Breaking down Julio Rodriguez’s historic season


Julio swinging for the ball. Photo by Alika Jenner – AFP

Isaac Hinson, Sports Editor

After cementing himself as the Seattle Mariners best player during the year that they made the playoffs for the first time in two decades, outfielder (OF) Julio Rodriguez has been awarded American League (AL) Rookie of the Year. 

Rodriguez became the fifth Mariner of all-time to win Rookie of the Year, joining Alvin Davis (1984), Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000), Ichiro Suzuki (2001) and Kyle Lewis (2018). 

The Dominican Republic-born phenomenon beat out Cleveland Guardians OF Steven Kwan and Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman for the award, receiving 29 out of 30 possible first-place votes. 

“It’s pretty cool,” Rodriguez said in a video of him reacting to winning the award posted by the Mariners. “You only have one chance to do that in your career.”

Rodriguez became the first player in history to have 25 home runs and 25 stolen bases in their debut season. He reached those numbers at the fastest pace in history, doing so in 125 games. 

Mariners President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto thought that Rodriguez could have reached 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases, had he not missed games in the second half of the season. 

“If he didn’t have a couple of setbacks physically, the 30-30 thing would’ve been a reality,” Dipoto said to the Seattle Times. “He had a remarkable year. He accepts every challenge, and then when the lights get brighter, he seems to shine even more.”

Rodriguez’s historic season included an appearance on the AL All-Star team, the only rookie to be named an All-Star last season, as well as a Silver Slugger award, marking him as the best offensive player at his position in the AL. 

Rodriguez posted a season of 84 runs scored, 25 doubles, three triples, 28 home runs and 75 runs-batted-in (RBI). 

On top of all of that, Rodriguez participated in the Home Run Derby at All-Star weekend, posting a derby-high 81 homers, but ultimately losing to San Diego Padres superstar Juan Soto in the final round. 

Rodriguez’s heroics culminated in the Mariners offering him the deal of a lifetime: $210 million guaranteed for 14 more years of his service, with the possibility of maxing out at $470 million if he reaches certain benchmarks (MVPs, championships, etc.). 

“What can I say? I’m just happy to be a Mariner,” said Rodriguez in the press-conference after he signed the extension. “I love being here. I love being with everybody, and I love to keep representing this city and bring a championship, that’s what we want here.”