AngelsWin Top 30 Prospects: #29 LHP Jerryell Rivera

AngelsWin Top 30 Prospects: #29 LHP Jerryell Rivera


AngelsWin Top 30 Prospects: #29 LHP Jerryell Rivera

Prospect: Jerryell Rivera
Rank: 28
2016: UR
Position(s): Left Handed Pitcher
Level: Rookie Ball
Age: Entering Age 19 season in 2018.
Height: 6’3” – Weight: 180 lb.

        Present       Future

Fastball          50                    60
Curve              40                    60
Change           45                    65
Mechanics    60                    70
Command     40                    60
Control          45                     60
Overall           40                    65
Floor: Left-handed specialist reliever in AAA or the major leagues.  
Ceiling: A front of the rotation lefty.  Future all-star.
Likely Outcome: Too early to tell.

Summary: Everyone that follows prospects has an idea prospect they like to target in drafts and international signings.  Some go for youth and upside, some chase a higher floor and more certainty.  Some prefer to scour the international market and some prefer the draft.  Some fans prefer players that are in AA or AAA and ready to contribute immediately.  Some like to dream on prospects that are in rookie ball.  The trick of many teams is to find a balance.

From a very personal standpoint, I’m a big fan of drafting upside prep athletes stateside, and projectable pitchers internationally.  For me, the Angels selection of Jerryell Rivera in the 11th round of this past draft was a move of brilliance and fits with what I would look to do if drafting.  Rivera was one of the bright spots available in the draft from Puerto Rico this past season.

Watching Rivera pitch, I can envision Cole Hamels down the road.  Tall, strong, left handed, mid-90’s fastball and front of the rotation starter.  You don’t even need to squint to see that.  At age 18, Rivera is already tall, lean, broad shouldered and has a very comfortable arm slot.  While his fastball currently hangs 89-90, it comes from a very easy arm angle.  With more effort he’s been clocked at 92-93.  While his early motion is stiff, the act of throwing the baseball itself is very natural looking.  This is the lowest impact left-handed delivery I’ve seen since Andrew Heaney.  Rivera just looks like he’s playing catch.  For all you’d know regarding the delivery, he could be throwing BP.

But as Rivera grows and becomes more comfortable with he pre-throwing motion, a higher effort delivery and physical progression could have him throwing an easy 95.  But the big thing with Jerryell will be the development of his off-speed pitches.  His curveball has a little late break to it, but he doesn’t seem to be able to command it, and the change up has a nice speed differential and late fade to it, but he looks quite unsure throwing it.  But being able to work with professional coaches and being on a training regimen could have Rivera snapping off breaking balls and change ups to his hearts desire.

In a word, Rivera is the type of prospect you draft and dream on.

And this is all scouting, we haven’t even touched on the fact that Rivera was likely the best pitcher for the Angels Arizona Rookie League squad this year.  They limited his innings, but Rivera showed not only the ability to miss bats, but throw strikes, which is huge for a first taste of professional ball.

What to expect next season: Rivera will likely remain in Arizona for extended Spring Training until short season ball comes along.  I expect to see Jerryell as the staff ace of the Orem Owlz in the Pioneer League, though given his talent, it would be possible for Rivera to be in A Ball next year.  I don’t think the Angels will want to rush him though.
Rivera is going to go through a muscular growth spurt in the next couple years and he’s going to be able to comfortably deploy all the coaching advice the Angels are feeding him.  When that time comes, he’ll shoot through the system and likely even skip a level or two on the ladder on his way to the major leagues.  But until that time comes, it would benefit Rivera, the Angels and the fans to just remain patient and take it slow and easy with Jerryell.  When he’s ready, everyone and their grandma will know it.
Estimated Time of Arrival: 2022, Rivera’s age 23 season.
Grade as a prospect: C+
Grades are given from the 20-80 scouting scale.  20-being non-existent ability, 80-being the best I’ve ever seen.  MLB average is 50.  A 92 mph fastball generally would be a 50.  A 97 mph fastball is a 65.  A .260 hitter is a 50.  A .300 hitter is a 70. 

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