Dodgers Prospect Watch: What Lies Ahead for Edwin Rios?

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(Getty Images photo)

With the 2019 MLB trade deadline just a few, short weeks away, fans of the Dodgers shouldn’t be surprised when one or more of the team’s valued prospects is moved in a deal, most likely to upgrade a bullpen that’s been heavily criticized for most of the season.

Aside from everyday outfielder Alex Verdugo, there have been four rookies who have impacted the club in some shape or form—Will Smith, Matt Beaty, Kyle Garlick and Edwin Rios. Obviously, Verdugo is untouchable. And, for all intents and purposes, Smith won’t be dealt anytime soon because he’s the most talented catcher in the system who’s major league ready under Austin Barnes and Russell Martin.

However, it will not be surprising at all if one or more of the remaining three rookies are traded. Rios is a lot like Beaty in many ways, besides having a little more power and a lot less speed. Both can play the corner infield positions, and Rios has even played a little left field in what could be an attempt by management to showcase his versatility. Consequently, being that Beaty had the longer look, Rios could be the first to be moved, although it mainly depends on the requests of the suitors around the league.

While it seem like Rios has been in the system forever, he’s just 25 years old and is still a prospect by most standards around the MLB.

Primarily a first baseman in college, Rios spent three years at FIU, 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.

Drafted by the Dodgers in the sixth round of the draft later that year, Rios was quickly ushered to the Arizona Rookie League, but eventually ended up in Ogden to finish the season in the Pioneer League, where he hit .235/.307/.471 with three long balls for the Raptors over 20 games.

Starting the 2016 season with the Low-A Great Lakes Loons, 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 a monstrous .367/.394/.712 with 16 homers over 42 games in the hitter-friendly confines of the California League. He earned yet another promotion to Double-A Tulsa to close out the year, hitting .254/.304/.434 with five home runs in his final 33 games.

After another very productive campaign in 2017, he spent the earlier portion of 2018 on the disabled list, but still managed to hit .304/.355/.482 with 25 doubles, 10 long balls and 55 RBI over 88 games for Triple-A OKC.

Surprisingly, Rios was recalled to the big league roster in June and made eight appearances with the club before being optioned this week. He hit .267 (4-for-15) with one double, one triple and one RBI, recording his first career hit and RBI in his first MLB start against Colorado on June 29.

It’s tough to say exactly who could be interested in the left-handed hitting slugger, but there may be a possibility he could be packaged with another prospect if the return is right. In the same breath, front-office boss Andrew Friedman has always been a bit hesitant to sacrifice a decent farmhand for a reliever, so it should be interesting to see what the Dodgers decide to do at this year’s deadline.

But, while Friedman has always lived by the philosophy of building a bullpen from within or partaking in one of his infamous reclamation projects, 2019 could finally be the year when he offers up a few of the organization’s best resources for a proven arm that can make a positive, immediate impact on the big league bullpen crew.

 

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27 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: What Lies Ahead for Edwin Rios?

  1. I think any of Rios/Garlick/Beaty would be available in a trade for a reliever. Of the three I would hope they would keep Beaty long term. I think his bat to ball skills make him the best potential pinch hitter and I don’t think any of the three has a future starting role here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Pirates are demanding 2 of Lux, Smith, May and Ruiz to trade Vazquez. Excuse me while I laugh in their faces. Gavin Lux better not be going anywhere but 2B in Dodger Stadium.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I demand that you give me a million dollars Alex. Doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen. (Just between you and me, I’ll settle for half a mil).

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      1. I saw a post from someone a couple of days ago (from a sportswriter type rather than just a commenter on a blog) who thought we might actually try to get Hudson back from the Jays. He’s 5-2 with a 2.70 ERA and 9k/9 Innings. And no, I’m not suggesting we get him.
        So you really think we’d have to give up Kendall to get Vazquez? OK, I’ll do it, but only if they throw in Liriano. 🙂
        (Smiley face attached for those who might not know sarcasm when they see it)

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      2. Getting back to Alex’s point above about no room for negotiating, we have a huge collection of really good prospects to dangle in front of the Pirates, even without giving them 2 of the top 4.
        I’m not saying AF would include any of these guys along with Ruiz or that the Pirates would take them but they could build a package around Ruiz and include guys like Estevez (batting over .300 at Tulsa), Gonsolin, Peters (who has suddenly come to life at OKC), Sheffield (who is thriving as a reliever), Andy Pages (an 18 yr old leading the Pioneer League in homers and RBI), Miguel Vargas (a terrific 19 yr old just moved to Rancho), Niko Hulsizer (a power hitter also just moved to RC – seems like a slightly younger version of DJ Peters). We could also include guys from among Beaty, Garlick, Rios, Stripling, Kike, Ferguson, etc.). If Friedman wants Vazquez badly enough, I think he can get him without giving up more than 1 of the top 4 prospects.

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  3. The Pirates are not demanding anything Alex. The Dodgers are not even talking to them. The Pittsburgh beat writers and some other pundits are guessing that those guys would be the starting point. The Dodgers at this point in time are not talking to any other teams yet. The Cardinals on the other hand are in talks with the Giants about Will Smith. The Pirates have about as much chance of getting two of those guys as the Phillies had of getting Seager when they traded Hamels. According to most reports, Vazquez is not even on the trading block. You need to read more there guy. Yonder Alonso signed by the Rockies.

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    1. I’ll bet they are talking Bear. AF called and said give me an idea what you want for him. The Pirates said, we’re still in the race, we don’t want to trade him. AF said, but if you fall out and change your mind what would you want? Pirates answer two of your top four. AF says you know I’m not going to do that but I have a great farm system and I’m willing to include Ruiz and possibly some guys on my MLB roster if you want. The Pirates hesitate and say, nope, not trading him. AF chuckles and says we both know you’re going to trade him if someone gives you enough. Maybe not this week, but you’re still listening. Don’t make a deal without talking to me. AF puts down the phone. He then sits down with his guys and puts together five or six different scenarios, all with only one of the four top prospects. The clock is ticking (cue the dramatic music).

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      1. I agree. I’m sure Friedman and his group have reached out to just about every rival club out there whether they have expressed an interest or not. That’s just the way he operates. No stone left unturned.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah the wonder of ones imagination. If they are talking at all it is probably behind closed doors. But to say the Bucs are demanding certain players when there is no evidence to suggest that, well that’s going a little over board. We all knew back in the day that Seager was going no where. Just like we know that Lux and May and Smith are untouchable. I think they would trade Gonsolin for the right guy. The truth of the matter is what I have been reading is that they are targeting guys like Mathew Boyd and Greene from Detroit. There is also a lot of chatter that they might go after one of the Giants relievers not named Smith. Watson. Dyson, or someone else. We will see over the next couple of weeks. They had better come out of the chute with both barrels blazing. This 7 game road trip is not going to be a picnic. They also have another 4 game series with the Padres coming up again at the Ravine. Results had better be different.

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      3. Imagination? I was there behind those closed doors. I agree that May and Lux are probably untouchable, Lux for sure. Not 100% certain about Smith. They’ll have to choose between Ruiz and Smith and then be willing to trade the other one if they intend to get a premium reliever such as Vazquez or Hand (if ultimately available). I heard those rumors about interest in Boyd and that makes absolutely no sense to me because it would cost a huge amount in prospects and they don’t have a desperate need for starters. So I’m saying that the Boyd rumor with regard to AF is bogus. This is the time of year when GM’s who are selling float little tidbits through their favorite writers in the hopes of getting teams to increase their offers, so that could be what happened with the “2 of 4” rumor.

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      4. It’s wonderful living in my fantasy world Bear. The Dodgers never lose and we just traded Brock Stewart even up for Brad Hand.

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  4. Funny about this match up with the Sox, all of the Dodgers starters have better ERA’s than the guys they are facing. Biggest advantage is of course, Ryu over Price. I did forget one thing, the Dodgers will get to use the DH in this series. So that will make their lineup all that much better. They can use Turner there one game, then maybe Pollock or even Seager. When the Yankees come to LA next month, they will have to let their pitchers hit.

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  5. Ruiz, Lux and May, in that order, are our top prospects. I see all of them in our future. We can get what we need without trading any of them. Smith, Gonsolin, Santana, White…. even Cartaya, can be used to get a middle reliever.

    The NL is finally catching up in Interleague play. That said, Boston is favored. Maybe because they are throwing a lefthander.

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      1. Just checking. My definition of a middle reliever is 4-6 or possibly 7 and there is no way I trade Smith or Gonsolin for a guy who fits that description. If we include the 8th inning, then we’re talking about a guy who might be a potential closer or a guy like Vazquez who, if brought in, would probably not be the official closer. Vazquez is worth including Smith or Gonsolin.

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      2. Middle of the game? Yeah, I get that.Things feel like have changed. Relievers that come in in the 4th used to be called long relievers as they were typically asked to go multiple innings. In my mind middle relievers are now everyone between starter and closer. Semantics and interpretation I think.

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  6. These guys aren’t really prospects. Prospects are 21/22 and should be in the majors (seager, bellinger, verdigo, peterson,bueller where they often crash and burn. These guys are all career minor leaguers, as are the 3 they just sent down. Mark my words . Ruiz,is a bit too young to gage, but he probably can’t hit. Trade a few and get what we need.

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    1. I see your point Gordon, but I think players mature at a different rate. That’s actually true for everyone, not just ball payers. For example, I’m 71, but I’m very immature for my age.

      I believe Ruiz will hit. He’s making contact at an above average rate. He’s also working counts and developing power. I just read that somewhere but don’t recall the exact numbers. I think he’s a keeper. I’m not sure about Smith as he’s 4 years older and just now showing abilities with the bat. His 3 years in the minors before this season weren’t all that. Cartaya is really young and some are saying he’s the best of the group.

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  7. Archers are different. They have more to learn and mature later. Any other position by the time they’ve 24 they’re probably done. Lots of exceptions but generally that’s the way their development goes.

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    1. Archers? Well, I guess female gymnasts are in that group too.

      The best catchers I ever saw, Bench, Berra, Rodriguez, Molina and Carter, were all in the league by their early 20s. Most All Stars by the time they were Smith’s age. Bench and Rodriguez were All Stars at 20, Carter 21. I suppose they were all exceptions.

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