THE ODD COUPLE: KELENIC & RODRIGUEZ PROVIDE A GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE
Prized outfielders Jarred Kelenic (20) and Julio Rodriguez (19) have been the talk of Mariners Spring Training 2020. And if the prospect analysts are right, the two are the primary building blocks to Jerry Dipoto's Championship Dreams.
Julio Rodriguez (pictured above) doesn't merely tower over the media, he towers over his friend, and fellow can't-miss Mariner prospect, as well.
"Look at him, he's gigantic," the pragmatic Kelenic spoke of the smiling, jovial Rodriguez. "What are you? 6'3, 230?"
"6'4, 225," Rodriguez corrects him, even as he's reaching forth to unroll the sleeves of a friend, who immediately claims he's overheated rather than have any of us believes he was showing off his guns.
"People think he's cocky," says Rodriguez of his unmistakably confident friend. "But trust me, I would not like him if he was cocky... We're not only friends, I am a big fan of him."
It's how they check themselves--teasing followed by a compliment, some shade then some love. A Dominican wunderkind and Wisconsin prodigy have launched a competitive friendship, one that recognizes the vast potential in the other, as well as in himself, and is already keenly aware that they will be better individually if they do it together... one that intends the push the other toward being his best through support and also good ol' fashioned one-upsmanship... one that envisions the two patrolling the same Major League outfield for years to come... and one that dreams of delivering a championship to a city they don't yet know but already love.
"Here's the deal. I'm going to make it to the major leagues. And he's going to make it to the major leagues," says Kelenic. "But it's not going to feel complete until we're both there forming that 1-2 punch."