Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez talks Rookie of the Month honors, dealing with expectations
Mariners rookie outfielder Julio Rodríguez was named American League Rookie of the Month for his excellent play in May, and he joined Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Wyman and Bob Friday afternoon just hours after earning that honor.
“It feels really good,” Rodriguez said.
Is earning an award like that something the Mariners center fielder strives to do?
“I like taking things one day at a time,” he said. “I just let it take care of itself … I don’t really like thinking about rewards and stuff like that.”
Rodríguez’s big month of May came after some early-season struggles in April as he adjusted to big league pitching. Rodríguez feels a lot more comfortable now that he’s 50 games into his MLB career, and he’s now regularly hitting in the middle of the Mariners’ lineup.
“I’m definitely getting more used to seeing really good pitching out there night in and night out. I feel like that’s part of it,” he said. “You’ve got to just keep getting used to what they’re trying to do, keep getting used to seeing good stuff out there because there’s really good pitching. This is the best level of baseball in the world … I’m definitely getting more used to it.”
Rodríguez entered the season as Baseball America’s No. 2 overall prospect in baseball and MLB Pipeline’s No. 3 overall prospect. Has he felt pressure in trying to live up to the hype?
“That’s what I’ve been doing my whole life when I play baseball. I’ve just got to go out there and be me,” Rodríguez said. “I know a lot of people had expectations for me, but at the end of the day I just want to go out there and have fun. That’s the way I play the game, that’s the way I want to keep playing.”
While it was expected that Rodriguez would join the Mariners and eventually become a big bat, what wasn’t anticipated was how much of a threat he’d be on the bases. Through his first 50 games, Rodríguez leads MLB in with 15.
“A lot of people didn’t really think it was part of my game, but I always thought it was part of my game,” he said. “Now it’s just able to play out at this level right here. It’s really cool. It feels really good that I’ve been rewarded for the hard work I’ve put in these past few offseasons to get here where I’m at right now.”
Listen to the interview at this link or in the player below.