Washington Nationals Select Mariano Rivera III in 2015 MLB Draft

Washington Nationals Select Mariano Rivera III in 2015 MLB Draft

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  • The Washington Nationals selected pitcher Mariano Rivera III, son of Mariano Rivera, in the 2015 MLB draft on June 9.

The Washington Nationals selected Mariano Rivera III, son of the legendary New York Yankees closer, as the 134th overall pick of the 2015 MLB draft on June 9.

The Washington Nationals drafted the son of Mariano Rivera on June 9.

According to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, the Nationals made Mariano Rivera III the 134th overall pick of the 2015 MLB draft on Tuesday. Just like his father, the younger Rivera begins his major league career as a starter. 

The older Rivera went 3-3 with a 5.94 ERA before he became a reliever for the New York Yankees during the 1995 MLB season. He would go on to become one of the game’s best closers, per Ladson. 

Mariano Rivera III had a 5-7 record to go along with a 2.65 ERA for the Iona Gaels during the 2015 NCAA season. He was also the 2015 MAAC Pitcher of the Year after he recorded 113 strikeouts, per Ladson. 

Rivera III averaged 11.96 strikeouts per game and 12.87 strikeouts in conference play. He limited opposing batters to a .211 average during the season and just .155 in conference play. He also recorded six complete games, falling just one game shy of Iona’s school record, per MLB.com. 

Rivera III stands 5’11” and weighs 155 pounds. His father is 6’2″ and 195 pounds, per ESPN. 

The older Rivera was at Flatiron Building in New York City when he found out the Nationals drafted his son. He told Ladson he’s proud of what his son has accomplished:

“I’m happy for him. He has worked hard. He has a dream. Everything that he has, he’s just content and asking the Lord, playing to go all the way. That’s our goal.

“(The Nationals) drafted a pretty good pitcher. He is hungry and determined and willing to do whatever it takes to get to the big leagues.”

The Yankees drafted the younger Rivera in the 29th round last year. He was unable to land a roster spot because both sides couldn’t reach an agreement, per Ladson. 

“Hey, it happened like this,” his father told MLB.com on Tuesday. “No disappointment. This is a business, that’s what it is, and you treat it like that.” 

For his part, former Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who played with and managed Rivera, Sr., told MLB.com he’s happy for both father and son:

“I’m happy for him, and I’m sure it’s a really proud moment for Big Mo. I hope the young man has a very successful career. Obviously, he comes from a great baseball background, but I’m sure it’s just a great day for the Rivera family.”

On the other hand, Nationals manager Matt Williams told The Washington Times’ Tom Schad on June 9 he knows Rivera, Sr. couldn’t be prouder of his son. He also recalls competing against the older Rivera during their playing days:

“I know there’s a proud papa, for sure. We’ll see what happens as we get through the process of signing guys and where we’re at, but we’re happy to have him.

“I remember that I was asked to lay down a sacrifice bunt against him (Rivera, Sr.), which was, uncomfortable. But I was part of two teams that actually scored a run against him. The (Cleveland) Indians in ’97 and of course the (Arizona) Diamondbacks in that World Series.

“So if we’re able to sign his son, hopefully it’s more of the same.”  

Iona baseball coach Pat Carey is proud of the way Rivera III overcame a 2-6 record with a 5.40 ERA in 2014 to land a spot on a major league team, per Ladson:

“There is some hard work that he put in. He was pitching to win this year. It really clicked this year. There is something different about him. He wanted it. He wasn’t afraid to work for it, and he is very confident in his ability.

“There is no pressure to be like his father. (The parents) just wanted him to be a good person. The father and the mother are very big on hard work.”  

Rivera III wasn’t the only son of a former major leaguer who was drafted on Tuesday. 

The ESPN update says The Boston Red Sox drafted former Missouri State Bears outfielder Tate Matheny, son of former catcher and current St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, in the fourth round of the 2015 MLB draft on June 9.

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