Edwin Rios spent one day last September at Dodger Stadium, where he was presented with the Branch Rickey Award as the organization's top Minor Leaguer, capping a first full season he describes now as "unforgettable."
"It was a really fun year," said a smiling Rios, who hit .301 with 27 home runs and 76 RBIs over three different levels last year.
The corner infielder might be on his way to topping those numbers this season.
While anchoring the middle of the Tulsa Drillers' lineup, Rios leads the Texas League in batting average (.361), RBIs (32) and slugging (.604) and sits fourth in home runs (eight) through 36 games. After a bit of a slide in early May, Rios has warmed up lately, recording two or more hits in four straight games.
"I've just been enjoying it," he said, "soaking it all in, and I'm trying to keep going."
The credit for another good season is divided equally, he said. His offseason routine played a part, most of which was spent at the Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida, near his offseason home. There, he worked out with current big leaguers Dee Gordon and Carlos Gonzalez and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin.
But just as much credit goes to his father, he said, with whom he speaks after every game. From their home in Kissimmee, the elder Edwin Rios will call his son with tips and observations he sees while watching games online.
Video: Tulsa's Rios cracks solo shot
"He seems to see it all," the younger Rios said. "If I have a bad game, it's 'you're doing this.' It's unbelievable what he sees. I just listen to him because he's one of the reasons I'm here now."
He's one of Rios' biggest sources of motivation, too. The elder Rios played in a professional league in Puerto Rico, but the younger Rios said they moved to Florida when he was in elementary school for education purposes. The move, and his father's willingness to give up his own career, is a source of daily motivation.
"He left in his prime, because he said he wanted a better education for us," said Rios, ranked as the Dodgers' No. 22 prospect. "I don't want what he did for us to go to waste."
His numbers reflect that it hasn't been wasted by any means. Rios hit 18 home runs as a junior at Florida International, helping him get drafted in the sixth round in 2015, and he clubbed 30 home runs over his first two seasons.
He said he wants 30 more by the end of this year.
"I set my standards high," he said. "This year, I would love 30. It's something I don't really think about. I set a goal and if it happens, great. If not, I just want to keep working harder, enjoy the game and do what I can."
Solid return: Corpus Christi third baseman J.D. Davis has hit his stride since returning from the seven-day disabled list. The No. 13 prospect in the Astros system, Davis was activated May 9 and has raised his average to .285 while collecting three multi-hit games in the last week. He homered Tuesday and Wednesday at San Antonio to extend his total to nine, which is tied for the league lead.
Turning it around: Richie Martin might be turning things around in his first full season at Double-A. The Midland shortstop, ranked ninth overall in the A's system, scuffled with a .217 average and 20 strikeouts in April. But since May 1, he's hitting .367 with two doubles and just five strikeouts.
Grand allowances: Arkansas has dipped into last place in the first-half North Division standings, due in part to a league-high 4.38 ERA. The bats of San Antonio's Luis Urias, Springfield's Oscar Mercado and Tulsa's Rios are reasons why, considering all of them have a grand slam against the Travelers this season. Urias hit his on April 11, Mercado's came on April 28 and Rios' was May 2. Travs pitchers have allowed 34 home runs, second-most in the Texas League.