T.J. Rivera Continues to Prove He Can Hit

By Matt Musico

September 17, 2013 No comments

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While the St. Lucie Mets were one of the few minor league affiliates in New York’s system to not qualify for the playoffs in 2013, they came pretty damn close. It took until the last week of the season for them to get eliminated from playoff contention. There were quite a few players to have big seasons at Tradition Field this summer, the most notable one being Dustin Lawley, the 2013 Florida State League Player of the Year. However, second baseman T.J. Rivera also had a solid season.

Earlier this morning, Mets Minors posted a nice statistic about Rivera’s 2013 season:

Talk about doing it quietly! He was dependable this past season, getting a lot of time in at second base in his second full season of professional baseball. He split 2012 right down the middle between Savannah and St. Lucie, playing 64 games for each affiliate. In 516 combined at-bats, he hit .320/.372/.444 with nine home runs 66 RBIs, 73 runs scored, and 29 doubles. While this season’s home run totals were down compared to last year, he still displayed his ability to put the bat on the ball, as well as getting on base.

He will most likely be heading to Double-A Binghamton to start 2014, and I will be interested to see how he adjusts to life in the Eastern League. A lot has been made about the second base position with the New York Mets — from the major league team, all the way down through the organization. There is a need for organizational depth there and at shortstop, two crucial positions up the middle of the diamond. The selection of L.J. Mazzilli in the 2013 MLB draft, followed by the acquisition of Dilson Herrera from the Pirates have helped do just that at second base.

However, both of those second baseman will probably start the season no higher than High-A in 2014. Players like Rivera and Daniel Muno provide the Mets with some organizational depth at second base in the upper minors, as they continue to figure out whether or not they should hold on to or try trading either Daniel Murphy or Wilmer Flores. It’s nice to have some reinforcements in the minors, just in case.

As I mentioned before, Rivera’s home run total was down this season from 2012, but that doesn’t concern me. He’s still hitting at a high clip, and put together his second-straight 20-double season. Home run power is nice, but if he’s hitting doubles and driving in runs, I’m cool with it. With a career minor league batting average of .304, he’s hardly a person that should be disregarded moving forward.