[June 27th] -- Keep an eye on the Blue Jays' Alex Rios during the Nats' series in Toronto. There was talk about a possible trade with Toronto last season involving Rios (I can't remember who was the Nationals' player involved),
but the deal never materialized. Rios, 25 is 6'5" and 200 lbs, and the Blue Jays had always projected him as a slugger. When the Nats visited Toronto last season, about this time as I remember, he had one of the lowest slugging averages on the team and had exactly one home run. I figured that he was just another big guy who was never going to find his power. He began to hit with authority the second half of 2005, however, and ended the year with 10 homers in 481 atbats. He batted .262 with 10 home runs and a pretty lousy .307 on base percentage.
Times have changed for Alex Rios.
Going into tonight's game against Washington, Rios is batting .323 with 15 homers and 51 RBI's. He's raised his OBP to .376 and he sports a .553 SLG average. He even has 9 stolen bases, all tremendous numbers for late June.
It's always a great story when a player all of a sudden "gets it" and turns into a star. It would have been an even better story if the Nationals had made that trade last season, regardless of who they would have had to give up.