Thomas Javier Rivera
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 190 lb.
- School Troy University
- High School Herbert H. Lehman High School
- Debut August 10, 2016
Infielder T.J. Rivera began playing in the New York Mets minor league system in 2011. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2011.
A high-average hitter, Rivera batted .301/.349/.382 with 41 hits in 42 games between the Kingsport Mets and Brooklyn Cyclones in 2011, .320/.372/.444 with 165 hits in 128 games for the Savannah Sand Gnats and St. Lucie Mets in 2012 and .289/.348/.351 with 145 hits in 125 games for St. Lucie in 2013. He was a South Atlantic League Mid-Season All-Star and MiLB.com Organization All-Star in 2012, a Florida State League Mid- and Post-Season All-Star in 2013 and a Florida State League Mid-Season All-Star in 2014 after hitting .341/.383/.452 in 61 games for St. Lucie to begin the year. He finished the year at .289/.348/.351 in 125 games, then played for the Indios de Mayagüez in the Puerto Rican League after the season, hitting .308 in 9 games.
In 2014, T.J. split the season between St. Lucie and the Binghamton Mets of the AA Eastern League. He maintained an excellent batting average at both levels, .341 in the Florida State League and .358 at Binghamton to finish with a combined line of .349/.388/.446 in 115 games, with 70 runs and 75 RBIs. He returned to Mayagüez during the winter and continued to hit well, posting a batting average of .311 in 32 games. In spite of his previous season's success, he was still at Binghamton when 2015 started, but AA pitchers still had little idea of how to get him out, as he hit .341 in 56 games there. He was first promoted to the AAA Las Vegas 51s in May, but shuttled between the two teams, even though he continued to hit in the Pacific Coast League, with an average of .306 in 54 games. Once gain, his combined batting line was very good: .325/.364/.449, with 27 doubles and 7 homers, 63 runs and 48 RBIs as he spent time at second base, third base and shortstop. Back at Mayagüez that winter, he hit .302 in 25 games.
His bat was clearly ready for the major leagues by that point, but the Mets had a surfeit of infielders as the 2016 season started, and back he went to Vegas. In 97 games there, he hit .349 with 26 doubles and 11 homers; his batting average was the top in AAA, and his 80 RBIs led the team. Counting his winter league sojourns, it was the 8th straight team for which he had hit .300 or better since 2013! On August 10th, the Mets finally announced that he was getting a shot at the big leagues, taking up the roster sport previously filled by Brandon Nimmo, while Lucas Duda was moved to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the major league roster. He started at third base against the Arizona Diamondbacks that day, hitting 6th and went 1-for-5 in a 3-2, 12-inning loss. His first big league hit came in the 10th, a lead-off single off Daniel Hudson; however, Travis d'Arnaud failed in his attempt to lay down a sacrifice bunt and he ended the inning stranded on base.
He underwent Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2017 season, forcing him to miss the start of 2018 as well.
- Anthony DiComo: "Amid long rehab, Rivera aims to stay positive: Mets infielder recovering from Tommy John surgery", mlb.com, February 6, 2018.