Player: Chris Rivera
Drafted by: St. Louis Cardinals (No. 216 overall)
DOB: 3/10/1995 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6’1”/185 lbs
School: El Dorado High School (Calif.)
Previously Drafted: N/A
If J.P. Crawford is widely regarded as the top defensive shortstop in the 2013 draft class, then Rivera is a close second. The reason that Rivera's name isn't as well known is because of his knack for underperforming at the plate. Regardless, defensive wizards at arguably the most important position in baseball are hard to come by; therefore, Rivera will likely go somewhere inside the top four or five rounds.
Rivera has earned his stripes playing against older competition for most of his playing years. He was on the 2009 U.S. National 16-under squad, a team that also featured 2011 first-rounder Francisco Lindor and 2012 first-rounders Courtney Hawkins and Albert Almora.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Anyone who's expecting great things from Rivera at the plate will be disappointed; has a smooth, easy swing from the right side; has great bat speed and makes consistent contact; little to no power to speak of; had a tendency to underperform with scouts watching, both during his junior year at El Dorado and on the showcase circuit last summer; has looked beyond lost at times against breaking balls; don't expect more than a .250-.265 hitter.
Power stroke is virtually nonexistent; doesn't figure to crack double digits in home runs in most years; the most usable power he has will develop into doubles.
Slightly above-average speed; clocked at 6.99 in the 60-yard dash; more quick than fast, and quickness shows more in the field than on the basepaths; quickness allows him to get to ground balls that most other shortstops in this class can't; could be a 15-20 stolen base runner as a professional.
Possesses all the tools to be a premium defender at shortstop; versatile enough to get looks all around the diamond during his time in high school; even saw time at catcher; quick feet, soft hands and a cannon for an arm; has a very quick release and very accurate throws; should be a perennial Gold Glove winner and athletic enough to remain at shortstop for the duration of his career.
Has spent some time on the mound, clocked as high as 92 mph; not just great velocity, but also great anticipation and incredible accuracy; can make any throw required of a shortstop and some that aren't.
MLB Player Comparison: Brendan Ryan; Omar Vizquel
Projection: No. 8 or 9 hitter; Gold Glove-caliber defender for first-division team.
MLB ETA: 2020
Chances of Signing: 35%
Rivera is committed to Central Arizona Community College, and considering most prospects who sign letters of intent for community colleges honor those commitments, it doesn't seem that he'll be likely to turn professional just yet. It would take a massive bonus to change his mind, but taking into account his weakness at the plate, teams might try to lowball him.