Runner up in last year’s Holland Series, L&D Amsterdam Pirates have acquired a new player from the Isle of Curaçao. The 24-year old lefty Johan Rifaela will join the club before the start of the upcoming season.
Rifaela has played for the Santa Maria Pirates during the 2018 season. He is a very versatile pitcher that can be used as a starting pitcher, in short relief and in long relief.
Of all pitchers that played in the FEBEKO (Curaçao Baseball Federation) competition last season, Rifaela recorded 61 strikeouts in 45.5 innings. With these numbers he had the most strikeouts, leaving the pitcher with the second highest number of strikeouts, Ruderly Manuel (53Ks in 55.3 innings), far behind him. Rifaela posted a very impressive 1.78 ERA, a 2.77 K/BB ratio and a 1.07 WHIP.
Rifaela had an important role in the 2018 semi-finals as he guided his team to a decisive win in which he went the distance and struck out five.
Johan also helped his team to clinch the Curaçao championship by beating the Wild Cats 4-2 in a best of seven final.
Johan represented Curaçao a couple of times during the Haarlem Baseball week and World Port Tournament in Rotterdam.
With the lefty, the pitching staff of L&D Amsterdam Pirates, that had improved already over the transition period, has improved even more, no matter if manager Brian Finnegan will use him as starter or reliever.
The precise first name of Rifaela is not quite clear yet. At some stat websites he is called Johan at others Jhan.