Chris Rivera, currently playing with the GCL Cardinals, took time time to talk with Redbird Rants recently. Rivera was drafted in the 7th round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of El Dorado High School in Placentia, California.
Daniel Solzman: Chris, thanks for joining Redbird Rants today. How are things treating you out in Florida?
Chris Rivera: Thank you guys for having me. Florida is treating me well just trying to stay hydrated out here.
Daniel Solzman: When did you get an idea that the Cardinals were interested in drafting you?
Chris Rivera: I got an idea when my scout Mike Garciaparra told me he was really trying to work for me and get me signed as a Cardinal, and things have worked out for the better.
Daniel Solzman: How did you find out that you were going to be a 7th round selection by the Cardinals?
Chris Rivera: Mike Garciaparra had called me right before the 215th pick and told me to just listen for my name and to be excited. I heard my name and things just started to fall into place from there.
Daniel Solzman: Have you found St. Louis fans to be welcoming since being drafted?
Chris Rivera: I’ve gotten a lot of positive and exciting feed back, especially on twitter. Lots of shout outs, followers, and comments. All very positive.
Daniel Solzman: You became the first 14-year-old to earn a spot on the U.S. National Under-16 team. How did it feel to have received such an honor?
Chris Rivera: To receive such an honor like that to represent my country was a surreal experience. It’s a feeling like no other. Having USA across your chest and raising the flag and a gold medal was an experience I will never forget.
Daniel Solzman: You had signed on to play baseball for Central Arizona College and the Cards came calling in the 7th round. Can you talk us through how tough of a decision it was to choose between between college and professional baseball yet?
Chris Rivera: The decision was tough, but ultimately my dream was to be a professional baseball player. Coach Gillich over at CAC was very supportive of my decision. My parents were also very supportive, and wanted to me to follow whatever path I decided to take.
Daniel Solzman: You have experience pitching and playing short stop. Which will is going to be your primary focus at the next level?
Chris Rivera: Playing the infield is going to be my main focus, and if I happen to get moved to the mound, then I will put all my focus into pitching. But for now, infield is my main focus.
Daniel Solzman: How did El Dorado coach Matt Lucas prepare you for the next level?
Chris Rivera: My coach was amazing, and he also played some time in the minor leagues for the Astros so he had a firm grasp on what he was doing. Jeff Picou one of my other coaches also got me very ready by guiding me through school and making sure I had my head on straight during school.
Daniel Solzman: Who was your favorite player growing up?
Chris Rivera: My favorite player growing up was Derek Jeter not only because of his amazing ability to play the game, but how he also kept his name away from any trouble or anything like that. Jeter is a Class A guy.
Daniel Solzman: Thanks again for joining Redbird Rants. Any final words for the best fans in baseball?
Chris Rivera: Thank you guys for such a warm welcoming, and thank you for all the love I have received through out my first month of the GCL. Hopefully, some day soon, I hope to be a Major League Cardinal. I truly understand now why they call you the best fans in baseball. Thanks again for the time.