Batavia Muckdogs Reliever of the Year: 2008

Closer Adam Reifer was one of the main ingredients of the Batavia Muckdogs' first-ever New York-Penn League Championship.

Adam Reifer was considered a first-round talent but fell the St. Louis Cardinals in the 11th round of the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft due to injuries limiting him to only seven innings during his last season at the University of California-Riverside. 

 

Healthy for 2008, not only did Reifer establish himself as the top reliever on the top team in his league but he also proved himself to be one of the most exciting arms in the Cardinals' minor league organization.  The Birdhouse and the Cardinals are not the only ones to take notice of the right-hander's bright future.  Baseball America recently named him not only the top relief prospect in the New York-Penn League but the top-pitching prospect.

 

The 22-year-old not only did it during the regular season but was clutch in the postseason as well.  In the championship-clinching game, he recorded a 1.2 inning save while striking out three to close it out. 

 

For the year, Reifer finished with 22 saves and a 2.97 ERA.  His save total was second-best in the New York-Penn League. He averaged 12.16 K/9 while holding his opponents to only 5.34 H/9 on the season.  In 30.1 innings, he notched 41 strikeouts using his high-nineties fastball and overpowering curve.  

 

In response to being notified that he won the award, Reifer had this to say, "Well it feels great to get this award.  Hopefully, I can continue my success from this year and receive many more awards like this one in the future."  

 

Honorable Mentions

 

Jason Buursma was a two-way star at Bucknell. In his professional debut, the sidewinder forged a superb 2.50-to-1 groundball to fly ball ratio.  The former Bison was credited with three saves while allowing only one home run in 23 innings.  

 

The 2008 Big East Pitcher of the Year, George Brown, was a member of the team's tandem-starter system.  It was Brown's work in relief that caught my eye.  In 23.2 innings in relief, he posted a 2.66 ERA, almost a run and a half better than the exact number of innings as a starter. The southpaw averaged almost a strikeout an inning while racking up three saves. 

 

A star during the postseason, Hector Cardenas made only two starts during the regular season compared to 13 relief appearances.  The southpaw posted a 2.59 ERA out of the pen compared to not allowing an earned run in his two appearances as a starter.  When pitching in relief, the 21-year-old posted a 2.79-to-1 groundball to fly ball ratio. 

 

Another unheralded late-round pick, LaCurtis Mayes, made 13 appearances for the Muckdogs after being promoted from Johnson City.  Mayes notched four wins and no defeats to go along with a 3.29 ERA.  Especially tough against right-handers, he held them to a miniscule .138 average.  In 13.2 innings, the 5-foot-11 hurler struck out 20 NY-Penn League hitters.  

 

Though he struggled in a starting role, Joshua Hester caught my eye with his work out of the bullpen.  In 21.2 innings of relief, Hester struck out 22 while walking seven.  The opposition did hit close to .300 against him but he was able to limit the damage, posting a 3.32 ERA.

 

 

Note: Master article with all 2008 Scout.com Cardinals Minor League Players of the Year and the schedule for daily announcements: link. (This link is also permanently located at the lower left of The Birdhouse home page.)

 

Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at dustin@whiteyball.net.

 

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