As if his show at the 2023 Home Run Derby wasn’t enough confirmation, let Tuesday night serve as a reminder: It’s Julio Rodriguez’s world, and we’re all just living it.
In the top of the fourth inning of the Mariners’ game against the San Diego Padres, fellow young superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. lifted a high fly ball to the wall in dead center. It looked the ball had just cleared Rodriguez’s outstretched glove for a go-ahead homer, especially as Rodriguez started walking forlornly back toward the infield ... only to finally reveal that the ball had been sitting in his glove all along:
Rodriguez couldn’t help but crack a smile eventually before throwing up the X toward his cheering section in right-center — which has been dubbed the No Fly Zone since last season due to, well, exactly the sort of play that you just saw. And as if that weren’t ridiculous enough, just one inning later, Rodriugez was at it again:
Another impressive catch from Julio Rodríguez, who's doing it all in the field tonight.— Daniel Kramer (@DKramer_) August 9, 2023
Opportunity time: 4.6 seconds
Distance covered: 86 ft.
Sprint speed: 29.1 ft/sec
Catch probability: 40% pic.twitter.com/lIVnzO44f9
A friendly reminder that the above player is also built like a linebacker at 6’3, 228 pounds, and he ran away with AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2022 after posting an .853 OPS with 28 homers and 25 steals in just 132 games. The 22-year-old phenom got off to a bit of a cold start at the plate, but he’s heating up of late, slashing .305/.368/.496 with five homers and nine steals since the start of July.