ST. PAUL, MN (July 23, 2013) – With a team ERA that is currently 12th in the 13-team American Association, the St. Paul Saints have been on the lookout for quality pitching to help solidify their pitching staff. With that thought in mind, the Saints have signed tow free agent pitchers, Bryan Henry, who brings with him two seasons of Triple-A experience, and former Saints reliever Jon Plefka.
The 28-year old Henry pitched in seven games this season at the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate in Reno. While there he was 0-1 with an 8.27 ERA. In 16.1 innings of work he walked nine and struck out nine. Henry split the 2012 campaign between Reno and Double-A affiliate Mobile racking up a combined 3-2 record with a 4.92 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 78.2 innings.
Henry was drafted out of Florida High School in Tallahassee, Florida in the 43rd round of 2003 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but chose to take the collegiate route instead. That proved to be a smart decision when in 2007 he was selected in the 12th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The best season for Henry during his seven years in the Diamondbacks organization came in 2009 at High-A Visalia. That season Henry worked 105.2 innings in 38 games and posted an ERA of 3.15 with a 5-5 record. He struck out 90 opposing hitters while walking only 21.
During his illustrious three year career at FSU, mostly as a starter, Henry was dominant. He went 14-2 as a senior with a miniscule 2.60 ERA in 18 appearances that spanned 117.2 innings. His 14 wins tied him for the tops in the nation. He struck out 117 while walking just 27 and opponents hit .238 against him. After the season he was named the 2007 ACC Pitcher of the Year as well as All-ACC First Team for the third straight year. In addition he was named a first-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and was a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, Dick Howser Trophy, and Roger Clemens Award.
In his sophomore and junior seasons he went a combined 18-7 with a 2.59 ERA over 204.2 innings, featuring 19 quality starts. At one point in his junior season Henry threw 27.2 consecutive scoreless innings, tying him for the third-best streak of that kind in Seminoles history. He never finished with an ERA of over 3.00 in his collegiate career.
Before transferring to Florida State, Henry played his freshman season at North Florida Community College. In his lone season there he went 6-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 90 innings pitched. He was selected second-team All-Panhandle Conference, while also playing the corner infield positions and hitting .386 with 40 RBI.
Henry also enjoyed a decorated high school career at Florida High. He was named the Class 2A State Player of the Year in 2003 after going 11-1 with a miniscule 0.77 ERA. He threw a perfect game on senior night that year. Henry was 22-2 during his time in high school baseball.
The 29-year-old Plefka was pitching for the Sioux City Explorers in the American Association this season and was having a solid year. He was 1-0 with a 3.50 ERA in 23 relief appearances. In 36.0 innings pitched he walked 16 and struck out 28 while opponents hit just .205 against him. Over his last 10 relief appearances, 15.1 innings, he has allowed just one run including throwing 4.1 shutout innings of relief on June 22 vs. the team with the best record in the league, the Wichita Wingnuts.
Plefka was stellar for the Saints in 2010 going 6-1 with a 2.65 ERA and one save in 43 relief appearances, tied for fourth most in the American Association and, at the time, it tied a Saints franchise record (since surpassed by Kyle Foster’s 48 in 2011). In 57.2 innings pitched he walked 30 and struck out 55 while opponents hit .251 against him.
Following his time with the Saints he began the 2011 season with the El Paso Diablos (American Association) and pitched in 29 games before being traded to the Winnipeg Goldeyes where he pitched in five games before being released. He was signed by the Sioux City Explorers and pitched there up until being released on July 21, 2013.
Plefka was selected in the 47th round of the 2006 June Amateur draft by the Los Angeles Angels. He spent two seasons in the Angels organization pitching in the Arizona League in 2007 and the Rookie Pioneer League in 2008.
The 6’9 Plefka was not only a baseball standout, but played basketball under coach Bobby Knight at Texas Tech during the 2005-06 season and 06-07 season. He averaged 6.4 points per game and 4.3 rebounds per game in two seasons.
In order to make room for the two relievers the Saints released pitchers Aaron Correa, who was 0-1 with an 11.81 ERA and Hugh Adams, who was 0-0 with a 9.72 ERA.
The Saints roster stands at the league maximum 22, 10 pitchers and 12 position players.