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FutureStarrWhat a Difference a Year Makes 2023
One year ago, he arrived in Seattle as an eager young prospect eager to make the Opening Day roster. Now he's a star.
The 21-year-old centerfielder combines power, contact and speed with an intensity that draws comparisons to Ken Griffey Jr. He also exhibits an inquisitive nature which keeps him on the cutting edge of development.
What a year can do for J-Rod, who is on track to be an MVP candidate by 2023. That would be quite the accomplishment for someone whose first season in the big leagues was marked by struggle.
He was among the top players in baseball across all five offensive categories. His 28 home runs tied for second-place in the American League, while his 146 wRC+ and 260 total bases placed him among the elite performers of that era.
He's an exceptional athlete with a positive mindset and potential power-hitting superstar. Though his high injury risk should be taken into consideration, he's an incredibly promising young player who has all the makings of becoming a major star for years to come.
J-Rod was an impressive force in center field and his great glove only added to that impact. In 2022, he recorded 1 Defensive Run Saved - far surpassing Seattle's average defender at that position.
Steamer projects Rodriguez as the third-best hitter in baseball next year, behind only Juan Soto and Aaron Judge.
That isn't only an impressive statistic, it's also an incredibly rare projection. Even more remarkable when you consider that Mike Trout, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Xander Bogaerts are projected to do better than him!
Baseball seasons often follow unique paths, with rebuilding teams emerging into contention or an unknown prospect blossoming into a star.
Baseball offers us such an exciting ride, sometimes all within one season! That's what makes it so captivating to watch.
J-Rod has seen incredible progress over the course of one year. As a 2022 rookie, he skyrocketed to become baseball's biggest name, finishing with an OPS+ of 147 and 28 home runs in just 125 games.
He finished first in the American League Rookie of the Year race and passed Mike Trout as the fastest non-international player to reach that mark - and he's hungry for more success.
What a year makes for rising superstar J-Rod! He's already proving that his arrival with the Mariners was exactly when it needed to be and shows he has the potential to take it further.
In his rookie season, he has already established himself as one of baseball's elite players and will no doubt be an integral part of the Mariners' quest to end their 21-year playoff drought.
He possesses an impressive arsenal of toolset skillset, combining power, contact, speed and defense. Furthermore, his energy and enthusiasm often draw comparisons to Ken Griffey Jr.
That makes him such an intriguing hitter and his stat line looks like the ideal complement to the Mariners' stellar second base lineup. Even though Steamer projects him to be just as valuable as Rodriguez in fewer games, there remain doubts about whether he can maintain his high ceiling.
J-Rod has made remarkable progress over the course of one year. He's become a better hitter, fielder and all-around player.
Rodriguez has already hit a lot of home runs this season and the trend appears set for him to continue. Steamer predicts him to be among the top five home run hitters by age 22 and one of the best players at his position for at least the next decade or two.
He's an impressive field defender, possessing a good understanding of the mechanics for breaking toward a fly ball and covering 90 feet in 3.83 seconds. That's one major reason why the Mariners have kept faith with him and given him major league experience.
One year has made all the difference for rising superstar J-Rod. A year ago he was already considered one of the top five prospects, an irresistible presence in every sense of the word.
Early mistakes can be devastating for a player's reputation, particularly when they happen to the most highly-regarded young athletes. But Rodriguez defied this trend last season and returned with an MVP candidate-level batting line while leading Seattle to its first postseason appearance in 13 years.
He's now within reach of a 30-homer, 30 stolen bases season and is showing signs of maturity. If he keeps up this consistency, Rodriguez could remain an elite player for some time to come.
No player in baseball history looks more likely to follow Kris Bryant's MVP trajectory than Julio Rodriguez. That is because the rising superstar outfielder possesses an exceptional all-around skill set that could reach new heights in 2023.
His power output is impressive, and he boasts a formidable defensive profile in center field. However, his range to the left side isn't quite at par - which explains why his defensive metrics here are below average.
His speed is still impressive, though; he can cover 90 feet in 3.83 seconds. That puts him among the top-third of center fielders according to a Statcast statistic called "Burst," which measures their ability to break toward a fly ball from 1.51 to 3.0 seconds after it makes contact with the bat.
Baseball seasons often follow unique paths, from the rebuilding team that surges into contention to the star prospect who becomes an overnight sensation.
There's also a unique path that takes advantage of players who get overlooked during Year 1. In 2022, that player was 21-year-old Seattle Mariners center fielder Julio Rodriguez.
His bat is unreal, but his defense is equally impressive. It's difficult to underestimate the significance of a player who has 1 Defensive Run Saved this season and ranks among only a few center fielders with +9 outs above average in that area.
His power (15 home runs) and speed (21 stolen bases) combine to make him an all-around player who can produce impressive offensive numbers while also playing outstanding defense at his position, leading Steamer to give him an MVP projection for 2023.
The MLB season can be a long journey, but some players and teams have the potential to be remarkable in some way. From rebuilding teams that surge into contention to under-the-radar prospects who become stars, some storylines are sure to leave you speechless.
One of the storylines to watch out for is J-Rod's meteoric rise to superstardom. After making the Mariners roster out of spring training, Rodriguez stunned fans and helped end Seattle's 21 year playoff drought in 2022.
What a year makes for rising superstar J-Rod. His debut season was one of baseball's most remarkable, and now he looks poised to become the first player since Mike Trout to win Rookie of the Year, leading the Mariners back into a postseason for the first time in 21 years.
He's a better hitter, fielder and on track for a 30-home run and 30-stolled base season. Plus, he could potentially break into the Mariners' top four in wins above replacement on Baseball-Reference.com.
That's an impressive accomplishment, as it shows a player's long-term value. This suggests he'll be an attractive target for MLB teams in 2023.