Heralded as one of the most promising prospects in baseball, it’s no surprise that Julio Rodriguez rookie cards have been highly coveted from the onset. Interest started increasing in the hobby since the release of his earliest prospect cards back in 2017.
Signed by the Mariners at a tender age of 16 in 2017, Rodriguez progressed rapidly through the minor leagues. His much-anticipated arrival in Seattle, coupled with comparisons to baseball great Ken Griffey Jr., created a whirlpool of excitement. The buzz was indeed well-founded as Rodriguez quickly acclimated himself to Major League Baseball, clinching the AL Rookie of the Year award and earning an All-Star nod in his debut season in 2022.
If you’re seeking the best Julio Rodriguez rookie cards, you’ll discover an array of choices, from his mainstream rookie cards to his pre-MLB prospect cards. This guide presents a curated list of the finest Rodriguez cards to add to your collection. These cards are not arranged in any specific order.
The Best Julio Rodriguez Rookie Cards
1. 2021 Bowman’s Best Julio Rodriguez RC #49
A deviation from the traditional approach of featuring only current MLB players in base sets, 2021 Bowman’s Best presents a blend of prospects and established players. Therefore, it technically hosts the only true rookie card of Rodriguez. It’s a source of contention among collectors as some also regard his 2022 releases with the RC logo as rookie cards. The card comes in various parallel options and an autograph variant. You’ll see a copy of the Blue Refractor in the image above.
2. 2022 Bowman Chrome Julio Rodriguez RC #48
Rodriguez’s 2022 Bowman Chrome card is one of his signature rookies. The base cards are not particularly valuable, but the limited, rarer parallels attract significant collector attention. Expect to pay four figures for a pristine graded parallel such as the Aqua variant seen above.
3. 2022 Topps Series 2 Short Print Variations Julio Rodriguez RC #659
This sought-after card from the flagship baseball product is a short print and carries substantial value. Rodriguez was surprisingly included as a short print variation, even though collectors were anticipating his inclusion in the main set following his MLB debut. The horizontal layout makes it perfect for an action shot of Rodriguez at the plate.
4. 2022 Topps Complete Factory Set Julio Rodriguez RC #659
This more affordable variant of the Rodriguez card from the 2022 Topps factory set is a popular pick. It isn’t rare, which makes it a budget-friendly choice. For example, you should be able to find PSA 10 versions for roughly $60 at the midway point in 2023.
5. 2022 Topps Chrome Short Print Extended Base Julio Rodriguez RC #222
This short print card from 2022 Topps Chrome is a rarity and one of Rodriguez’s best unsigned rookies. It carries significant value due to its scarcity. Several parallels add to its allure. It features a simple action shot of Rodriguez in a batting pose.
6. 2022 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition Julio Rodriguez RC #67
A premium version of the flagship Topps Chrome cards, the Sapphire Edition features Rodriguez and several other new additions to the lineup. Several low-numbered parallels add to the card’s appeal. If in doubt, it’s identifiable thanks to the unique Sapphire background.
7. 2022 Topps Museum Collection Julio Rodriguez RC #65
This rookie card from the 2022 Topps Museum Collection offers a premium option for collectors, available with several parallels and autograph cards. Base cards are full-bleed, while parallels are always valuable.
8. 2022 Panini Flawless Julio Rodriguez RC #48
An exclusive option, this card from the premium Panini Flawless set, continues the embedded gem style of the base cards. Limited to just 20 copies, this is one of Rodriguez’s rarest and most premium rookie cards. It’s a high-end option, even if the gem itself is pretty small.
9. 2022 Topps Series 2 1987 Topps Baseball Autographs Julio Rodriguez RC #87BA-JRO
This hard-signed card from the 2022 Topps Series 2 is modeled after the 1987 Topps Baseball card design and was the first autographed Rodriguez card available after his MLB debut. Of course, 1987 Topps was known for the wood-style effect that makes up the border design.
10. 2022 Topps Definitive Collection Julio Rodriguez RC Auto #DRA-JRO
This high-end autograph option from the 2022 Topps Definitive set is extremely rare and holds a high value. As with many of the others, you’ll be able to find a range of colored parallels, such as the Green version seen above.
11. 2022 Topps Diamond Icons Julio Rodriguez RC Auto #AC-JRO
One of the high-end options from the 2022 Topps Diamond Icons set, this autographed rookie card of Rodriguez is limited to just 25 copies of the base card. Three low-numbered parallels take the total card number to 41, making it a rare and highly valuable addition to any collection.
The Best Julio Rodriguez Prospect Cards
1. 2019 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Julio Rodriguez #CPA-JRO
Rodriguez’s first autographed card in a MLB uniform from the popular Bowman Chrome brand stands as one of the most desired among his card collection. Don’t be fooled by a base BCP version that has been signed by the player afterwards.
2. 2019 Bowman Chrome Prospects Julio Rodriguez #BCP33
This unsigned variant of the 2019 Bowman Chrome card offers a cheaper alternative to the autographed version and is widely considered by many as a rookie card. Base cards signed by the player at a later date are a cheaper alternative to the autos seen above.
3. 2017 Panini Contenders International Ticket Autographs Julio Rodriguez #3
One of Rodriguez’s first prospect cards features him as an international prospect from the Dominican Republic, with no mention of Seattle. It offers an affordable autograph alternative to the licensed Bowman Chrome auto card.
4. 2017 Elite Extra Edition Autographs Julio Rodriguez #136
One of Rodriguez’s earliest cards, dating back to 2017, this card from the Elite Extra Edition offers a premium option, with an early Rodriguez signature and numerous parallels.
5. 2019 Bowman’s Best Best of 2019 Autographs Julio Rodriguez #B19JR
This Best of 2019 auto card from the Bowman’s Best set provides another on-card signature like the Bowman Chrome card, but at a much lower price. Graded versions of the numbered parallels are likely to sell for four figures as of 2023.
Julio Rodriguez RCs: FAQs
Q: What is Julio Rodriguez’s inaugural rookie card?
A: Julio Rodriguez’s rookie card hails from 2017, shortly after his association with the Mariners as an international free agent commenced. His autographed card from the 2017 Elite Extra Edition is part of a long-standing brand known for spotlighting budding and rookie talents since the 1990s.
Q: Which Julio Rodriguez rookie card is the most valuable to purchase?
A: The 2019 Bowman Chrome 1st Auto Refractor featuring Julio Rodriguez is by far the most valuable option. An example of this card was sold for a staggering $276,000. This gleaming red refractor from the 2019 Bowman series signifies J-Rod’s premier appearance in an officially sanctioned baseball product as a Bowman prospect.
Q: When was Julio Rodriguez’s rookie season?
A: Julio Rodriguez stepped into the Major League Baseball arena with the Seattle Mariners for his rookie season in 2022.