After a slow and depressing start to the 2023 season, Julio Rodriguez might have finally been able to find the fire that he was waiting for.
At the start of the 2023 season, all Seattle Mariner fans, and baseball fans were looking at Seattle Mariners center fielder Julio Rodriguez to see if he could continue what he was doing in the 2022 season.
Well, a lot of them were very disappointed when Rodriguez started having one of the slowest starts ever. The one most important thing about Rodriguez is that he did not give up on himself.
Rodriguez continued to go out into the stadium and still play like he was having fun.
Julio Rodriguez’s slow start mirrored that of the Mariners
It all started in March when Rodriguez was starting to show that he did not have the plate discipline or the eye in the batter’s box when he had nine plate appearances and was only able to account for two hits and three strikeouts. Everyone thought maybe it could just be a little bit of nerves but then April rolled around and Rodriguez still could not get it together with 104 plate appearances and only having 25 hits with 31 strikeouts.
With this slow start and going 0-for-4 against the Texas Rangers on May 9, Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais moved Rodriguez out of the leadoff spot. This move was made to try to ease some of the pressure off Rodriguez so that he would be able to focus on making himself better.
Per the Seattle Times, Servais said:
"“There’s been a lot of work put in. His swing was a little messed up. His timing wasn’t good. There’s a lot of things going on. This is his second year and things never are like they are the first time you do something. The second time around the league knows you. You’ve got to make some adjustments along the way, and he is.”"
Julio Rodriguez bouncing back, showing superstar form again
Fast forward to the end of May, and Rodriguez is starting to show everyone the hard work that he has put in and that he can still play like he did in the 2022 season. Rodriguez has been able to make the adjustments that were needed to be able to put the ball in play and to help the Mariners win the games that needed to be won.
Over the last seven games, Rodriguez has a .467 batting average and 1.284 OPS with two home runs, seven runs batted in, and six multi-hit games. Also, during these seven games Rodriguez’s average exit velocity has been just over 98 mph.
Rodriguez even had a few words to say about how he has been performing;
"“It’s definitely paying off. I feel like we all can see that. It’s been a lot of work. As I always say, I just feel like going through tough times is fun. It’s fun to be able to come out on top. It’s definitely been a lot of work with people close to me. I feel excited where things are heading to and I think things are trending in the right directions now.”"
There is proof that this young baseball player still has the production rate and power that he had in 2022, it has just taken a little while to find it. Now that he has found it, all Seattle Mariners and baseball fans are hoping that it will continue and help the Mariners soar to more victories.