For the first time in Major League history, the season was played allowing teams 28 players on the active roster. The Dodgers, boasting one of the deepest talent pools in the game, capitalized in a big way en route to a world title in 2020. Add in the universal designated hitter and things got even better for the boys in blue.
Of all the players that earned unexpected playing time this past season, slugger Edwin Rios stood out above the rest. Like, statistically speaking.
MLB.com scribe and Statcast wiz Matt Kelly identified the 9 best rookies in baseball based on key advanced stats. Where Eddie Rios stood out was in an area that once you see it, you’ll be like, “yeah, that makes all the sense.”
Moreover, in 2020, Rios was among the best in the game in a stat called hard-hit fly ball+line drive rate where his mark of 39% was seventh-best in baseball. In fact, that mark tied him with the National League MVP Freddie Freeman. Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr led MLB with a 44% mark.
Notably, Corey Seager is on this list (4th, 40.1%) as well as Will Smith (9th, 38.7%).
So, if Edwin Rios is among the game’s elite in hitting the hell out of the ball, what’s it going to take to get him in the lineup regularly? Despite being tied for sixth-most home runs on the Dodgers in 2020, his 83 plate appearances were third-fewest amongst LA batters who earned regular playing time.
But now with Justin Turner currently a free agent, a small window is perhaps open for considerably more playing time for Rios in 2021.
Still, more than likely, Eddie will again struggle to get regular at-bats in the big leagues next season. The Dodgers have felt less inclined to give much runway to the less than blue clip prospects over the last handful of seasons. Plus, after six-plus seasons together, it may be hard to break up the band, as it were. Meaning there’s a strong likelihood that Turner returns for 2021 and beyond.