There may not be a player in the 2021 MLB draft class with a bigger swing in opinions than Thousand Oaks (Calif.) High second baseman Roc Riggio.
No one doubts Riggio’s abilities. Riggio is an Oklahoma State commit and potential early-round pick in July’s MLB draft.
Some talent evaluators wonder what his future defensive position will be in the future, though. Some publications list Riggio as a second baseman while others classify him as an outfielder. A former scout told BPJ he likes Riggio best at catcher, a position Riggio played when he was younger.
There also are varying reports on his size. Some publications report him as 5-foot-8 and Team USA Baseball listings him as 6-foot-2. Riggio, 5-foot-9, is a strong athlete who has the skills to impact all facets of the game.
Offensively, Riggio is a left-handed hitter who has a quick, compact swing with the ability to hit for power. While he is one of the top prep players in California with a bright future, Riggio’s top trait is his makeup.
One former scout told BPJ that Riggio has “80-grade makeup,” basing his assessment on the 20-80 baseball evaluation scale.
“My sixth tool is my biggest strength…the instincts, the smarts, the preparation,” Riggio said.
Despite the draft attention, Riggio’s focus is on his high school season, acknowledging his team has a chance to be special this spring. The lineup features a fellow highly-touted draft prospect in Maxwell Muncy and Stanford baseball commit Charlie Saum, currently ranked No. 136 among high school players by Prep Baseball Report.
Riggio’s coach at Thousand Oaks is former major league shortstop Jack Wilson. Wilson first coached Riggio in travel baseball before taking the Thousand Oaks job. Wilson had to convince Riggio to play travel ball after he initially declined the invite due to a planned trip to visit his grandmother in Montana.
Riggio eventually changed his mind and attended the Team USA event instead. It allowed him to gain experience against high-caliber talent, which enhanced his skills and status as a baseball prospect.
This summer, Riggio will have to make a difficult decision between honoring his commitment at Oklahoma State or embarking on a pro career. People regularly ask Riggio why he committed to an out-of-state school, and for Riggio, the answer is simple.
Oklahoma State is located in an area that matches his personality and has a quality baseball program that will improve his skills.
“I am not a board shorts and flip flops (kind of guy),” Riggio said. “I am more of a boots and Wranglers kind of guy.”
Riggio isn’t trying to think about the future right now, however. He is living by his grandfather’s motto, “Stay the course.” He knows if he lives by that motto and puts in the required work, he will improve and find success regardless of what the future holds.