HT: 6-0 WT: 205 POS: OF
Frederick Keys (37 G, 123 AB, .317/.397/.504)
Despite being just 23 years old, Arturo Rivas has been in the Orioles' system for seven years. Part of the problem has been that it took him four years to get out of rookie-ball, and has yet to play above A-ball. Injuries are partly to blame, however, and Rivas was again sidelined in June of this year due to a shoulder injury.
Rivas has his share of doubters and the whispers about his makeup grew louder this year.
Rivas offers a solid all-around skillset, although he lacks any standout offensive tool. He makes good contact, projects for average power, and he can steal a base if the pitcher doesn't pay attention. He has also honed his batting eye to the point that he should be able to maintain his offensive gains up the ladder.
Rivas stands out on defense. Although he could probably handle centerfield, Kennard Jones played admirably there for the Keys in 2007 and the O's were happy to let him cover tons of ground in right field. He also has the best outfield arm in the system and opposing runners generally opt to be cautious with extra bases when they hit the ball in his direction.
Rivas might be ready for double-A Bowie, but he is going to have to prove to the Orioles that he has the desire to reach his ceiling. He has the skills necessary to make the major leagues as a fourth outfielder, but his coaches and training staff felt he took a little too long to come back from his shoulder problem. 2008 will be a big year in determining if Arturo Rivas is a future major leaguer, and few prospects control their own destiny as much as he does right now.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via e-mail at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com