The Show. Leading up to today's reveal, fans mentioned Juan Soto, Yordan Alvarez, Spencer Strider, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and our very own Julio Rodriguez as possible choices for the annual honor, which would be understandable because they all fit the young star mold. Chisholm, a dynamic middle infielder is a 20/20 threat and the face of the Marlins' franchise.
I know many fans will probably put this take in 'homer' category, but there was a stronger case for Rodriguez. He had a sensational rookie season last year, which led him to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award. Rodríguez, who led all rookies last year in HRs (28), OPS (.854), and total bases (260), also became the first rookie since Mike Trout to record at least 25 HRs, 25 stolen bases, and an OPS over .800. He put on an absolute show in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby, which most consider the launching point for his superstardom.
If you are comparing the statistics alone, Chisholm accumulated 4.3 WAR over his three years of service time. While, Rodriguez was worth 5.3 WAR in 2022, which was his rookie year. He also was a lynchpin in the Mariners' drought-busting season, as many pundits believe they wouldn't have made the playoffs without him. The Chisholm-led Marlins have yet to sniff the playoffs in his three years of MLB service time.
Heralded as the next Ken Griffey Jr., Rodriguez has a popular social media channel, a clothing line, and a charitable spirit. The next step? Let's get this guy a candy bar and maybe he'll grace the cover of MLB: The Show 2024.