You can call him Alexis if you want, but don't drop the guy.
Photo Credit: keith011764
Twice in the past week I've found Alex Rios in the lost and found bin of my fantasy baseball leagues. I like to think of my leagues as very competitive (one is a 14-teamer, the other is a 16-teamer) so I was surprised to find a player of his caliber waiting to be claimed for the price of a bench player. He's actually available in 33% of Y! leagues as of now. How quickly some forget that Rios hit .284 with 21 HR and 34 SB last season. Yes it is true, Rios is hitting .209/.261/.324, but his season isn't going as badly as most think.
Rios is actually making more contact than ever, inside and outside the zone. His 11.5% K% is nearly 5% better than last season (16.4%), which is his career best percentage. The Outfielder's problem lies with his bad luck BABIP. He's still hitting Line Drives, there is no deficiency there. His Infield Fly Ball percentage is high so it'd be understandable to expect a slightly lower BABIP, but not the 90 point drop he's suffering from. The power, his 7.4% HR/FB%, is a percentage point and a half lower than his career norm, but he is starting to warm up. Rios has Home Runs in back-to-back games and multi-hit efforts in four of his past nine games. The surface stats are ugly, but the track record and peripherals suggest a turn around is highly likely.
The one red flag that I do see is the 4 SB and 4 CS. The White Sox as a team are terrible on the base paths this season, they lead the league in times caught stealing (29) despite running less often than most ball clubs. It's tough to steal bases when you're rocking a .261 OBP though. Look for Rios to increase the thievery as the batted balls start to fall for hits, hopefully his rap sheet doesn't continue to grow at the same rate. The rest-of-season projection calls for a .286 AVG with 10 HR and 12 SB. He could easily steal more than twelve bases, but I'll play it safe here. There's clearly potential for more though. The turn around will happen, don't give up on Alex Rios.