Yadiel Rivera was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the ninth round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft and has been working his way up the links in the Brewers chain since then. In six years in the minors, Rivera has been more of a ‘glove specialist’ than a hitter, as his career slash line in 668 games is .244/.289/.349. But his fielding prowess and the ability to play three infield positions could be his ticket to the bigs.
Rivera started the 2015 season at AA Biloxi and played mostly at second base, but also played a handful of games at short and third. After the first month, Rivera earned a promotion to AAA Colorado Springs by hitting .322/.366/.452 in 128 plate appearances.
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In the high altitude in Colorado, Rivera played 79 games and struggled offensively, slashing just .238/.266/.303 in 306 trips to the dish. That sent him back to AA Biloxi.
Rivera slumped again in the final three weeks at Biloxi, slashing a disappointing .203/.313/.246 in 80 plate appearances. He did walk a lot, though (comparatively), as he strolled to first on a free pass 12.5% of the time versus a career average of 5.1%.
The 23-year-old got called up to the bigs for the first time on September 22, but struggled, going just 1-for-14, getting his first big league hit off Michael Wacha in a 7-3 loss to St. Louis on September 24. His slash line resembled that of a utility infielder at .071/.071/.071.
Rivera moved on to the Arizona Fall League in October and absolutely killed, putting up softball-like stats in six games. In 28 trips to the plate, he went 13-for-24 with two doubles, one triple, and one home run, along with an amazing 10 RBI. His .542/.607/.833 slash line came against less-than-big league pitching, but still impressed.
The infielder played mostly at shortstop at Colorado Springs and performed well, posting a .956 fielding percentage and a 4.31 range/nine factor. His ability to play short, second, and third make him a valuable asset in the Brewers organization.
Rivera will get a good look at Spring Training next year and is an even-odds choice to make the Brewers major league roster as a utility player next year.