Rios Victim of Home Run Derby Curse?

Rios Victim of Home Run Derby Curse?

Alex Rios Home Run Derby

In 2007 Alex Rios was having what is known to be a “break out” season.  Before the All-Star break, Rios had launched 17 home runs into the seats of ballparks around the league. During the Derby, Rios pounded out 19 bombs, losing to Vladimir Guerrero in the final round by one home run.  Since then Rios has seen his production drop off.  Could it be from the dreaded “Home Run Derby Curse”?

Alex Rios Home Run Derby

What is the Home Run Derby Curse?  It is the curse that some Home Run Derby participants become afflicted with after participating in the Home Run Derby.  The Curse sees to it that Derby participants’ production falls off a cliff.  Here are some selected statistics (because I like to cherrypick like that) of some past participants and their HR numbers pre HRD (Home Run Derby) and post HRD.
2003
Garret Anderson

Pre HRD:  22 HR 
Post HRD:  7 HR 

2005
Bobby Abreu

Pre HRD:   18 HR 
Post HRD:   6 HR 
2006
David Wright

Pre HRD:   20 HR
Post HRD:   6 HR

2007
Alex Rios

Pre HRD:   17 HR
Post HRD:   7 HR

2008

Josh Hamilton

Pre HRD:   21 HR
Post HRD:  11 HR

Alex Looking Pretty

As you can see, it is no wonder that some players choose to opt out of the HR Derby (Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez).  The curse talk all started with Bobby Abreu who never regained his form after the Derby.

In 2005 Abreu entered the All-Star break with 18 home runs in 323 at-bats — a ratio of one ding dong for every 17.9 AB. In a year’s time following the event, he  hit just 14 homers in 557 at-bats — a ratio of one every 39.8 AB.

At the time of the Derby, Abreu ranked 9th in the National League in home runs. Since that time, Abreu has been outhomered by more than one hundred different players.  His six post-all-star-break home runs in 270 ABs represented 1 HR for every 45 ABs – the worst ever ratio by a Derby player post-Derby.

That was until Alex Rios came along.  During his Derby season he was hitting one HR for every 17.9 AB, an impressive clip to say the least.  Post Derby he hit one every 48.4AB – the worst ever.

Going into Saturday’s game, Rios is hitting one home run for every 41.2 AB this season – a slight improvement but still nowhere near the potential he has shown.  Is it really a curse or is it something else?  Former Derby participant and pretty boy Mike Piazza shares his thoughts:

“It’s not conducive to good hitting mechanics,” said Mike Piazza, a two-time Derby entrant early in his career. “It’s just not.”

In real life and real baseball, pulling the ball “should be more of a reaction than a plan,” Piazza said. But in Home Run Derby life, pulling the ball is not just the plan — “it’s the only plan,” Piazza laughed. “Bail and wail.”

If anyone can fix Rios’ hitting mechanics it is Cito and Gene Tenace.  But you know what they say – chicks dig the long ball.  And if the pictures below prove anything, Alex sure likes his chicks.  If he spent less time mugging for the camera with David Beckham and trolling for dirties on the streets of Toronto with scrub ballplayers then maybe he will deserve to hit in the 3 hole for years to come.

Alex Rios David Beckham

Alex Rios Jeremy Accardo Josh Towers

Alex Rios Pimpin

Alex Rios

Alex Rios

Alex Rios Orgy

Written By

has written for Mopupduty.com since 2006. Follow Callum on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram (@callumhughson)

  • I disagree, if you look at Rios’ stats the half season pre-2007ASG, was the outlier, not the fact that he stopped hitting bombs after it. Similar arguments can be made for most of the players on that list. I mean the whole reason that they made it to the Home Run Derby, other than guys like A-Rod is because they have had a hot first half of the season. Naturally things are going to average out and sadly for us Jays fans this may mean less home runs for Rios.

  • Ian

    What scares me is that Alex hit only 3 less homeruns in one round of the Home Run Derby in 2007 than he did all of 2008. I realize those are just BP fastballs in the derby, but still …

  • what i’m most worried about is alex’s chick selection. all of those girls are average at best. maybe he just needs to start hitting some hone runs in the bedroom before he can hit them in the ball park?

  • Amen, Colin.

  • Early

    Those girls drugged A-Rio.
    I think Accardo and Towers asked to have their pic taken with Rios just like those dirties did.

  • Alain

    ahha post this again tonight and see if he hits another dinger.

  • I gotta agree with Colin on this one. His minor league stats show little HR power production (20 HR in over 2300 minor league ab). Alex is a gap hitter that had one half season of HR production. He’s still a nice .775ish OPS doubles hitter but Jays fans shouldn’t expect anything more.

    Though I do agree that the derby doesn’t help swings. If I recall correctly it took over half a season for David Wright to get back on track after the 2007 derby.

  • Sachin

    The reason that Jays fans are so high on Alex’s power, is that he has shown signs of power in one half of every season, and usually unable to do so in the other half due to some strange reasons. If you look at the first half of 2006, Rios was on an absolute tear before the staph infection, which really slowed him down in the 2nd half (.968 OPS in the first half). And then in 2007 he fairly impressive before the home run derby (.870 OPS in the first half). Then last year Rios had trouble adjusting to Denbo’s hitting philosophy, and performed well in the 2nd half with cito and tenace (.879 OPS in the 2nd half). I haven’t given up on Rios’ becoming a legitimate power hitter, but it looks like he will more likely become a 20-25 hr hitter with 25-30 steals a year, which is still pretty good.

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