The Mockingbird

Posts Tagged ‘Alex Rios

Rios Loses It

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If you can’t see this in the comments, it’s worth it just to hear Rios swear in a suit. While personally not the type to rag on a hot hitter after one bad game, that was so over the top terrible and in such contrast to Adam Lind’s amazingness, I’m really glad there are people out there who don’t understand baseball to do it for me:

Let’s just hope this plot continues to follow Burnett’s and immediately after mentally imploding and flipping off the fans, Rios goes from useless to Superman…

Update: Rios apologized. For being accosted. Yeah, yeah, we already forgot about that…kinda cool that the team is all over a minor internet flurry in a heartbeat, though.


Written by halejon

June 5, 2009 at 3:46 pm

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The Puerto Rican Prince Goes Platinum

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“They’ll call him on his cell, that’s how much they had his number,” said Gaston.


There’s a story here beyond spectacular failure from a key player right as it looked like he had turned the corner sighhhhh…In his first strikeout of five, Alex Rios saw four fastballs and was eventually punched out on a rather terrible call (the strikeouts are numbered on the graph above).

His second time up, Rios swung through a really excellent slider on the first pitch, right at the bottom of the zone. Maybe Lackey could see that his brain was broken, or the frustration in his eyes because he poured on the junk for the rest of the game (just one more fastball), and Rios swung at almost quite literally everything.

The Prince saw only 2 fastballs and 15 breaking balls over his last 4 strikeouts. It took just 17 pitches, five over the minimum to strike him out! And three (maybe four) of those pitches were in the strike zone, which lead to two foul balls and one called strike. It sure looks like he just got frustrated and went on a hacking bender – reminds me of A.J. Burnett in reverse…(who incidentally has been suspended for throwing at a batter – ha!)

Written by halejon

June 4, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Homecoming Present

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You heard it here errr…second. Baseball Digest Daily is reporting before anybody that the Jays have called a press conference that can only be to announce they have finally agreed with Alex Rios on a long-term extension.

Can’t wait to hear those financial details – 6/65 or so, apparently. With no opt-out. I’m drooling. Considering he was going to get 7-8 million for the next couple years in arbitration anyway, we get four years of a budding superstar’s prime (and he’s pretty good now anyway) for 10 million bucks and change?! J.P. must have used whatever unholy blackmailing scheme he did on Halladay to get Rios to sign not just for what is going to be cheap then. but is already a good deal now.

P.S. All you Neyer-reading types gracing this blog with your presence (Simple!? *swoon*), check out the Drunk Jays Fans guide to home openers before scurrying back to deeper and safer waters.

Written by halejon

April 4, 2008 at 5:06 pm

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Top 5 Blue Jays’ Home Runs of 2007

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Blue Jay Way ran a piece last week on the best home runs in the history of the franchise, and I’ve been wanting to put HitTracker to some good use lately. So grab a beer, sit back, and relive the biggest blasts (click the headers for video) off Blue Jays’ bats last year – not that there was much to choose from…


5. Frank Thomas, June 17th (#496) — 441 feet

Not only was this a huge blast from the Big Hurt, it was a turning point for his season. Coming off a dreadful May and with no home runs to this point in June, Thomas unloaded on a first pitch fastball. Most of his hard hit balls had been coming on pitches left down and in, but even though this pitch was away from him, he extended his arms and finally looked like his old self. Over the next 15 games, Frank hit 6 home runs and had 19 RBI.

It wasn’t his most impressive home run, though. That was his 499th, a moonshot to left field. Of course, nobody noticed because Dustin McGowan was throwing a no-hitter at the time…


4. Alex Rios, May 15th — 443 feet

Rios lead off a game that would be remembered for Jesse Litsch’ brillant 1-run debut with a solo shot into the second deck. Note Buck Martinez reminding us why he is better off in the booth with the comment that the Blue Jays “have found their leadoff man”. Because of course every team needs a leadoff man that crushes pitches 450 feet into the second deck.

Another impressive knock by Rios came against against Tampa towards the end of the year. Sure this wasn’t a great pitch or anywhere near where the catcher asked for it (check out him hanging his head in disgust), but it was over Rios’ head and he somehow managed to turn on it.


3. Lyle Overbay, August 29th — 446 feet.

I’m going to guess that Huston Street didn’t have his best stuff on this night. Overbay hadn’t hit a home run in over two months since returning from the DL (although he did follow it up with his last of the season the next night), and after this pitch on a tee (see: my article on why you should never, ever, throw a fastball down and in), Street blew the save by giving up another jack to Matt Stairs.

Some more stellar announcing, as well – Rance gives Street grief for “giving in” to Stairs when the 1-2 pitch he hit almost bounced. If a batter can go 406 feet the other way off that sinking garbage, tip your cap and move on…


2. Adam Lind, April 28 — 453 feet.

Welcome to the big leagues, kid! Two weeks after being called up, Adam Lind was hitting .288 and had hit 3 home runs in the last 4 games. This was the second of those home runs off a hanging breaking ball. The cameraman loses track of the ball, but you can see some guy catch it in the second deck in right-centre field. A sign of things to come! (In a year…maybe two…)


1. Vernon Wells, July 6th — 465 feet

His season may have been a total disaster, but even with a torn Labrum Vernon Wells can still turn on a 81-mph changeup that could not have been placed more perfectly down the middle by Cliff Lee, who had neither control or stuff on this day. This homer was part of the only week that Vernon looked really good all year- which happened to coincide with Vernon being placed in the leadoff spot for the first time and lead to many an claim that Gibbons was an idiot for not leaving him there. Darrin Fletcher saying goodbye to the ball at almost the same time as the crack of the bat makes this lined shot a classic.

Written by halejon

February 21, 2008 at 6:43 am

Rios Talks Cold

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Scott Downs and J.P. Ricciardi spoke with the media on Friday afternoon. For a complete wrap-up, check out Baseball Digest Daily. Of course you always have to read between the lines with J.P, but his slippery stance about Rios has further deteriorated from:

“I wouldn’t say they’re going badly, I wouldn’t say they’re going great.”


“I think we all understand that arbitration is part of the process”.

Why some dumbass didn’t bother to press him for a clarification on whether the last tweak to the Jays roster is for the bench or behind the plate is totally beyond me, but we should know by next week. Anyway, I think I’m two for three on correcting the Post. The Jays might not even agree to a contract for this season with Rios, and J.P. doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the streak. When they sign Johnny Estrada on Tuesday, I’ll eat my humble pie with dignity- .666 ain’t such a bad number in baseball.

  • Update: Here’s a few quotes from Rios’ agent.  Of course we’re just playing read-through-the-spin here, but at least he’s not complaining about anything. I still don’t know why everyone is raising eyebrows instead of setting off fireworks in the parking lot after locking up a reliever with an ERA of 2.17 last year for 4 million bucks, no matter what your philosophy towards relievers or doubts about Downs because he’s a late bloomer. I think Ricciardi has once again shown an ability to read the market better than your average fan/hack/writer.

Written by halejon

January 18, 2008 at 10:32 pm

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“I’d sign zombie Hitler if he’d put up a .480 OBP”

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Mulliniks proves Godwin’s Law with ranting linkage that will leave you happy and/or unemployed:

(If the Hitler-Bonds photoshop wasn’t warning enough, some of these links are NSFW)


Is anyone else glad the winter meetings are over? After four days of intense, media-driven over-speculation, I’m just about ready to put a boot in anyone’s ass that even suggests something as grotesque as another Lee/Guiterrez for Rios trade, or the thought that Towers might be traded for anything more then a bag of balls and a stack of used porno mags.

With so much BS being hawked as genuine news, does anyone else feel like they’re stuck in some sort of terrible Bill Conlin wet dream?

(Excellent, two Hitler references already and we’re just getting started – the one the title is my “quote of the day” from some amazing anonymous poster at

This post is dedicated to all the media and players that have clearly gone stir-crazy after a month without baseball. WTF people, can’t you just sit back for a moment and smell the roses? You can’t even rest your laurels for 30 seconds and just enjoy the holidays? Clearly, if you don’t pen something to paper often enough, the well of useless facts may dry up forever.

Why in god’s name are we still being treated to our weekly dose of dick-in-a-bag, when it’s been long established that Dick’s either writing up his own questions, or on been sent on a hilarious fools errand by some of our nation’s finest bloggers.

film.jpgBut I digress. My intention here was to point out some of the more lighthearted/disturbing moments in the world of baseball over the past couple weeks with as little mention of the name Barry Bonds, then only to drive up as many blog hits as possible.

Lately I’ve been loving the guys at 100% Injury Rate, you’re almost guaranteed something amazing daily. And honestly, suggesting someone might “Suck my ass!” or that “A dog must have fucked your mother when she made you” is really as relevant today as it was 100 years ago. And clearly no worse then electing a back-stabber to the hall of fame.

What else is there in the bag of tricks? First on the kinda gay front, how about John Maine, not only in drag, but offering the big bucks for the dress right off some poor woman’s back. On the surface, this story sounds no worse then something I might do at the tail end of a Tequila bender. But John, dude, you’re famous now, can’t you just buy your Victoria Beckham drag off eBay like the rest of us?

In the same vien, all of MLB is mourning the loss of one of it’s greatest trailblazers. Kazuhito Tadano decided to take is beautiful eephus pitches and gay porn back to Japan after he was designated for assignment. How this ended up getting more coverage then The Gronk’s tragic defection to the Red Sox (we wish you the best), I’ll never understand. Oh wait, the gay porn. Though you know the massholes are starting to get restless when they start suggesting: “Next season, however, the former New Hampshire reliever could replacing Gagne in the Boston bullpen.” (nice editing guys!)

Yowza! Someone turn on the Hype Machine stat! And please tell me that something isn’t seriously wrong when Kazuhito getting designated got more press then one of the greatest things to ever happen in the history of professional baseball?

And who could forget Aubry Huff, and his oh-so-wonderful antics. If it wasn’t for him, how would young baseball players learn to avoid the dreaded “2-year prime, fast drop-off and steady decline”. Really, it could happen to you at any time, even when you’re finger-paining a porn stars’ bare ass. Just check out this gem:

Producer: “Do you guys do any studying or is there any of that going on? Or is the catcher the only one that’s really gotta study anything?

Huff: “The guys that are studying — it’s bullshit. See ball, hit ball. You know what I mean? You’ve done it your whole life. You see the ball, you hit it. All this studying? Honestly, you’re gonna look at a piece of, a TV? And say this guy, this guy is going to throw me this way? No, he might throw you a different way! Who cares? Just see it and hit it!

And last but not least, let’s wrap this all up with a gratuitous boob shot from a flasher at Fenway. And who said baseball blogging didn’t have its highlights. And please if anyone in Uncasville, CT reads this, I recommend getting the hell out of dodge, and I mean now.

Doesn’t anyone in MLB have a “normal” hobby anymore? Or is it all just sodom and gomorrah from here on out? At least it makes for some excellent distraction at work before someone catches me and I get fired.

Written by mulliniks

December 7, 2007 at 9:39 pm

Did Pitchers Adapt to Alex Rios?

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I’m starting on requests for the pitch database now- first on the list is Alex Rios. One of the things that was overshadowed by the rest of the Blue Jays offensive nightmares this season was that Rios had a significant power drop-off in the second half, with no sign of a staph infection in sight. Although his slugging percentage only dropped 50 points, he hit 17 home runs before the all star break and only 7 afterwards. Was it the dreaded curse of the Home Run Derby, or did pitchers start approaching him differently? Let’s take a look at the pitches he made contact with this year, starting with the first half:


First I’m going to look at the balls he put in play, and then examine those that he watched either for balls or strikes separately. First, here’s what happened when Rios put the ball in play in the first half:


First thing to note is this is a pretty terrible sample size. Pitch f/x was still being installed in parks in the first half, so there is less data that the second half even though they played more games. Still, notice how Alex is waiting for his pitch. He can serve pitches low and away into the opposite field for singles, but lets most pitches low and inside go- which makes sense since he’s hitting .158 there. His power is mostly on anything left high in the strike zone. How did pitchers get him out? By getting him to hit pop ups on pitches at his eyes and grounders on balls away from him.


There’s a lot more data here, but look at how much more it’s spread through the strike zone. Of course this could be because he’s not getting into counts where pitchers have to groove one, but it certainly looks like he’s swinging at and making contact with “pitcher’s pitches”. He’s also flying out on pitches high and especially away in the strike zone, which he didn’t do at all in the first half. And his doubles and HR power is all middle-in, instead of up and over the plate. Maybe Brantley was right when he said he wasn’t moving enough since the Home Run Derby- that looks like someone trying to yank the ball over the fence.


Now let’s look at the pitches he didn’t swing at and what the umpire called them. I’ve split them into over 88 and below 88 mph as a crude division between breaking pitches and fastballs, to get an idea of if they were pitching him soft away and hard inside or anything like that. From the first half:


The first thing this tells me is I probably need to tweak my strike zone (based on John Walsh’s measurements of the actual strike zone) up a few inches, or that pitch f/x was set a little low. As you’ll see, it doesn’t look that bad for the second half, but almost all the pitches on the bottom fringe of the zone as I have it were called as balls. It’s also strange that pretty much nothing came in on the inside wall of the strike zone. I’ve checked the data several times though- there were almost no pitches a foot off the middle of the plate, and he swung at all of them.


In the second half, Rios had more low strikes and strikes on the bottom outside corner (or just plain off the plate) called. Maybe that’s why he had to become less selective. There is also a noticeable concentration of more pitches (both fastballs and offspeed pitches) belt high and away – the pitches that from the first set of graphs you can see Alex is grounding out on. In the second half he was getting more hits than grounders on pitches away, but they’re all singles.

The word must have gotten out to keep everything on the outside half of the plate and low to sap his power. Despite more data, there are fewer pitches being hit or taken at the top or just above the top of the zone. I am reminded of the last home run he hit, which was high and out of the strike zone- if you’re going to go up on Rios, go way up (I guess I should chart swing-and-misses next, but they’re pretty much exactly what you would expect from this data- away, away, away, more as the year goes on).

From looking at both diagrams, it also seems that pitchers were also having some success coming up and inside with soft stuff- a lot of called strikes and a not a lot of contact (except for the occasional home run on a mistake left a little too much of the plate). But the biggest difference in pitchers facing Alex Rios in the second half was they worked the outside half of the plate heavily- and started getting the calls.

hype it up! :: Digg it

Written by halejon

October 6, 2007 at 10:41 pm

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