Seattle Mariners young star Julio Rodriguez was unfazed under the bright lights in Hollywood. The 21-year-old put on a show in the City of Angels in his first ever All-Star Week event and fans were most certainly impressed.
The Mariners rookie didn't waste any time as he blasted 32 bombs in just the first round. This put him past Texas Rangers' Corey Seager, who made his first trip back to Dodger Stadium after signing with the Rangers.
In what looked like a mountain too tall to climb, he then proceeded to eliminate two-time defending champion Pete Alonso. He smashed 31 home runs in the semi-finals to deny the back-to-back champion a chance for a three-peat.
The rookie went on an unprecedented run and reached the finals. There, he faced compatriot and Nationals superstar Juan Soto. Rodriguez managed to mash 18 homers but was given just a 30-second bonus time for failing to hit a home run over 440 feet.
Soto, on the other hand, started slow but proceeded to hit a homer further than the specified distance to claim the bonus one-minute extension. This was enough for him as he scored 19 home runs in the final round to ultimately clinch the derby.
Rodriguez smashed a total of 81 home runs in his first year of participation in the event. It would be interesting to see if he obliges to join the derby next year when Seattle hosts the All-Star Week festivities.
Seattle Mariners rookie Julio Rodriguez receive plaudits from MLB fans
The fairytale run came up just short for the Seattle Mariners rookie. However, it gave him the chance to show what he's capable of and MLB fans certainly appreciated it.
The sky will be the limit for the young star. His All-Star Week hasn't concluded yet, however, as he has been named to the American League All-Star team. This made him the first Seattle Mariners rookie position player since Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 to be selected to the team.
The rookie has a slash line of .275 and an OPS of .814 with 16 home runs and 52 RBIs for the season. He has also stolen 21 bases this year, the third-best total in the league.
Rodriguez has also bagged two of the three American League Rookie of the Month Awards this year - May and June.
With Rodriguez in tow and the Mariners riding on a 14-game win streak, they have now reached the American League Wildcard spot.
If the Mariners' dominance continues, they might fancy themselves a chance to end the longest playoff drought (19 years) in North American sports history.