TCN 2012 Cardinals Prospect #19: Adam Reifer

His 2011 was lost due to injury. How long will it take for the hard-throwing reliever to reload? Today's report is FREE!

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2011 and career stats)

2011 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
13 RHR 6/3/1986 6-2 195 R R 2007 11th

School: University of California - Riverside

Selected 2011 stats

MEM 0 1 1.42 5 0 0 6.1 7 1 1 1 1 1.80 0.318

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

CariocaCardinal (26): There's not much new that can be said about Adam Reifer given that he missed almost all of 2011 with a knee injury. He continues to be a hard-throwing reliever with an excellent sinker/slider (depending on who you talk to which pitch he actually throws as a secondary pitch).

Given the progress that Reifer made in 2010, it was disappointing to see his 2011 season basically wasted. I have never been a huge fan of him and my lower ranking is based on that as well as his injury. While some seem unconcerned about his injury since it was not arm related, I feel leg problems can affect pitcher's just as much or more at times and I am unclear if he will fully recover or how fast.

Reifer is on the 40-man roster so will be in major league spring training. Assuming he is 100 percent healthy, his performance there may very well determine whether he starts in the Memphis bullpen or they relieve a crowding situation in Memphis by sending Reifer to Springfield to open 2012 until he proves he has regained his sharpness.

Message board community (18): Reifer placed 18th in the community rankings, after rating 14th last year. Reifer's 2011 season was derailed by an April knee injury, but he is expected to return to full health by Opening Day 2012, when he'll likely be designated the Memphis closer.

Selected in the 11th round of the 2007 draft, Reifer is armed with a 95-97 mph fastball, and a hard slider considered major league-quality. Though his K/BB ratios have been merely good, Adam has always suppressed long balls very well (just seven in 140 professional innings), leading to solid ERAs as he progressed through the minors.

With a few more months of Triple-A seasoning, the 25-year-old should be the first bullpenner called up to the big club this year. - BobReed

Brian Walton (18): Though there is risk with any player coming back from injury, Reifer's situation with his knee seems more oriented toward the lower-risk end of the spectrum. Despite that, he dropped from 13th to 18th on my top 40 list and 13th to 19th in the consolidated rankings this year.

While I would be very surprised to see Reifer return to Double-A, there is also a fair chance he may not be closing for Memphis to start the season, even if he is pitching well out of the gate. Based on the current numbers in the St. Louis pen, with one more experienced right-hander than there are jobs, Eduardo Sanchez could find himself back in Triple-A, too. If so, my guess is Reifer would set up Sanchez. Then again, both could appear prior to the ninth given incumbent closer Victor Marte will still be on hand.

If Reifer can re-establish his momentum, which I suspect he can, we could definitely see him in St. Louis during 2012. However, if Sanchez' shoulder is ok, he should have priority. At least Reifer holds that 40-man spot and has the upside that Marte does not.

Our 2012 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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