This season’s Winter Meetings are now over, and on the final day the MLB Rule 5 Draft was held. With the fifth pick, the Atlanta Braves selected RHP Armando Rivero from the Chicago Cubs. The 28-year-old Cuban native signed a contract with the Cubs in March of 2013, though he never made it above Triple-A Iowa.
#Braves Rule 5 pick RH Armando Rivero had highest K/9 IP rate (14.0) of any minor leaguer in 65 IP or more last season.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) December 8, 2016
Atlanta Braves Select Armando Rivero
Rivero is a strike out machine. According to Fangraphs.com, Rivero tallied 105 strikeouts in just 67.2 IP in 2016. Rivero is more than just a power arm. His arsenal also includes a slider and a changeup that grade out well above average. To go along with his arm talent, Rivero does a fantastic job leaving runners on base and keeping the ball in the ball park. Rivero has an impressive line over his eight professional seasons, with a career record of 21-15 and a 3.27 ERA in 393.1 innings.
Atlanta has had a tie to Rivero for quite some time now. A member of team Venezuela, Rivero has pitched under the watch of Braves first base coach Eddie Perez in winter ball.
Braves Rule 5 selection RHP Armando Rivero pitched the past two winters for Eddie Perez in Venezuela
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) December 8, 2016
Dave O’Brien also tweeted that Perez highly recommended the hard throwing righty.
How Long will Atlanta Have Him?
Due to the Rule 5 draft rules, Rivero must stay on the Braves 25-man roster for the season. If the Braves decide to cut ties with him at some point during this season, then he must clear waivers and be offered back to the Cubs for half of the $100,000 Atlanta paid to claim him. It would seem Rivero has a good shot of staying with the club all season long. If he can replicate last season’s Triple-A performance, he can solidify himself in a late inning role in a talented Braves bullpen.
To make room for Rivero, the Braves released RHP Williams Perez. The 25-year-old Venezuelan was plagued by injuries throughout his time in Atlanta. Over 31 games started, Perez has a record of 9-9 with a 5.18 ERA.