The Staten Island Yankees’ bullpen has been a bright spot in their early season success, they’ve done well, protecting leads or keeping their team in the game. One of the big names in that bullpen is Eduardo Rivera who has been outstanding all season striking out 24 batters in 12 games and posting a 1.72 ERA.
“They’ve been the back bone of our team the whole year since the beginning those guys have gone out there and competed all year,” said Manager Julio Mosquera.
Eduardo (or Eddie) is from the Dominican Republic and has spent a long time in the Yankees minor league system, signing with their Dominican Summer League team at the age of 17. Most of us at the age of 17 were worried about our senior year in high school and who we would take to the prom. Eduardo had to worry about pitching every fifth day and how he could improve.
If you look at the stat line of a young Eduardo Rivera you would think he would not have made it this far in his career. His first three years in the Yankees minor league system were spent as a starter, where he would go 1-16 with a 6.10 ERA and 133 strikeouts.
In 2015 the Yankees decided to move Eduardo up to the Appalachian League and also decided to move him into the bullpen. In 15 games with the Pulaski Yankees Rivera would go 2-0 with a 3.06 ERA striking out 46 batters.
After splitting some time last year between Staten Island, Tampa, and Charleston South Carolina. Rivera is in his second stint with the Baby Bombers and has moved into the role of a late inning bullpen guy, someone they can rely on to keep a lead intact and already has 4 saves on the season.
“Back in the day I was just coming in to throw the ball but now that I have been able to work with different pitching coaches and have more experience, I’ve learned how to pitch,” said Eddie Rivera.
The work he has put in has clearly paid off and it shows every time he takes the mound including last night’s game. Rivera was brought in to pitch in the bottom of the 9th and 10th with the scored tied at 2. He went on to get his second win of the season, recording 5 strikeouts many of which came from his devastating curveball.
“Right now I just have the fastball and the curveball, so if I get ahead with two strikes in the count I’m going to come with the curveball for the kill,” said Rivera.
It’s a strategy that has kept hitters off balance all season. He loves to pepper you with fastballs reaching high 90’s and some times in the 100’s and then fool you with a 75-mile per hour curve with so much movement.
Eddie was fortunate enough to play his early years at home in the Dominican Republic something many players are not fortunate enough to do. But in order for him to move forward, he had to come over and show off his talents here in the United States.
“Everybody misses their home but this is our job and I am going to be here until I’ve done my job for me and my family,” said Rivera.
Each year Eddie has made a step in the right direction moving up in the ranks and that will not change anytime soon. He has truly dominating stuff and he continues to work on different things with every pitching coach to continue to get better. He knows the feeling of being called up and I am sure it is something he will experience more often.
“It feels good because you are moving up regardless of where you go you’re moving up and that is always fun.”
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