T.J. Rivera, INF
Player Data: Age: 29, B/T: R/R, Free Agency: 2023
2017 Primary Stats: 73 G, 231 PA, 5 HR, 27 RBI, .290 BA, .330 OBP, .430 SLG, 0.4 WAR.
2017 Advanced Stats: 103 wRC+, .326 wOBA, .140 ISO, .318 BABIP.
Since T.J. Rivera debuted in 2016, there’s one thing that has shone through in his catalog: the guy can flat out hit.
After being called up late last season, Rivera became the starting second baseman after Neil Walker and Wilmer Flores went down with injuries and even started the Wild Card Game against the San Francisco Giants.
He made the Mets Opening Day roster in 2017, but spent a handful of games in the minors in June. While healthy, Rivera played every infield position minus shortstop and even spent nine innings in the outfield.
Rivera partially tore his ulnar collateral ligament in late July and missed the remainder of the season. He chose to undergo Tommy John surgery towards the end of the year, meaning his status for Opening Day is up in the air.
While on the field this season, Rivera gave the Mets all they could have asked for. He played a multitude of positions and hit wherever he ended up. He isn’t the flashiest of fielders, but he will make the most impact with his bat.
Overall, he finished his season with a clip of .290/.330/.430 with five homers and 27 RBI in 231 trips to the plate. In the field, he spent a majority of his time at third base, where he committed five errors and had a -1.1 UZR and -4 DRS in 207 innings.
To the extent of how much Rivera plays next year will likely rely on a couple things. First, who the Mets acquire via trade or sign from free agency.
Anthony DiComo of MLB.com recently fielded questions on the Mets offseason and plans for 2018 and was asked about Rivera. The question asked was: Can you see T.J. Rivera as the starting second baseman, or can you see the team going the free agent/trade route?
“Definitely the latter,” DiComo answered. “There are no guarantees that Rivera will be fully recovered from Tommy John surgery by Opening Day. The Mets have to — and will — find someone else to play the position. If they acquire a third baseman this winter, it will be Asdrubal Cabrera.”
I think what Rivera brings to the table is the role we saw him in this past season: being a quality super utility guy. He will get his fair share of playing time spelling the regular starters and will hit when he’s in there.