Huard: Julio Rodríguez showing ‘something special’ like other Mariners phenoms

May 16, 2022, 2:27 PM | Updated: 2:28 pm

Mariners Julio Rodríguez...

Julio Rodríguez reacts after his single for the Mariners against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 8. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

It’s pretty hard for Mariners fans to contain their excitement about 21-year-old rookie Julio Rodríguez right now.

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Rodríguez is rapidly figuring things out at the major league level, hitting .288 with a .352 on-base percentage and .748 OPS over his last 30 games. He’s also crushed a pair of homers, both of which were impressively hard-hit, and he’s tied for the MLB lead in stolen bases with 10 entering Monday.

On Sunday, Rodríguez had his most exciting game to date, going 4 for 4 with a walk, a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored to help the Mariners beat the National League East-leading Mets 8-7 and deliver a huge series win to Seattle.

Needless to say, people are taking notice.

“Every time I watch him, he is just a tremendously gifted athlete,” Brock Huard said Monday during his daily segment on Seattle Sports Station’s Mike Salk Show.

Responded Salk: “He always seems to do something to affect the game.”

Not only that, but Rodríguez is doing so in a way that is reminding people of other phenoms from Mariners history.

“The amount of ground that he covers (in center field), the fluidity with which he runs, the ease with which he’s swinging… this is an unfair comp and he’s not Ken Griffey Jr. yet, but it was the same thing about Griffey,” Huard said. “It’s the same reason that everyone that’s in their 40s, like I am, when they go out and play wiffle ball can still emulate the little wiggle from Ken Griffey Jr.’s swing. … Like, that was the swing, and I can only imagine the number of kids that are going to have their bats painted (like Rodríguez) and the kids that are going to emulate that swing with the high elbow.”

Huard saw a quality from Rodríguez in the series against the Mets that was similar to something Griffey and fellow Mariners legend Félix Hernández both possessed.

“Pretty cool to see a kid that kind of fits in line with what Griffey used to do and what what Félix used to do, and that was, ‘When I get on the big stage, and you’re gonna put me in the market in New York, and you’re gonna put me on the eastern seaboard in Boston, and you’re gonna put me in these places with all eyes on me,’ instead of shrinking, he loved it,” Huard said. “He captivated that stage and certainly made a mark in New York with the Mariners leaving town winners, (leaving people to say) ‘Man, we’re gonna have to keep an eye on that Julio kid because that was something special.'”

Brock Huard joins The Mike Salk Show live at 7:45 p.m. each weekday on Seattle Sports Station 710 AM. Listen to their full conversation from Monday in the final segment of the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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