The legend of Edwin “Big Daddy“ Ríos has reached a new level during this final weekend of the regular season. As someone who did not project to have a big role this year back in Spring Training, the rule changes and roster adaptations that were put in place for the shortened season changed that outlook almost instantly.
If there’s one thing that you need to know about the Dodgers’ utility infielder, it would be that he rakes. And I mean RAKES.
In only 75 at-bats this season, Ríos has 14 extra base hits — 8 home runs, 6 doubles. At that rate, he is hitting a homer once every 10.6 at-bats, which is just ridiculous. To top it off, his average exit velocity of 92.6 MPH puts him in the top 15% of all hitters. In other words, if he puts a ball in play, you’ll hear it.
See ya! ? pic.twitter.com/FBhWGoV9nn
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) September 26, 2020
Even in a limited role, Edwin Ríos has found ways to contribute consistently, and even more so down the stretch. While he is hitting .253 on the season, this past week has seen an increase in production on his part. Over his past 7 games, Ríos is batting .313 with 3 of his 8 home runs and only 3 strikeouts.
With the benefit of the DH, the Dodgers can afford to have Ríos in the lineup every day during the playoffs in order to let his bat do some damage. And should they want to give Justin Turner a day off of his feet, they can always plug him in at third as well.
The DH would ordinarily be a perfect opportunity for Joc Pederson to gain some playing time, but with his struggles continuing to linger, it is quite possible that his leash is much shorter than other years. If that’s the case, there is perhaps no better player to use in that role during the team’s October run.
As the 2020 regular season comes to a close today, there is much to be excited about with the Dodgers entering postseason play for the 8th consecutive year. And if Ríos can continue to produce at the plate, the offense could be the difference-maker that helps us bring home the title.