From the start of the 2012 season, when his ninth-inning home run in Texas gave the White Sox their first victory of the year, Alex Rios has been the South Siders' most consistent and clutch offensive weapon combined with his superb defense in right field.
It's a season that seems light years away from his disappointing 2011 campaign.
Then on Monday in the showdown vs. the Tigers, his worth escalated even more as his hard slide into second, called by teammate Gordon Beckham as the likely play of the year, upended Detroit second baseman Omar Infante and forced him throw wildly while the Sox scored the eventual tying and winning runs in the "must" game. And just last night his home run was the decisive tally against those pesky Royals in a game in which helped the Good Guys maintain their three-game division lead.
From his 24 homers to his 34 doubles to the eight triples, 88 runs scored and .297 batting average to becoming the first player in club history with two 20-plus steal, 20-plus homer seasons and the third White Sox with at least 30 doubles, 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in a single campaign, Sox fans couldn't have asked for more.
The handwriting is on the wall that the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera, getting closer to winning a Triple Crown for the first time in a generation, and rookie sensation Mike Trout of the Angels are the favorites for the league's MVP nod.
I, for one, can't argue after seeing Cabrera bash us all season and Trout performing impressively in the one series we saw him (with another one coming up this weekend) and generally having his way with the league. But it's been a while since a Sox player has been this strong from the starting gate to the end of the season and he's deserving of attention.
So, all I'm saying is that we should give Rios some love. And if you're a member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, a few votes as well.