'Wow': J-Rod named AL Rookie of the Month for June

Rodríguez becomes first Mariners rookie to win in back-to-back months since Ichiro in '01

July 2nd, 2022

SEATTLE -- Julio Rodríguez’s stellar rookie season received another tangible accolade on Saturday when he was named the AL Rookie of the Month for June. It’s the second consecutive month that the Mariners outfielder received the honor, after winning in May.

He is the AL’s first rookie to receive the award in consecutive months since Houston’s Yordan Alvarez from June-Aug. of 2019, and he’s the first Mariners rookie to win in back-to-back months since Ichiro Suzuki did so twice in his historic 2001 season. Both of those players went on to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award, and Rodríguez is an early favorite for that, too.

Seattle’s 21-year-old outfielder led all AL rookies in virtually every offensive category in June, including wins above replacement, per FanGraphs (1.4), wRC+, an era- and park-neutral stat where 100 is league average (162), hits (30), runs (22), home runs (7), RBI (16), total bases (58) and times on base (44) while tying for the lead among AL rookies in stolen bases (five).

“Wow,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said when asked about Rodríguez’s June early Saturday. “I don't think I could go into all the ways to describe it. Talking about how impressive it was just watching it every day, and the constant adjustments. ... The adjustments he makes, the joy he continues to play with, I just hope that never leaves him.”

Rodríguez had two separate three-hit efforts, on June 17 and June 21. He also homered back-to-back games twice. For the month, he hit .280/.361/.542 (.903 OPS) while playing in each of the Mariners’ 29 games.

Highest WAR among rookies

  1. Julio Rodríguez (SEA): 2.6
  2. Jeremy Peña (HOU): 2.4
  3. Bobby Witt Jr. (KC): 1.5
  4. Brendan Donovan (STL): 1.4, Michael Harris II (ATL): 1.4

“I feel pretty good about the year that I’m having, and I feel pretty good about the way that I’m helping the team,” Rodríguez said earlier this week.

The statistical superlatives go on, but Rodríguez’s reputation as a blossoming power hitter is also growing.

Servais told a story in the home dugout at T-Mobile Park on Saturday morning when asked if the notoriety for Rodríguez is growing among opposing teams. Are they pitching him more carefully? Taking more general notice?

Earlier this week against Baltimore, Servais was delayed in submitting his lineup due to the uncertainty of suspensions being handed down for last weekend’s fight in Anaheim. Understanding the predicament, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde playfully responded, “No problem, but see if you can leave Rodríguez off of it.”

“People notice around the league,” Servais said. “And when you look at other teams, who's doing good, who are the guys that we don't want us to beat us or whatever, certainly, he's somebody that guys talk about.”

After a tough April, Rodríguez has really turned things around in the two months since, emerging with an outside chance to perhaps play in the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium later this month. The AL field is stacked with outfielders, such as Aaron Judge, Mike Trout and Kyle Tucker -- but Rodríguez is right behind those sluggers, ranking fifth in WAR.