The New York Yankees have always liked to keep it in the family. Paul O’Neill‘s nephew Michael, for example, is currently starting in the outfield for the Charleston RiverDogs. Last season, Josh Pettitte, Andy Pettitte’s fireballing son was drafted in the 37th round by the Yanks. Saturday, the Yankees held true to form, drafting Mariano Rivera’s son 872nd overall in the 29th round.
Mariano Rivera III has been part of Iona College’s starting rotation this season. He has had a rough red-shirt sophomore campaign for the Gaels’ in the box scores, but has shown some electric stuff that has caught the attention of scouts from all over the MLB. His season was highlighted by a two-hit complete game shutout of Fairfield University. He sits at 2-6 with a 5.40 ERA and 50 K/ 26 BB over 70 innings pitched. He has hurled five complete games, however, which is five more than anyone else in the Gaels’ rotation.
Rivera III stands at 5’11” and weighs in at 155 pounds, so, much like his father, he has that tall and lanky figure. Unlike his father, Junior is a starter and has five pitches he can unload at anytime. Rivera III has a four-seam fastball, a curveball, a split change, a sinker, and a slider which scouts consider his out pitch. Hopefully, dad can teach him that infamous cutter and he can add a sixth pitch to his arsenal. “If his last name isn’t Rivera, he’s still interesting because he’s loose and he’s got a quick arm,’’ one anonymous scout told the Boston Globe. “He’s still skinny and he still has a physical projectability and a high baseball IQ.’’
Rivera III was scouted hard by both the Yankees and Red Sox. While their teams’ respective scouts were constantly in the stands, his biggest fan was The Sandman himself. Rivera would often be on hand for his sons games, for better or for worse. It wasn’t always easy for Junior to pitch when dad was on hand. “I thought I had to be Superman,’’ he told the Boston Globe. “I wanted him there, but it was a challenge I had to overcome because on the days that he was there, I got real nervous. So I had to overcome those nerves.”
Whatever nerves he had to shake, he did it well enough. Saturday, the Yankees made him their newest edition to the Yankee family. You can be assured that there will be more hype and coverage surrounding this 872nd pick in the draft than there has ever been before. Yankees fans can now hold out hope that one day, The Son of Sandman returns to the Bronx.