Consistency. That's what has stuck out to Class A Advanced Modesto skipper Denny Hocking about Julio Rodriguez since the 18-year-old's promotion to the Nuts on Aug. 15.Seattle's third-ranked prospect has been consistent in preparation, attitude, approach -- and as he showcased Wednesday -- his results as well.Rodriguez went 5-for-5 with
Consistency. That's what has stuck out to Class A Advanced Modesto skipper Denny Hocking about Julio Rodriguez since the 18-year-old's promotion to the Nuts on Aug. 15.
Seattle's third-ranked prospect has been consistent in preparation, attitude, approach -- and as he showcased Wednesday -- his results as well.
Rodriguez went 5-for-5 with a pair of doubles, a triple, four RBIs and two runs scored as Modesto vanquished Stockton, 10-2, at John Thurman Field.
"He was the same exact person tonight as he's been the entire time that he's been here," Hocking said. "He comes to the field ready to play, he prepares to get quality at-bats, he controls the zone and puts himself in hitters' counts to do damage. And that's just what he's done since the day that he stepped into the California League."
It marked the first five-hit effort of Rodriguez's professional career. The 18-year-old compiled a pair of four-hit nights earlier this month -- with Class A West Virginia on Aug. 11 and then for the Nuts on Aug. 16, when he fell a triple shy of a cycle and drove in four runs. Over 12 games with Modesto, Rodriguez sports a .587/.620/.891 slash line with a 1.511 OPS, nine extra-base hits, 15 RBIs and nine runs scored. He has hit safely in all but one Cal League contest, extended his hitting steak to nine games with eight multi-hit efforts.
"Just writing his name in the lineup in the two-hole I think energizes some of the guys that have been here most of the year," Hocking said. "Hitting is contagious."
There was an epidemic against the Ports as the club tallied 16 knocks.
Gameday box score
Rodriguez put the Nuts on the board with an RBI double to left field on the first offering he saw from right-hander Xavier Altamirano (5-12) in the opening frame. The knock plated Jose Caballero from first base, and Rodriguez scored on a single by 20th-ranked Joe Rizzo.
In the next inning, MLB.com's No. 52 overall prospect drove in a pair with another double to left off Altamirano. The hit came on the seventh pitch of the at-bat, driving in Caballero and Joseph Rosa to give Modesto a 4-0 advantage.
Rodriguez punched a ground ball back up the middle for a base hit in the fourth off righty Michael Danielak and came home on a two-RBI double by Jack Larsen.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound outfielder sprayed a ground ball through the right side off righty Jake Bray in the fifth and raced for an RBI triple that ricocheted off the right-field wall on an 0-1 pitch by righty Nick Highberger in the seventh. The laser plated Caballero and capped the Nuts' scoring.
"He just missed that ball and it still carried all the way to the 400 sign in right," Hocking said. "But that's just the kind of hitter that he is. He gets his barrel through the zone and he can make adjustments throughout an at-bat. It's impressive for his lack of experience.
"But that's just who he is. He's got an infectious personality and to have the ability to just walk into a pretty close-knit clubhouse at the next level and just fit right in and enjoy it really says it all."
Caballero collected three hits and scored four times while Larsen doubled twice, walked and drove in three runs.
Modesto's Devin Sweet (1-0) notched his first Cal League victory after working around a pair of hits and a walk over seven scoreless frames. The righty fanned eight and helped the club surpass an all-time Cal League strikeout record set by the Bakersfield Dodgers in 1970. Bakersfield finished with 1,423 whiffs that year while the Nuts' tally has reached 1,430.
Sweet has not allowed an earned run over his first 13 innings for Modesto.
"He's had a really nice year in West Virginia, and he's come here and put together two really good starts," Hocking said. "He's got a good, well-located fastball and he works ahead. He's shown good depth on his breaking ball, and he mixes pitches well to keep hitters honest."
Rob Terranova is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RobTnova24.