Legends On Deck

T.J. Rivera Named PCL Player Of The Month

Mets-Rivera2

The Pacific Coast League named the New York Mets T.J. Rivera their Player of the Month after he hit .373 (47 for 126), with five doubles, a triple, five home runs and 31 RBI’s for the Las Vegas 51s, while also enjoying a 17-game hitting streak from May 13-May 30. So far in 2016, he has hit safely in 45 of 54 games and has 25 multi-hit games for the season.

Just look at what he is doing in the whole league as he is leading the Pacific Coast League with 78 hits and second with 48 RBI’s and a .359 batting average.

This should basically be a no-brainer and hopefully an eye opener for the Mets brass.

By now everyone who has read my posts on Rivera know that I am a huge supporter of this natural-born hitter. Ever since I met him in 2013, when he was my first ever minor league interview, I have marveled in his ability to put the ball in play and get the big hit when it counted. And I do not see what others see when it comes to his supposedly weak glove.  Every play that he makes, he does it with the same ability as the guy next to him. He is a professional player stuck in the minors and stuck in the minds of many that think he isn’t that good to grace the big club.

There isn’t much more that Rivera has to prove.  He is a career .322 hitter in the minors and all he has ever done was hit on every single level. John Bernhardt of MetsMerizedOnline.com, who has watched Rivera play first hand, had a great post yesterday on how Rivera can help the Mets. This is a good read.

What Rivera does is play small ball, and that may not be pretty to some, and yes the Mets are made up to hit the long ball and throw the baseball through the bats, but the home run hitters go into slumps and what do you have left but an offense that can not do the small things to get runners in.

No one in the everyday lineup is batting higher than .276, and over the last month the home run hitters are batting under .250, aside from Neil Walker who looks to have a career year. Now Walker was brought over to replace Daniel Murphywho was another Met that was knocked for not playing great defense, but look at Murphy now. He is batting .379, with 10 home runs and 37 RBI’s in 56 games so far and his team the Washington Nationals are leading the NL East.

Murphy was also not a high draft pick as he was selected in the 13th round of the 2006 MLB June Amateur draft and it might have taken a few years, but look at the hitter he has become. You never know what a player is capable of until you show confidence in him and give him the chance.

Now if the reason that the Mets have yet to promote Rivera is because of his glove, than that is another wasted excuse, because both Wilmer Flores and former-Met Ruben Tejada were said to have limitations in their game. First, Flores’ glove was a big issue and Tejada’s bat would never match what his defense could do. But each was given the chance to prove their worth. So if looking at Rivera, the only knock they have is that he has weak defense, which is not a valid excuse on this team.

With Rivera’s bat on a torrid streak this season, and the Mets looking for healthy bodies with Wright and Duda out, they chose to promote Matt Reynolds and Ty Kelly.  Both of whom were shocked to get a promotion over Rivera.

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Now I can understand promoting Reynolds, one because he is already on the 40-man roster, and if anyone deserved an opportunity it is him, but the promotion of Kelly, who the Mets signed in the off-season to a minor league contract, was a waste and one that looks more like a distraction from having to promote Rivera.

Kelly was hitting .391 in Triple-A at the time of his promotion, but as of Wednesday, he is batting just .111 (2 for 18) in his time in the majors.  That experiment has gotten old, so now it is time to move on and make the right choice.

The Mets can not hide the fact any longer that Rivera is the right choice. The offense is non-existent right now. Especially after losing a double-header to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday,  3-1 in both games. Their big hitters are just not getting it done right now, so they need a spark. That shining light is right under their noses.

The writing is on the wall, just #CallUpTJ and let him show what he can really do.  Now he won’t be the instant savior, but he will bring stability to the lineup. It’s all he has ever done.  The other guys in the lineup benefit from his ability to put the ball in play.

The Mets have snubbed ball players in their system in the past, with promises that have not been met.  Current guys like Chasen Bradford and Travis Taijeron, along with Rivera, who started their professional careers with the Mets in 2011, all deserve to be given the opportunity to play a day in the majors. But it’s anyone’s guess when that day will come.

Right now the Mets need someone to kick it up a gear and help the team move in the right direction. The Mets at this moment are not built to win a World Championship.  Yes they have the pitching, but they need to be more than just a one-dimensional team.  They need to play small ball, and not just wait for the big home run to win ball games.

Forget about bringing in any more bats from outside the organization and just look within. It’s really getting old and predictable with the Mets and if they want to make their fans happy, then just do the right thing. Promote T.J. Rivera and give him the opportunity to prove he belongs. The answer is right before their eyes, so wake up Mets and make the call. #CallUpTJ

Extra Thoughts From David C.

I am grateful to have my own site to be able to share my thoughts and show my support for all the guys I feel deserve the opportunity to live out their dreams. That is one of the reasons why the site was created. We will never know who the next Legend will be, so that is why we try and give attention to as many minor league ball players as we can to bring attention to their journey’s.

With T.J. Rivera, I won’t shy away from what I think is the right thing to do. The kid has nothing left to prove. In my mind he has to be the best pure hitter in the minor league system at this point in his career. I am sure many will not agree with me, but Rivera proves the point all by himself. The Mets are my favorite team, but if they continue to slip on this obvious promotion, not sure I can truly take the promises they say to their fans as legitimate as they want us to believe. It doesn’t just end with Rivera, it’s about all the players that have great opportunities to make it to the majors but continue to get snubbed. The game is a business but at the end of the day, it should be about pure talent. Well that is how I think it should be.

David Conde

David Conde

Co-Founder/Executive Editor at Legends On Deck®
David is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Legends On Deck. He is a former Senior Editor for MetsMerizedOnline, MetsMinors.net and Contributor for Hardballchat.com. He is a native of Brooklyn, NY and a lifelong Mets and baseball fan. David coaches little league baseball so he can teach his two sons how to play the game he loves.David also has a hobby of taking sports photos which can be seen here on Legends On Deck.a

You can also reach out to David at daconde@legendsondeck.com
David Conde