RiverDogs’ Butera and Infante Collect Low-A East Postseason Honors
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Two members of the 2021 Charleston RiverDogs received Low-A East All-Star honors in an announcement from Minor League Baseball on Friday. Blake Butera was named Manager of the Year and outfielder Diego Infante was named an all-star at his position as well as the league’s Most Valuable Player.
Butera, in his first year at the helm of the RiverDogs, led the team to the highest winning percentage (.683) in team history and the franchise’s first championship. The squad’s 82 wins were tied for the most in all of Minor League Baseball. Despite the promotion of 15 players throughout the season, the RiverDogs pitching staff finished with the lowest ERA at the Low-A level and the most strikeouts in the league. At the plate, the team paced the Low-A East in batting average and home runs. The 129 home runs were also the most in franchise history.
The 29-year old has managed in the Rays farm system for each of the least three seasons. Butera guided the 2018 and 2019 Hudson Valley Renegades when they were the Class-A short-season affiliate for Tampa Bay. The Boston College product played two seasons in the Rays organization after being selected in the 35th round in 2015.
Infante is the first RiverDogs player to be selected as league MVP since Josh Hamilton received the honor in 2000. Infante played in 101 games in the Holy City, batting .296 with 16 home runs and 80 runs batted in. He finished the season as the Low-A East leader in RBI and runs scored. At the time of his promotion, he also ranked among the top seven hitters in the circuit in hits, extra-base hits, home runs, slugging percentage, OPS, walks and triples.
The 21-year old was signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2016. In his first two seasons of professional baseball combined, Infante hit just one home run. He broke out with rookie-level Princeton in 2019, hitting 12 home runs and driving in 52 over 61 games. He finished the campaign playing a key role in Bowling Green’s High-A East championship run.