NEW YORK — Enter Sandman — the sequel.
Iona College right-hander Mariano Rivera III, son of the former New York Yankees closer, was drafted in the fourth round with the 134th overall pick Tuesday by the Washington Nationals.
Rivera was 5-7 with a 2.65 ERA and a school-record 113 strikeouts with 27 walks in 85 innings this season for the Gaels, while also being selected the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s pitcher of the year.
While his famous father saved a major league-record 652 games, the younger Rivera has been a solid college starter with six complete games, including three shutouts.
Rivera III was drafted in the 29th round by the Yankees last year, but opted to return for his junior season.
“Obviously, he comes from a great baseball background,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before his team faced the Nationals at Yankee Stadium. Girardi added that it’s “a big day for the young man and for ‘Big Mo.'”
While he doesn’t have the devastating cutter that made his father so dominant during a 19-year career, the younger Rivera has a fastball that hits the mid- to upper-90s consistently, along with a solid curve and slider.
He bears a striking resemblance facially to his father, although the 21-year-old Rivera takes a smaller frame to the mound at 5-foot-11 and 155 pounds; the elder Rivera was 6-foot-2, 195 pounds.
Rivera wasn’t the only player with baseball bloodlines taken early during the second day of the baseball draft. Missouri State outfielder Tate Matheny, son of St. Louis manager Mike Matheny, was drafted by the Boston Red Sox early in the fourth round.
Michigan State outfielder Cam Gibson, son of 1988 National League MVP Kirk Gibson, was drafted in the fifth round by the Detroit Tigers — the team that drafted the elder Gibson with the No. 12 overall pick in 1978.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@CBSSportsMLB