Edwin Rios dresses in Dodger Blue, standing at 6’3” 220 pounds, and this giant powerhouse is showing he belongs in an already stacked farm system. In less than two years the Puerto Rican has powered his way through the ranks and giving fans here in Tulsa, Oklahoma a grand show.
Edwin Rios, winner of the Dodgers’ 2016 Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year award has been destroying opposing pitchers here in 2017. Leading his team in multiple categories, the Puerto Rican born Rios is making Texas League play look easy. The Tulsa Drillers’ third baseman is batting a phenomenal .370/.388/.580 after 20 games in DrillVille, recording seven multi-hit games.
Rios, a standout at both the prep and collegiate levels helped lead his schools to championships and was once the number four ranked player in the nation. In his junior year of college at Florida International University, the former Panther hit 18 homeruns, the fourth most in school history for a single season earning him first team All-Conference honors. Going undrafted out of high school paved the way for a stronger work ethic in Rios and the Los Angeles Dodgers really took notice to that.
Edwin was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixth round in the 2015 MLB Draft. After a short season in the Arizona and Pioneer Leagues, Rios flew through the ranks in 2016. Playing just 33 games in Single-A and 42 games in Advanced-A before landing in Double-A Tulsa. Finishing the 2016 season with a very impressive line, .301/.341/.567 with 27 long balls and 76 runs batted in, Rios shows it was well deserved.
With the 2017 season under way, Rios has continued his dominance in the batter’s box. Striking fear into the men on the mound, Rios is boasting a .370 batting average thus far, ranking second in the Texas League. His ability to place the ball in the opposite field gives the tall third baseman a nice advantage. Known for the long ball, the hard-hitting Rios has been focusing on more than just power, decreasing his strike out rate from 1.02 per game in 2016 to 0.9 per game here in 2017.
After the series in Northwest Arkansas Rios felt the need to tweak his swing after two hitless outings. Since then he has faced Seattle’s top pitching prospects, Dylan Unsworth and Max Povse showing his continuous improvements in the box going 11-for 20 in a five-game hitting streak since 4/24. He discussed his batting tweaks with Michael Peng from milb.com after going 5-for-5 at OneOK Park against the Arkansas Travelers.
"In my batting practice and pregame routine, I always try to use the whole field and hit the ball to left-center a lot," Rios said. "Just so that, in games, if my body wants to open up, I can stay close enough and able to use the field. I really take pride in that. And when you see it in the game, it's good to know that I'm doing something right." (Michael Peng/milb.com)
Rios is definitely doing something right, continuing to impress in each game. Nothing is slowing the big man down, leaving it all out there on the field. Rios’ extreme work ethic has really given him an edge in the deep Dodgers system, keeping up with other top prospects like Verdugo, Calhoun, and Bellinger. Greater things are yet to be seen by this young man who just turned 23 years old, only time will tell.