Ríos was drafted in the first round (19th overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1999 MLB draft. A top prospect in the Blue Jays organization for several years, Ríos had considerable success in the organization's minor league system. In Template:By he hit .352 with 11 home runs and 82 RBIs en route to winning the Double-A Eastern League Most Valuable Player award. Ríos was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse for the start of the Template:By season and made the jump to the big leagues shortly thereafter.
Toronto Blue JaysEdit
He finished his rookie season with Toronto hitting .286 with one home run, 55 runs and 28 RBI in 111 games.
After his participation with the Puerto Rican team in the World Baseball Classic, Ríos began to show why the Blue Jays valued him so highly in his break-out 2006 season. As of June 6, 2006, Ríos was 1st in the league in batting average (among qualified batters) with a .359 average, along with 11 home runs - a new personal best only 60 games into the 2006 season, and 43 RBIs. He then had his first multi-home run game on June 12, 2006, facing the Baltimore Orioles at the Rogers Centre. He is often given as an example of what is known in baseball as a "five-tool player".
In recognition of his outstanding third season in the majors, the young outfielder was rewarded with a spot as a reserve on the American League All-Star Team. While Ríos did not play in the game due to a staph infection in his leg he was invited to attend the All Star Game festivities during the July 10 weekend at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Alex said in an interview that he fouled a ball off his foot which resulted in a staph infection and a hospitalization, seriously depleting his strength, and affecting his stats after the 2006 All Star Game.
On February 2, 2007 the Blue Jays and Ríos agreed to a 1-year, $2.535 million contract—meaning that, for at least the next year, the two parties will avoid the process of salary arbitration. Ríos' performance earned him a spot as a reserve on the American League All-Star team and he also agreed to participate in the 2007 State Farm Home Run Derby. He led all competitors by hitting 19 home runs throughout the contest, but the final round was won by Vladimir Guerrero of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Ríos fielded the last out in the All-Star game. He led the team in all offensive categories during the first half of the season but slumped after the All-Star Break, with his hitting average settling to slightly below .300, and was overtaken by teammate Frank Thomas as HR and RBI leader . In 2007, he had the lowest range factor of all major league right fielders, 1.82. Ríos was honored with a Fielding Bible Award as the best fielding right fielder in MLB.
Rios signed a seven-year contract with the Blue Jays in April 2008 for a guaranteed amount of $69,835,000: $5.9 million in 2009, $9.7 million in 2010, $12 million each in 2011 and 2012 and $12.5 million each in 2013 and 2014. He finished the 2008 season with a slight statistical decline: .291 average, 15 home runs, 32 stolen bases, and 79 runs batted in. The home run total tied him with Lyle Overbay for the Blue Jays' second most home runs that season (only Vernon Wells had more with 20). Ríos also set a career high in home runs after the All-Star Break that year.
On June 4 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Ríos struck out in all five of his plate appearances in a 6–5 loss to the Angels at Rogers Centre. Later that day Ríos was videotaped cursing a heckling fan after he walked past a child seeking an autograph while leaving a fundraising gala for the Jays Care Foundation. Ríos has since publicly apologized for the incident.
Chicago White SoxEdit
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