I was recently privileged enough to exchange in a question and answer session with Kansas City Royals 10th round pick Alexis Rivera. Alexis is a 6'2" 225 lb left-handed corner outfielder. And it's not a typo when I say that Alexis doesn't turn 18 until June 17.
Hailing from Montverde Academy in Florida, Rivera was a Florida Intentional commit before signing with the Royals soon after the draft. Known for a strong bat, Perfect Game offers this scouting report on the young slugger-
Alexis Rivera is a 2012 OF/1B with a 6-2 220 lb. frame from Kissimmee, FL who attends Montverde Academy. Big, strong muscular build. Ran a 6.88 sixty. Shows raw arm strength in outfield. Online with carry. Good reads on balls in games. Power left-handed bat the big potential. Open start, gets closed, loose extension with easy bat speed. Can handle bat and uses natural strength very well. Looks to drive and elevate. Consistent hard contact to all fields, very big power to pull side. In games showed ability to recognize pitches and adjust to spin and location. One of best power bats in country.
They graded Rivera at a 10 in both January and May showcase events. According to the ranking system, 10 carries the potential of being a very high draft choice, or elite level college player. So the fact that Rivera was still around in the 10th round and Kansas City was able to sign him so quickly sounds like quite the accomplishment for the organization.
So let's learn a little more about Alexis Rivera from the man himself-
1) What were you doing when you found out the Royals had drafted you?
I was at home with my family and friends.
2) Did you have a favorite team growing up? Who are some players (past or present) you look up to? Which major leaguer do you think you most resemble on the field?
3) Your high school coach Tim Layden raves about your work ethic and the respect you have for your teammates, coaches, and teachers. So much, he even named you a team captain this season. What does that mean to you, and how did you pick up those qualities?
It means a lot because I have a lot of respect for Coach Tim. I look up to him. I think I picked up these qualities from my parents. They always said the harder you work the easier things get and they've always pushed me to work hard in anything I do.
4) You went to the same high school as Francisco Lindor, so obviously Coach Layden has coached other players that have been drafted. Did he give you any advice before the draft?
Yes, he was getting me ready during the season. He told me just keep working hard and never take a day off because you never know who's watching.
5) You are known for your power bat, but when you were in Iowa in May you looked in better shape and ran the quickest 60 you had in nearly a year. Did you make any changes to your training recent months?
Yes, I actually starting working more legs and agility training. I started running more long distance and went on a diet and lost 10 pounds.
6) if you had to be your own critic, what area of your game do you need to work on most?
Definitely my arm strength. I've been putting extra time in on my arm. So it's gotten a long strong, but could improve more.
7) Is the plan to go to Arizona for the rest of the summer?
Yes, that I know of.
8) You've traveled a lot and played against athletes from other parts of the country in Perfect Game and Power Showcases. What did you learn most from these experiences?
Never settle. There is always going to be someone who throws harder or runs faster, or has more power. So you can never settle yourself, always try to push yourself that much harder.
9) What is one thing most people wouldn't realize about you?
10) You are stuck on a long minor league road trip, what cd are you listening to?
I listen to most every genre of music, but if I had to pick a CD, it would be "El Torito".
As you can see, it appears that Rivera is a laid back person, but very focused when it comes to reaching his potential on the baseball diamond. After a summer of working out with the coaches in Arizona, he will certainly be a fun player to follow on the path to Kauffman Stadium. I honestly can't think of many recent draft picks besides Eric Hosmer that had the physical size of Rivera coming out of high school. Hosmer was listed at 6'4" 215 lbs as a senior at American Heritage High School, also in Florida.
Best of luck to Alexis as the next step in his life is just beginning. I think he'll quickly realize the support Kansas City fans have not only for their major league team, but for all the players coming up in the organization as well. Welcome aboard!