What he’s good at right now: Rios is a physical player that was fourth in the NCAA with home runs at 18. He has a power oriented approach at the plate but avoided the whiff as a junior.
What he can be good at in the future: He’s moved to the end of the defensive spectrum, so focusing on hitting primarily should help him improve on his hit tool and carry his power over.
What does he need to work on: Rios lacks bat speed and will have to improve his pitch recognition to avoid flaming out in the upper minors against more polish pitchers capable of exploiting him.
Carry tool: Present power, with the hope that his junior outburst wasn’t a barrage, and hopefully more feel for hit on the way.
Biggest weakness: Rios was announced at first base, raising the floor and ceiling requirement to reach the major leagues. His power only materialized in his junior season.
ETA: He’s a college performer at a tough position to make it to the major leagues. He’ll likely progress level by level, giving him an ETA of 2019 if bat speed issues don’t catch up to him.
Realistic best case scenario: Hard to say, other than that he hits enough to allow his power to play at higher levels, and he reaches the majors as a first baseman with both average hit and power tools.
Wrap: Admittedly, I knew little about Rios before the selection, and he has had a breakout this spring as a power hitter. He’s filled out quite a bit since coming on campus as a 6’3 170 lbs. outfielder with solid average speed and arm tools.
Rios looks quite physical now but maintains some looseness in his swing. His bat speed is no better than average and can get quite long, but he’s made contact for much of his college career and has tapped into his power this year. The trade-off to his physical maturity is that he’s slid down the defensive spectrum and the Dodgers announced him as a first baseman.
Rios’ swing can be a little rotational and and I wonder how he’ll fare against better off-speed away, but contact has come easy thus far and the Dodgers are likely gambling that the power is real and will continue to develop.