The Cincinnati Reds final pick of the 2021 draft, Javi Rivera didn’t make his professional debut in 2021. Instead the right-handed pitcher had to wait until the 2022 season when he was assigned to pitch for the Daytona Tortugas to begin the season.

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Early in the season Rivera was working in a piggy back system. His first game as a pro saw him pitch 4.0 innings out of the bullpen and strike out six batters while allowing two runs. Over the next two games he didn’t allow any runs in 7.0 combined innings and struck out 10 batters.

From April 30th through the end of May he was solid, but unspectacular as he posted a 4.88 ERA in 24.0 innings with five walks and 21 strikeouts. But when June began it was like Javi Rivera flipped a switch and went on a run over the next two-and-a-half months. From the start of June through August 24th he pitched in 12 games and threw 47.2 innings with a 1.70 ERA, allowed just 25 hits, walked 13 batters, and he struck out 64.

The last two starts from that stretch came for the High-A Dayton Dragons after Rivera earned a promotion in mid-August. He struggled in two of his last three outings of the season with Dayton, giving up five runs in 3.1 innings on the 25th and then giving up four earned runs in 3.0 innings on September 6th to round out his season.

For all 2022 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Javi Rivera Scouting Report

Position: Right-handed pitcher | B/T: R/R

Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 195 lbs | Acquired: 20th Round, 2021 Draft

Born: November 27, 1999

Fastball | The pitch works in the low 90’s and topped out at 95 MPH in 2022. He has hit 97 MPH in the past.

Change Up | An average offering that works in the low 80’s.

Slider | An average offering that works in the upper 70’s to low 80’s.

Curveball | His 4th offering, a fringe-average pitch that works in the mid-70’s.

There’s not necessarily a standout pitch for Javi Rivera, but he’s got four pitches that could play at the big league level. Where he does stand out, though, is his ability to throw strikes. He walked 6.7% of the batters he faced in 2022 between his stops in Daytona and Dayton.

He was better against lefties than righties – but was good against both. He held lefties to a .162/.279/.276 slash line, while righties hit .217/.266/.348 against him. While his control does stand out overall, he did walk 17 lefties in 123 plate appearances with just eight walks in 232 plate appearances against righties. Cutting down on the walks against against lefties, where he has already kept them from showing power could be an area to keep an eye on in 2023.

Like all of the pitchers in the Reds organization making their full season debut, Cincinnati limited just how much Javi Rivera was going to throw in 2022. Rivera only pitched 5.0 innings in seven of his games and only threw over 75 pitches in a game twice – and in both of those instances he threw 76 pitches. He threw 93.0 innings during the year and it was the most he’s ever thrown before in a season. He will have to show that he can maintain his stuff deeper into games as well as over the course of a season where he’ll be asked to throw more innings.


Interesting Stat on Javi Rivera

The #6 hitter in the lineup only hit .083 against Rivera on the season.

11 Responses

  1. stock

    I like this placement. As with so many players in the Reds System 2023 will be important in his evaluation. I am very intrigued by what the Dayton SP will do this year.

    • Kerrick

      Chase Petty, Javi Rivera, Julian Aguilar, Bryce Bonnie, Steve Hajjar, Lyon Richardson, Hunter Parks, Jose Acuna and Tanner Cooper are all options. Daytons rotation should be very good.

    • DaveCT

      Agreed, 25th seems spot on for Rivera. I guess one question is how much projection he has at this time. At 6′ 1″ and 195 lbs, it seems he may not have much physical projection left. But coming close to 100 innings in his first pro season, I’m wondering if he can develop the strength to pitch into the magic zone of third time into the order without losing much of his control. Looking forward to season two for this guy.

  2. Stock

    Some interesting evaluations from Fangraph’s Reds 46 prospect rankings.

    Lyon Richardson has to top this list.

    Lyon Richardson has only 76 IP in the last 3 years because of Covid and TJ surgery. Those 76 IP yielded an ERA of 5.09 so I did not have him in my top 50. However, according to Fangraphs he pitched in the instructionals and he was throwing in the upper 90’s. I am not sure if he will start in Dayton or Chattanooga but suddenly we have another pitcher to watch.

  3. Stock

    Spencer Steer and Edwin Arroyo. Fangraphs really loves both of these players bats. They give Arroyo more credit for his power than I did. What surprised me is the lack of love for their defense. It will be interesting to see if Steer’s arm can play at 3B this year. As for Arroyo, I was surprised Fangraphs suggest a move to 2B may be in the cards.

    I would love to see Steer hit 25 HR this summer. It sounds like Arroyo may have a chance to hit 20+ HR himself.

    • DaveCT

      I’ve seen references to Arroyo’s power potential, but I’m also surprised at the take on his defense. I wonder if there is some projected deference to EDLC behind the suggestion he move off of short? Either way, stuff like this can get a life of its own whether fact or fiction.

      • BK

        Fangraph’s is the outlier on Arroyo’s defense. Baseball America ranks him as the Red’s best defensive SS in the minors. Doug rated Arroyo above average as a fielder, but noted Arroyo’s arm may not fit SS long-term. rated Arroyo tops defensively in the Red’s minor leagues, too. I don’t recall any report at the trade questioning Arroyo’s defense either.

  4. Stock

    Big year for Noelvi Marte per fangraphs. He needs to start hitting the ball with authority or he may not be in the Red’s top 10 prospects a year from now.

    Brandon Williamson walked 7.2/9 IP his last 11 starts. That is a Joe Boyle BB% with half the K’s Boyle gets every nine IP. Therefore, he dropped out of my top 25. Fangraphs points this out but still thinks he will claim a spot in the Reds rotation this summer. My guess is if he does it will be a Romano like performance.

    Mike Siani and CES are both projected as role players. I think this is fair for Siani as a #4 OF makes sense. In my mind CES has a chance to be a regular, though I don’t think as highly of him as most on here. I see his bat as matching Aquino’s but his glove not coming close to Aquino.

    • DaveCT

      One question I had about Williamson at the end of the 2022 season going into 2023 was about the status of his fastball. Early reports last year were that he was struggling to find it as well as seeing a drop-off in velocity. Later, it was reported that he had made some decent progress. But that walk rate may be saying something else, including trouble with other pitches. I’d love to see him rebound and develop into a solid no. 4 type rotation guy.

  5. Bdh

    The Reds crushed the end of the 2021 draft

    Last 5 rounds

    Owen Holt
    Dennis Boatman
    Austin Callahan
    Ryan Cardona
    Javi Rivera

  6. Optimist

    “Where he does stand out, though, is his ability to throw strikes.”

    This is his age 23 season – use that attribute for the next two years in the rotation for 100 ip and see what is there. Even if an MLB rotation role is not feasible, consider the value of that in the bullpen, especially the Reds bullpen.