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Dodgers: Edwin Rios Listed Among Top Rookie Hitters in 2020

For the Babe Rios fans in the back, you’re gonna enjoy this one.



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 AcuΓ±a 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.

NEXT: Dave Roberts Gives an Update on Justin Turner

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. When you look at Rios’s numbers he had an amazing rookie year. Especially as he never knew when he would play. When you look at the list of the % of hard-hit pitches it is an incredible list of talent. Guys like Freeman, Acuna, Trout, Seager, and the Dodgers had 3 guys in the top 10 in Seager, Will Smith, and Rios. The future is bright for them.
    I like Turner and I hope they sign him to maybe a 2-year deal. But there are players that can play 3rd. It would make sense to platoon Will Smith and Rios at 3rd with Taylor and Beaty so that the Dodgers can bring up Ruiz and see if he can hit in the MLB.

    • IDK for certain but if Rios were a RH hitter he might, just might get more playing time, especially if JT goes elsewhere. I am also not sure if there are other teams who normally would platoon on a daily basis at 3rd, but wss.

  2. Not mentioned here, after Rios was sandwiched between Trout and Freeman this season in the hard hit %+, was if you go back to 2019, that stat for Rios was even higher. Sure, small sample size, but when you see a guy crushing the ball like a star, first season, second season, and spring training, not sure why both the organization and fans are not starting to get the picture, this guy may be a big time epic slugger that needs to play. He also had 3 homers in 18 ABs against lefties. I’m hoping for the DH so Rios can get the ABs to really show what he can do.

    Also, I’ve written here a couple of times that Will Smith’s stats, as good as they were, actually unrepresented how he crushed the ball. He hit in a lot of bad luck, actually went into some “slumps”, like 2 for 23, when he was squaring up balls going right into fielders gloves. His appearance on this list objectifies that.

    • I agree with you. Although we would all like to see Turner back a platoon of Rios and Smith at 3rd might put up great offensive numbers. Especially as you stated Smith did not get the % of base hits he should have with the number of balls he squared up.
      The Dodgers need to get Rios more at-bats especially as he has shown in limited at-bats in two seasons and spring training he can square the ball up and hit with power.

      • I like the idea of Smith playing some 3rd base, I think he’s going to break out this year to the next level. That combination of patience, waiting for his pitch and not chasing, not striking out, and squaring the ball up with power, I like his future. If Lux doesn’t work out, I hope he does but haven’t liked what I’ve seen so far, Rios can play some first, and Muncy 2nd. And my bet is they will adopt the DH, so room for Turner, who I think they will sign, he may not get everything he wants, but I don’t see another team paying him a ton of money for three years.

  3. Unrelated, but the Padres just picked up Blake Snell from the Rays. Not the best news for the Dodgers.

    • Dodger106W,

      A good pickup by the Padres for sure. But, I’m more concerned about staying ahead of the Braves.

      • The Braves and Padres are the elite of the league along with the Dodgers. Yankees have pitching issues and may or may not sign LeMahieu. Astros appear to be losing a couple of their players. Rays just traded Snell and lost Morton.
        Jays, Twins, and White Sox look solid but Dodgers, Padres, and Braves are the class of the MLB.
        The Dodgers can still match anyone in Pitching Rotation and are deeper than the other teams. It will be a close race and some very competitive playoff games. The moves by the Padres and the Braves pitching puts an emphasis on the Dodgers building a great bullpen to outlast the Braves and Padres.

        • Padres aren’t finished, looks like they want Darvish, and a young talented Korean infielder, they are going for it. I love it, its a long season, and the competition is awesome. The Dodgers have great starting pitching depth, and I’d leave it alone and give the guys they have a chance, but not so sure how they pan out in these short playoff series against teams with two super aces, like if the Mets get Bauer to pair with DeGrom. One of the things that has been kind of a quiet secret was how freaking lucky the Dodgers were in their first two playoff series, when the best two pitchers on both the Brewers and Padres very suddenly went down with injuries, allowing them to escape those short series without having to deal with them, all four had been lights out all season.

  4. Three moves I think that are necessary are first, sign Liam Hendricks or Brad Hand. Second, sign D.J. LeMeiheu, necessary right handed bat vs. Padres left handed pitchers. Third, re-sign Justin Turner. Batting order could look like this then;
    1- Betts RF (R)
    2- Seager SS (L)
    3- Turner 3B (R)
    4- Bellinger CF (L)
    5- LeMeiheu 2B (R)
    6- Muncy 1B (L)
    7- Smith C (R)
    8- Pollock LF (R) or D.H. (L)
    9- Pitcher or Pollock LF (R) or D.H.
    Have Turner & coaches work with Smith at 3rd & bring up Ruiz , see if he can hit mlb pitching. Use Rios at 1B & in L.F. Lux can then play in the minors & possibly be packaged for more pitching if needed.

    • K percentge acuna 37% , tatis 27%, muncy 29%, Rios 23%.

      OPS acuna .987, tatis .937, muncy .720 Rios .946

      All 2020 stats

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