During a conversation with Alex Rios about the changes he’s made over his career, the Texas Rangers outfielder made a comment about an accepted truth in baseball. His comment was seemingly simple but hid one of the more complicated aspects of the game.
We were talking about his bad year in Chicago in 2011, when he hit .227 with 13 homers and 11 stolen bases, and his wRC+ was 40 percent below the league average. When pushed to come up with a reason for his renaissance since that low, Rios could only think of one thing he’d really changed.
“I was trying to get deeper into the count and see more pitches and be a little more patient at the plate, to make myself hit a better pitch,” he said of 2012, when his career got back on track.
Rios did take more pitches per plate appearance in 2012 than he did in 2011 — .05 pitch more per plate appearance, or about 30 more pitches over the course of a full season. Not a ton more pitches, but more. And it’s a trend he’s continued since, to the point that he’s now back above league average in the stat (3.85).
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