WYMAN AND BOB

Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez far from only star MLB hitter slumping

May 25, 2024, 9:36 AM

Seattle Mariners Julio Rodríguez...

Julio Rodríguez of the Seattle Mariners swings against the Houston Astros on May 3, 2024. (Jack Gorman/Getty Images)

(Jack Gorman/Getty Images)

The early-season struggles for Seattle Mariners star center fielder Julio Rodríguez have been perplexing.

Why rising Mariners prospect Logan Evans needs to be on your radar

Over his first two MLB seasons, Rodríguez hit a combined .279 with a .338 on-base percentage, .495 slugging and .834 OPS. Entering the Mariners’ series against the Washington Nationals this weekend, though, Rodríguez’s slash line for 2024 is just .257/.306/.312 for a .618 OPS, and he has only two homers in 51 games after averaging 30 per year from 2022-23.

It’s certainly not a positive development for the Mariners to have a slumping star through the first two months of the season, but a look around the rest of baseball adds some good perspective. Rodríguez is not the only star MLB hitter who hasn’t looked like himself yet this year. In fact, he’s far from it.

“You go around in a lot of the ballparks that I’m visiting and spending time around,” MLB Network insider Jon Morosi said Thursday to Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob, “(and there’s) someone whose name we know is really struggling. And it seems to be at a more profound level than what we had seen in the game for a very, very long time.”

For example, Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., the 2023 National League MVP, entered the weekend with a .242/.349/.341 slash (.690 OPS) with just three homers.

Morosi also pointed to Detroit slugger Spencer Torkelson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft who hit 31 homers last year. He was slashing .211/.279/.335 (.615 OPS) with three homers coming into Friday.

In even worse shape is Seattle native Corbin Carroll, who as an All-Star and the NL Rookie of the Year in 2023 led the Arizona Diamondbacks to the World Series last season. His slash before the weekend was just .191/.275/.282 (.557 OPS) with two homers.

What’s changing in MLB?

Why is it that these hitters seem to be struggling early on more than in past seasons? Some of it is the way the game is moving, Morosi sad.

“There are different reasons and unique reasons for all of them, but I do think that the teams that truly can hit – the Yankees are one that over the last couple of days certainly got off the mat against a really good Seattle pitching staff with what (Aaron) Judge can do with, with what (Juan) Soto has done this season – the teams that truly have special offenses I think are not nearly as numerous as they seem to be five or 10 years ago,” Morosi said.

Morosi also mentioned that different types of pitchers seem to be shining this season by approaching hitters in ways that counteract the direction offensive strategy has been heading for a while now.

“I think it is that the pitchers are now evolving a step ahead of the hitters. And the best part about it is that the pitchers who are thriving, those who are really dominating the sport, if you look at the top 10-15 pitchers right now in ERA, it’s not guys who are throwing 110 mph,” Morosi said. “It’s (the Cubs’) Shōta Imanaga, (Philadelphia’s) Ranger Suárez, (Kansas City’s) Seth Lugo, (Boston’s) Tanner Houck. It’s guys who are pitching – they’re pitching. It’s almost as if that for a long time, the hitters have evolved to this big time, big swinging, offensive, muscle up and and swing for the downs approach, and now you’ve got pitchers, for lack of a better way to visualize it, they’re almost throwing around where these bat paths are, and throwing around this this habit of the launch angle or whatever the approach might be. And the hitters haven’t adjusted yet.”

Listen to the full Wyman and Bob conversation with MLB Network’s Jon Morosi in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post. Catch Wyman and Bob on Seattle Sports 710 AM, the Seattle Sports app and SeattleSports.com from 2-7 p.m. weekdays.

More on the Seattle Mariners

M’s make roster move that means more Dylan Moore
Morosi: How close the M’s are to being in top tier of AL
Seattle adds another potential bullpen arm off waivers
What should we make of three struggling offseason additions?
Hot start by Seattle Mariners’ Woo not all about him that’s ‘absurd’

Wyman & Bob

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Mostly Cloudy then Chance Rain Showers
High 65° | Low 48°
Roof is open
Rangers at Mariners today at 7:10pm

Wyman and Bob

...

Seattle Sports Video

Video: Seattle Seahawks RB Zach Charbonnet on the tight-knight Running Back room

Where does Seattle Seahawks RB Zach Charbonnet’s mentality originate? How tight-knit is the RB room on this team? He joined Bob Stelton and Dave Wyman to talk about his off-season and the experience from the first set of practices this season. What does he think he can add to this Seahawks offense this season? What […]

2 days ago

...

Seattle Sports Video

Video: Seahawks DT Byron Murphy II on why he grew up a Seahawks fan, adjusting to life in the NFL

What did the rookie Seattle Seahawks DT Byron Murphy II have to say about what it was like to get drafted at pick #16 in NFL Draft? What does he think he can bring to this Seahawks Defense? Why did he grow up a Seahawks fan? He joined Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton to talk […]

2 days ago

...

Seattle Sports Video

Video: The impact that Leslie Frazier has had on the Seattle Seahawks coaching staff

What is the impact that Leslie Frazier has had on the Seattle Seahawks coaching staff? What will he bring to that Seahawks locker room? Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton discuss that and what type of coach Macdonald and the Seahawks are getting. What will he look like in his role in Seattle? Watch a snippet […]

4 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Geno Smith Titans 2023...

Cameron Van Til

ESPN’s Adam Schefter sizes up Seahawks’ QB situation

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter weighed in on Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks Geno Smith and Sam Howell during an appearance on Wyman and Bob.

8 days ago

Seattle Mariners trade target...

Bob Stelton

Bob’s Baseball Breakdown: Would Bob go all-in on Mariners trade?

Seattle Sports Wyman and Bob co-host Bob Stelton weighs in on the big issues and storylines around the Seattle Mariners.

8 days ago

...

Seattle Sports Video

Video: How much is Bob willing to deal in any Mariners trades? Bob’s Baseball Breakdown for 6-6-24

Bob Stelton of Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob breaks down the state of the Seattle Mariners. What did he see this week? How much is Bob willing to deal in any Mariners trades? This week, Bob answers: – How long can this team continue to win series like they have recently? – How much is […]

8 days ago

Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez far from only star MLB hitter slumping