Prospect Armando Rivero could help anchor Cubs’ bullpen in ’15


With the starting rotation looking better and better as time goes on, there are still question marks for the Chicago Cubs regarding their bullpen.

We watched multiple rookies make their major league debuts with the big league roster in 2014, including a couple arms. Guys such as Dallas Beeler, Eric Jokisch, Kyle Hendricks, Tsuyoshi Wada and Neil Ramirez followed Jorge Soler and company into the spotlight.

Now that these men have finally got that call and made the most of the opportunity, it’s time to see which prospect other than Kris Bryant will do the same in 2015. There is enough talent in the outfield/infield as it is (for now), so it would be nice to see another one of the young arms come up and keep things under control . This is where Cuban right-hander Armando Rivero enters the picture.

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The soon-to-be 27-year-old Rivero split the 2014 campaign between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, posting a combined 2.22 ERA with 11 saves, 43 hits 17 runs, 16 earned runs and 100/28 K/BB ratio through 65 innings of work. Though he does have a tendency to lose control of his command, Rivero improved almost every category from his professional debut in 2013.

He did in fact miss a year of real game action prior to signing with the Cubs while trying to establish residency in Haiti and getting the go-ahead to sign in the United States. The deal he agree’d on was a minor league contract worth $3.1 million – so you know he has to be something special while hoping he’s not another dud.

Chicago’s hard throwing reliever played two levels of minor league ball before finding himself in Tennessee with the Smokies to end the year. That season he picked up only two saves in as many opportunities with a 4.15 ERA (30 1/3 innings) in 20 appearances.

Rivero could end up becoming a left-handed specialist for manager Joe Maddon, as he has held minor league lefties to just a .200 average in his young career. With a mid-90’s fastball that peaks at around 96 and a splitter that’s considered to be his best pitch, Rivero could find himself in a great spot working middle relief for a team that’s nearly post-season ready.

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