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MiLB Report: Mariners Prospect Julio Rodriguez Is a Must-Watch

An incredible pairing of consistency and potential, Seattle Mariners prospect Julio Rodriguez could be the best player in minor league baseball. He’s dominated every level he’s played at, and is currently a must-watch for fans and collectors.

Read about Rodriguez and four other prospects in this week’s MiLB Report:

Ed Howard, SS, Chicago Cubs (16th overall pick in 2020)

Height: 6’2 | Weight: 185 | Age: 19

Season stats: .212/.273/.580; 4 HR

Last week’s stats: .529/.625/1.625 

MLB comparison: Tim Anderson

Scouting ReportHit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Field: 60 | Overall: 50

Cards to Watch: 2020 Bowman Chrome Autograph | 2020 Bowman Chrome | 2020 Bowman Chrome Sapphire 

Ed Howard was drafted as one of the best high school talents in the 2020 draft, but he hadn’t lived up to that hype until recently. This week alone he has revitalized Cubs fans’ faith in his ability with an insane performance. Howard possesses all five tools and has given fans a few mammoth homers this year, but has yet to find much consistency in his first pro season. Adapting to hitting a wood bat definitely has taken a toll on Howard so far in 2021, where he is barely slashing above the Mendoza line (.200). He’s looking to carry this week’s performance through the end of the 2021 season. 

Ronny Mauricio, SS, New York Mets (2017 International Signee)

Height: 6’3 | Weight: 166 | Age: 20

Season stats: .246/.294/.744; 17 HR 

Last week’s stats: .400/.500/1.200; 1 HR 

MLB comparison: Ozzie Albies

Scouting ReportHit: 50 | Power: 60 | Run: 40 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55

Cards to Watch: 2019 Bowman Chrome Autograph | 2019 Bowman Chrome | 2019 Bowman Chrome Mega Box Refractor

Mauricio, in my eyes, has been one of the most disappointing hitters this year alongside Ed Howard. However, they both put on a show this week. Mauricio has an incredible swing and has shown an immaculate power uptick this season, but still lacks patience in the box (22 walks in 92 games). He has all the tools and if he is able to develop that ability to take pitches, he will definitely be able to live up to the massive hype.

Cade Cavalli, P, Washington Nationals (22nd overall pick in 2020)

Height: 6’4 | Weight: 230 | Age: 23

Season stats: 101.2 IP, 2.74 ERA, 154 SO 

Last week’s stats: 5.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 4 SO 

MLB comparison: Jacob Degrom

Scouting ReportFastball: 65 | Curveball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55

Cards to Watch: 2020 Bowman Chrome Autograph | 2020 Bowman Chrome | 2020 Bowman Chrome Sapphire

I feel like I have not been giving any love to pitchers in this column — let’s change that. Cavalli has been a superstar in his first pro season. The fireballer was drafted out of Oklahoma as someone who can sit at 96-98 MPH and touch 100 MPH with ease. He has very sound mechanics and his release is effortless. With plus pitchers and high velocity comes a lot of swing-and-misses. In his first season, Cavalli has pitched at High-A, Double-A, and was recently promoted to Triple-A. Over all levels, Cavalli is posting 13.6 strikeouts per 9 IP, and is repping a 3.21 strikeout/walk ratio. The Nationals have a very special arm in Cavalli, so expect to see him at the MLB level in 2022. 

Julio Rodriguez, OF, Seattle Mariners (2017 International Signee)

Height: 6’3 | Weight: 180 | Age: 20

Season stats: .327/.434/.973; 10 HR

Last week’s stats: .421/.621/1.094; 5 SB

MLB comparison: Aaron Judge

Scouting ReportHit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50

Cards to Watch: 2019 Bowman Chrome Autograph | 2019 Bowman Chrome | 2019 Bowman Chrome Mega Box Refractor

“J-Rod” is the best player in the minor leagues, and has been the most consistent minor league hitter since he entered the pro scene in 2019. We are either being lied to about J-Rod being 180 pounds or the scale he stepped on was broken — he’s a giant. He’s only played in 56 games this year because he was away playing in the Olympics for the Dominican Republic (where he hit .420 with 2 HR). J-Rod started the minor league season at High-A, which to me was a waste of time for him. He’s now been in Double-A for 28 games. To nobody’s surprise, J-Rod is dominating there the same way he has at every other level — he’s currently hitting .320/.460/.950 at Double-A Arkansas. J-Rod is a next level, elite talent who everybody should be watching on a daily basis. This is not a column for sports card advice, but I can’t let this one slide. Do yourself a favor and buy a Julio Rodriguez card, hide it away, and don’t think twice about it. 

Alek Thomas, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (63rd overall pick in 2018)

Height: 5’11 | Weight: 175 | Age: 21

Season stats: .291/.380/.891; 11 HR

Last week’s stats: .500/.579/1.454; 1 HR

MLB comparison: Nick Markakis

Scouting ReportHit: 60 | Power: 50 | Run: 60 | Arm: 40 | Field: 60 | Overall: 55

Cards to Watch: 2018 Bowman Chrome Autograph | 2018 Bowman Chrome 

Thomas is having an excellent 2021 season and is climbing up the prospect lists. He won’t blow you out of the water with his home run numbers, but he can flat out hit. A doubles machine, Thomas possesses a gap-to-gap line drive ability and plays excellent defense. I think Thomas has a lower ceiling than somebody like Julio Rodriguez (due to his size) but has a higher floor than most. I think he will continue to hit successfully at the MLB level. 

Ryan R. covers minor league baseball prospects for Sports Card Investor and writes a weekly MiLB Report column. Follow his other content on his YouTube channel.

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