Alex Rios was supposed to be one of the elite outfielders in the game.
He has shown the power/speed combination that fantasy owners lust for. However, we have yet to see the full potential that he possesses in 2011.
Should we give up hope? Should we try to buy low?
One of the major problems is his luck, as he entered Sunday with a BABIP of .211 (sixth worst in the league). It’s not like he is doing anything dramatically different at the plate. He’s not swinging for the fences (35.6 percent fly ball rate, compared to a career mark of 37.4 percent). He also is generating line drives, with a 19.9 percent line drive rate.
The bottom line is that he is suffering from poor luck and it has helped lead to a .205 average.
There really is no reason for us to think that this is going to continue. As long as he continues with the metrics that he has and do what he does, you have to believe a hot streak is going to come.
The power he has shown thus far is actually not too unrealistic. His career high is just 24 HR, which he set in 2007. Granted, he’s on pace for just 13 at this point (he has hit four), but one little hot streak will put him right back on track for an 18-21 HR campaign.
Just look at his home run trend from the past:
- In 2010 he only had one month with more than three HR (he had eight in May)
- In 2009 he again only had one month with more than three HR
He has the ability to get hot and hit home runs in bunches. There’s really no reason to be concerned about that quite yet, even without the extra base hits in general (seven doubles, zero triples).
He’s not hitting in general, so why would we expect a significant number of extra base hits?
His speed may be a different issue, with just four SB in seven attempts. He has been dealing with a toe injury all year and it clearly is having an effect on him in the running game. He has stolen at least 24 bases each of the past three seasons, with two years of at least 30.
Is there any way anyone can safely expect him to replicate that in 2011?
The lack of speed is a real detriment to his potential value, but at this point, can his value get any lower anyways? Yes, we’d all love for him to be a potential 20/20 guy, and maybe at some point the toe will feel good enough to allow him to run again.
Still, we can say with some certainty that:
- The average will improve based on the luck alone
- The power is on pace and could easily improve as the weather warms
Those two things alone make him worth buying now if someone is selling. If you are an owner, just stand pat with him.
There is no reason to sell low on him and not get any of the potential rebound that should come.
Just because he’s struggling now doesn’t mean anything. The baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.
I know it is tough enduring his early season problems, but just stay patient.
What are your thoughts on Rios? Is he a player you would try to buy low? Is he a player you are trying to get rid of?
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