Washington Nationals News: Move to ‘pen helping Mariano Rivera Jr. blossom


Good afternoon DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily. Get caught up on the latest Nats news and opinions with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.

In today’s Daily, MLB.com’s Mike Rosenbaum discusses Nationals prospect Mariano Rivera Jr.—the son of former Yankees closer and future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera. The younger Rivera, whom the Nationals drafted in the 29th round of last year’s draft, is in the Nationals’ farm sytem pitching for the Auburn Doubledays.

As Rosenbaum notes, Rivera began the season as a starter this year but has recently blossomed in a bullpen roll. The 21-year-old has notched three saves in three opportunities while posting a 1.93 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 14 innings out of the ‘pen.

According to Rosenbaum, the move to the bullpen appears to have worked out well for Rivera thus far. Of course, the 21-year-old right-hander is no stranger to late-inning relief pitching. While Rivera himself has been a starter for most of his college and professional career, he saw his dad make history with a record 652 saves at the big league level over an illustrious 19-year career.

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While it’s still unclear what roll Rivera could play in the Nationals’ organization in the future, there are reasons to be optimistic about the prospect. If he continues to excel as a reliever, he could develop over time into a big league closer like his father. If not, he could see success as a starter. It’s too soon to know anything right now, but it’ll be interesting to see how Rivera continues to develop over the next few years.

Also in today’s Daily, MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby discusses how Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is finally living up to the monumental expectations that have been on his shoulders since he was a teenager, and how the MVP-candidate is setting his sights even higher.

Be sure to check out both articles below, they’re definitely worth a read. And as always, stay tuned to DoD for all your Washington Nationals needs.

Move to ‘pen helping Rivera blossom

(Mike Rosenbaum, MLB.com)

Players with baseball pedigrees are drafted each year. It usually occurs in the later rounds, when teams can comfortably pay homage to former players without sacrificing a potentially valuable pick.

So when the Yankees selected Mariano Rivera’s son, Mariano Rivera (who goes by the name Rivera Jr.), in the 29th round of the 2014 Draft, it was fair to assume the franchise was merely honoring its legendary closer, who had retired following the ’13 season.

Rivera, however, chose to return to Iona College rather than sign with the Yankees, a decision which laid the groundwork for his breakout junior campaign and led to his selection by the Nationals in the fourth round of the 2015 Draft. Read full article here.

Harper, living up to hype, sets sights even higher

(Tracy Ringolsby, MLB.com)

DENVER — At the age of 16, Bryce Harper adorned the cover of Sports Illustrated. He was labeled “Baseball’s Chosen One,” and an accompanying article proclaimed him the sports world’s most exciting prodigy since LeBron James went from high school to the NBA.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was impressed.

“I thought being on the cover at 20 was pressure,” Hurdle said back in June 2009. “But 16?”

Hurdle was talking from firsthand experience. He was the cover boy of Sports Illustrated’s baseball preview in March 1978, the magazine declaring the 20-year-old Royals prospect to be “This Year’s Phenom.” Read full article here.

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