Edwin Rios was added to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster last winter to be protected from the 2018 Rule 5 Draft and, in limited time, showed why he’s one of the betting hitting prospects in the farm system.
What went right
Rios earned a promotion to the majors on June 27 after the Dodgers experienced a ton of injuries. His first stint in LA was short (10 days), but in that time, he hit .267/.421/.467. He went back to OKC on July 11 and got on track after a slow start. He hit .318/.425/.788 with 11 home runs in 106 plate appearances. He had 14 home runs in the minors in his first 301 plate appearances on the season. That hot streak earned him another shot in the majors, this time on Aug. 6. His second stint was a little better than the first, as he hit .300/.417/.650 and clubbed his first two MLB home runs in Miami against the Marlins in a 9-1 Dodgers win.
He went back to OKC on Aug. 20, once other players got healthy, but it was a short stay that was capped by a five-RBI performance in his final minor league game of the season. His third stint in the majors of 2019 saw him tack on a couple more home runs, including this majestic 473-foot dinger.
It was the longest home run by a Dodger on the season.
Rios didn’t make the postseason roster, but he did show why he’s an exciting hitting prospect.
What went wrong
Rios got off to a bit of a slow start, which was a little disappointing since his 2018 season was seen as a bit of a step back after a strong 2017 campaign. He had just a .219/.274/.385 batting line through the first two months of the Triple-A season (208 plate appearances). After May, though, Rios posted an OPS of 1.000 or better in every month, and that includes his time in the majors.
Stats: .277/.393/.617, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 10 R, 162 OPS+, 0.4 WAR (MLB)
Salary: Prorated league minimum ($152,173, per Cot’s)
Game of the Year
His best game, according to win probability added, came in San Diego on Sept. 25, when he hit a go-head pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning (.192 WPA). But his best game in which he started was in Miami on Aug. 14, which is fitting since he went to college at Florida International University in Miami. He went 3-for-4 with his first two MLB home runs, three RBIs and a walk for a .138 WPA.
As for his minor-league games, two stood out most to me: The aforementioned five-RBI performance in his final Triple-A game of the season on Sept. 2. He went 2-for-3 with a home run and two walks. The other that stood out was a game on July 30. He went 1-for-1 with a three-run homer and four (unintentional) walks. This stands out because Rios’ biggest flaw as a hitter is that he doesn’t walk a lot. In 2019, he raised his walk rate in the minors by almost three percentage points and walked nine times in 56 MLB plate appearances. The latter is a small sample size, but if he can be more patient while maintaining his power, he could go to the next level as a hitter.
Rios isn’t arbitration-eligible until 2023 and isn’t a free agent until after the 2025 season. He could also be part of an offseason trade, but if not, he’ll be with the Dodgers for quite a while.