Alfonso Rivas' Power Potential Intrigues A's
There is a very familiar look when you watch Alfonso Rivas swing a bat.
"He’s got that pure, effortless Wally Joyner swing,” farm director Keith Lieppman said. "He’s a nice, sweet-swinging lefthander with a great glove. He has a smoothness and grace about him, like Keith Hernandez and Adrian Gonzalez; guys who were good hitters and good first basemen.”
In Southern California, Rivas quickly emerged as a premier player on travel teams, where he was spotted by San Diego entrepreneur Jonathan Weisz, who would help mold his future by helping him get into La Jolla (Calif.) Country Day.
Rivas, 22, came to the A’s in the fourth round of the 2018 draft after two monster years at Arizona. He hit .371 with seven homers and 63 RBIs as a sophomore, then followed that hitting .342 with seven homers and 52 RBIs as a junior. To the A’s liking, he is the type of hitter with excellent strike-zone discipline who gets on base with regularity.
He played both first base and outfield in college, and the Athletics plan to continue using him at multiple positions. Defensively, the A’s rank him as a potential plus defender at first base and an average left fielder because of his lack of speed.
The big question will be whether Rivas develops power. In his first year at short-season Vermont, he hit .285 with a .397 OBP and one home run in 61 games.
"He was a gap-to-gap hitter and had an outstanding first year,” Lieppman said. "He’s starting to get a feel for it. He’s learning how to drive the ball. He’ll learn how to elevate more as he develops. (Matt) Chapman didn’t have the great power when he signed, but as he got more experience he learned to elevate the ball.”
— The A’s hired veteran minor leaguer Anthony Phillips to serve as a coach in Arizona. Phillips, a native of South Africa, signed with the Mariners at 16 in 2006, then spent a dozen years in the minors.
— Former Oakland third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff will take over as the hitting coach in Vermont.