The Los Angeles Dodgers continued with calling players up from the Minor Leagues for the first time this season, with Edwin Rios becoming the latest to receive the honor. Rios was previously added to the 40-man roster last November to protect against losing him in the Rule 5 Draft.
The 25-year-old was selected by the Dodgers in the sixth round of the 2015 MLB Draft and has impressed on multiple fronts. Last spring, he showed remarkable strength by slugging two home runs that sailed over the respective batter’s eye at Camelback Ranch and Maryvale Park.
Rios did not receive a second non-roster invite to Spring Training this year, though joined the club on several occasions and appeared in 16 Cactus League games. While he’s proven to have a big bat, Rios also has versatility with his glove.
Some of that is related to work done with Hall of fame shortstop Barry Larkin, according to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“Barry just took me under his wing and we got after it,” Rios said. “I told him I wanted to work on my defense. He just said, ‘Say no more.’
“It was honestly a blessing to have him. Not just the physical but the mental attitude – being a ‘dawg’ and having that confidence. That’s what he kind of instilled in me.”
Rios has spent the bulk of his Minor League career at third base (207 games; 188 starts). That’s followed by first base (143; 125), left field (33; 32) and right field (four; three).
This season, he’s primarily played third base, where his 40 games (all starts) is more than double the amount of time spent at first (19; 18). Though, more time at the hot corner has come with an increase in errors, as he’s committed seven in 349.2 innings. That’s compared to just one error over 148 innings at first base.
Like with Matt Beaty, Cody Bellinger, Kiké Hernandez, Max Muncy and Chris Taylor, an ability to adequately play multiple positions bodes well for Rios’ chances of receiving opportunities with the Dodgers.
Particularly at this current time, as Joc Pederson has struggled to become acclimated at first base. Meanwhile, Cody Bellinger is dealing with nagging tendinitis in his right knee, which could require the Dodgers to shuffle their outfield during the final stretch of games into the All-Star break.
If Rios is able to play left field, it would give manager Dave Roberts further versatility in utilizing Beaty, Hernandez, Taylor, Pederson and Alex Verdugo.