The Cleveland Indians selected Florida catcher Mike Rivera with the 192nd overall pick in the sixth round of the 2017 MLB Draft on Tuesday.
Rivera, a junior, is the third Gators player selected in the draft, following Alex Faedo (No. 18, Detroit Tigers) and shortstop Dalton Guthrie (No. 173, Philadelphia Phillies). His slot value is approximately $228,000 according to MLB.com.
Rivera is a defensive-minded catcher who has excelled behind the plate at Florida for three years. He carries a bulldog mentality while on the field, working aggressively as a catcher while also knowing how to handle each of Florida’s pitchers when they are going through rough patches on the mound. Coach Kevin O’Sullivan has referred to Rivera as the team’s “heart and soul.” He has the potential to be an everyday catcher in the big leagues.
Rivera also has potential to make an impact as a hitter. He has 14 career home runs and belted out 9 as a sophomore in 2016, the second-most for Florida that season.
Rivera started all but 7 games in his first two seasons while alternating between catcher and designated hitter with Schwarz.
He missed the final six weeks of the regular season in 2017 while rehabbing a broken hamate bone in his right hand but showcased his usual toughness after returning to the lineup. Despite missing 22 games and dealing with the daily rehab of his right hand, Rivera is still batting .241 this season with 24 RBI. Nine of his 32 hits have been extra-base hits (6 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs). He has just one error in the field.