Thomas Javier (T.J.) Rivera, 2B
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6′ 1″ Weight: 190 lb.
Position: Second Base
T.J. Rivera is a fellow New Yorker, born and raised in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx. He was signed as a free-agent out of Troy University back in 2011. Not much is generally expected out of guys that aren’t drafted, but Rivera seems like his is on a mission to change that. In his first two professional seasons, he has already gone through four levels in the organization (Rookie, Low-A, A, and High-A). He’s compiled a .316 AVG to go along with 10 HR and 85 RBI over those two years. His 2012 numbers, from the time he spent with the Savannah Sand Gnats, are the most impressive. During that time he played in 64 games, compiling a .333 AVG/.396 OBP/8 HR and 37 RBI. Those numbers are probably what led fellow Sand Gnat, Jack Leathersich, to point out that Rivera was the teammate that impressed him most in his recent exclusive interview with Metsmerized Online. Here is an excerpt from that interview where Leathersich says Rivera is a player Mets fans should be very excited to see:
Oh yeah, definitely T.J. Rivera – he’s the one. He’s the real deal. I’ve never been around a kid who prepares as well as he does. He just really loves the game and it seems like every time I see him he’s out on the field working on something. Rivera plays hard and is completely balls to the wall – he’ll do anything to make sure we win. He’s a great teammate and obviously a great player and everybody should be real excited about him. If he continues the great things he did last season, and I’m pretty sure that he will, he’ll be a lot of fun to watch.
Rivera is definitely an under-the-radar type of prospect. He’s not considered a top prospect, and doesn’t have any tools that will jump off the page at you. However, he is making it happen. He has been successful across four different levels, so this is starting to seem like a situation where Rivera could turn out to be the real deal and not just a flash in the pan. There isn’t much footage on Rivera out there, but here is a brief analysis of Rivera’s swing:
Rivera has a sweet swing and it’s going to be really interesting to see what he can do at the Double-A level this season. Making the jump to Binghamtom will probably be the biggest challenge that Rivera has come across in his professional career thus far, as they say the jump from Single-A ball to Double-A is really where you start to weed out the prospects. Double-A is where the cream starts rising to the top. Rivera has a big challenge ahead in 2013, but after reading what teammate Jack Leathersich said about him, we have to assume it’s a challenge he is ready for.
Mets fans have a reason to be excited, and should definitely keep an eye on T.J. Rivera up at Binghamton this season. If his approach is to continue taking it one level at a time, he stays focused and keeps performing the way he has the past two years, the Mets will have a solid player on their hands within the next couple of years.
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