2020 Los Angeles Dodgers Player Reviews: Edwin Rios

One of the pleasant surprises for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2019 was the emergence of Edwin Rios, who was called up in the latter half of the year and proved that his power bat played at the big league level.

That put Rios on the Dodgers’ radar going into 2020, so it came as no surprise that when this past season rolled around, he was essentially a shoo-in to make the Opening Day roster.

When MLB decided to go with a universal designated hitter for the shortened 2020 season, that was especially good news for Rios and the Dodgers as it provided the infielder with more opportunities to get at-bats.

As was the case last year, Rios made the most of his limited opportunities in 2020 by hitting .250/.301/.645 with eight home runs and 17 RBI in 32 regular-season games.

Wanting a left-handed power bat in the lineup, Rios served as the designated hitter in the Dodgers’ first postseason game against the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card Series.

He went 0-for-3 with a walk in his postseason debut and later dealt with a groin injury that forced him to be left off the roster against the San Diego Padres in the National League Division Series.

Rios remained with the team and rehabbed in hopes of a return, and that ended up being the case as he was back on the roster for the final two postseason series. The 26-year-old played a key role in the NL Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves, homering in back-to-back games and slashing .222/.333/.889 with three RBI in 12 at-bats.

Riors took a bit of a back seat in the World Series, only stepping to the plate twice in six games against the Tampa Bay Rays and striking out both times.

When the Dodgers learned in the seventh inning of Game 6 that Justin Turner had tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), Rios was forced to step in for him and played a flawless third base in the final few innings to help clinch the championship.

2020 highlight

Rios’ biggest hit of the 2020 season came in a July 29 win over the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. He stepped to the plate to lead off the 13th inning in a 2-2 game and promptly hit a towering home run to right field off Cy Sneed.

Because of the extra-innings rule, there was a runner at second base, so it was a two-run homer for Rios to give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead, and they would go on to win by that score. Rios became the first player in Major League history to hit a home run to lead off an inning that accounted for two runs.

2021 outlook

Turner is a free agent, so as it currently stands the Dodgers are without a starting third baseman. It seems likely that the Dodgers either re-sign Turner or bring in a high-profile third baseman such as Nolan Arenado.

If they are unable to do either of those, then it is possible that Rios goes into 2021 as the starting third baseman.

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