Leonardo Rivas, Utility
HT : 5'10
WT : 150
DOB : October 20, 1997 (18), in Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela
Throws : Right
Bats : Switch
School : N/A
Acquired : Signed by Carlos Ramirez/Lebi Ochoa as International Free Agent, July 11, 2014
Last Year's Ranking : Unranked
Leonardo Rivas jumped on the scene for Los Angeles Angels' foreign prospects, but there's still a high load of work to be done to turn him into an established professional ball player. The numbers rarely lie though, and Rivas posted some stellar numbers in his first season as a professional.
Rivas is an intriguing piece, because he has great patience, and is not afraid from pitches inside. He stands close to the plate, and can bring his hands in to make contact.
As comes with the territory, Rivas has a very raw swing. There's some line drive qualities to his swing, with a nice amount of bat speed, but power is limited due to his size and muscle. Power will come as he matures into his body.
Defensively, Rivas is still learning to make the correct decisions. He'll need to gain arm strength if he'd like to play on the left side of the infield, and may be a liability in the outfield. Despite his arm, Rivas has a quick first step, and is learning to read the ball off the bat. There's much needed development, with some upside as a corner outfielder and second baseman.
Rivas has nice speed. He doesn't have a lot to carry, and uses his quick feet both on defense and on the base paths. With his frame, he has the ability to take small motions with his legs, which creates good agility.
Not much more is known about Rivas because few saw him play, but we have seen and know of Rivas shows a desirable leadoff piece for the lower minors.
Rivas has only one season as a professional under his belt, but made good use of the start and end of the season. Rivas finished 2015 with a .258/.401/.376 slash with eight doubles, seven triples and 21 stolen bases. In the first nine games, Rivas went 12-for-27 (.407 batting average) with seven walks (.579 on-base percentage) and four extra-base hits (.630 slugging percentage). In his final eight games of the season, Rivas went 16-for-41 (.390 BA), reaching base in 21 of 48 plate appearances (.447 OBP), and five extra-base hits (.561 SLG).
Rivas has only played one professional season, and may need another with the Dominican affiliate for more extensive development against lower tier talent. There's a chance, if he impresses in Spring Training, that he'll head towards the AZL affiliate in 2016 as an 18-year-old.
Rivas has all the tools to be a leadoff bat at the lower level of the minors, but with as much needed development, full potential is yet to be seen or projected. He'll need to bulk up to compete at the upper levels of the minors, and quicken his swing to catch up with the high end pitchers.
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Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.