With a .353 batting average, utility infielder T.J. Rivera has won the Pacific Coast League batting championship, edging out teammate Brandon Nimmo. Rivera is the fifth Las Vegas 51s player to win the Pacific Coast League batting championship, joining David Cooper (2011), Terry Tiffee (2008), James Loney (2006), and John Kruk (1985), but the first to win in the four years the franchise has been affiliated with the Mets.
Rivera’s season got off to a hot start and he never really stumbled. The 27-year-old hit well over .300 in each of the first three months of his season, batting .344 in 17 games in April, .373 in 30 games in May, and .321 in 15 games June. He tailed off a bit in July, batting .278 in 26 games, but recovered and hit .465 in 17 games in August and September combined.
The race between Nimmo and Rivera came down to the very last day of the season, to the very last inning of the season, to their very last at-bats. Nimmo, who came into the day hitting .354, went 1-for-5, bringing his batting average down to .353. Rivera, who came into the day hitting .350, went 3-for-5, raising his batting average to .353. In the ninth inning, Nimmo lined into a double play, lowering his average to .352. The game ended with Rivera taking dry swings in the on-deck circle, his .353 batting average the best in the league.
Not to be forgotten, Gavin Cecchini had an excellent offensive season as well. The 22-year-old middle infielder ended the season with a .325 batting average, the third-highest in the Pacific Coast League, behind teammates Rivera and Nimmo.