January 11, 2013
The Keeper Reaper
Outfielders for 1/11/13
While Adam Dunn was struggling through his historically bad 2011 season on the White Sox, teammate Alex Rios was putting together a fairly disastrous season of his own. Overall, he batted .227 with just 13 homers and 11 steals—a far cry from the 21 homers and 34 steals of the year prior. Many fantasy owners gave up on him as a result, but Rios wasn’t done yet, rebounding to hit .304 with 25 home runs and 23 steals in 2012. Add in just over 90 runs and RBI and you get the 12th most valuable line as ranked by our PFM.
It was a spectacular comeback for Rios, but it was not unprecedented, considering he has produced similar lines in the past. Entering what will be his age-32 season, people remain fairly skeptical of Rios. He doesn’t stand out in any particular stat category, reinforcing the notion that he’s a small decline away from becoming a highly replaceable outfielder. Aiding his value was the sheer number of games he played (157), and since injuries become more likely for a soon-to-be 32 year old, he likely won’t be boosted by high run and RBI totals.
This logic will shape some people’s opinion of Rios in 2013, but I prefer to look at things in another way. Sure, he doesn’t dominate any one category, but his across-the-board skillset means if his skills decline in one area, he can still help out in others. If he loses a step and only steals 10 bases or runs into poor balls-in-play luck and his average drops some, he can still hit 25 bombs. Sure, it’s fair to expect him to miss a few more games next year, but if you’re going to expect good health from a player, who better than from one who hasn’t played fewer than 145 games in the last six years?
With that said, I still won’t put Rios in the top 60 given the depth in outfielders and small regression that is likely in games played and batting average. Still, Rios is a relatively safe player that is a fine pick somewhere in the 60-80 range.