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Sports >  Seattle Mariners

Julio Rodriguez named American League rookie of the month for second consecutive month

July 2, 2022 Updated Sat., July 2, 2022 at 3:06 p.m.

Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners celebrates after scoring against the Oakland Athletics in the third inning at RingCentral Coliseum on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Oakland, California.   (Tribune News Service)
Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners celebrates after scoring against the Oakland Athletics in the third inning at RingCentral Coliseum on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Oakland, California.  (Tribune News Service)
Ryan Divish Seattle Times

Add another award to the already impressive and steadily improving resumé that Julio Rodriguez has built for American League rookie of the year.

On Saturday afternoon, Rodriguez was named the American League rookie of the month for June after winning the award in May, as well.

In 29 games (28 starts) in June, he posted a .281/.361/.542 slash line with seven doubles, seven homers, 16 RBI, five stolen bases, 10 walks and 31 strikeouts. He led American League rookies in almost every offensive category in June, including Fangraphs WAR (1.4), weight runs created (162), hits (30), runs scored (22), home runs (7), RBI (16), total bases (58) and times on base (44) while ranking tied for the AL rookie lead in stolen bases (5).

Rodriguez, only 21 years old, is the first Mariners player to win back-to-back rookie of the month awards since Ichiro Suzuki did it twice in 2001 (April-May, August-September). He is also the first American League player to win back-to-back Rookie of the Month awards since Houston’s Yordan Alvarez won three consecutive in 2019 (June-August).

How would manager Scott Servais sum up Rodriguez’s June?

“Wow,” Servais said. “Yeah, that’s how I would sum it up: ‘Wow.’ We could go into all the ways to describe it in talking about how impressive it was, but just watching it every day … the adjustments he makes, the joy he continues to play with, I just hope that never leaves. I said that the day we called him up, and I pray to God it stays with him for a long, long time.”

After a slow start in April, where he posted a .206/.284/.260 slash line with four doubles, six RBI, nine stolen bases and 30 strikeouts, Rodriguez has been one the Mariners’ best players since May 1. In his past 58 games, he has a .296/.353/.541 slash line with 11 doubles, two triples, 13 homers, 33 RBI, 16 walks, 60 strikeouts and 10 stolen bases. Only four AL players, Rafael Devers (3.6), Alejandro Kirk (3.0), Aaron Judge (3.0) and Alvarez (2.9), have accumulated more WAR than Rodriguez’s 2.5 WAR in that span.

Coming into Saturday, Rodriguez had played in 78 of the Mariners’ 79 games this season, posting a .273/.335/.471 slash line with 15 doubles, two triples, 13 homers, 39 RBI, 23 walks, 90 strikeouts, 19 stolen bases and a 2.6 WAR.

Houston shortstop Jeremy Peña, who has .268/.320/.450 slash line with nine doubles, a triple, nine homers, 27 RBI, 12 walks, 55 strikeouts and six stolen bases, is second among AL rookies with a 2.4 WAR this season.

Servias continues to marvel at the maturity of Rodriguez’s approach at the plate. The sin of any hitter is to “give an at-bat away” by not staying focused or maintaining an approach. Rodriguez refuses to give one away. He treats every at-bat like it could be his last. He will not give in.

“If you look over the course of a year, if you’re an everyday player, you’re going to get up 550, maybe 600 times you walk to the plate and of those did you give away 100 of them,” Servais said. “It’s really the mark of how you put great seasons together when you can minimize that number. There’s going to be some of them because these guys are human and they’re not robots. Maybe they don’t feel great or the game’s gotten away from us or whatever. But being able to lock it in like that, that’s when you look at the end of the year and you’ve had a great season. Julio’s got one of those going right now.”

Notes

Jesse Winker said that after appealing his seven-game suspension “for actions that caused the incident and for fighting” in last Sunday’s brawl with the Angels it has been reduced to six games.

Servais said that Winker will start serving his suspension on Monday when the team travels to San Diego for a two-game series at Petco Park. Winker would also miss a big four-game series vs. the Blue Jays at T-Mobile Park starting Thursday.

Coming into Saturday, Winker had a .368/.478/.632 slash line in his past 11 games, including 14 hits in 46 plate appearances with four doubles, two homers, nine RBI, seven walks and just six strikeouts.

The status of Rodriguez’s appeal on his two-game suspension has yet to be announced.

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