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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 21: Laz Rivera

After burning through A-ball in 2018, our top shortstop has hit a wall in Birmingham

Early returns: Are not so good for Rivera in Double-A, where he’s lost all power and still struggles defensively.
Kim Contreras/South Side Sox

Laz Rivera
185 pounds
Bats: Right
Age: 24
2018 Top Prospect Rank: 37
SSS rank among all shortstops in the system: 1

Rivera played for three different schools in his four-year college career: the University of Miami, Chipola JC (2015), and the Division II University of Tampa (2016-17). One thing is clear: The Miami resident excelled wherever he played. During that time, Rivera combined to slash .386/.442/.546 with 15 homers, 124 RBIs, 25 stolen bases, 40 walks (5.63%) and 66 strikeouts (9.28%) in 624 at-bats. After a typically successful season as a senior, Rivera wasn’t picked until the 28th round of the 2017 draft.

His first assignment with the White Sox, upon receiving his $1,000 signing bonus, was with the AZL White Sox, and he didn’t disappoint. In 47 games (186 at-bats), Rivera slashed .296/.374/.446 with 12 doubles, five triples, two homers, 24 RBIs, eight walks (3.76%) and 26 strikeouts (12.21%). Of course, his 2017 success was taken with a grain of salt because Rivera was more than two years older than league average.

Rivera emerged as a true prospect in 2018 with Kannapolis, after slashing .346/.395/.502 in 237 at-bats with 15 doubles, two triples, six homers, 24 RBIs, seven stolen bases, six walks (2.26%) and 48 strikeouts (18.11%). After earning a promotion to Winston-Salem on July 21, Rivera held his own in 225 at-bats by slashing .280/325/.458 with 15 doubles, two triples, seven homers, 37 RBIs, 10 homers, seven walks (2.81%) and 44 strikeouts (17.67%). Thus, though his average dipped a bit in Winston-Salem, Rivera improved his power while marginally improving his walks and whiffs.

Rivera is an average defensive shortstop who committed 19 errors in 2018, but he remains there this season, having moved up to Birmingham. Through his first 41 games with the Barons, Rivera is getting eaten alive, with his OPS tumbling more than 300 points from last year at Winston-Salem. Rivera is slashing .227/.280/.280, with eight errors in 158 chances.

Take a look!

Thanks to 2080 Baseball for the footage.

In place of the long list of Top 100 prospects with story links that usually resides here, just click the “South Side Sox Top 100” on our page, below the main stories, to access a list of every player so far profiled.

More information on South Side Top Prospects.