SIOUX FALLS – The Baltimore Orioles have purchased the contract of Sioux Falls Pheasants reliever Kyle Mertins, Pheasants manager Steve Shirley announced on Monday.

Working primarily as an eighth-inning setup man and closer, Mertins, 24, thoroughly dominated opposing hitters in 2012. The right-hander went 4-1 with four saves and a sparkling 1.00 ERA in 45 appearances, 40 of which were scoreless. In 54 innings pitched, he struck out 54 batters and walked just 14. His WHIP was a miniscule 0.926. Mertins finished the 2012 season with a stretch of 12 1/3 scoreless innings pitched across nine outings.

“We as an organization are extremely thrilled for Kyle,” said Shirley, who has now sold 11 players to major league organizations as manager in Sioux Falls. “He’s an excellent pitcher with the ability to execute in critical situations. It is always one of our goals to help players further their professional career, so we wish him well.”

Following the 2012 season, Baseball America recognized Mertins as one of the top 20 independent league prospects in the nation.

Mertins will report to the Orioles’ spring training this spring. It will be Mertins’ second stint in affiliated baseball. He was a 2010 draft pick of the Atlanta Braves and spent 2010-2011 in their system before joining the Pheasants.

The Sioux Falls Pheasants begin their 21st season on May 16, 2013, and their home opener is May 17 against the Sioux City Explorers.

Courtesy:  Sioux Falls Pheasants