Don’t say I didn’t warn you about Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Edwin Rios.
There were two highlights from the Los Angeles Dodgers first televised intra-squad game on Wednesday: 1) the clubhouse attendant playing left field showed off an impressive arm; and 2) Edwin Rios hit a towering home run into the right field stands.
With all due respect to Chico, in this article, we will focus on a player who could become an interesting bench piece for the Dodgers this season. With one swing of the bat, Rios reminded fans of a tantalizing power stroke that he displayed during his brief stint in the big leagues last season.
Where does Edwin Rios fit on the 2020 Dodgers roster?
Heading into Spring Training in March, Rios found himself in a battle with Matt Beaty for the final spot on the Dodger bench, which would have likely resulted in Rios going back to the minor leagues to start the season. However, with expanded rosters due to the coronavirus pandemic, the power lefty could find himself in the dugout spaced six feet apart from Beaty and the rest of the team’s utility players.
What does Edwin Rios have to offer?
Playing 132 games between Triple-A and the majors last season, Rios hit 35 home runs, including the longest homer of the season by a Dodger hitter. FanGraphs grades his raw power as a 70/70 on a 20-80 scouting scale.
The 6-foot-3, 230 pound slugger projects as your stereotypical power-hitter. There’s no question that he can knock the cover off the baseball, but there are several questions about other areas of his game, such as baserunning and fielding. He also has some holes in his swing that has crept his strikeout rate over 30% in the minors.
Edwin Rios a hero this season, you say?
For the 2020 season, Rios could find himself in a perfect spot where manager Dave Roberts can utilize him for his strengths while minimizing exposure to his weaknesses.
The Dodgers have a stacked lineup, which only gets stronger with the addition of the designated hitter this season. However, there will always be opportunities to search for the perfect match-up late in a game when a long ball is needed to give the Dodgers an edge on the scoreboard.
Rios offers Roberts a left-handed power hitter off the bench who can change the course of a game with one swing. Last season, he hit two home runs in pinch-hit opportunities. While he has limited experience in the big leagues, he has already proven himself capable of grabbing a bat and making a difference late in a game.
Mark it down now. There will be a few games in this shortened season when the Dodgers need a big hit and the presence of Edwin Rios on the bench could turn him into a hero one of those nights.