What Juan Rivera Brings To The Yankees

Yesterday, the Yankees signed 34 year old Juan Rivera to a minor league contract. He will try out for the fourth outfield spot come Spring Training, along fellow right-handed hitters Matt Diaz, Russ Canzler, and Thomas Neal.

(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Rivera came up as an outfielder in the Yankees’ farm system, and made his short debut in pinstripes in 2001. By 2003, he earned a more permanent gig with the team, and finished his season with 185 plate appearances, and a .266/.304/.468 triple slash. After being traded for Javier Vasquez, Rivera went on to hit .275/.325/.444 over the next 9 seasons with the Expos, Angels, Blue Jays, and Dodgers.

The outfielder owns a career 115 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers, which is good for a .286/.333/.489 triple slash. Despite a sluggish bat last season, Rivera maintained a 106 wRC+ against lefties with the Dodgers, and a strong .173 ISO. Though his .245 BABIP is well below his career .279 average, his batted ball rates and results are at career norms, showing that he has more likely undergone regression than bad luck.

Rivera does a decent job of spreading the ball around the field. In 2012, 21% of his hits went to right field, 33% to center field, and 46% to left field. Although he has some the ability to go to opposite field, he has very little power to right, which means the short right field porch will be little help to Rivera.

Perhaps one benefit that Rivera offers is his low strikeout rate. Rivera does a great job of putting the bat on the ball, and over his career has just a 9.0 K% and a 6.6 BB% against left-handed pitchers. As much as Yankee fans have grown to hate strikeouts, double plays are even worse, and Rivera is no stranger to grounding out.

Aside from his short stint in Toronto, Rivera has played in pitcher friendly ballparks since 2005, and owns a career home/away split. The Yankees are hoping that using his platoon advantage and moving him to some of the more hitter friendly ballparks in the AL East will help his production.On a cheap minor league deal, the Yankees have obtained another low-risk/high-reward outfielder.

About Michael Eder

Mike is the co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money. Outside of blogging baseball, Mike is also a musician, a runner, and a beer lover.

One thought on “What Juan Rivera Brings To The Yankees

  1. Will there ever be an article written on this site that does not mention the “short right field porch”?

    Usually, any lefty that is involved in a Yankee rumor gets the tag…”and his swing is tailor made for the short right field porch”…now even righties are are being included.

    Reminds me of the writing about A-Rod when he had failed in the playoffs and no writer on Earth could type a sentence about him without mentioning his 7 for 52 in the playoff w one RBI since 2007.

    A-Rod, who was 7 for 52 in the playoff w one RBI since 2007, reports to spring training.

    A-Rod, who was 7 for 52 in the playoff w one RBI since 2007, talked to a model and they ate ice cream.

    A-Rod, who was 7 for 52 in the playoff w one RBI since 2007, had salad for dinner.

    A-Rod, who was 7 for 52 in the playoff w one RBI since 2007, bought a new car.

    Get rid of the short porch already…move it back 25 feet and then we don’t need everyone talking about tailor made swings that turn out to be Ks or pop outs 200 feet straight up in the air.
    Short porch turned Tex into a .250 hitter from a .300 hitter. Fuck the short porch.