Drafted as a shortstop in the seventh round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft from a California high school, Chris Rivera slid over to second base in his initial professional action in the Gulf Coast League.
In 2014, ready to move up in competition to the Appalachian League, the 19-year-old was first asked to take a detour. Rivera and four others helped State College in its first week of New York-Penn League play before reporting to Johnson City.
With Johnson City, Rivera was asked to again make a defensive shift to cover third base, building his versatility portfolio. With the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder playing most every day, the Cardinals went on to take the rookie-league title.
The right-handed hitter batted just .232 during the regular season, scoring 25 and driving in 24 in 62 games, but draws good marks from coaches for having an advanced bat for a teenager.
In the following exclusive interview, Rivera recaps his 2014 season and considers what may be ahead.
The Cardinal Nation’s extensive series of player and coach interviews from Cardinals instructional league camp in Jupiter will continue in the upcoming days. They will include Mike Shildt, Derrick May, Malik Collymore, Rowan Wick and Jery Then.
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