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The Season That Was: Alex Rios

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When Alex Rios came up to the Jays I thought he was ok but didn't have enough power for a corner outfield spot. He seemed to be a good enough player but he didn't do anything well enough to make you think he should be an everyday player. He had speed but didn't get on base enough to be a leadoff hitter. Then in his 3rd year he hit 15 homers in the first half of the season but a staff inflection ruined the second half of the season. In 2007 he had another great first half and put on a show in the All-Star Home Run Derby. It looked like he was becoming a star.

In 2008 his streak of improving his home run numbers each year ended. He had a good enough season but without the power he really wasn't a star corner outfielder. The question was was it a one year thing or was the power gone? Before this season for the Community Project we guessed he would have a .345 OBP and a .495 SLG in 675 at bats, which with his usual good defense would add up to a 4.6 WAR. For the Jays he hit:

2009 - Alex Rios 108 436 52 115 25 2 14 62 31 78 19 3 .264 .317 .427

So we missed by a bit, his on base was 28 points lower than we guessed and he slugged 78 points worse. He wasn't having a good year but it wasn't going as badly as people were making it out to be. As Jesse pointed out Alex was being tarred with the same brush as Vernon Wells. For the Jays he had a WAR of 1.1, not great but not awful.

Then the White Sox claimed on waivers and the Jays let him go. For the White Sox he was dreadful:

2009 - Alex Rios 41 146 11 29 6 0 3 9 6 29 5 2 .199 .229 .301

Fangraphs had him at a 0 WAR at the end of the season.

Alex hit lefties (.261/.301/.422) a little better than right-handers (.242/.294/.385).

His big split was between home and road games. At home he hit .283/.344/.504, pretty decent. On the road he hit .216/.301/.422, darn awful. I don't know why a player would have such a big home/road split. Vernon Wells was basically the opposite, which is more understandable. Perhaps the fan reaction to him made it harder for him to concentrate at home or perhaps the there was something in the hitting background that bothered him. But a huge edge hitting at home is harder to explain. A small edge you could understand, a huge edge? I don't know. 

The whole edge wasn't Rogers Center, he hit better at Comiskey for the White Sox (.247/.291/.438), than he did on the road for them. 

The hit .257/.298/.395 with RISP so pretty much the same as he hit overall. 

His longest hitting streak of the season was 9 game back at the end of April, start of May.

By month Alex hit:

April             .248/.304/.366

May              .302/.359/.509

June             .232/.290/.374

July               .263/.317/.411

August          .210/.221/.383

Sept/Oct       .211/.253/.300

So he one good month. 

His favorite team to play? He had 3 really good games against the Marlins (.583/.583/.1.167). Among AL teams he hit the Tigers quite well (.355/.444/.548). His least favorite? He had 3 lousy games against the Reds (.083/.083/.083). He also didn't hit the Angels (.065/.147/.161).

Defensively he slumped as well. Fangraphs had him at a -2.5 UZR/150 in RF and a -4.9 UZR/150 in CF where he played for the White Sox. He made 5 errors for a .985 fielding percentage in the outfield. His defense has always been great in the past so I'd expect it to improve. 

What he's going to do in the future? I don't know. I'm kind of glad I don't have to try to guess what he's going to do anymore. He's got all the talent in the world. It's just whether he decides to use it or not. Or maybe not, maybe he doesn't have the talent we thought he did. He could very well turn out to be very worth his contract, which has $58.7 million on it over the next 5 years plus a $13.5 million club option for 2015. Or the White Sox might end up buying out several years of his contract. I do have a feeling that he is gong to test Ozzie Guillen's patience next year. And that might be great fun to watch......from a distance.