Before the 2012 season, there were a lot of Chicago White Sox fans – including my dad – who absolutely hated Alex Rios. The true anti-fan in me, however, went out of my way to defend Rios last season. To my utter surprise, Rios was not only great last season, but he was probably the MVP for the White Sox, proving to everyone that he still has the five-tool talent that he showed with the Toronto Blue Jays. Entering the 2013 season, I was pretty pessimistic about the White Sox – especially Rios – seeing as he is the king of the “every other year” syndrome. But through the first week of the season, Rios has proven he truly is the team’s best player.
Out of the nine White Sox regulars thus far in 2013, Rios has hit the baseball with the most consistency. In six games, Rios is hitting .360 with three home runs, five runs batted in, and two stolen bases. Moreover, he has already drawn three walks, which is only 23 walks away from last year’s total.
Considering that Rios only has one guaranteed year left on his contract, his success is good for two reasons: he produces for the White Sox and gives them a chance at a division title, or his trade value skyrockets and the White Sox get good value back via trade. Either way, it appears the Alex Rios that was booed mercifully a few years ago is finally gone. The Alex Rios White Sox fans see today is the back-to-back five-win outfielder that can carry a team.
That Alex Rios is the one that should be showered with cheers and can possibly push the White Sox over the hump in the competitive American League Central.