Mariners 2023 Report Card: Does Julio Rodriguez get a superstar grade?

We all know Julio Rodriguez is great. He is one of the best players in all of Major League Baseball. With the Mariners missing the playoffs, What grade does his 2023 season deserve?
Houston Astros v Seattle Mariners
Houston Astros v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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Julio Rodriguez had an up and down 2023 season. You may not be able to tell just by looking at his stat line, though. He finished 2023 with a slash line of .275/.333/.818 and an OPS+ of 128. He also hit 32 Home Runs and drove in 103, both leading the Mariners. He was an All-Star, he competed in the Home Run Derby, and is a finalist for the Gold Glove Award.

Month

Batting Average

March / April

.239

May

.252

June

.220

July

.292

August

.429

September / October

.227

Inconsistency plagued Julio's first half of the season, and his last month as well. If the All-Star Game was not played in Seattle this year, it is likely he would not have been elected to play in the game. His first-half stat line is as follows: .249/.306/.717 with a WRC+ of 101. Had Julio not had the record setting August that he had, his batting average would have been .245.

His strikeout rate (25.4%) is right around his career average (25.1%), and way above the MLB average (22.6%). Even in his rookie season, strikeouts were a problem. Julio struck out 175 times in 2023, the 8th most in baseball. He had the 3rd most on the Mariners this season, trailing Eugenio Suarez (214) and Teoscar Hernandez (211). Combined, those 3 managed to strike out 600 times! Moving forward, I hope that Julio can bring the strikeout numbers down, and if he can, he will take his game to the next level.

What saved his season was the month of August. Julio hit .429/.474/1.197 with a WRC+ of 232. He managed to strike out only 18.4% of his at-bats in August. I am not saying Julio can hit .429 all of the time, but if he would reel in the strikeouts to just 18%, he could be fighting for a batting title. 25% is just too high to stay consistent.

Julio broke an almost century old record in August. From Aug. 16-19, in 4 games, Julio had 17 hits. The previous record (16 hits in 4 games) was held by Milt Stock of the Brooklyn Robins in 1925. Julio went 4-6, 5-5, 4-5 and 4-6 over those 4 games. The Mariners won all 4 games, 2 of them in Houston. He went 17 for 22 in those games. Had he gone 2-17, we may be giving Julio a much worse grade for 2023.

I am giving Julio Rodriguez a B+ for his 2023 season.

Look, a B+ is still a great grade. Julio was expected to be great, and he came through. Could he get better? I sure think so. Julio has the talent to become a perennial MVP candidate. He has the makings of an all-time great player. But if he hopes to continue that trajectory, he absolutely needs to cut down on the strikeouts. As always, Go Mariners!