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Rivera Seizing His Opportunities
After being drafted in the fifth round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, many may have expected that Luis Rivera now be on the verge of breaking into big league ball, or at the least having success at one of the higher levels.
Rather, the 22-year old, outfielder is now with his third organization, and is still struggling to fully figure things out at Short-Season A ball. What Rivera does have going for him though is playing time, a manager who really appreciates everything he brings to the team and a spot on this year's All-Star team. And while he has struggled as of late, his hot start is in large part accountable for his nomination. Rivera jumped out of the gate, batting .400 in his first month with the team and carrying them to a 9-2 start.
"This team is a family. We look like family here," said Rivera. "I am excited and proud of myself for my work this year. I am working hard, and when you work hard good things happen."
"They have given me an opportunity, something I appreciate. The opportunity that I have now wasn't there last year and I thank the Mets for giving me a chance."
After spending three years in the Angels farm system, Luis was a low .300 hitter with good gap-power. But when he wasn't making contact, he was striking out. During those years he struck out over three times more than he walked and he struck-out in nearly a third of his at-bats.
Following the 2006 season the Angels released him, and he would not play professional ball again until 2008 when he signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. That season he was a reserve player for the Auburn Doubledays, and in limited action he struggled to hit .200, batting .182 with no homeruns and struck-out nearly four times for every walk.
Rivera's 2008 was rough, but it did not prevent the Mets from taking a chance on the former fifth-rounder. He joined a team with only two returning outfielders, and given that he perform, he was promised significant playing time on the Cyclones squad.
This season he has worked to turn his career around. After a rough year in Auburn where he struggled with nearly everything, he now leads the New York-Penn Leading Cyclones in just about every major offensive category (average, games, runs, doubles, RBI's, walks and stolen bases) as well as having the league's second highest OBP to go along with his first ever All-Star selection.
"I am so excited. The transition has not been rough at all (joining the Mets) and I am just so happy to be here."
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