Seattle Mariners star center fielder Julio Rodriguez is having a tougher sophomore season in the big leagues compared to his breakthrough rookie season. In his 44 games, he has a thrashline of .204/.280/.376 and an OPS of .656, a significant drop compared to his 2022 line of .284/.345/.509 and OPS of .853. His in-game batting average has also dropped from .345 to .256, while his pursuit percentage and strikeout percentage have increased. MLB’s FOX play-by-play announcer Jason Benetti joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk and shared his insights on Rodriguez’s woes.
One of the reasons why Rodriguez may be struggling is the new balanced schedule in MLB, wherein all teams will face each other in at least one series for the first time this year. This means that division rivals don’t meet as often as they used to, and players have to adjust to seeing different pitchers more frequently. Veteran players have also noticed that there is more scouting in the game, and this could be affecting younger players like Rodriguez.
Additionally, pitchers are getting better each year, and there are more curveballs in the game. Rodriguez is being pitched differently this season as he is viewed as a star player, and this could be impacting his performance. However, there is a silver lining for Rodriguez as he recently recorded three walks in a game, despite the Mariners’ losing streak in Atlanta.
Seattle manager Scott Servais will eventually try to return Rodriguez to the top spot once he is back in shape. When Rodriguez hits his stride, he will be a formidable number one guy and a big step for the Seattle Mariners.