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"What's the time? It's time to get ill!"
According to the weird internal calendar that seems to govern the ups and downs of Alex Rios' career, 2012 is indeed time to get ill.
To illustrate this phenomenon, I present Alex Rios' Fangraphs WAR by year, since 2008:
I can't explain it, but for some reason, Rios performs much better in even-numbered years than he does in odd-numbered ones.
It's a really interesting trend, but you shouldn't pick up Rios because he's "due." You should pick him up because he's been an excellent, if different, hitter this season.
The underlying numbers show that Rios has shifted his priorities at the plate, emphasizing contact over power. His contact rate is the highest of his career, and his plate discipline has never been better. Rios' 0.67 K/BB ratio is by far the best of his career.
This new approach has resulted in a spike in his groundball rate, which isn't a bad thing for a guy with Rios' speed. His current .307 BABIP is right in line with his career norm and could actually increase given his new batted-ball tendencies.
If you are looking for the 20/20 threat that Rios used to be, you'll be disappointed. That Alex Rios doesn't work here anymore.
However, if you're in need of a .280 batting average and and 25-30 steals, you've come to the right place.