Yankees are seeing encouraging results from Hudson Valley infielder

NCAA Baseball: Kansas State at Oklahoma State
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Last year the Yankees used their fourth-round pick on infielder Roc Riggio, a left-handed bat with a smaller frame but some serious game power. He has what most would refer to as a swing made for the Bronx, generating plenty of contact in the air while also pulling it for added power, as at Oklahoma State he was known for demolishing baseballs over the right field fence. Now in his first full season with the organization, we’re seeing Riggio get his first taste of action at High-A, a level far beyond what the NCAA has to offer competitively.

After struggling to hit for much power last year, we’re seeing the 21-year-old infielder have a strong start to his season, meshing a plethora of enticing skills that could result in him rising up the organization quickly.

Roc Riggio Could Become a Must-Watch Name in the Yankees Farm System

Syndication: Ventura County Star

There’s one thing that’s remained consistent about Roc Riggio’s game through his professional career, and that’s an incredible ability to lay off pitches out of the zone. He’s run a walk rate of at least 19% at every level he’s played at thus far, and this season he’s got more walks (16) than strikeouts (12). This isn’t a product of a soft-swinging infielder looking to just put a ball in play, as Riggio has just a 28.8% groundball rate with a 53.3% flyball rate, and in recent games, we’re starting to see the elevated contact turn into game power.

Over his last eight games, Riggio has picked up four of his seven total XBHs including both of his home runs and a triple with a 142 wRC+, raising that mark on the season to 125. The Yankees have consistently done a great job of improving plate discipline at the Minor League level, and now that he’s finding his power stroke, he could be a nice combination of left-handed power and patience at the plate at a position where the organization doesn’t have many upper-level options right now.

MLB: Miami Marlins at New York Yankees
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Even before Gleyber Torres’ struggles this season, there was always a sense that the Yankees would move on from him after the 2024 season. An impending free agent, he’s looking less and less likely to remain in pinstripes, and that creates an opening for infielders in the organization to step up. Riggio won’t make his MLB debut this season and I highly doubt it will happen early next season, but I do believe he has the profile of a hitter who could rise through the organization quickly thanks to his plate discipline.

Furthermore, there’s a confidence that Roc Riggio performs with that has me adamant that the makeup is as good as the on-field talent. When I went to Hudson Valley for Media Day, what immediately stood out about the players we interviewed was the poise and confidence Riggio carried. Knowing his reputation at Oklahoma State as a player who electrified the crowd after home runs, you knew there was some level of confidence and self-belief, but his mannerisms and word choices double down on my initial impression of the presence he brings.

When I asked him about how his confidence on the field affects his play, he had this to say:

“It gives me a leg up on some other players out there, knowing that a lot of what I do, my story is already written, whatever I’m supposed to do is meant to happen, whatever I do that day is set to happen…just playing fun I love playing free, I love playing, so give it all I got and not take it for granted.”

– Roc Riggio

We’ve seen how Juan Soto has brought a level of confidence and spark to this lineup by showing some flare on the baseball diamond, and there are some of those very same characteristics here with Riggio. Arguably his most iconic moment in college was a Jack Sparrow run he did around the bases after a blast to right field against Arkansas:

READ MORE: Yankees’ High-A Hudson Valley Renegades are gearing up for a big 2024 season

I also asked him about this specific moment at Media Day, and he gave an interesting response about entertainment and authenticity on the baseball diamond.

“At the end of the day, this game is entertainment for viewers, if we’re not entertaining the viewers we’re not getting paid…people wanna see authenticity…I don’t try to be anything I’m not, I am who I am, I’m the same person on the field that I am at home.”

– Roc Riggio

Roc Riggio has a future in this organization as a middle infielder, most likely sticking at second base even though he has some experience at shortstop at both the collegiate and professional levels. The bat comes with the exact kind of swing you want for a ballpark like Yankee Stadium, and players who have a great feel for the strike zone with good contact rates often find themselves flying up an organization, and his left-handed swing could give him a leg-up over some other names in the organization.

On-field talent and production are ultimately the most important aspects of a prospect’s profile, but the look into his confidence and makeup does have me excited about what his future holds. There are a lot of walks, flyballs, and swagger in his game, and that can translate beautifully to the Major Leagues if he can continue his upward trajectory with the Yankees.

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