Rivera A Potential Bargain Pick
Royals 10th-rounder shines early in pro debut
KANSAS CITY—Alexis Rivera would not last until the 10th round and 313th overall pick if the draft was held today.
"It was a little surprise to us that he was still there in the 10th round," Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said. "I think the assumption was it was going to take X amount of dollars and I think he fell a little bit because of that."
Picollo said the Royals talked to Rivera and his adviser the day he was drafted and "we realized we could probably sign him." While Rivera, who was born in Puerto Rico but went to Montverde (Fla.) Academy, had a baseball scholarship to Florida International, he was eager to begin his professional career.
The Royals sent him to the Rookie-level Arizona League, where Rivera was hitting .343/.419/.473 and ranked among the league leaders in batting, on-base percentage, OPS (.892) and hits (58).
"Since we've gotten him, it's been impressive," Picollo said. "For one, he's very intelligent. He knows the game extremely well."
The Royals list Rivera at 6-foot-4, 247 pounds.
"He's a 17-year-old kid, but he looks like he's 22 or 23 physically," Picollo said.
Rivera, a lefthanded-hitting right fielder, may be big, but he is not slow. He had nine stolen bases in 12 attempts and legged out four triples.
"He runs well," Picollo said. "He's played well in the outfield. He got off to such a good start. It's been better than even what we thought were getting when we signed him."
Rivera's biggest asset is his power.
"It's a big power swing and power bat," he said. "I think the good thing we've seen is there is a little more hit-ability than we thought. Early returns are he has the ability to hit the ball the other way and how to turn on a ball. He's a little more advanced than we expected."
• Triple-A Omaha infielder Christian Colon, the Royals' 2010 first-round pick, fouled a ball off his right eye on Aug. 13 and was likely done for the season.
• Second baseman Johnny Giavotella, who was hitting .323/.404/.472 with 20 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs and 71 RBIs with Omaha—was recalled Aug. 18 after Chris Getz broke his left thumb. Manager Ned Yost said Giavotella would get the majority of the playing time at second.