Mariano Rivera has a better career Save % than Felipe Rivero, but if we just included 9th inning Save opportunities Felipe Rivero is 100%. Rivero at times has been dominating with his upper 90’s smoke. For lefty hard throwing relievers, you have Aroldis Chapman at 100.48mph average for 2015, Rivero averaged 96.31mph in September, Andrew Miller averaged 95.12 with his fastball, Zach Britton averaged 96.88 with his heater which was .61 more velo over 2014, and Jake Diekman averaged 97.58 on his fastball. Rivero can learn from this small fraternity of fireballing southpaws at 95+. Did we miss anyone?
Rivero’s repertoire of pitches is his 4-seam heater, changeup and slider, and he relies on speed, location, and movement for success.
It was on February 13, 2014 when the Nats traded Nate Karns to the Tampa Rays for a trio of players including Jose Lobaton, Drew Vettleson and Rivero. The Rays signed Rivero as an international Free Agent out of Venezuela as a 17 year old. The Rays used Rivero predominately as a starter and in the Minors the Nats did the same until Spring Training in 2015 the Nats moved Rivero to the bullpen and the change worked well.
— Felipe Rivero (@Rivero43) October 11, 2015
Rivero’s future is the skies the limit for this 24 year old relief pitcher. We would expect Rivero to be part of the back of the bullpen in a set-up role in 2016 for the Washington Nationals. Rivero being a lefty can give his new Manager the flexibility to use him based on the projected line-up after the 6th inning. For instance, if 2 lefties were scheduled for the 7th then you’d expect Rivero for the 7th. If it’s a bunch of righties, his manager might want to save him for the 8th inning.
What we want to see from Rivero is the ability to clean up his own messes which means if he gave up some hits he will need to show he can stand strong and get 3 outs without giving up runs with runners on base. That is a key for a reliever to be a future closer. Rivero had 23 of 49 of his appearances were 1-2-3 innings, and both of his Saves were 1-2-3 innings with his 1st Save being a 2 inning 6 up, 6 down.
ESPN 2015 Pre-Season Ranking of Relievers
We look forward to seeing a lot more of Felipe Rivero.
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