Raul Juan Rivero
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 220 lb.
Raul Rivero has pitched in the US, Venezuela, Mexico and Italy. He has won four ERA titles in Italy and two Pitcher of the Year awards in Venezuela.
Rivero signed with the Baltimore Orioles; Arturo Sanchez was the scout. He debuted as a pro with Venoco in 2004, going 2-3 with a 3.35 ERA. In 2005, he had a 7-4, 3.12 record for the same club. He tied for second in the Venezuelan Summer League in wins (one behind Juan Escorcha), was 4th in strikeouts (66), led in complete games (4) and led in innings (89 1/3). In a third year for Venoco, he fell to 4-5, 3.78 though he did fan 72 in 78 2/3 innings. He was 6th in the VSL in whiffs (between Carlos Teller and Sergio Escalona). He came to the US with the 2007 GCL Orioles, going 2-3 with a 3.63 ERA. He allowed only eight walks in 67 innings. He led the Gulf Coast League with 77 hits allowed and was second in IP (1/3 behind Cole McCurry). He made his Venezuelan Winter League debut with the Cardenales de Lara, shutting out two innings.
Raul struggled with the 2008 Bluefield Orioles at 1-5, 5.78 with a .317 opponent average. He tied for 4th in the Appalachian League in losses, led in hits allowed (84), was third in runs allowed (49) and was second with 40 earned runs surrendered. He had a 2-0, 2.22 record for the Cardenales in the winter of 2008-2009 but lost all three decisions in the postseason. Rivero went 4-2 with a 4.06 ERA for the Delmarva Shorebirds in 2009. He had a 3-2, 2.91 record for Lara in 2009-2010. He was second in the league in ERA, behind Alberto Bastardo. He switched to the Tiburones de La Guaira for the playoffs but was 1-3 with a 9.56 ERA.
In the summer of 2010, Rivero pitched for the Frederick Keys (3-1, 3.27 in 22 G, 49 K in 44 IP) and the Bowie Baysox (1-2, 2.66 in 15 G). He was horrid for Lara in 2010-2011 (0-2, 10.57, 15 H, 5 BB in 7 2/3 IP). He spent all of 2011 with Bowie, going 4-2 with a 4.11 ERA; his 40 appearances tied Pedro Viola for the team lead. With the 2011-2012 Cardenales, he rebounded, going 1-2 with two saves and a 3.91 ERA. He was briefly with the 2012 Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz of the Mexican League, going 0-1 with 6 runs (4 earned) in 8 innings. He was 2-2 with a 4.93 ERA for Lara that winter.
The Cumana native then signed with Unipol Bologna in the Italian Baseball League. In the 2013 European Cup, he allowed one run in 7 innings in an even duel with the Amsterdam Pirates' ace Rob Cordemans. In the finale, he relieved Matteo D'Angelo with a 3-0 deficit in the third against T&A San Marino, letting an inherited runner score but gave up only two runs (one earned) in six innings as Bologna came back to win it in the 9th, 7-6. He finished the regular season 9-1 with two saves, a 1.12 ERA for Bologna and only 46 hits and 27 walks in 80 1/3 IP while fanning 105. He led the IBl in ERA (.14 over Nibaldo Acosta) and opponent average (.164, .19 ahead of Jose Sanchez). He was 5th in whiffs (between Angel Marquez and Riccardo De Santis) and wins (between Jim Magrane and Andrea Pizziconi).
In the winter of 2013-2014, Raul was 3-3 with a 3.62 ERA for Lara. He was a dominant closer in the summer of '14 for Bologna (2-0, 6 Sv, 0.68, 14 H, 6 BB, 28 K in 26 2/3 IP). He led the league in saves and was second to Enorbel Marquez in ERA. He then collapsed entirely in the first two appearances he made in the 2014 Italian Series, allowing four runs in 2/3 of an inning to blow a 5-1 lead in the 9th for Joey Williamson against Rimini in game 1; Manauris Baez relieved and lost in extra innings. In game 3, he blew a 2-1 lead for Williamson, allowing two runs in 2/3 of an inning. He turned it around in game 4 with 5 shutout frames (2 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 8 K) in relief of Salomon Marinez for the win. He then got the call in game 7 to start and turned in another gem, fanning 12 and allowing two hits and two walks in a shutout to give Bologna the title. Given his woes in game 1 and 3, he did not get the Series MVP, which went to fellow Venezuelan Guillermo Rodriguez.
Rivero was 4-2 with a 4.46 ERA for the 2014-2015 Cardenales; he tied for 6th in the Venezuelan Winter League in wins. In '15, he was again in good form for Bologna - 0.33 ERA, 5 Sv, 35 K, 4 BB in 27 2/3 IP. He won his second IBL ERA crown (.71 ahead of Filippo Crepaldi), tied Crepaldi for second in saves (one behind Victor Moreno) and tied Jhonny Montoya for 8th in opponent average (.192). He starred in the first round of the 2015 European Cup, allowing no runs in 11 1/3 IP and beating Amsterdam (4 H, 0 R in 7 2/3 IP) again. In the finals, though, he was not as dominant against another Dutch club, losing a 3-2 duel to Neptunus and Diegomar Markwell; a late error by Alessandro Vaglio decided the game. In the 2015 Italian Series, he was neither as terrible as in the first two outings of the 2014 Series or as stellar as in the last two outings, losing a 2-1 duel to Alexis Candelario in the opener and dropping game 4 to Candelario as Bologna was surprisingly swept; he had a 4.50 ERA for the Series.
He rebounded in the winter to go 7-4 with a 2.03 ERA for Lara. He was second in the Venezuelan League in ERA (.46 behind Patrick Johnson), led in wins (one ahead of Tiago Da Silva), led in strikeouts (54, 4 ahead of Austin Bibens-Dirkx) and led in innings pitched (80, 10 2/3 over Omar Bencomo). He was named Pitcher of the Year, the first winner for Lara since Edwin Hurtado 12 years prior. He avenged his 2015 European Champions Cup loss to Markwell and Neptunus in the 2016 European Champions Cup, lasting 8 innings in a 1-0 win over Markwell (6 H, 2 BB, 3 K); Nick Pugliese closed it out. He was second in the event in ERA; Frailyn Florian was at 0.00 in 9 innings.
In the 2016 Italian Baseball League, he was 5-2 with 3 saves, a 1.64 ERA and only 8 walks in 60 1/3 IP. He was 8th in ERA (between Carlos Quevedo and Candelario), 10th in innings, 8th in whiffs (60, between Eulogio De La Cruz and Ronald Uviedo), tied Angel Calero for 5th in wins and tied Rodney Rodriguez and Filippo Crepaldi for 4th in saves. He threw 7 shutout innings in the semifinals and got a win then went 2-0 with a 2.09 ERA in the 2016 Italian Series, teaming with Ryan Searle in Game 1 and Game 6 to beat Rimini. He led the Series in wins.
Rivero was 7-1 with a 2.17 ERA for Lara in 2016-2017. He was again second in the LVBP in ERA (.09 behind William Cuevas), led with 61 whiffs (3 ahead of Cuevas) and led in wins. He won his second straight LVBP Pitcher of the Year, the first hurler to do so since Omar Daal (1995-1996, 1996-1997). He joined Daal and Edwin Hurtado as the only two-time Pitcher of the Year winners. He allowed 3 runs (one earned) in 5 innings in a no-decision against the Tigres del Licey in the 2017 Caribbean Series.
He beat Robin Schel and the Amsterdam Pirates in the 2017 European Champions Cup despite an unimpressive outing (6 IP, 6 H, 5 BB, 8 K, 5 R, 5 ER). He was 5-0 with a save and a 1.23 ERA in the 2017 Italian Baseball League with only 28 hits and 10 walks while striking out 53. He won the ERA title (.24 ahead of Yuri Morellini), was second in opponent average (.179, .001 behind Crepaldi) and tied for 9th in wins. He was 1-0 with a 2.39 ERA in the semifinals but Bologna failed to make the 2017 Italian Series. In Venezuela in the winter, he was again very good (7-2, 3.07) if not as dominant. He was 5th in ERA (between Daryl Thompson and Logan Darnell) and tied Nestor Molina and Jorge Martínez for the most wins. Guillermo Moscoso ended his Pitcher of the Year run.
Raúl allowed two runs in six in a loss to another Raul R., Raul Ruiz, of Rimini in the 2018 European Champions Cup. It was his only loss of the summer, though. He had a 9-0, 2.13 record in the 2018 Serie A1, fanning 81 in 55 innings while only walking nine. He was 9th in ERA (between Quevedo and Marcos Frias), 1st in wins (one ahead of Martínez, Erly Casanova and Frias) and 8th in strikeouts (between Vladimir Baños and Yohan Pino). He pitched seven innings in the semifinals, allowing only two hits and one unearned run but had a no-decision. When Bologna won the 2018 Italian Series, he beat Bologna in Game 2, fanning 10 in 6 innings. In Game 4, he blew a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the 9th but Bologna rallied to take the Series. He was second in the Series in strikeouts, two behind Martínez.
Rivero fell to 2-6, 6.65 for Lara in 2018-2019, a far cry from his prior three seasons. After two Pitcher of the Year honors and leading the league in wins the third year, he tied for the loss lead with Jonathan Albaladejo, Henderson Alvarez and Anthony Lerew. He allowed five hits and two runs in 2 2/3 IP in the 2019 Caribbean Series, losing to Las Tunas. He was better against Amsterdam in the 2019 European Champions Cup than the prior year but this time did not get the win, losing to Kevin Heijstek after allowing two solo homers (to Denzel Richardson and Sharlon Schoop) in five innings. In the title game, though, he got revenge against Amsterdam and Heijstek, fanning 14 in 7 2/3 shutout innings (4 H, 1 BB) before Alex Bassani closed out the shutout win.
The right-hander was 4-0 with a save and a 1.35 ERA for Bologna in the 2019 Serie A1 with 87 K to 7 BB in 53 1/3 IP. He easily won the ERA title (1.07 ahead of runner-up Antonio Noguera), was second in opponent average by .001 for the second time in three years (behind Alessandro Maestri), was 8th in IP, was second in whiffs (10 behind Frank Lopez) and tied for 3rd in wins. He was 0-1 with a 2.62 ERA in the semifinals but Bologna moved on to the 2019 Italian Series. In that Series, he dazzled as Bologna won both the European Cup and Italian titles in the same year for the first time. He closed out Stephen Perakslsis's 3-1 win over San Marino in the opener. In Game 3, he finished the sweep with 8 shutout innings (4 H, 12 K) before Perakslsis ended the 4-0 win. He led the event in ERA easily (Bassani also had a 0.00 ERA, but in 6 1/3 fewer IP), had the only save, tied for the most wins and led in strikeouts (4 ahead of Fernando Baez, who he beat in the finale). He won Series MVP, the 5th time in ten years a Venezuelan had won it (following Marcos Yepez, Guillermo Rodriguez and two times by Osman Marval).