Seattle Mariners star rookie Julio Rodriguez has won the Silver Slugger Award in his first year in the major leagues. Julio was already the only rookie this year to be an All-Star, and now he has some more hardware to add to his shelf after a phenomenal rookie campaign. Rodriguez hit .284 with 28 HRs and 75 RBI’s, and almost certainly won the American League Rookie of the Year award when the time comes.
Julio not only was one of the best hitters in the American League this year, but he also brought baseball back to Seattle. Julio helped end Seattle’s 21 year playoff drought in his first year in the league, and it shows how important he will be to them the foreseeable future. He brings joy, excitement, and another level of energy to a Mariners team that has been lacking that type of player for over two decades. Most importantly, the Mariners have something in a rookie that they haven’t had since Alex Rodriguez debuted for them in ’94, and Ken Griffey in ’89. They have a superstar in the making after one season in the MLB.
Another aspect of Julio’s game that was impressive was his ability to improve after a very slow start. After Julio’s first 20 games his slash line was an abysmal .205/.284/.260 with a putrid 61 wRC+. Julio was getting rung up on strike three far too often, and it showed how frustrated he was while playing. After the slow start, however, Julio began to erupt at the plate and showed why he was a former #1 prospect. Julio began to mash baseballs, hitting .280/.338/.514 with an astounding 146 wRC+ in his next 80 games (Bishop, 2022).
It’s been an almost picture-perfect first season for Rodriguez, but there’s one piece of hardware that he’s missing. That World Series trophy. With a promising rookie season under his belt, Julio will look to bring the Mariners to their first World Series in 2023. With the help of others and potential new teammates after the offseason, the Mariners looked primed for another playoff run where their season ends in infamy.