After enduring a slight decline with the lumber during the tail-end of May, infield prospect Edwin Rios is beginning to heat up again at the dish, showing all those who follow the Dodgers closely exactly why he’s considered among the most gifted players offensively on the farm.
In Wednesday evening’s 9-6 win over San Antonio, Rios tallied five RBI, including a tie-breaking three-run home run in the sixth inning, guiding Double-A Tulsa to the victory. In the series finale on Thursday, he smacked another long ball which proved to be the difference maker in the Drillers’ 5-4 triumph and series win.
For the year, the 23-year-old Caguas, Puerto Rico native is now slashing .339/.366/.573 with 15 doubles, 10 home runs and 40 RBI. His batting average and RBI totals lead the squad, while his 10 long balls are second on the club to right fielder Kyle Garlick‘s 11.
As far as the Texas League hitting rankings go, Rios is second in RBI, third in home runs and tied for third in batting average. He also ranks third with a .939 OPS. Amidst his hot streak in April, he was named Texas League Player of the Week for April 24-30, when he went 13-for-24 (.542) with four doubles and six RBI in six games.
Now seeing most of his action at third base, Rios was primarily a first baseman in college, spending three years at Florida International University, leading the Panthers to a Conference USA title during his third and final season in 2015. During that campaign, he hit .314 while leading the team with 18 home runs and 69 RBI. He was later drafted by the Dodgers in the sixth round of the MLB draft that same year.
Starting the 2016 season with the Low-A Great Lakes, Rios slashed .252/.305/.487 with six home runs in 33 games, and quickly earned a promotion to High-A Rancho Cucamonga where he batted an insane .367/.394/.712 with 16 homers over 42 games in the hitter-friendly confines of the California League. He earned a huge promotion to Tulsa to close out the year, hitting .254/.304/.434 with five home runs in his final 33 games.
Having climbed three levels of the farm, he seemingly flew under the radar in the eyes of many fans of the Dodgers, but didn’t go unnoticed as far as the organization was concerned. On September 2, Rios was named the Branch Rickey minor league player of the year alongside Brock Stewart, who was honored as the Dodgers’ minor league pitcher of the year.
Overall, Rios slashed .303/.344/.576 with 25 doubles and 27 home runs in 104 games across three levels of the farm last season. He tied Tulsa teammate Willie Calhoun with 27 long balls and finished the year one behind former Rancho teammate Johan Mieses for the organizational lead.
If he stays on track, there may be a chance that Rios could see some action at the Triple-A level after the Oklahoma City squad is depleted when big league rosters expand in September. In addition, considering his current rate of production at the plate, he’ll likely be a unanimous choice to represent Tulsa at the 2017 Texas League All-Star Game in Frisco, Texas.
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