(Photo: Brad Glazier)
Delaware Sports Blitz had the pleasure to talk to a couple of players on the Wilmington Blue Rocks before the Saturday game on August 24th when they took on the Down East Wood Ducks ( they won 8-4).
The first Rocks player we talked to was catcher Sebastian Rivero.
According to Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star, Rivero was named the best defensive prospect in the Royals farm system by Baseball America. Worthy also reports that Rivero was ranked 28th among the Royals top prospects by MLB.com.
Rivero offensive stats with the Blue Rocks this season was a .212 batting average, .270 on-base percentage, 23 runs,61 hits, 14 doubles,24 RBIs and 19 walks.
The Rocks catcher fielding stats for the 2019 season were 562 putouts,46 assists, 12 errors, four double plays, nine passed balls, 29 stolen bases and 20 caught stealing.
Before he came to Wilmington, Rivero helped guide the Lexington Legends to a championship in 2018.
Rivero was also named to the all-star team during his time at the Legends.
The Venezuela native talks everything from how the dominant pitching of Rocks is due to good communication and the moment when Rivero found out he was getting drafted by the Royals.
Check it out below!
How did you start playing baseball?
I started playing baseball when I was a kid. In my hometown, ( Rivero is from Maracay, Venezuela) I went to a little field close to my house. I loved to play baseball since that day.
How did you start playing the particular position you play?
The story is pretty funny, I guess. No one on the team wanted to be the catcher and I was like ” Let’s be a catcher because it doesn’t matter so.” Since that day I was a catcher.
What is the best part of being a catcher?
Calling a good game and doing the line after the game where we shake hands. Also, it is one of the toughest positions to field because we get hit every game, which is pretty hard.
What do you feel is your greatest strength?
Calling the game, locating the pitch and my defense is pretty good.
What do you feel you are weakest at and how do you work on to improve it?
I rush calls sometimes.
The pitching has been really dominant here this year. The Rocks have had 14 shutouts ( now 15) and a no-hitter, for the most part the pitching has carried this team. As a catcher, I would think it is the chemistry with the pitcher knowing their strengths and weakness and knowing some of the tendencies of the opposing hitters. How does it gel where the pitching just becomes a machine?
I think we have good communication and on the same page every day. We talk a lot between the pitchers and catchers, we have a meeting about it. I know most of the guys from last year at Lexington ( Low A affiliate for the Kansas City Royals), which we know how they are pitching and how they like to pitch. Also, we know some hitters from the last season. All that together makes it work.
When a pitcher is struggling, what do you do to help them out?
When a pitcher is struggling or two walks in a row, I will go to the mound and talk to them. I just say ” Hey let’s figure this out. Let’s put the ball in play and let your defense play behind you. Your the best, just make your pitches.”
Describe some of the highlights of your athletic career.
One of my highlights would be being an all-star last year in Lexington in the South Atlantic League. Also, winning the championship last year in Lexington as well.
What was the feeling like when you got the call you were being drafted?
That was a really fun day. They ( The Kansas City Royals) called my father and he told me ” Hey, you were signed by the Royals.” I was super happy and I couldn’t stop crying because I worked so hard for this.
The Royals have Salvador Perez who is one of the best catchers in the MLB. Does that motivate you to work harder to see a guy like that or do you just model your game after yourself?
I try to just be myself and just want to be the best where I am right now. I was talking with Salvador this spring and he said: “We all want his job” which is true. We are working for the same thing, we are playing for the Royals but also for the other 30 teams in the league.
How has your experience been in the state of Delaware?
At the beginning of the season, it was cold and then it got really hot. These days it is cooler than the other ones. It’s been really good. I spend most of my time at my house but if I have any chance I will go to the Christiana Mall.
How do you stay motivated during the highs and lows of a season?
My big motivation is my family and my wife. All the support they give me every day. I have been through a lot of ups and downs this season and I talk with them where they say ” Your the best, go ahead and have fun with the game.”
What is the biggest adjustment you had to make when you entered in the minor leagues?
I think every level is different and we just have to make that adjustment. This is a game where we have to adjust to everything.
What has a former or current coach taught you, that you still use today on or off the playing field?
” Don’t try to be another player, be yourself.” That is what one of my catching coordinators told me.
How do you want to be remembered by your coaches or teammates?
I just want to be the guy that worked hard every day for the team. The guy who loves his teammates, loved his coaches, loved the game and played with a passion.