St. Louis Cardinals Drop Nine Latin Players

Four from the Venezuelan Summer League and five from the Dominican Summer League are now ex-Cardinals.

This past week, the St. Louis Cardinals released a total of nine players from their Latin programs in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. The organization cleared four spots in the Dominican Summer League and five in the Venezuelan Summer League. Jorge Lopez, Luis Polanco, Victor Ferreira, and Christian Concepcion were cut from the DSL while Marlon Sucre, Hayrich Martina, Lainer Bueno, Tharick Martines, and 2010 VSL postseason All-Star Limbert Rivas were axed at the VSL level.

Lopez, 20, was a July 3, 2007 free agent signing out of San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. He spent three seasons playing for the DSL Cardinals with this past summer being his most disappointing as he batted .178 with a .248 OBP, .222 SLG, and .469 OPS. The right-handed hitter played in a total of 152 games batting .220 (101-for-459) with 12 doubles, two triples, one home run, 37 RBIs, 120 total bases, 49 runs, 34 walks, 14 stolen bases, 82 strikeouts, 15 caught stealing, .274 OBP, .261 SLG, and .535 OPS. The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder manned mainly second base and third base with the occasional stop at first base and shortstop.

Polanco, 20, was an April, 3, 2007 free agent signing out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He played his first two seasons in the DSL before receiving a promotion to the Gulf Coast League club where he was converted from catcher to pitcher and returned to the Dominican in 2010. The right-handed hitter played in a total of 106 games batting .243 (73-for-301) with 12 doubles, three triples, 34 RBIs, 91 total bases, 35 runs, 36 walks, 56 strikeouts, .353 OBP, .302 SLG, and .655 OPS. Polanco was signed as a catcher where he threw out 32 of 106 runners, but also worked in the outfield and at first base. As a pitcher, the right-handed hurler made seven relief appearances posting a 2-2 record, 3.29 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, and one hold. He allowed seven hits, six runs (five earned), hit one batter, walked 15, and struck out 18 over 13.2 innings.

Ferreira, 19, was a December 15, 2007 free agent signing out of Bani, Dominican Republic. He spent three seasons playing for the DSL Cardinals and dealt with injuries the past two, cutting his time short both years. The right-handed hitter played in a total of 64 games batting .183 (37-for-202) with eight doubles, one triple, two home runs, 23 RBIs, 53 total bases, 15 runs, 23 walks, two stolen bases, 56 strikeouts, three caught stealing, .286 OBP, .262 SLG, and .549 OPS. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder worked various positions from catcher to first base to either corner outfield spots to designated hitter. Behind the plate he threw out 8 of 33 runners.

Concepcion, 20, was a June 12, 2009 free agent signing out of La Romana, Dominican Republic. He received a surprising assignment to the Gulf Coast League to begin his professional career and quickly went in reverse seeing a demotion to the DSL midway through the 2008 season. Concepcion missed the entire 2009 year, due to injuries, and did nothing this past season to warrant a reason to keep his name in the organization. The right-hander mad a total of 18 appearances (four starts) posting an 0-2 record, 7.26 ERA, and 2.64 WHIP. He allowed 22 hits, 37 runs (30 earned), two home runs, 39 walks, hit six batters, and struck out 16 over 18.2 innings.

Sucre, 20, was a May 16, 2010 free agent signing after spending three seasons manning the outfield for the DSL Dodgers. He was picked up to fill the hole left by the injured outfielder Jose Martinez and has already put in the maximum four years in the Latin leagues. The only way to go for Sucre was to the Gulf Coast League and apparently the Cardinals sid not have an opening for him. The right-handed hitter played in 58 games batting .269 (60-for-223) with 14 doubles, eight home runs, 33 RBIs, 98 total bases, 35 runs, 11 walks, eight stolen bases, 49 strikeouts, two caught stealing, .309 OBP, .439 SLG, and 749 OPS. Sucre, along with Hector Corpas, represented Panama in the 2011 World Cup Qualifier at the beginning of the month before his release.

Martina, 20, was a April 18, 2007 free agent signing out of Curacao, Netherlands. He spent his first two seasons playing in the Dominican Summer League and finished his last two in the Venezuelan Summer League. Martina, like Sucre, maxed out his Latin years and had only two options remaining - either promotion or release. The right-handed hitter played a total of 122 games batting .174 (59-for-340) with nine doubles, 15 RBIs, 68 total bases, 30 runs, 22 walks, three stolen bases, 92 strikeouts, seven caught stealing, .243 OBP, .200 SLG, and .443 OPS. He played multiple positions starting out in the outfield then making the move into the infield. His older brother, Quincy, was in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system from 2006-07 and represented Netherlands in the 2011 World Cup Qualifier.

Bueno, 20, was a March 16, 2010 free agent signing out of Tucupita, Venezuela. He played up the middle for the VSL Cardinals in 2010 and after the season was hit with a 50-game suspension for a Clenbuterol positive test. The right-handed hitter played in 51 games batting .228 (42-for-184) with two doubles, nine RBIs, 44 total bases, 27 runs, 26 walks, three stolen bases, 28 strikeouts, three caught stealing, .338 OBP, .239 SLG, and .576 OPS.

Martines, 20, was a August 23, 2007 free agent signing out of Breedestrat, Netherlands. He was best known for throwing a couple one-hit complete games for the Curacao team in the 2003 Little League World Series before the Cardinals moved him into the outfield during his professional career. Martines started out in the Dominican Summer League and was moved to the Venezuelan Summer League for his final two years. The right-handed hitter played in a total of 96 games batting .169 (42-for-282) with five doubles, one triple, four home runs, 22 RBIs, 61 total bases, 28 runs, 22 walks, six stolen bases, 94 strikeouts, five caught stealing, .249 OBP, .245 SLG, and .494 OPS.

Rivas, 20, was a February 15, 2008 free agent signing out of Puerto Cabello, Venezuela. He spent three seasons playing for the Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals working the catcher position and first base for the team and even earned 2010 All-Star postseason honors. Rivas looked to be a lock for an invite to extended spring training in 2011, but the organization had other ideas. The right-handed hitter played in a total of 133 games batting .293 (111-for-379) with 14 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 41 RBIs, 136 total bases, 54 runs, 62 walks, seven stolen bases, 66 strikeouts, five caught stealing, .399 OBP, .359 SLG, and .758 OPS. Behind the plate, he threw out 21 of 63 runners.



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