Palm Beach Cards 2009 Reliever of the Year

After a superb first professional season at Batavia, Adam Reifer continued closing the door on his opponents with 21 saves in his full season debut.

Adam Reifer established himself as a player to watch during his play with the Batavia Muckdogs in 2008. During his first crack at full season ball, he built upon that foundation, proving himself to be one of the top arms in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system.

The 23-year-old logged 21 saves, the second best total in the Florida State League. He finished only one behind league leader Jonathan Hovis of the Tampa Yankees.

Reifer made a team-high 54 appearances, striking out 50 in 48.1 innings along the way. After starting the year strong with a solid April, the wheels fell off for the University of California-Riverside product in May. He posted an ERA of 11 in 11 games, walking nine while being tagged for a .385 batting average against.

Things would definitely turn around for Reifer in the second half. In his final 28 appearances, he posted a 3.16 ERA with 22 strikeouts compared to 12 walks. He greatly improved his batting average against, holding opponents to a .219 average during that time.

Though he did suffer through an up-and-down season, Reifer was rewarded with a trip to the prestigious Arizona Fall League that starts later this month.

Honorable Mention

Thomas Eager appeared in 52 games while tying for the league lead with 10 holds. Eager did post an atrocious ERA of 5.25 due to a horrific month of July. During the month, his ERA was 13.03 in nine games.

Blake King made 39 of his 41 appearances for Palm Beach out of the pen. The right-hander tied for the team lead with nine wins while striking out 96 in 76 innings. He still continues to struggle with his command, allowing 58 free passes.

Three pitchers made solid contributions before moving on to Double-A Springfield. Samuel Freeman made 26 appearances for the Cardinals, posting a 2-1 record and a 1.64 ERA. He notched one save and was named a Florida State League Mid-Season All-Star.

Eduardo Sanchez struck out 26 batters in 25 innings while walking only five in 19 appearances. The 20-year-old finished third on the team with three saves while also being named a FSL Mid-Season All-Star. Sanchez posted an ERA of 1.44 while holding opponents to a .146 average.

Casey Mulligan continued to his ascent up the minor league ladder with 26 FSL appearances. Turning 22 today, he struck out 34 in 28 innings of work while logging five saves. Plus, he made himself into an internet sensation during a rain delay at Roger Dean Stadium.

Note: To follow our entire series of Players of the Year at each level of the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system, check back here daily. To see the roster of winners and article schedule, click here.

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