BLAKE RIVERA SAN FRANCISCO #19
Blake Rivera | Rank: 19 (Preseason: 18)
Team: Status: Injured 7-DayETA: 2021Position: RHPAge: 21 DOB: 01/09/1998Bats: R Throws: RHeight: 6′ 4″ Weight: 225 lb.Drafted: 2018, 4th (106) – SF
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
Craig Kimbrel spurned the Braves as a 33rd-rounder in 2007 to return to Wallace State-Hanceville (Ala.) CC for his sophomore season, then went 30 rounds higher to the same club the following June. Rivera took a similar path, turning down the Giants as a 32nd-rounder in 2017 to return to the Lions and then becoming the second-highest pick in the program’s history when San Francisco redrafted him in the fourth round last June. Signed for a well over-slot $800,000 in the fourth round, he was tired and didn’t have his best stuff in his pro debut.
When he’s fully rested, Rivera has a legitimate out pitch in a low-80s curveball with sharp break. He’s also capable of reaching 96 mph with his fastball, though he’s most effective when he operates in the low 90s with sink. He began using his changeup more as a sophomore, showing the potential to become a solid third pitch.
Rivera has a smoother delivery when he paces himself as a starter but features more effort and some head whack when he reaches back for maximum velocity. He has the upside of a mid-rotation starter if he can get more consistent with his control and changeup. Some scouts who saw him as an amateur liked him more as a late-inning reliever who could focus on his curve and fastball, with one even comparing him to Kimbrel.