Rios: The inconsistent muscle in the human body.
Alex Rios is somewhat of an enigma. Just ask J.P. Ricciardi, Kenny Williams, Ozzie Guillen or any fantasy baseball participant over the last few years attempting to assess his expected performance for the upcoming season. Over the past five seasons, Rios’ wRC+ has scored as the following astounding sequence: 110, 77, 108, 59, 125. Since wRC+ measures a player’s runs created relative to the league average, this means that Rios has toggled between being well above the league average and well below the league average in alternating seasons over that stretch.
While all players have some year-to-year variation in performance, Rios has taken his to a level far beyond most big leaguers. It would be interesting to look throughout baseball history to find other players who managed similar roller coaster rides.
...The most interesting name on this list is right at the top. Cliff Johnson not only has the longest such streak in history, but he is also the only player on this list to post at least 200 plate appearances in every season of his roller coaster sequence. His streak spanned across playing for four different teams: the Astros, Yankees, Athletics and Blue Jays. Amazingly, in the 11-year span between 1972 and 1983, the smallest year-to-year wRC+ change that he registered was 19. Johnson truly was the king of the yo-yo in MLB history. [If we include all players, pitcher-turned-celebrity-golfer-extraordinaire Rick Rhoden also matched the longest streak at seven seasons.]
... In the case of Alex Rios, over that many plate appearances it would seem that BABIP differences would not be solely “luck”, but partly quality of contact as well. Certainly his robustly higher LD% in 2008 and 2012 promotes a much better expected BABIP than in the other three seasons.
Sure, consistency is a virtue. But variety is the spice of life, right?
Posted: October 18, 2012 at 04:51 AM | 9 comment(s)
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