Sioux City, IA (March 23rd, 2022) — The Sioux City Explorers have announced the signings of OF Ademar Rifaela and INF Blake Tiberi to 2022 American Association Contracts.
2022 will be Rifaela’s 9th season of professional baseball and his first with the Explorers.
Ademar Rifaela previously spent seven seasons with the Baltimore Orioles organization where he reached as high as Triple-A, Norfolk in 2019.
The twenty-seven year old’s best season came in 2017 with the Frederick Keys, the Orioles High-A affiliate. He won the Carolina League MVP by hitting for a .284 average and a career high 24 home runs, 23 doubles and 78 RBI in 126 games.
In his final year with the O’s, Rifaela split time between double-A Bowie and triple-A Norfolk. Over the course of 98 games he hit at a .249 clip with 10 home runs, 11 doubles, 44 RBI and 41 runs scored.
He was released by the Orioles in 2020 and played overseas in the Dutch Major Leagues with Quick Amersfoot. A native of Willemstad, Curacao the left handed swinging bat played for team Netherlands in multiple international competitions. He even played in the 2007 Little League World Series as the team from Willemstad represented the Caribbean in the tournament.
Blake Tiberi is entering his sixth season of professional baseball and second with Sioux City.
Last season Tiberi played 59 games with the Explorers. He hit seven home runs, ten doubles, drove in 32 RBI and scored 28 runs, hit .272 and stole seven bags.
The Kentucky native caught fire near the end of the season as he hit for a .282 clip during the month of August. In 23 games he drove in 16 RBI, scored 14 runs, hit five homers and collected an OPS of .930.
Tiberi had a career night on August 18th in game two of a doubleheader against the Kansas City Monarchs. In a seven inning contest that the X’s won Tiberi hit for the cycle, capping it off with a home run in the top of the seventh, he drove in three RBI and scored three runs.
Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 draft, Tiberi spent five seasons with the New York Mets organization. He reached as high as high-A St. Lucie and Brooklyn. He was drafted out of the University of Louisville where in his sophomore season he took home All-ACC conference honors where he hit .340 with 10 home runs and 51 RBI.
Across his five seasons in the Mets farm system he played in 318 games and hit .239 with 12 homers, 59 doubles and 103 RBI.
With the addition of OF Ademar Rifaela and INF Blake Tiberi the Explorers have now signed nine players (5 pitchers, 4 position players) to a 2022 contract.
RHP Matteo Bocchi
RHP Zach Hedges
RHP Carlos Sierra
RHP Michael Slaten
RHP Jonah Smith
INF Nate Samson
INF Blake Tiberi
OF Ademar Rifaela
OF Sebastian Zawada