Who should leadoff for the Mariners?

Seattle Mariners v Miami Marlins
Seattle Mariners v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

You have two superstars in the Seattle Mariners roster that could easily be at the top of the batting lineup. The real question though is who should be there, J.P. Crawford or Julio Rodriguez.

When looking at your batting lineup, you always want to have your best players first so that a team can get the momentum going and make the other team already start to worry. When you look at the Seattle Mariners roster, two people stand out from how they have been performing over the last ten games of the season, but it has not always been like that. You have one player that started at the top and then fell in the lineup because of not being able to supply the momentum or the power that the team was looking for. Then you have another player that started towards the bottom and worked to the top.

To find out exactly who should be at the top of the lineup, you don’t only need to look at what the player has done all season but also to look at how they are currently performing. It is starting to look like there might be a flip of momentum going more to one player than the other, but you need to look at what they did the whole season first.

The Fall of Julio Rodriguez

Seattle Mariners Center Fielder Julio Rodriguez was the face of the franchise, and everyone wanted Rodriguez to keep doing what he was doing and hitting like a superstar. The start of the 2023 season was not what everyone was hoping for. In March and April combined, Rodriguez had 113 plate appearances and accounted for 27 hits and 34 strikeouts for a combined batting average of .238. This trend kept showing and Seattle Mariners Manager Scott Servais was not liking it.

Julio Rodriguez was moved out of the lead-off spot after going 0 for 4 against the Texas Rangers on May 9th. Scott Servais stated per The Seattle Times, “His swing was a little messed up. His timing wasn’t good. There’s a lot of things going on.”

The Rise of J.P. Crawford

Every Seattle Mariners fan knows that there is something special with J.P. Crawford. He can show that he can hit, run, and stretch a play further, but no one ever thought that J.P. Crawford would be taking the top spot in the lineup.

Over March and April, J.P Crawford had 84 plate appearances with 20 hits and 22 strikeouts for a batting average of .238. Crawford kept showing that he had plate discipline and an eye in the batter’s box. This was causing Scott Servais to see that Crawford might be the man for the leadoff spot. As the season continued into May, Crawford kept growing to show that he won’t only be the player for the job but also showed that he can be able to produce when the Seattle Mariners needed him to.

The last 10 games should tell you something.

When the debate comes up on who the leadoff batter should be, well then you need to compare how the players have been doing over the last 10 games. This will show you exactly how Julio Rodriguez and J.P. Crawford are progressing or digressing. During this last 10-game span, fans have seen Rodriguez be moved up to the 3rd batter in the order but is that good enough for him, or should he knock Crawford out of the 1st batter spot?

Let’s compare how these two players are doing. Crawford has had 44 plate appearances with only 12 hits, which comes out to a batting average of .273. Crawford has also got five runs batted in with two home runs, nine strikeouts, and only 3 multi-hit games.

Julio Rodriguez has had 43 plate appearances with 18 hits, which comes out to a batting average of .419. During that 10-game span, he also recorded 10 runs batted in, three home runs, 10 strikeouts, and 8 multi-hit games.

Compared to what has been happening over the last couple of months, Crawford for sure was the player for that lead-off spot, but looking over the last 10 games, maybe it would be time to switch it up. Scott Servais has a lot of thinking to do. Would it be better to keep Rodriguez at the 3rd batter spot, since he is producing as much as he is, or would it be best to put him back into that 1st batter spot to help build the momentum for the team?