A year ago, RHP Armando Rivero was considered one of the top prospects in the Cubs’ system. He was coming off a tremendous season with Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa and preparing for his second Spring Training in big league camp.
The Cubs signed the hard-throwing Cuban right-hander in 2013. After a not-so-good stateside debut in 2013 and spending the fall in the AFL, Rivero started the 2014 season with Double-A Tennessee and was lights out. Rivero made 26 appearances, finished 23 of them and picked up 10 saves. Rivero was 2-1 with a 1.56 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 34 2/3 innings (seven runs, six earned, 18 hits, 16 walks, 54 strikeouts, 34 2/3 innings) before he was bumped up to Triple-A Iowa.
With the I-Cubs, Rivero was 3-0 in 23 games with one save, a 2.97 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. In 30 1/3 innings, Rivero allowed 10 runs on 25 hits with 12 walks and 46 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings.
Between stops in Tennessee and Iowa, Rivero was 5-1 in 49 games with 11 saves, a 2.22 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. Rivero surrendered 17 runs, 16 earned, on 43 hits with 28 walks and 100 strikeouts in 65 innings.
Armando Rivero made only one appearance in a Cactus League game last spring and was not able to get on track. Rivero told the Des Moines Register in June that he was healthy and nothing was wrong with his arm. But his velocity was noticeably down and he really struggled with his command.
In 48 games for Iowa last season, Rivero was 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Rivero allowed 26 runs, 20 earned, on 45 hits with 32 walks and 53 strikeouts in 57 innings. Many thought when the 2015 season started that Rivero would make his big league debut at some point, but his year ended in Iowa.
Armando Rivero has pitched in 18 games in Winter Ball and put up solid numbers.
Rivero made 14 appearances for Tigres de Aragua during the regular season of the Venezuelan Winter League. Rivero was 2-2 with one save, a 3.14 ERA and 0.69 WHIP. Rivero allowed five runs on eight hits with two walks and 18 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings.
Rivero returned to the mound in Venezuela on Jan. 3. Rivero was not charged with a run in the ninth inning. Rivero gave up two hits and struck out a batter. Rivero allowed an inherited runner to score and threw 18 pitches, 14 for strikes.
Rivero took the loss on Jan. 5 after allowing one run on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Rivero made 42 pitches, 30 for strikes, in 1 2/3 innings. On Jan. 9, Rivero completed a three-up, three-down inning on 13 pitches, nine for strikes. And the next day (Jan. 10), Rivero picked up his second save after completing a scoreless ninth. Rivero surrendered a hit and struck out a batter with no walks on 12 pitches, seven for strikes.
In four post-season appearances, Rivero is 0-1 with two saves, a 1.93 ERA and 1.50 WHIP (one run, six hits, one walk, four strikeouts, 4 2/3 innings).
When Rivero is right he throws his fastball in the 94-97 mph range and features a hard-slider in the mid-80s and a split-changeup. Rivero’s fastball was a couple of ticks off last season. Instead of sitting in the 95 mph range, Rivero touched 95 on occasion.
When the Cubs release the list of non-roster invitees in the next few weeks, Armando Rivero should be in big league camp for his third spring in a row. Rivero will likely begin the year back in Iowa. Rivero is another power arm and has the stuff to get outs in the majors. If he’s healthy, the soon-to-be 28-year old Rivero should give the Cubs an option in Iowa in case one of the relievers ahead of him on the depth chart stumbles early in the season.
- Photo credit: Dylan Heuer Productions
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