If you want to make it in New York, you better stand out. For the New York Yankees fourth-round draft pick, Roc Riggio, at least he's got the name part down in that regard. That will likely be a popular jersey in a couple years. Now, what can the Yankees' draft pick do in the field and at the plate?
New York Yankees select Roc Riggio, 2B
The Yankees picked the Oklahoma State second baseman in the fourth-round of the MLB Draft, with the 129th overall pick. Despite being chosen in the fourth round, Riggio possesses the qualities that make him a potential steal of the draft for the Yankees. A combination of talent, character, and potential sets him apart from some of the other prospects, making him an exciting addition to the New York farm system.
Riggio's journey to the draft has been nothing short of remarkable. He originally was drafted in 2021 by the Milwaukee Brewers as the 327th overall pick in the 11th round right out of high school. However, Riggio's commitment to Oklahoma State prevented him from signing with the Brew Crew, which has now made him available to the Yankees.
At the plate, Riggio exhibits an aggressive and confident approach, reminiscent of former Boston Red Sox infielder Dustin Pedroia, as he's often compared to. The 5-foot-9, 180 pounder made significant strides while in Stillwater, in managing the strike zone and making contact, displaying a quick left-handed swing and impressive power for his smaller stature. With his ability to hit 20 or more home runs in a season, Riggio can bring an offensive prowess that can energize a future Yankees' lineup. (If only they could use him now.)
His outstanding performances at Oklahoma State further underscore his offensive capabilities. This past season, Riggio emerged as the Cowboys' leading hitter, amassing an impressive 18 home runs, 75 hits, and 61 RBIs. His batting average of .335 and slugging percentage of .679 propelled him to secure first team All-Big 12 and third team All-American honors.
Even as a true freshman the year before, Riggio displayed immense potential. He recorded 62 hits and 11 home runs, finishing with a batting average of .295. His remarkable debut season earned him a spot on both the Big 12 All-Freshman team and the first team Freshman All-American roster, according to D1 Baseball.
Defensively, Riggio is an adequate second baseman, but there could be opportunities to explore him in left field if necessary.
Roc Riggio is fit to be with the Yankees
Beyond that, is Riggio's ability to work in the spotlight — which doesn't seem to bother him, according to Bryan Hoch at MLB.com. Yankee scouts are often finding themselves asking the question if potential talent can handle the bright lights of New York. All those scouts needed to do was go back to the 2022 NCAA Tournament Regional. After blasting a dinger into rightfield, then defiantly slinging his bat across to his left, by the time he got to third base, he was pulling his best version of Jack Sparrow and tip-toe strutting and raising his arms in celebration until he got to home plate.
“I like having a target on my back,” Riggio told The Oklahoman. “I like when guys go at me. I like when people talk [crap] to me. I love all that. Let me hear it. Give it to me, because I know I can handle it. It’s different for other guys who can’t handle it, but I know whatever you throw at me, I can handle.”
So, Arkansas goes to the bullpen again with 2 in and 2 on and this Oklahoma State crowd absolutely loving it
On the very next pitch Roc Riggio happened
— Patrick Ebert (@PatrickEbert44) June 5, 2022
He'll probably fit in with the Yankees nicely.
The Yankees' front office and scouting department deserves a lot of credit for recognizing Riggio's potential and seizing the opportunity to add a player of his caliber to their organization. By selecting Riggio, he's the steal of their draft because of his skills at the plate, coupled with his villain-like embracing to the game.