On July 16th of this godforsaken year, Julio Rodriguez suffered a hairline fracture of his wrist. Why? Because 2020 was the year no one saw coming, hindsight be damned. Pack up your suitcases and move in with your most charitable, rich relative, we’ll come out of this thing at some point in the future. Wake me up then, ‘kay? A wrist fracture feels like the end of the story for 2021, as well. Julio Rodriguez is 19 years old. Losing a year of development, puts him behind the eight ball, as they say in pool halls. Take a year to get back to where he was this year, and get back to me. I’m living with my rich cousin who invented the app that skips ahead of the personal stories on all recipe blogs. Unless Julio Rodriguez is a *whispers* phenom. *checks notes, slowly raises head, eyes watery* He is a…dot dot dot…dramatic pause…big gulp…orders again, “Can I get a Big Gulp?” Sorry, I’m typing this up at 7-11. Yes, he’s a phenom! Oh, yeah, Julio Rodriguez is a phenom. He. Is. A. Phenom. Yes, the one-word douchey sentences. On Prospect Itch’s top 100 fantasy baseball prospects in redraft leagues, Julio Rodriguez was 3rd overall. He would’ve been my number one rookie coming into 2021 fantasy baseball, if I had any faith in the Mariners promoting Julio Rodriguez to start the season. My biggest concern is playing time. Otherwise, he’s a lock. There’s at least a 50% chance Juli-Rodrigu (what friends call him) keeps his prospect status for 2022 and I’m back here at this time next year saying he’s the best rookie going into next season which will be two seasons from now, and not confusing at all. So, what can we expect from Julio Rodriguez for 2021 fantasy baseball?
Julio Rodriguez looks like every corner outfielder who is, and has ever been a perennial All-Star with 40-grade speed. Since everything Jules Rod (what very good friends call him) does is beautiful, may as well focus down on the bad. Julio Rodriguez looks like a zero to three steal guy over the course of a 162-game season. I watched some video of him running. It was a small sample of video clips, and I had my good eye shut, but wore a monocle on my bad eye. Yet, he looked like he was running wearing boots that were three sizes too big and filled with cement. Yo, Jules Rod, you not pay a debt you owed to the mafia? So, that’s the bad. Everything else is gorgeous.
At 19 years old, I watched clip after clip of him hitting home runs with relative ease. He looks like a 40-homer, .300 hitter. When I say that about someone who will only be 20 years old to start this season, we’re talking about a guy who could be a Hall of Famer in 25 years and will be a perennial 1st to 2nd rounder in fantasy baseball leagues for a decade, even without speed. He feels like a guy who will be overrated for fantasy for years because he’ll be fun and people will clamor for him, but I’ll be cranky and say there’s no speed, and that’s me pre-quoting 2025 Grey! 2025 Grey is a real wet blanket! Guess five years of a pandemic will do that. I kid, please let me be kidding.
With 2021 fantasy, it’s all going to come down to when Ju-Rod (only family calls him this) promoted. On that note, I honestly have no idea. Mariners have beefcake, Kyle Lewis, and the soon-to-be-promoted Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez. Not much else. So, will they make a serious push to have all three of them in the outfield by June 15th? That feels aggressive, but no one calls him July — it’s Juli! Honestly, I don’t know on his promotion date. Feels like we’re throwing out everything we know of the Mariners and assuming the best. Not saying Kyle Lewis is same level of talent, but he at least saw Double-A before the majors. Julio Rodriguez has only seen High-A. I honestly think I’m going to be back here next year with Rodriguez not breaking the rookie eligiblity threshold in 2021. I hope I’m wrong. Prospect Itch, obviously, has higher hopes for him in 2021, slotting him 3rd in his redraft prospect rankings. For 2021, I’ll give Julio Rodriguez projections of 18/7/21/.282 in 144 ABs with a chance for more based on promotion date. Also, if the Mariners are buyers this offseason, which seems odd to say since I don’t think anyone’s going to be buyers this offseason except the Mets, that could convince me Juli-Rod is more like May or even June-Rod.