Alex Rios
Alex Rios
37-Year-Old OutfielderOF
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2018 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Alex Rios in 2018. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Signed a one-year, $11 million deal with the Royals in December 2014.
Alex Rios: Club option declined by Royals
OFKansas City Royals  
November 4, 2015
Rios's club option was not picked up for 2016, Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star reports.
ANALYSIS
Rios missed a spattering of games this season due to a variety of health concerns, but his ability at the plate took a noticeable slip in 2015. His .255 batting average total was the worst mark he's submitted since 2009 (.247 in 2009 with Blue Jays and White Sox) and his .287 on-base percentage was the lowest total in his career. While he did have some nice moments during the Royals' World Series run, he's towards the back end of his career and could be in line for more of a platoon role with another team in 2016.
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He was so much better when he was Alexis. The 35-year-old free agent is now a shell of his former self at the plate as his power has disappeared. He's a gap hitter who still has some legs. It seems improbable that he hit as many as 25 homers within the last three seasons and stole at least 40 bases within the last two seasons as they feel like distant memories. The old adage says that once you display a skill, you own it but Rios is not going to do either of those things again. He is in full old-man skills status, and he’s even a better batter against righties these days than lefties as he’s cheating on pitches to pull them. Simply put, there is zero reason to roster him in any mixed league format, and he’s end-game material for single-league formats for the 8-10 steals he might generate.
Last year, Rios dealt with toe, oblique, ankle and thumb injuries over the course of spring training and the regular season. The combination of ailments likely caused his offensive production to hit rock bottom, as he hit just four home runs in 521 plate appearances and stole just 17 bases, his second-lowest total since 2008. To make matters worse, the rest of the Rangers' lineup was depleted by injuries throughout the year, compounding the loss of his power and speed contributions. The Rangers declined a $14 million option on Rios in October and he signed a one-year deal with Kansas City. Now 34, there's reason to believe that a decline in his ability to steal bases is looming. But even for a player who has been susceptible to steep drop-offs in the past, it's hard to write him off. He'll get a chance to bounce back as Kansas City's right fielder.
Rios was a deadline acquisition by Texas in 2013, posting a .772 OPS with the Rangers and a .749 OPS with the White Sox. While the power and batting average were around his career norms, his 42 steals (including 16 in just 47 games with Texas) were a career high. While he's certainly been a speed threat in the past (34 steals back in 2010), it's hard to envision him swiping 40-plus again. It's possible, but you shouldn't value him with those expectations. He should benefit, however, from having a more talented lineup around him in Texas than he did in his final seasons on the south side of Chicago.
As with many of the White Sox's disappointments from 2011, Rios' bounce back in 2012 almost pushed the club into the playoffs. He hit a career-best 25 home runs, notched 37 doubles, stole 23 bases in 29 attempts and put forth his first .850-OPS season since 2007. The metrics also suggest a strong defensive effort, as he led AL right fielders in both putouts and Total Zone Runs. A 100-point jump in BABIP (.323) may have helped Rios recover at the plate, as well as increases in line drives and balls that left the infield. He continues to walk about half as frequently as the average MLB batter, so there still risk because of his plate discipline and generally erratic track record.
A year after a bounce back 2010 campaign, Rios was one of the worst outfielders in 2011 with a .227/.265/.613 line to go with 13 home runs and 11 steals. The strange thing is that he made contact more frequently than in the past, but a higher percentage of his flyballs did not leave the infield. Rios' OPS was as low as .545 on August 2, but he had a bit of a late-season surge with 16 extra-base hits, 21 runs scored and 20 RBI over his final 44 games. Whether you believe more in those 44 games or the 101 before them will shape your value of him for 2012. Rios' monstrous contract will make it difficult for the White Sox to bench him, so he should receive every opportunity to rebound.
General manager Kenny Williams was probably a bit embarrassed after Rios hit just .199 in 41 games with the White Sox as a waiver claim in 2009, but the pickup was vindicated in 2010. Rios hit on the good side of .300 for most of the season before a September slump dropped the cumulative average to .284. Still, that batting average was more than palatable when combined with 34 steals and 21 home runs. The third spot in the lineup is his to start the year, as is the center-field job. The White Sox's base-running philosophy should make him a safe bet for 20-30 steals, and their home park should help him to more than 15 home runs again this season.
It's not clear if the White Sox ended up with Rios on purpose or if they were trying to block someone else's waiver trade, but they got him, and his albatross of a contract, anyway. He struggled after the trade, hitting just .199/.229/.301 in his 146 at-bats in Chicago, striking out 29 times to six walks. He improved over his final 14 games, hitting .302/.351 with four extra-base hits in 53 at-bats, but that's far too small of a sample size to rely upon. With 17 home runs and 24 steals last season, he remains a 20-20 threat. Rios will get a starting spot in the White Sox's outfield to go with a spot in the bottom third of the batting order.
Rios had a season that Charles Dickens would be proud of, with four homers and 23 steals in the first half and 11 homers but just nine steals in the second half. The power increase has to be welcome news for Rios owners, who saw him homer 17 times in the first half of 2007 only to homer seven times in the second half. A little more discipline at the plate would give him some more hitter-friendly counts and that might ultimately determine if he can become a consistent source of power. Whether that big breakout season ever occurs remains to be seen as the 28-year-old is running out of time, but he'll be a nice power and speed combination even if he just treads water.
Rios showed his breakout 2006 season wasn't a fluke, hitting a nice .297/.354/.498 and mixing in 17 steals along the way. A poor September (.234/.295/.369) and a prolonged five-week homerless streak beginning in late July took some of the luster off his season, but he's a nice power/speed combo that hits in the middle of the order.
Rios finally displayed the power that disappeared during that winter ball season a few years ago. Then his season was essentially ended by a staph infection in late June. He was a different player after the injury, hitting.330/.383/.585 to start the season but just .261/.297/.411 after coming back. He had started to show signs of slowing down in June, when he hit just .264/.356/.460, so it remains to be seen if he can sustain his brief flash of power. He makes for a risky pick in 2007 if you are forced to pay full price for his 20-20 potential.
His batting eye and power production continue to limit Rios. He drives hitting coaches mad, since a guy who stands 6-5 should be able to hit a baseball a pretty fair distance. He's Juan Encarnacion 2.0, basically, minus the optional Occasional Power Expansion Pack.
Rios has shown flashes of decent power at times, including a 12 HR winter-ball season that earned him MVP honors in Puerto Rico last year, but he hit just four homers in 600 AB split between Triple-A Syracuse and Toronto in 2004. Issues with power and patience are nothing new here. His 6-5 frame has always projected more power, but we don't see it coming.
It's hard to find fault with a 22-year old Blue Jays' farmhand who hit .352 at Double-A with 54 extra base hits in 514 at-bats. He doesn't post numbers typical of a guy 6-5, but he's made steady progress the last several years. Toss in 20 extra walks a year and cut back on a dozen of his strikeouts, and you've got a fine ballplayer.
Former first rounder is starting to hit with a bit more power but will need continued improvement in both power and patience if he wants to live up to the potential. He'll spend most of the year at Double-A.
More Fantasy News
OFKansas City Royals  
October 2, 2015
Rios (back) will return to the lineup Friday against the Twins, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports.
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OFKansas City Royals  
Back
October 1, 2015
Rios was scratched from Thursday's lineup with a stiff back, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports.
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OFKansas City Royals  
September 24, 2015
Rios went 3-for-5 with a triple and two RBI against the Mariners on Thursday.
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OFKansas City Royals  
September 19, 2015
Rios is out of the lineup Saturday against the Tigers.
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OFKansas City Royals  
September 18, 2015
Rios went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk and two runs scored in a 8-4 win over the Indians on Thursday.
ANALYSIS
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