The Lakewood BlueClaws may have one of the best pitching staffs in the South Atlantic League, however, it’s their offense that could use a shot in the arm. The BlueClaws took a chance when they called up 3B Raul Rivas from The Gulf League. The promotion may have come as a surprise to many but scouts saw something the rest of The Gulf League missed.
Rivas can fly.
The BlueClaws have struggled offensively as they rank 12th in the league in Runs Scored, 12th in Total Bases, 13th in RBI and 12th in Stolen Bases. To say there were in need of a spark plug would be considered an understatement. This is where Rivas comes into play. What makes this story so interesting is that Rivas was never seen as THAT guy.
During his stint in the minors, Rivas, the 5-10 3B from Venezuela was seen as a safety net than anything else. After watching him in action Friday night against Greenville Drive it made perfect sense why he fits with the Claws. Batting 2nd in the order, it gives the BlueClaws basically 2 leadoff hitters at the top of the order. With Lakewood only stealing 22 bases prior to Friday night it was a must they find someone who could attack. However, seeing Rivas as that guy would’ve been deemed laughable before he put on a BlueClaws uniform.
Through his first 2 games with Lakewood, Rivas had 1 hit in 8 at bats, with 0 SB. However, Friday night he was unleashed by manager Marty Malloy as he reached safely with 2 singles and attempted to steal 2B both times up. He was caught once and executed well the second time around. During his 89 games prior, he only stole a grand total of 14 bases while being caught 15 times.
If Rivas can somehow continue to bat the way he did Friday night and attack the small ball game that Malloy wants, then his presence could put the BlueClaws in place for a championship and himself closer to the majors. Every baseball team is in search of a player that can not only get on base but turn opportunities into runs.
No one expected Rivas to be this guy for the BlueClaws.