BROCK AND SALK

Passan: Mariners’ Julio currently ‘as good as a baseball player can be’

Aug 22, 2023, 3:49 PM

Seattle Mariners Julio Rodriguez...

Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his three-run double on Aug. 14, 2023. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

(Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners are on one heck of a run, and at the center of it all is their young superstar.

Drayer: How the Seattle Mariners have turned into the AL’s hottest team

Center fielder Julio Rodríguez has been on fire and then some at the plate, slashing .346/.393/.555 (.948 OPS) in 43 games since July 1. He’s been even better in August, slashing a ridiculous .412/.444/.659 (1.103 OPS) in 18 games. That includes a stretch where Rodriguez had four or more hits in four straight games, tallying 17, which is an MLB record for a four-game stretch. That hot streak earned him American League Player of the Week honors.

With Rodríguez hot, the Mariners are 32-13 since the start of July.

“It’s been nice to see, right?” ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan told Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Tuesday. “And let’s also not discount the axiom that I said earlier this season that I feel like it’s probably the truest thing I’ve said on these airwaves – which is as Julio goes, so go the Mariners. And as Julio has been a top-five player in baseball over the last month and the best player in baseball over the last week and so on and so forth, the Mariners have been pretty freaking awesome.”

Passan has covered MLB for roughly two decades and has seen a lot of great players doing great things. So just how impressive was Rodríguez’s week last week?

“I don’t think impressive even begins to describe what last week was. Last week was about as good as a baseball player can be,” Passan said. “I don’t think there’s any other way to really put it.”

“In this game where if you succeed 30% of the time at the plate, you are a no-doubt first-ballot Hall of Famer, and Julio spent four days succeeding 75% of the time?” Passan added with a laugh.

Before his first four-hit game last week in Kansas City, Rodríguez had two four-hit games in his career.

“Then he had four (games) in a row with four or more hits. That’s baseball, yes, but that’s not an accident,” Passan said. “A four-hit game is a really difficult thing to do. Two in a row is darn-near impossible. Anything beyond that, you have to be either the most locked-in player of all-time, or just really incredibly talented. And I think in Julio’s case, those two things happened to intersect at the same time.”

Listen to the full discussion with Passan at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

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Passan: Mariners’ Julio currently ‘as good as a baseball player can be’