Rios had an anomaly of an outing in this May 7 viewing, as his normally plus-or better command/control profile (double-plus control numbers of 2.2 BB/9 over 120 2/3 innings in 2016) was noticeably absent. Unlike his past outings in 2017 which he enjoyed an above-average 2.54 BB/9 ratio, he issued 6 walks in this 4 1/3 inning start, allowing seven hits and eight earned runs in 12-4 pounding by Binghamton.
Rios has an abbreviated windup with a long arm action, and with a shallow wrap in the back. He works quickly, though he will overthrow at times, and the mechanics will get out of synch by getting over a stiff front leg. His fastball sat 90-to-92 (T93), and it was a fringe-average offering both in terms of velocity and movement, though he was able to dial in some arm-side run, as well as tailing action, to both sides of the plate. While he looks to be pitching to contact more this year, as his lower strikeout rate attests to (down to 5.2 SO/9 fro 6.5 SO/9 in 2016), the offering can flatten out on him when he’s overthrowing, and that leaves his mistakes up in the zone and subject to hard contact, as happened in this viewing.
Rios will need to work on manufacturing more consistent, quality movement on the fastball in-zone to be successful, because without it, he has trouble getting to his secondary pitches. His slider was fringe-average at best, sitting 85-to-88 mph with varied breaks and depths, from a longer slurvy version, to ones with a little more ¾’s depth, but the latter but were few and far between. He also showed a fringy curveball with late-breaking action, but it was an ineffective secondary that he could not throw for strikes in this start. There is enough spin on the breaking stuff to be more than useable, but the repertoire struggles when the command is off. He also threw a below-average changeup that is a work-in-progress for him, and it was another pitch that he was susceptible to overthrowing.
He’ll need to work down consistently in the strike zone with better command of his fastball to be effective, which while not seen often enough in this viewing, it is something that is showing some results, with his season’s GO:AO ratio improving to 1.39 (up from 0.85 across two Class A levels in 2016), so the improvement may be coming. With limited body projection, and the lack of projection on either his curveball or slider to get to average grades, however, he projects as a Role 35 up/down player, with the potential to spot-start, and with some utility as an emergency arm out of the bullpen for a second-division club.