Rivera leads St. Lucie's offensive outburst

Mets prospect collects five RBIs for second time in five FSL games

T.J. Rivera drove in 51 runs and scored 76 in the Florida State League last year. (Mark LoMoglio/Tampa Yankees)

By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com | April 11, 2014 12:18 AM ET

In his 296 Minor League game, Mets prospect T.J. Rivera set a career high with five RBIs. Four games later, he matched it.

The 25-year-old second baseman went 4-for-6 with a double and a run scored Thursday to pace Class A Advanced St. Lucie to a 13-3 victory over Jupiter that featured a five-hit performance from Jairo Perez and the first Florida State League home run by No. 7 Mets prospect Brandon Nimmo.

"It seems like nights like tonight, every time you come up, there are runners in scoring position and there are always chances," St. Lucie manager Ryan Ellis said. "[Rivera] is the type of guy who knows the situation, and he knows what he's looking for. He's more goal-oriented than results-oriented, so he's looking to hit the ball hard."

The right-handed hitter, who plated five runs with a 3-for-4 performance that was a triple shy of the cycle on Opening Day, got St. Lucie's scoring started with a two-RBI double up the opposite-field line in the first inning.

"We jumped right on them in the first, and we just kept on attacking," Rivera said. "The swings looked really good all around. It's good to get a couple runs early and then keep adding on."

Despite his hot start to the year, Rivera, who signed with the Mets as a non-drafted free agent in 2011, entered Wednesday on an 0-for-8 skid. His first-inning double put that behind him, then he singled in another run in the second and two more in the fourth and fifth. 

"It was nice to jump back in there after a couple 0-fors," he said. "Me and [Joel] Fuentes, the hitting coach, were working on a few things in the cage earlier, so I was glad to have it work out."

Ellis, who also managed Rivera in the Florida State League in 2013 and for half of 2012, doesn't see any difference in Rivera's attitude no matter how he's hitting.

"He's an even-keeled guy," the skipper said. "You can't tell whether he went 0-for-5 or 5-for-5. Part of what makes him a special player is his makeup. Every time through the lineup, he's focused on the task at hand.

"He continues doing what he's been doing the last few years he's been in the organization. He has a solid approach at the plate, and he has a really good idea where his zone is. He's also patient enough to get fastballs in that zone."

Ellis also praised Perez for his 5-for-6 game, in which the Venezuelan-born third baseman doubled twice and scored three runs.

"He had a really good night. He got a few fastballs a little up in the zone and he was able to be aggressive early," Ellis said. "He pulled two doubles down the left-field line, and he swung early when there were good fastballs. When there weren't, he worked himself into fastball counts."

Nimmo went yard and scored three times and he now sports a .516 on-base percentage.

"He looks very good. He's another guy, you look at his walks-to-strikeout ratio this early in the season, and you can tell he's already very comfortable at the plate," Ellis said. "He's been able to make some adjustments at the new level, and it's good to see a young player look so comfortable so early in the season."

Gabriel Ynoa, the Mets' No. 16 prospect, gave up a run on four hits and two walks while striking out five over six innings to earn the win. He's 2-0 with a 2.38 ERA. 

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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