Tom Brennan - TJ RIVERA TIME


Tom Brennan - TJ RIVERA TIME

"When it's your time, it's your time", the Grim Reaper might creepily say.

But that same saying can have positive meaning....because in TJ Rivera's case, his bat is shouting out: 



Hitting so well in the minors through 2015 that the Mets could no longer ignore him and keep the undrafted Rivera out of AAA Las Vegas, TJ had 3 easy-to-achieve objectives heading into 2016, all of which he achieved:

1) Add more power - CHECK

2) Win the PCL AAA batting title - CHECK

3) Hit .333 in a meaningful Mets' Sept. debut - CHECK

Despite the 2016 successes, though, 2017 rolls around, and a crowded Met infield caused him to spend several games in Vegas again. No respect, I tell ya.  

People keep thinking he's a fluke, and he just hits and hits, to show that is just plain flukey thinking.

Injuries like Lucas Duda's hyperextended elbow and Wilmer Flores' knee infection opened the infield door to a call back up for infielder Rivera.  It didn't hurt Rivera that Yoenis Cespedes' injury amplified the team's need for offense.

Through Friday night, in his 145 at bats as a major leaguer, TJ Rivera has hit .324/.354/.483.  

The mighty Yo Cespedes, in his career, is .272/.327/.496.  

Lucas Duda?  .246/.343/.462.

And Rivera hits like a righty version of lefty hitting machine Daniel Murphy - remember him?  Murphy for his career is .297/.340/.450.

Rivera by the #'s is no slacker compared to those fellas.  

Let him play.

A lot.  

No, Yeah Buts...

Because, by golly:

It's TJ Rivera Time!

(Note: 1 for 5 last night but it was an important double for TJ and the Mets.  Jake another high strikeout no-decision.  Nice to see Walker starting to hit, too.) 


Mike Maar said...

I agree, TJ has to play! HRs are great, but an effective lineup needs guys like TJ that have some extra base pop, but who are firstly just very sound hitters. Extra bases doesn't need to mean HRs. Doubles are the lifeblood of rallies, and a team that can rally is going to be more consistent than a team that always waits for someone to hit a HR.

TJ should be the heir apparent at 2B. I like Walker a lot, but TJ needs a permanent starting spot.

Mack Ade said...

OBP is the secret of winning baseball games when you have a questionable pitching staff. You have to score 'more runs than the other guy' to win. You do this by getting runners on base.

Rivera has had the ability to do this at all levels I know I personally went out of my way to find something wrong with his game over his minor league career and there just is not anything to write about.

He is also learning to play a nice first base.

Thomas Brennan said...

Mike, we need to start a chant at Citifield, TJ MUST PLAY!

Also, I'd rather see Sewald than go to Sea World!

Thomas Brennan said...

Mack, like I mentioned in the article TJ has improved in the power department, that made the difference.

Reese Kaplan said...

Like James Loney, there are very few first baseman in the game who show sub 10-HR power. That being said, I too root for him to get a regular role, but I think it may be at 2B in the long run. With Lucas Duda in his likely final season, ditto Neil Walker, the Mets have some holes to fill in the future. Dom Smith of the slightly better power and superior fielding is likely going to get the 2018 first base gig. Amed Rosario will be at SS. Asdrubal Cabrera will likely have his option picked up and serve as insurance should Rosario fall flat on his face. He'll probably man 3B with the $67 million man on the DL. That leaves 2B as an open competition between Rivera, Flores and Cecchini. Right now I think the OBP and batting average give Rivera an edge over the others. Flores will get plenty of ABs as the righty against left handed pitching and as primary pinch hitter off the bench. Rivera does not have the platoon splits that Flores does.

Thomas Brennan said...

Agreed on pretty much all of that, Reese. Dom Smith has still to show he can hit as well as Rivera or hit with as much power...only a .441 slug % in Vegas so far.

Also, everyone expects Smith to just hit, but he is not strong vs lefties...this year and last, he is hitting just .257 vs. Lefties in 144 at bats, with only 6 doubles and 3 homers. That screams PLATOON to me.

Over the same stretch, in 467 at bats vs. Righties, .317 with 46 extra base hits.

Mack's Mets © 2012