Legends On Deck

Prospects On Deck: T.J. Rivera – Mets


If there is one ball player that I feel is the most under-rated in the minor leagues, it would be Binghamton Mets infielder T.J. Rivera.

Rivera went un-drafted out of Troy University in Alabama and was signed by the New York Mets as a free agent in 2011. He then played his first professional baseball season with the Kingsport Mets (R) and then with the Brooklyn Cyclones (Low Class A) that summer. With both clubs he batted a combined .301, with the bulk of his at bats at Kingsport.

In 2012, the Mets moved Rivera to the Savannah Sand Gnats (Class A – Full Season) and he batted .333, with 14 doubles, eight home runs, 37 RBI’s, 26 walks and 87 hits in 261 at bats. In June, he was promoted to the St. Lucie Mets (Class A Advanced) and he picked up where he left off as he batted .306, with 15 doubles, a home run, 29 RBI’s and 78 hits in 255 at bats.  In total for both teams in 2012, he recorded 165 hits.

In 2013, the 24-year old Bronx, NY native played a full season with St. Lucie and truly put his name on the map as he led the Florida State League with 145 hits, finished second with 502 at bats and 76 runs, and in the top ten in games played (125).  On the season he batted .289, with 23 doubles, a home run and 51 RBI’s.

Last season, Rivera should have started with the Binghamton Mets (Double-A), but was sent back to St. Lucie, which was a surprise to many who have watched him, including myself.  But Rivera went out and just proved with his bat that he deserved the promotion as he came out in the first game and belted a home run, drove in five and finished the day, 3 for 4, also adding a double.

Rivera just took off from that game and batted .388 in the month of April.  The infield prospect did slow down a bit batting .330 in May and .277 in June before finally getting the call to join the Binghamton Mets in the middle of June. Rivera batted .300 in June with the B-Mets before turning up in the heat in July.

Rivera went on a tear in July and batted .354, with eight doubles, a home run and 12 RBI’s, while also enjoying a nineMets-Rivera2 game hitting streak to end the month. In August, he would not let up as he batted .379, with four doubles, driving in 13 batters, and putting together an 11-game hitting streak, that included eight multi-hit games in that span. On the season for both St. Lucie and the B-Mets , Rivera recorded 158 hits.

Now its 2015 and Rivera finds himself on the Double-A B-Mets, but there is no letting up, he has a dream and a goal and that is to one day become a Major League ball player and he is showing just that once again as he is currently on a seven-game hit streak, batting .500 (14 for 28), with two doubles and six RBI’s. Rivera also has four multi-hit games during the streak and had a 4 for 4 game on Thursday against the Harrisburg Senators in Binghamton’s home opener.

Rivera has enjoyed a tremendous minor league career so far and the only thing that keeps him from being tabbed a top prospect is probably not being drafted out of college. But that should not diminish what he has done on the diamond with his bat, as he continues to prove that he too should be looked at as a major league option.

Rivera has knowledge of the game beyond his years and has a knack to get the hit when needed.  He has modeled his game after his child-hood hero Derek Jeter, and if you watch him play, you will know exactly why.  He is a humble young man who is dangerous with the bat and smooth with the glove.

Rivera is showcasing his skills in Double-A and the Mets have no choice but to pay attention. It shouldn’t be long before he moves along to the next level with the Las Vegas 51’s (Triple -A) and then continues on his way to the big leagues.

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