School: University of California - Riverside
Selected 2009 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Dustin Mattison (12): In his first go at full-season ball, Reifer had his ups and downs but still represents one of the top power arms in the system. Though his ERA might have been 4.47, I don't think this really tells the whole story.
His FIP was 3.53, nearly a run less than his ERA. Also, he was tagged with a BABIP of .362, leading me to believe that Reifer was the victim of some bad luck. But his 4.47 BB/9 was of his own doing and he must work on his control to take advantage of his high 90's fastball.
The Cardinals sent the 23-year-old to the Arizona Fall League to see how he would respond against advanced competition. Unfortunately, he struggled with his command and limped home with an ERA just short of eight.
He should start 2010 at Double-A Springfield and this could be a make or break year for the former 11th round pick. If he continues to struggle with his control/command, the Texas League could be a tremendous challenge. But, if he is able to make strides with his control, it would not be unfathomable to find him in the big leagues by year's end. His arm is that good.
Message board community (37): By most accounts, Reifer had a terrible season in 2009. He went from a player that gave up two hits every three innings to a pitcher that gave up more than one hit an inning. His walk rate was down slightly but not significantly. The combination of the two led to a very pedestrian 1.55 WHIP. He also had a K rate that went down by about 30%. How then did he manage to rise two spots in The Cardinal Nation rankings and thee spots in the community ranking? Probably due to a combination of a less talented system, a drastically-reduced HR rate and flashes of dominance.
Reifer's reduced home run rate (down 33%) is in itself enigmatic. He accomplished this despite the fact his groundball rate went from 56% in 2008 to 43% in 2009. The summation of all this was actually a FIP reduction for Reifer from 3.61 in 2008 to 3.50 in 2009. What needs to be remembered is that he still has just 78 2/3 professional innings in three years.
Reifer was chosen by the Cards to participate in the Arizona Fall League. While this speaks to his potential, his performance there did little to enhance his status. Reifer most likely will start at Double-A Springfield in 2010. If he struggles there, I do not think it is out of the realm of possibility he will see time back at A-level Palm Beach again. - CariocaCardinal
Brian Walton (19): While I was less optimistic with my ranking than Dustin, the two of us are clearly more bullish on Reifer's future than the message board community, likely turned off by his lukewarm 2009.
Reifer's Arizona Fall League numbers were not any more encouraging than his regular season results. Still, his 1.59 WHIP was right on the average of all AFL hurlers, well-known as a hitters' league. Though the sample size was very small, ten innings, what I found most disappointing was Reifer's strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.17, the worst of the five Cardinals pitchers sent to the desert.
Having said that, it should be noted that Reifer was "playing up" in the AFL - an A-ball pitcher asked to compete against many of the top minor league hitters, including some with previous major league time. Had the replacement for the Hawaii Winter Baseball League, the "Junior AFL" been instituted in 2009, it would have been a more likely and appropriate destination for the talented, but inconsistent 23-year-old.
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