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Detroit Tigers MLB Draft: A look at second-round pick Reynaldo Rivera

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Apr 8, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Fans watch from center field walkway during the game between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Fans watch from center field walkway during the game between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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After selecting pitcher Alex Faedo with the 18th overall pick of the 2017 draft, the Detroit Tigers decided to go with hitting in the second round.

The Detroit Tigers outfield is coming into question at the end of this off season with J.D. Martinez having only one year left on his contract.

There is already plenty of talented youth in the Tiger organization, but the 57th-overall pick adds a little bit more.

The Selection

The second round pick for the Detroit Tigers is 19-year-old Reynaldo Rivera from Chipola College in Florida.

Rivera is a big, physical prospect at 6’6″ and 250 pounds.  He hits from the left side, but throws with the right.

Though he was drafted as an outfielder, he can also project as a first baseman with his build.

In the 2016 draft he was selected in the 24th round by the Chicago Cubs, but elected to go to Chipola where he won the Junior College World Series.

Mechanical Breakdown

As you can already guess with his size, Rivera comes bearing natural power. He is very strong and can use his strength to hit even if he gets beat.

His swing starts beautifully, his hands are in a great place to hit when the swing starts. He loads to his back hip well.

That being said, once he reached the load position, he has a double tap with his front foot. This can cause timing problems because a powerful swing, or any swing for that matter, cannot start until that front foot is down.

This also causes him to drift forward though the zone to go out and meet the ball, instead of attacking when it comes to him. His natural power was enough to make up for that in college.

Once he learns to stay back, he will have a pretty swing that will pack a punch.  There should be no problem for Rivera finding the seats.

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Rivera has very quick hands, and does a good job keeping them inside of the baseball through the contact zone.  He also will get plenty of power from his hips that he can power through to creat torque.

His Projections

Baseball America ranked Rivera as the number 14 first baseman in this year’s draft.  It is better than it looks considering how many were going off the board in the first round.

Because he is not a top player, and he is coming from a junior college, I was not able to find a true scouting report and grading scale for Rivera.

However the video here from MLB.com will give a short scouting report on what to expect from the Detroit Tigers second round pick.

Essentially what the video will tell you is that he has above average raw power with some mechanical flaws.

It also says Rivera is agile for his size with a good enough arm for him to play left field. He just won’t have any range.

He projects to be a competent defensive first baseman in the long run.

My Grades

With help from professional coaching, Rivera should be able to fix the holes in his swing.  At least enough to be solid MLB hitter.

There may be some concern because he is coming fro a junior college, but that is stiff competition, with a very high level of baseball.

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He will more than likely become a career DH with occasional starts at first base, when the better fielders need a night off.

With his bat though, he will need to be in the lineup.  About four or five years down the road, when he is ready. It is the kind of potential swing that can be a spark plug for a lineup late in games, or late in a season.

If he reaches his full potential, he will be able to consistently slug 15-20 homers a year pretty easily.  Some years he may reach for 30. Certainly a future five-hole hitter, with the ability to grow into the cleanup spot.

My biggest worry here is that the Detroit Tigers drafted a one trick pony in the second round. But he is a solid bet to make it to the Majors, and be able to help the lineup in Motown.

Next: A Look At First Round Pick Alex Faedo

With day one of the draft in the books, the Detroit Tigers had a very good day.  Picking up a front end of the rotation starter, and a projectable middle-of-the lineup bat.

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