When Juan Rivera was acquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers it was almost an afterthought for fantasy owners. Even at this point no one is paying much attention, despite him getting regular playing time either in the outfield or at first base and being slotted into the cleanup spot.
However, since his move to Los Angeles the numbers have actually been impressive:
124 At Bats
.306 Batting Average (38 Hits)
3 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.350 On Base Percentage
.468 Slugging Percentage
.343 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Sure, you can argue that the numbers are based on a lucky BABIP, which is fair, but it’s not a number that should be enough to scare you off. He’s hitting the ball with authority (21.9% line drive rate), and if he can maintain that type of number the BABIP could continue.
Even a regression there could be offset by an increase in power, which is another realistic possibility. Since his trade to Los Angeles he has posted a HR/FB of 7.7% and for the season he is at 8.0%. Even if you want to argue that his 2006 campaign of 17.7% (which led to 23 HR) was an aberration, he’s been better than his current mark in each subsequent season:
- 2007 – 12.5%
- 2008 – 10.7%
- 2009 – 13.7%
- 2010 – 10.8%
There is reason to believe that he can improve his current rate over the final month of the season, which would just improve his stock even further. Is he going to be a fantastic option? Probably not, but there are a lot of things working in his favor.
He’s getting regular playing time. He’s hitting in the middle of the order, giving him opportunity to drive in runs. Plus, given his history, there is a good chance that he can catch fire and really produce over the final few weeks of the season. He is not far removed from a 25 HR campaign (in 2009), making him even more intriguing.
In five outfielder formats he is more than worth rolling the dice on if you are in need of help in the power department. There are not too many options out there who could provide his potential. You might as well roll the dice and hope you can catch lightning in a bottle.
What are your thoughts of Rivera? Is he a player you would consider grabbing? Why or why not?