The Seattle Mariners have a lot of talent in the outfield.
After a rough first couple of weeks, Rodriguez is starting to settle in and get familiar with major league pitching.
He is doing it all as a 21-year-old kid, which tells you about how advanced he is.
He was the starting center fielder in the Boston Red Sox’s 12-6 victory against the Seattle Mariners.
For the Mariners, it’s an honor reserved for the truly great.
“Julio Rodríguez is the first @Mariners player to start in center field at Fenway Park, at age 21 or younger, since — yes — Ken Griffey Jr. @JRODshow44 @SeattleSports @MLBNetwork,” MLB insider Jon Morosi tweeted.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) May 19, 2022
He Has Some Pretty Good Company
Every time your name appears in the same sentence as Ken Griffey Jr., it probably means you are doing things the right way.
It’s worth pointing out that Kelenic played center field for the Mariners as a 21-year-old last season, just not at Fenway Park.
Rodriguez is currently slashing .270/.327/.383 with three home runs and 11 stolen bases.
There are obviously things to work on: for example, his 7.2 percent walk rate is down from what he had been showing in recent minor league seasons, and his 31.4 percent strikeout rate is extremely high to have consistent success in MLB.
Plate discipline usually takes a while to fully develop, even for top prospects, so the Mariners will have to be patient with Rodriguez.
J-Rod, as he is called, is not a finished product: scouts say that he can hit .300 with 25-homer power when his developmental stage is over.
He projects as a true game-changing hitter, and is on his way to becoming that player.