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Cubs Minor Parts: Armando Rivero

Another in our continuing series on Cubs prospects.

Armando Rivero (right) with Alberto Almora at the AFL championship game in November 2013
Armando Rivero (right) with Alberto Almora at the AFL championship game in November 2013
Randy Sanders

Armando Rivero, righthanded relief pitcher, 6-4 190

Acquired as an international free agent in 2013; $3.1 million signing bonus

Probable landing spot in 2014: Triple-A Iowa

My mother used a saying often when I was growing up. "The race is not always to the swift." While you may start well, that might not be how you finish. The opposite applies as well. In what may have been one of the worst pen outings in the pipeline in 2014, Armando Rivero entered the Kane County game in the sixth inning on June 22, and didn't survive the inning. He left with an ERA of 54 (fifty-four). His WHIP was nine.

10 outings later, he had the ERA down to 5.40, and the WHIP under 1.6. I witnessed his last Midwest League outing, and he seemed to have a mid-90s fastball, and two different splitters going that night. It seemed sort of unfair. He needed only three outings to get out of the Florida State League, walking none, and sporting a WHIP under one.

At Double-A Tennessee, he had a lower ERA than either other stop. Rivero should be a major league pitcher. He will fill in as a short reliever, with a legitimate chance at a leverage-type role. Velocity shouldn't be a problem. What a good organization ought to have is about ten relievers in or near the major league level, with the manager pulling the strings on the hot guy. Rivero will be one of those options, likely by early 2015. Maybe way sooner than that, as he'll turn 26 next month.

If he gets pounded in his first outing in the big leagues, don't freak out. He will have options remaining, and bouncing back has happened before for him.

And he rebounded.