I recently wrote a piece wondering if history was repeating itself in the form of Dellin Betances. His progress and statistics are eerily similar to the 1996 version of Mariano Rivera.
The Yankees have taken things one step further.
With the 872nd pick of MLB’s Amateur Draft the Bombers selected Mariano “Mo” Rivera III. A junior at Iona College, the right-handed pitcher is built like his father (a lanky 5’11”) and can throw a fastball that hits the low 90’s. His out-pitch is a slider (before the cutter, that’s what his dad threw).
As New York Post’s Zach Braziller writes:
Rivera, a rising junior who wears No. 6 — not 42 like his dad — has improved each year at Iona, after playing sparingly in high school at Iona Prep while growing up in Harrison, N.Y.
He began to take baseball seriously in college and has rapidly progressed.
He’s been adamant his father’s shadow hasn’t affected his own path, nor will it.
“The fact that I’m a Yankee doesn’t change anything,” Rivera said. “I’m still my own person. I still have to develop. I still have to go on that road on my own. I have to do my own, thing, I have to work hard, get stronger.”
It’s evident that when it comes to doing things the right way, the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, and Sean Brennan of the New York Daily News quotes Iona Coach Pat Carey:
“And to his credit he’s a very hard worker, a great work ethic. He’s never acted like he comes from baseball royalty.”
Humble, and a hard worker – yeah, he’s a Rivera.
Rivera III hasn’t decided whether to sign or not, and certainly will discuss it with his dad and coach. You aren’t going to get better advice anywhere else.
“Little Mo’s” stats as the top starter for Iona last season aren’t spectacular by any means (2-6, 5.40 ERA) and he is considered a borderline prospect. Keep in mind that he’s young (19-years-old) and still developing.
It would be wrong for any of us to place the expectation of success that his dad had upon his shoulders – or for that matter upon anyone’s shoulders. As has been written before, a Mariano Rivera comes along once in a lifetime (if we’re lucky). To think that history is so quickly repeating itself is unrealistic. Then again, given what Dellin Betances has done and the pedigree that the Yankees 29th round pick brings to the table, the Yankees have given themselves the best possible chance that it will.