We have all seen the J-ROD Squad games, various Julio Rodriguez “No fly zone” t-shirts, as well as many jerseys with “Rodriguez” emblazoned across the back. Julio Rodriguez is a beloved Mariner, a superstar, and our number-one player.
A Team and MLB Leader
If you bring up the opening page for the Mariners on mlb.com/mariners, there is a Leaders area on the right side of the screen, Julio has the highest team statistics for 2023 in every category. He has a batting average of.275, 102 runs, 32 home runs, 103 runs-batted-in, and 37 stolen bases.
In addition to his charming personality, Julio has made baseball history as a Mariner. He is the only player in MLB history to have at least 25 home runs and 25 stolen bases in his first two seasons. In 2024, if he can get nine stolen bases and 11 home runs, he will move past Darryl Strawberry and have the league record!
Comparing This Year to 2022
Julio spent time on the Injured List in 2022 with wrist and lower back problems. This time away for healing is why he had 511 at-bats last year and 654 this year. Julio did have more strikeouts this year with 175. A few numbers declined but not by much. His batting average was .284 in 2022 and was .275 this past season. His on-base percentage declined from .345 to .333
The Seattle players who participated the longest in the World Baseball Classic all had declining statistics this season. I attribute this dip to having the equivalent of an extra month of competitive baseball.
Julio the All-Star
Julio was an All-Star in both 2022 and 2023. In 2022, not as many people knew who he was BEFORE the home run derby. An MLB.com article by Martin Gallegos was titled “J-Rod electrifies with 81 HRs in Derby debut.” Although Julio did not win, he had the most home runs by a rookie in the opening round of the competition. This year, Rodriguez hit 41 home runs in the opening round when competing against Pete Alonso, and 20 in the semi-finals, but came in second to Vladdy Guerrero, Jr. who ultimately won.
Julio Rodriguez deserves the number-one ranking for other reasons. He signs SO many items for kids before and after games. In January 2023, Rodriguez gifted his hometown of Loma de Cabrera, Dominican Republic, an ambulance because they were without one. He also gave toys and baseball equipment to children there.
Nearing the end of the 2022 season, I worried that Julio might become overwhelmed because of all the attention he received. I would guess that he has a better understanding of what it means to be a superstar off the field. I believe that we will see even more of Julio’s potential now that he has had two years in the big leagues. The team needs him!