Join Jays From the Couch as we highlight the 2019 season New Hampshire’s Chad Spanberger and Bluefield’s Eric Rivera
RF Chad Spanberger
A former Colorado Rockies 2017 6th round selection, Chad Spanberger was acquired along with teammate Forrest Wall for Seunghwan Oh in 2018. Spanberger received a lot of hype after the trade as he was batting .315 with a league-leading 22HR as 22-yr-old in the South Atlantic League (A-Ball). After the trade, he was assigned to the Lansing Lugnuts of the Midwest League where he played just 9 games before closing out the 2018 season with the Advanced-A Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League. In 22 games with the D-Jays, Spanberger batted .231 with a pair of doubles and 3 home runs.
It was a little surprising to see Chad Spanberger begin the 2019 season with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats but when you consider his age, maybe it shouldn’t be. It took a couple of months for the native of Granite City, IL., get his feet under him. He batted .195 with a .636OPS and .204BA with a .565OPS in April and May. June saw Spanberger slash .276/.356/.434 with 6 doubles, two HR, and 10RBI in 24GP. Spanberger put together a could small hit streaks in May and June, collecting hits in 12 straight games he started between May 25th and June 9th. He also had a 7-game hit streak (June 16th to 24th) and went 5-for-12 in the month’s final three games.
Unfortunately, Spanberger wasn’t able to carry June’s success into July as his batting average slumped to .191 with a .666OPS. Chad had a heck of bounceback/final month slashing .337/.396/.530 for August in 23GP. While Spanberger’s batting average, OBP, SLG, and OPS fluctuated from month to month, his production did not. He collected between 5 to 7 doubles and 2 to 4 home runs per month.
Overall, the 6-foot-3 converted 1st baseman batted .237 with .308OBP and .399SLG in a Fisher Cats leading 122 games. He collected 59 singles, 29 doubles, and 13 home runs for a .162ISO and .293BABIP. 1st Half, Spanberger played 61 games with a .214BA, 5HR, 16 doubles, 0 triples, and 27RBI. 2nd Half, Chad played 61 games with a .259BA, 13 doubles, a triple, 8HR, and 32RBI. His overall production was only slightly better than league average at .321wOBA and 108wRC+.
Chad Spanberger mostly batted 5th (35GP) and 8th (23GP) but also spent some time batting 4th and 6th (11GP each), 7th (17GP), and 9th (16GP). He was the productive batting 7th with a .317BA and a .833OPS.
The Fisher Cats RF struck out 24.4% and walked 9% with 117K and 43BB. He hit more groundballs than flyballs with 45.2GB%, 39.8FB%, and 1.14GB/FB. Spanberger’s LD% dropped from 22.6% with Lansing and 21.7% with Dunedin, down to 15.0% with the Fisher Cats.
Home: .238BA with 14 2B, 0 3B, 6HR, 29RBI, and a .701OPS
Away: .236 BA with 15 2B, 1 3B, 7HR, 30RBI, and .713OPS
Most Productive Game
Chad Spanberger had two 3-hit games, four 3RBI games, and four 6 total base games to chose from but I went with his August 22nd game. Spanberger went 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored, 5 total bases, a home run, and two walks. It was the two walks that separated this game from the rest. While Spanberger did have a 3BB game, and eight 2BB games, Chad combined power, and patience to collect 3 RBI.
Chad Spanberger won’t be Rule V eligible until after the 2020 season. He should return to New Hampshire for another go-round in 2020. The raw power is there but the ability to hit for average/consistency isn’t. He will need to hit for a higher ISO and increase his BB% if he doesn’t figure out how to add a few more points to his BA.
CF Eric Rivera
Toronto’s 14th round selection in this year’s Draft. He signed on June 16th and made his professional debut on June 18th with the Bluefield Blue Jays. He went 1-for-3 with a run scored, a double, an RBI, and a walk. Rivera had a nice rookie season showing nice extra-base power and a good eye at the plate.
The native of Pembroke Pines, FL., had an excellent month and a half to begin his career batting .314 with a double, a triple, 9BB, and 3K in 10 games in June. He followed that up with a .301BA, 2 doubles, a triple, 14BB, and 13K in 21 games in July. Rivera saw his productivity dip in August batting .256 with two doubles, two triples, 7BB, and 12K in 22GP.
Overall, Eric Rivera provided Bluefield with slightly above average production, posting .344wOBA, and 109wRC+. He posted a .067ISO with 6 doubles, 4 triples, no home runs, and 19RBI. Rivera showed good speed by going 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts. The 6-foot-0 outfielder’s production landed him atop the Blue Jays lineup providing the club with a reliable leadoff batter (43GP). As the leadoff man, Rivera batted .293 with a .382OBP and .362SLG.
Rivera walked more than he struck out, generating a 1.07BB/K with 12.1BB% and 11.3K%. He made solid contact with a 24.4LD% and put more balls in play on the ground than in the air with 44.9GB% and 30.7FB%.
He made 33 appearances in CF, committing 2 errors and registering one assist. Rivera also made 20 starts in LF with 4 outfield assists and no errors.
Home: .292BA with 4 2B, 2 3B, 0HR, 12RBI, and .744OPS
Away: .275BA with 2 2B, 2 3B, 0HR, 7RBI, and .713OPS
Most Productive Game
On July 31st, Rivera went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, 4 total bases, a double, an RBI, a stolen base, and a walk. He had four other 3-hit games and four 2RBI games.
I really don’t know what a likely 2020 landing spot for Rivera. At 21-yrs-old, his age would dictate he should be given a chance at competing for a spot in Lansing’s outfield in 2020 but with his advanced feel for the strike zone could even be a consideration for a spot in Dunedin’s outfield.
Featured image credit: R.Mueller
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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.