Mr. Ichiro was also convinced!? Darling Julio Rodriguez took a big break in freshman year – Sachiko Mizutsugu’s MLB Now-MLB Column : Nikkan Sports

Rodriguez of the Mariners praising Soto of the Nationals who won the Home Run Derby final (photographed by Yuzo Karimata)

Rodriguez of the Mariners praising Soto of the Nationals who won the Home Run Derby final (photographed by Yuzo Karimata)

Outfielder Julio Rodriguez (21), the darling child of Ichiro (48), special assistant to the president and coach of the Mariners team, has had a big break since his freshman year. This season, since spring training camp, Mr. Ichiro has been keeping an eye on him and teaching him enthusiastically. The other day at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Mr. Ichiro said of his training, “I don’t say anything to Julio. I spoke to him several times during camp and several times during the season. We are the same outfielder, but the type is completely different.”

A native of the Dominican Republic, Rodriguez joined the Mariners in 2017 at the age of 16. Starting from the rookie league, it was last season that he was promoted to 2A for the first time. From there, he jumped 3A and suddenly joined the batting roster as a regular center back in the majors since the start of this season. Prior to the start of the season, according to prospect rankings on the official MLB website, he was ranked third overall, behind Royals infielder Robert Witt (22) and Orioles wide receiver Adley Latchman ( 24 years).

It’s safe to say the performance exceeded expectations, but Mr. Ichiro seems to have immediately noticed Rodriguez’s ‘potential to become a top-notch player’.

“Julio has so much potential, but he also has a very strong desire to become even better. I want to see him again. I want to see how far it goes. I want to do everything I can (for that).”

Regarding the requirements to become a top-notch player, “For example, there are a lot of players with quick legs, strong shoulders and good kicking abilities. I’ve seen a lot of them. A conclusion of my experience is that very few players have it.” “It makes me think that at 21, Julio already has it, and probably will continue to do so. I don’t quite understand why he has it,” he said.

Rodriguez signed a 12-year contract with the team in August. Meanwhile, if you win MVP twice, it will be a maximum of about $470 million (about 63.5 billion yen) in 17 years. Signing a big, long-term contract with a fresh-off rookie is usually risky, but the Mariners are confident Rodriguez will be a big deal. As Mr. Ichiro believes.[Sachiko Mizutsugi](Nikkan column “Sachiko Mizutsugi’s MLB Now”)

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