Edwin Rios, 3B/1B, Los Angeles Dodgers (High-A Rancho Cucamonga)
When you go to a lot of minor league baseball games, like the lot of us here on the prospect team do, you watch a lot of unremarkable baseball. You watch a good bit of bad baseball too, and through it all you build up a callous to even the more generally well-executed plays you see because you’ve seen those plays get executed generally well by numerous players along the way. But every now and again a player does something that, to cop some of KRS-One’s flow, brings your fist to your face like “Ohhhh sh*t!” Rios did that last Thursday with a towering eighth-inning home run—his second of the game—that was among the more majestic balls I’ve seen struck in person.
A sixth-rounder last summer out of Florida International, Rios is a chip-on-his-shoulder player after going undrafted out of high school. He added a bunch of bulk during his college days, which culminated in an 18-homer outburst in his draft season and a tag for likely movement across the diamond from his third-base home. The Dodgers have hedged since signing him, working him out at the hot corner in about two-thirds of his starts in the field. The frame is large and hulking, and his movements, while fluid, take some time. He showed decent reactions and mobility to the ground in my one look at him over there, with smooth hands and plenty of arm for the position as well. But the lateral agility and quickness you look for in a third baseman isn’t there, and it’ll be an uphill battle for him to stick.
The bat is the attraction with Rios, as he boasts double-plus raw power to his pull side and enough strength to muscle it out to the opposite field. The load is quiet, the hands are loose, and he shows balance and fluidity through his stride. The length of his levers leaves him naturally vulnerable on the inner-third, and indeed he’s gotten himself sawed off a couple times in the 10 plate appearances I’ve seen so far. He’s flashed some glimpses of advanced barrel control, and the extension he generates isn’t something that grows on trees. The present approach is hyper-aggressive, and he’s going to need to get significantly more patient if he’s going to be able to reign in the strikeouts and continue to tap into the raw power in games. The raw material of an impact power bat is here though, and that ain’t bad for the sixth round. —Wilson Karaman
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