The New York Yankees could use an infusion of grit. While the snarling bat of Oklahoma State's Roc Riggio may be several years away, New York's front office took an old-school first step towards potentially renewing their swagger by selecting the second baseman in the fourth round this week.
Roc is, as far as we can tell, his actual name. But, perhaps just as importantly, he's been described as an "instigator" in post-draft coverage, as well as someone who "can put a thump in the ball" and "bring the juice" (by his peer Stephen Schoch, specifically).
In other words, Riggio carries himself like a man named "Roc" is supposed to. His sarcastically speedy home run trot against Arkansas was the stuff of legends. He's bat-first, sure, but with the attitude to dominate in all phases of the game.
A player won't succeed in the modern game unless he's analytically driven, consulting all available data to make sure he attacks as thoroughly as possible. Riggio surely knows that. But his old-school attitude intent on rubbing it in and humiliating his opponent is welcome in this clubhouse, too. That process of bringing the heat began in earnest when the Yankees selected him on Monday afternoon.
Yankees' fourth-round pick Roc Riggio could be fun MLB Draft steal
How many future Dustin Pedroias can one franchise have? The Yankees, luckily, are going to get the chance to find out after selecting Riggio.
Yankees first-rounder George Lombard Jr. is an ultra-athletic shortstop who may someday switch positions (as many high school shortstops do), and will certainly command an above-slot bonus to sway him away from his collegiate commitment. Bat-intensive collegiate players like Riggio who operate mostly on aggression and vibes can come a little bit cheaper, allowing the Yankees to pool that money elsewhere.
But Riggios also don't grow on trees. This isn't your average collegiate scrapper. He played in the collegiate wood bat Cape Cod League last summer (and, to be fair, struggled, hitting .200), which is where the Yankees tend to look for their draft-eligible college players. He's got pedigree and panache. He's a long way off, but he could be a rock. He's already a Roc. Pick approved.