I am often asked the question, “who’s doing well down on the farm that no one talks about?” I love getting this question because it’s always fun to point out a player who isn’t getting any recognition, but should be. That’s what I am writing about today as outfielder Ademar Rifaela is performing very well for the High-A Frederick Keys.
Rifaela, 22, is a left-handed outfielder originally from Curacao, and is currently enjoying his best season as a professional.
Through 45 games this season (entering Monday night’s action), Rifaela was hitting .295 with six home runs, nine doubles, 25 RBI and has scored 22 runs.
In addition, he also owns a .345 on base percentage and a .813 OPS.
Defensively, Rifaela is current perfect, as he has yet to commit an error in 43 games in the outfield and has two outfield assists.
Without question, Rifaela is currently on pace for his best season in the organization, which spans five years. His six home runs are already nearly half-way to his career high of 13, which he set last season. In addition, he’s posting the best batting average of his career and outside of his first season in the organization in 2013 where he played on the Dominican Summer League affiliate of the Orioles, he’s also posting his best OBP of his career.
What is likely the most impressive part of his year is the fact that he is doing this at the High-A level, of which he had only had five career games entering this season. It’s one thing to perform well, but it’s another thing to do so at the highest minor league level you have never really played at before.
One of his biggest issues at the plate is something that Orioles’ fans are accustomed to seeing, and that’s the strikeout. Over 305 career games, Rifaela has 275 strikeouts, including 45 in 45 games this season. On the flip side though, he can also take a walk, with a career OBP being 80 points higher than his batting average.
I do understand that we are talking about just 45 games, and there is a long season ahead, but thus far, Rifaela has been impressive and not many have really heard of him before.
By: Josh Michael