3rd Round Pick: Josh Rivera SS (University of Florida)
Rivera definitely saved his best performance for his final college season. He never hit above .300 in a season prior to his senior year. He never had an OBP over .400 and he never had a slugging percentage over .440.
In his senior year, he hit .348/.447/.617 playing shortstop for the team that came within a game of a National Championship while walking more often (46) than he struck out (35) and hitting for power (19 home runs) and stealing bases (18-for-22).
It would be ludicrous to not be worried about his age as he’ll be 23 before the end of this MLB season, but the bat is advanced and he should be able to move quickly through the system. He reminds me a bit of Jonathan India in his draft-eligible season, not just because they both played for the Gators, so to steal him as a potential under slot signing as a college senior in the third round is huge.
Here’s what Sahadev Sharma had to say about him:
"The Cubs see him as a player who finally saw it all come together. Rivera had a huge jump in exit velocities this past season, which led to a big jump in power output. He wasn’t on radars as a third-rounder coming into the season but opened eyes with strength gains that translated into on-field performance. The more the Cubs watched him, the more they liked his ability to step up in the biggest, high-leverage moments"- Sahadev Sharma
And after the draft, this is what Keith Law had to say about the pick:
"Josh Rivera was one of the best college seniors in the entire draft class, hitting the ball much harder this year than ever before while still playing plus defense at shortstop. He hit 19 homers in 2023, more than he’d hit in the previous three seasons for the Gators combined (16). He’ll be 23 in September, so time’s a-wastin’, but I am a believer and hope he gets the chance to move quickly to Double A."- Keith Law