Monday, January 27, 2014

Prospect Countdown: #26 Alexis Rivera

26. Alexis Rivera Outfielder

Age: 19
Height: 6'2" 
Weight: 225
B/T: L/L
Acquired: Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 10th round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft

2013 Rank: 39

Landon Adams (NR): Alexis Rivera failed to make my prospect list for 2014, but that isn't to say that I have lost my interest in the toolsy young outfielder. Despite what some would view as poor results in 2013 in Rookie League Idaho Falls, I expect that Rivera will open 2014 in Lexington. 

One thing that I'll keep my eye on in 2014 is Rivera's splits. For his career, he has hit .311/.387/.428 against righties, but just .263/.344/.375 against southpaws. Oddly enough his batted ball rates are virtually identical against both types of pitcher, but the problem has been a strikeout percentage that has been 4% higher against left handers. 

Paden Bennett (17): I rated Alexis Rivera the highest because of the upside I think he has.  Although that upside and power hasn't shown yet, I believe it will.  In the Pioneer League last season Rivera put up a .269/.349/.363 slash line.  Nothing that impressive.  However, Rivera has shown that he can take some pitches and work a walk.  This characteristic in a hitter always gives me hope that they one day will figure it out.  Rivera will turn just 20 this June so there is plenty of time for Rivera to start making strides.  He is a big kid for his age at 6'2" and 225 pounds so it's easy to fathom that he could eventually fulfill his power potential and begin hitting the long ball.  I look for Rivera to start in Idaho Falls with a chance to make it to Lexington.

Joe Cox (24): And we have yet another toolsy very young and far away outfield prospect on the list.  Rivera followed up a stellar 2012 in Arizona with an average year in the Pioneer league in 2013.  In 240 plate appearances, Rivera had a pedestrian .712 OPS with 4 homers and 9 stolen bases.  Statistically speaking, there is not much to take away here, though it is nice to see a 19 year show solid plate discipline, with a 9.6 BB% and a 15.4 SO%.   In last year’s write-up, I contended that the power potential is what makes Rivera a legitimate prospect, which is something we have yet to see at this time.  For right now, he remains in the mix of young outfielders without enough at-bats to know where they stand from a prospect status. 

Dan Ware (NR): Rivera's numbers plunged significantly after moving to Idaho Falls, but were still respectable.  Posting a .269/.349/.363 line for the Chukars, Alexis shows good patience in the batter's box with a 34/22 K/BB ratio.  He won't put on a power display as he only hit 4 HR in 240 appearances at the plate while compiling a 50.3% groundball and 18.7% flyball rate.  Considering Rivera is just 19 years old with good range in the OF and possesses good arm strength, he'll probably get a few more at-bats for the Chukars in 2014 before moving to Lexington.

Nicholas Ian Allen (--) Though his 2013 numbers do not sparkle as brightly as they did in his first professional season, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about Alexis Rivera. At just 19 years old, Rivera held his own in the Pioneer League. The Puerto Rico native and Kissimmee, FL high school product has a patient approach at the plate and the ability to set the table. He had a .386 OBP and 10 walks in 57 plate appearances (17.5%) leading off an inning as well as 17 walks in 120 plate appearances (14.2%) with the bases empty. His walk and strikeout ratios were very consistent from 2012 to 2013. 

The biggest upside for Rivera is power potential. Despite just seven home runs in two years in hitter friendly leagues, Rivera is a strong 6’2”, 225 lbs. He has a quick bat that produced many line drives. As he grows into his body, and potentially puts on more weight and muscle, look for the home run totals to rise. He should also drive in more runs. In 2013, Rivera hit .435 with runners on first base only, as opposed to just .206 with runners in scoring position.   

Due to a strong group of prospects in Idaho Falls, Rivera spent most of his time hitting in the sixth or seventh spot in the lineup (24 and 19 games, respectively). He appeared in 39 games in left field and 10 in right. Reports indicate Rivera’s arm is not exceptionally strong and despite nine stolen bases in 14 attempts,  he is not very fast. I believe he could see time at first base in the future (where he played some in high school) - provided he can hit enough for the position. 

Rivera will still be 19 at the start of the 2014 season, and he turns 20 in June. I expect him to open 2014 platooning in LF in Lexington. Based on his early production, he may move back to Idaho Falls for an everyday role in the middle of the order.

Total Points: 21

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