T.J. RIVERA, SECOND BASEMAN
Born: October 27, 1988
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 203
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Signed: Non-Drafted Free Agent, 2011 (Mets)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
College: Troy University
Agents: N/A
WTM’s PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
Rivera has had a surprising career.  He wasn’t drafted out of high school or college, signing with the Mets as an NDFA.  He seemingly was slated to be an organizational player, but just kept hitting.  He doesn’t walk much and has only modest power, but he has a remarkable track record of hitting .300 just about everywhere, including his 300+ at bats in the majors.  He finally reached the majors in 2016 at age 27, but had Tommy John surgery during the next season and hasn’t gotten much opportunity since.  He’s roughly split his time in the majors between first, second and third, with a few games in left.  His most frequent position in the minors has been second, but he’s played a lot at third and short.  He hasn’t played short, though, since 2015.  The Pirates signed him to a minor league deal in May 2021.

2011
R+:  290/353/387, 93 AB, 6 2B, 1 HR, 8 BB, 16 K, 3-4 SB
A-:  326/340/372, 43 AB, 2 2B, 2 BB, 7 K, 0-1 SB

Rivera played mostly second in his debut.  He saw time at two short-season levels and hit well.

2012
A:  333/396/487, 261 AB, 14 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 26 BB, 33 K, 4-7 SB
A+:  306/346/400, 255 AB, 15 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 14 BB, 38 K, 7-9 SB

The Mets moved Rivera up to low A and he hit very well, so they moved him to high A at mid-season and he hit over .300 again.  He spent two-thirds of his time at short and the rest at second.

2013
A+:  289/348/351, 502 AB, 23 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 34 BB, 73 K, 6-8 SB

Despite his performance the previous year, the Mets sent Rivera back to high A for the entire season.  He hit decently but not as well as the prior year.  He played mostly at second.

2014
A+:  341/383/452, 252 AB, 16 2B, 4 HR, 14 BB, 37 K, 2-3 SB
AA:  358/394/438, 201 AB, 13 2B, 1 HR, 11 BB, 27 K, 1-1 SB

The Mets sent Rivera back to high A yet again and he had a great half-season, so they finally moved him up to AA, where he kept hitting.

2015
AA:  341/380/455, 220 AB, 10 2B, 5 HR, 12 BB, 22 K, 1-2 SB
AAA:  306/345/443, 183 AB, 17 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 7 BB, 25 K

Once again, Rivera’s hitting just earned him a return trip to the same level.  He hit his way to AAA and kept hitting there.

2016
AAA:  353/393/516, 405 AB, 31 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 23 BB, 54 K, 3-6 SB
MLB:  333/345/476, 105 AB, 4 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 3 BB, 17 K

Rivera returned to AAA and had his best season.  He was no doubt helped by the hitting environment at Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League.  The Mets finally called him up in August and he continued to hit.

2017
AAA:  286/318/476, 21 AB, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 BB, 3 K
MLB:  290/330/430, 214 AB, 13 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 9 BB, 32 K, 1-1 SB

Rivera opened the season in the majors, was sent to AAA briefly and returned.  He continued to hit more or less like always, but he went out near the end of July with an elbow injury.  He ended up having Tommy John surgery.

2018
A+:  211/211/263, 19 AB, 1 2B, 3 K
AAA:  000/000/000, 3 AB, 1 K

Rivera returned in July and began a rehab in the minors, but reinjured the elbow after a few games.

2019
IND:  270/316/427, 89 AB, 2 2B, 4 HR, 7 BB, 10 K
AA:  237/293/316, 38 AB, 3 2B, 3 BB, 8 K

The Mets released Rivera during spring training.  He signed with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League in July and got into 23 games with them.  The Nationals signed him in August and he played briefly for their AA team.  He became a free agent after the season and signed with the Phillies.

2020
DNP

The pandemic struck before Rivera played for the Phillies and they released him in May.  He didn’t play anywhere in the US in 2020.  He signed to play for the Ducks again in 2021, before their season started, signed a minor league deal with the Pirates.

The Pirates signed Rivera after a series of injuries and promotions left Indianapolis short of infielders.  He has an impressive track record of hitting, but hasn’t played much since 2017.

CONTRACT INFORMATION
2018: $556,071
2017: $539,958
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2011
MLB Debut: 5/23/2011
MiLB FA Eligible: 2021
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: August 10, 2016
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2011)
MLB Service Time: 2.054
TRANSACTIONS
June 15, 2011: Signed by the New York Mets as a non-drafted free agent.
August 10, 2016: Contract purchased by the New York Mets.
March 9, 2019: Released by the New York Mets.
August 4, 2019: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Washington Nationals.
November 4, 2019: Became a free agent.
December 15, 2019: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies.
May 29, 2020: Released by the Philadelphia Phillies.
May 14, 2021: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates
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