Alex Rios is Showing the Power the Royals were Hoping For
By David Hill
There are certain things that are almost guaranteed to be misleading in life. E-mails from Nigerian princes asking for a few thousand dollars in exchange for a portion of their fortune, infomercials that did not involve the late Billy Mays and Spring Training statistics are certainly near the top of that list. However, when a statistic jumps out, regardless of how futile it is to attempt to use such statistics to predict regular season success, they are still worthy of discussion.
That is where we as Royals fans find ourselves with Alex Rios. Theoretically brought in to help give the Royals more power in their lineup, the signing of Rios seemed an interesting choice, given his .280/.311/.398 batting line and four home runs last season. While that is three more than Nori Aoki provided last year, Rios just did not seem to be the power bat the Royals were looking for.
However, as Rios was battling injuries last year, the Royals are gambling that he will be able to provide production closer to his career averages. If the Royals can get that player who has a career .278/.323/.439 batting line and has averaged 17 homer a season, then the power upgrade they sought will have come to fruition.
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Thus far, that gamble seems to be paying off for the Kansas City Royals. In the first week of Spring Training, Alex Rios appears to be healthy and possibly at the form the Royals were hoping for, as he has already slugged three home runs. Is this a sign of things to come this season, or just a mirage in the middle of the Arizona deserts?
The Royals, and Rios, are certainly hoping that it is the former. If Rios is truly going to provide the Royals with enough power to hit 15 to 20 home runs this season, he and Kendrys Morales may actually be able to transform a lineup that, at times, seemed allergic to the long ball last season. Suddenly, the middle of the Royals lineup may have gotten much deeper, and instead of needing to string three or four hits together for a multi-run inning, could do so with one swing of the bat.
Yes, it is still early in Spring Training. However, if this is a sign of things to come, then the Royals should be excited about what Alex Rios could mean to their lineup this season.