Mariners Report Cards: Center Field
The Mariners have themselves a superstar at just 22 years old. How did his 2023 grade out and what should we expect moving forward?
Julio Rodríguez is an unbelievable talent and a great person. He is exactly the type of superstar you want to build your franchise around. Let’s take a look at his 2023 campaign and what to expect from the Dominican superstar moving forward.
The Mariners have a superstar, plain and simple. We are very lucky to have him, and his sophomore season did not disappoint. He posted 5.9 fWAR, a 126 wRC+ with 32 home runs and 37 stolen bases.
His .275/.333/.485 slash line is utterly unbelievable for a 22-year-old in just his second full season in the big leagues. While things started slow, the numbers really ended up being very impressive.
April, May, and June were all relatively ordinary, but the Dominican superstar entered another atmosphere in July and August. His 131 wRC+ in July was followed by an astounding 232 in August, which catapulted the Mariners back into contention.
He was once again the best offensive player on a team that was desperate for offense, a ton of pressure for a 22-year-old kid.
Not only was he an offensive force once again in year number 2, but his defense took another step. His speed and range in centerfield are absolutely game-changing, and with it came a cache of highlight-reel catches in 2023.
He should absolutely be the Gold Glove winner among AL centerfielders, and I think he deserves to be in the conversation for the platinum glove. Overall, it was another terrific season that should produce a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and a potential top 3 MVP finish.
There aren’t many, but the first three months of the season were somewhat of a struggle for Julio. He was essentially a league-average bat through June, and the team really struggled.
This isn’t his fault, but the Mariners rely too heavily on a 22-year-old. Getting him some protection in the lineup absolutely has to be a priority this offseason, and taking pressure off the young star may even improve performance.
Rodríguez struggled in a big way down the stretch, and Seattle simply didn’t have the pieces around him to be able to weather the storm.
My video analysis is located below!