ST. PAUL, MN (January 21, 2014) – When the St. Paul Saints were having trouble closing out games in 2013, they went out and signed a familiar face in Jon Plefka. He helped right the ship and was nearly untouchable during his six weeks with the team. In 2014 the Saints will have Plefka from the beginnin as they re-signed him for the year.
The 29-year-old right-haneded Plefka joined the Saints on July 23 as a free agent signee after being released by the Sioux City Explorers. He was 1-0 with a 0.72 ERA and three saves in 16 relief appearances. In 22.2 innings pitched he walked five and struck out 18 while opponents hit a miniscule .182 against him. Of the 14 hits he allowed only three were for extra bases, all doubles. In addition to his stellar pitching, Plefka singled in his only at bat of the season, on the final day of the year.
“Jon was outstanding with us,” said Saints Manager George Tsamis. “He wants the ball and will take it in any situation we put him into. We feel having Jon and Mikey signed is a good start to putting together a solid bullpen.”
Plefka started the 2013 with the Explorers in the American Association and had 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 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 in college, but played basketball under coach Bobby Knight at Texas Tech during the 2005-06 season and 06-07 season. He averaged 6.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in two seasons.