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It's time to get excited about Alex Rios

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At the meetup, LT told me that I need to contribue more.  He is right.  Although he was smiling when he told me that, part of me is frightened of him and I decided I should contribute right away.

On Saturday, Alex Rios stole a base and hit another home run.  That brings his season totals (thru 40 games) to 8 home runs and 13 stolen bases.  So far, 2010 has been a stark contrast to the 2009 version of Rios that White Sox fans saw.  In 41 games for Chicago last year, Rios hit 3 home runs and had 5 stolen bases.  He also had an OPS of .530.  This year? .912 OPS. 

Obviously, most of you are already aware of this.  You are also aware of the fact that he plays Center Field and is very good at it.  All of these are reasons to get excited about Alex Rios.  Need a reason to get even more excited?  I can't think of the last White Sox player with the skill set of Rios.  

I know projections can be silly, but Rios is on pace for 32 home runs and 52 stolen bases.  I can't remember ever watching a player in this franchise that has that combination of Power and Speed, can you?  Luckily, we have Bill James' Power/Speed formula that we can use to compare Rios 2010 projections to previous White Sox players.

Bill James used the following formula to calculate a player's Power/Speed number:

Power/Speed Number = 2 (HR x SB) / HR + SB

Using Rios 32 HR / 52 SB projection, you end up with a Power/Speed Number of 39.6.  Last year, Mark Reynolds and Ian Kinsler lead their leagues with a Power/Speed Number of 31.1 and 31.0.  Rios currently leads the league in Power/Speed Number and is on pace to have the best Power/Speed number in White Sox history.

In franchise history, Chicago has only had three players end the season with a Power/Speed number over 25.  No one has ever had one over 30.

  1. Tommie Agee 29.3 (1966)
  2. Magglio Ordonez 27.7 (2001)
  3. Dick Allen 25.1 (1972)

As you can see, no one in a White Sox uniform has ever exhibited the power/speed combination that Alex Rios has displayed so far this season.  If he keeps it up, he'll end the season in the top 15 all time for best single season power/speed numbers.

I understand that we are only 25% of the way through the season and there are a lot of problems with projecting out a full season based on those numbers.  Still, we are fans and excitement is the reason we watch this game.  This season hasn't gone the way all hoped, but I'm going to remain really excited about a player who plays plus center field defense with a power / speed number that has a chance to be a franchise best.