I’ve talked a lot on Grab Some Bench and here on MSF about two of the “comeback kids” of the Chicago White Sox, Adam Dunn and Jake Peavy, but not so much about the third part of the trio, Alex Rios.
Now that Rios is one of the hottest hitters in baseball, it’s time to correct that.
From 2010 to 2011, Rios’ batting average dropped from .284 to .227, and his RBI total decreased by half (88/44). He went from being an All Star candidate and great middle of the order presence to a player that looked completely lost on the field.
But so far in 2012, Rios is making a pretty convincing argument for last year being an anomaly and that he is indeed a very valuable asset for a ball club.
Heading into Tuesday’s game against Oakland, Rios was hitting a team-high .360, and he has been driving in runs of late. He’s hitting the ball hard to the opposite field, not rolling over on pitches in nearly every at bat like he did in 2011.
Now the question is whether or not Rios can sustain this success throughout the season.
What to expect the rest of the way:
While I don’t see his average remaining anywhere near the high number it is at now, I do think he will have a successful season overall.
Like I just said, he can easily convince fans and the media that last year was an outlier. If he hits around .270-.280 it would serve as a huge boost from last year, and he would make him a great 5 or 6 hitter in the lineup.
And that’s right about where I have Rios’ stats for the year. I’ll give him a .272 batting average, 17 HR, and 79 RBI. If this is the case, he will be a great help for Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko, who hit in front of him, as the opposing pitchers will have to make sure to throw them some good pitches instead of being able to pitch around them.
And with this particular White Sox lineup in 2012, most of what will happen will be a ripple effect.
If Konerko remains consistent, Pierzynski and Dunn should have solid years. If those guys produce, Alex Rios will see good pitches and have better stats than in 2011, and so forth down through the order.
While I’m not so sure about the lower part of the lineup, which I’ll discuss on GrabSomeBench.com in the next few days, I do think the middle of the order will be a force more often than not.
The White Sox are currently rolling, on a 4-game winning streak as they wrap up their west coast road trip in Oakland tomorrow afternoon. When you look at why they’re having this success, you have to put your finger on the likes of Adam Dunn, Jake Peavy, and Alex Rios.
Going into the year I said it would be great to have two of these three play up to the levels of success they’ve each had previously in their careers. But so far, all 3 are clicking. They look like the All Stars of old.
If this continues, the Sox could stay white hot for a while.