Chicago White Sox Slugger Alex Rios Is Back

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Chicago White Sox Slugger Alex Rios Is Back
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In 41 games with the White Sox last season, Alex Rios had a line of 11/.199/3/9/5.

Gross.

In just 22 games this season, Rios has already reached his home run and RBI totals with the White Sox last season with 10 runs, nine steals, and a triple-slash line of .276/.326/.470.

Rios hasn’t had a SLG that high since 2007, and his .294 BABIP (career .319) suggests all three of those numbers should improve accordingly.

Taking from an article George wrote the other day , let’s look at some good and bad signs from early in Rios’ 2010 season:

 

Good Signs

.276/.326/.470 triple-slash with just a .296 BABIP, .357 wOBA, 6.7 BB percentage (best since ‘07), 0.50 BB:K (best since ‘07), 19.7 LD, 2.01 wFB/C, and a 85.8 contact percentage.

Like we said above, the .296 BABIP is a little low for Rios, so improvement in all triple-slash categories is realistic.

Even better, his walk rate, strikeout-to-walk ratio, and line drive percentage are all in line with pre-2009 numbers and are his best since 2007.

This indicates his numbers aren’t unsustainable and could/should continue for the rest of the season.

If you don’t know what OBA is, think of it as a more accurate form of OPS where higher equals better. Rios’ wOBA is good for 78th in the league and 25th among all OF.

Here’s another advanced metric: wFB/C. Basically, it’s just his ability to hit fastballs.

Anything over zero is above average, anything below is below average, and generally numbers over 1.00 are considered pretty good. Rios’ wFB/C rating are right around his 2006 and 2007 values.

Lastly, the contact numbers. His contact percentage is easily his career best and indicate he’s seeing the ball well.

 

Warning Signs

-2.72 wSL/C, -2.20 wCB/C, 31.1 O-Swing Percentage

It’s not unusual for Rios to struggle with sliders and curveballs, but these numbers are really low. In fact, they resembled his 2005 numbers when he finished with a triple-slash of .262/.306/.397.

His O-Swing percentage (percentage of pitches outside the strike zone he swings at) is the highest of his career. While right now he is making contact with these pitches at a career-best rate, that will be a trend that’s difficult to continue.

Are the steals legitimate?

I wouldn’t be expecting nine steals a month from Rios, but he swiped 32 in 2008 and 24 last year in a season when he managed just a .296 OBP.

The way the White Sox are letting him run, 35-plus seems inevitable, and with his annual 15-plus home runs, he’ll be looking at a home run/stolen base combo of over 50.

Anyone who combines for 50-plus home runs and steals, has a solid .280-plus average, and has run and RBI totals over 80 is alright with me.

Finally, that Rios is back.

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