Dodger reserve Edwin Ríos is getting a lot of attention for his struggles, magnified because they are coming at the start of the season. So far in 2021, Ríos is 4 for 44 (a nightmare Moses Malone scenario) with one extra-base hit, and he is hitless in his past 24 at-bats.
But as you can see from the above chart of longest hitless streaks by Dodger position players since 2000, a drought is hardly a death knell for a Dodger career.
Sure, Eugenio Vélez’s unforgettable 0 for 37 tops the list, but beneath it, what jumps out at you are the big names, including repeat appearances by Yasmani Grandal, perhaps the best-hitting catcher in the American League. Joc Pederson also has a trio of trips into the top 25 (not to mention an awful start with the Cubs this season), but we know what he’s capable of.
Other names: Everyone wanted to get rid of Juan Uribe, but he became a folk hero. Dee Strange-Gordon had a 22-at-bat hitless streak in 2013 — then led the majors in hitting in 2015. Matt Kemp also went hitless for 22 in 2018, but soon after blasted one of the biggest homers of the season for the pennant-winning Dodgers. Farther back in history, the great Ron Cey makes the all-time Dodger top 10 with a 28 at-bat hitless streak in 1977. Cey was an All-Star each of the next two seasons with an .858 OPS (138 OPS+).
Ríos is doing awful and looks awful, and if the Dodgers weren’t beset by injuries right now, I imagine that he’d already be working things out at the Alternate Site (where I’d be happy to join him). Minor-league seasons finally start next week, and maybe some consistent playing time with Oklahoma City could benefit him. But let’s not give up quite yet on a 27-year-old who had a career .972 OPS entering this season. Big slumps happen.
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