Cardinals Winter League Notebook: Wk 9, Pt 2

Results from St. Louis Cardinals prospects competing last week in Venezuela. Jorge Rondon was both very good and very bad, depending on which side of the plate the opposing hitter stood.

Venezuelan League

The league finished up its regular season on December 30th with the top five teams moving on to the Round Robin tournament running from January 2nd through January 21st. The league final follows on January 22nd. Caribes moved on while both Aragua and Margarita were among the bottom three squads whose seasons are over. None of St. Louis' prospects were chosen by qualifying teams in the Round Robin draft. Accordingly, the next notebook will include a review of the season.

Caribes de Anzoategui –
Regular Season Record: 39-24
Standing: First, five games up
- Ildemaro Vargas: Vargas saw very limited playing time for the Caribes, appearing in only 18 of 63 games or 28%. He received early opportunities for more action, starting two of his team's first four contests in mid-October but went hitless, a trend that covered the entire season. 13 of his 23 at bats (56%) occurred in the first third of the season. Vargas did not receive another start until November 29th, 35 games later. All five of his starts came at short with the balance of his appearances coming as a pinch runner/pinch hitter before taking over at second (five games), short (three), third (once) and the outfield (twice). His only hits came in three games, two starts, in the Venezuelan Parallel League where he went 4-for-8 with a double, home run, walk and stolen base. Although the Caribes made the round robin postseason, Vargas is not likely to appear after such little action during the regular season.
Season: .000/.148/.000/.148, 23 AB, 3 R, 2 RBI, 4 BB, 2 SO, 0 SB, 0 CS, 2 E, 1:14 K/PA, 1:7 BB/PA

Tigres de Aragua –
Regular Season Record: 29-34
Standing: Sixth, 10 games out of first and three games out of postseason qualification
- Jorge Rondon: Rondon relieved in 26 of the Tigres' 63 contests, 10 of those with runners on base. Five of 16 inherited runners crossed the plate or 31% overall. Nine of the 16 were in scoring position when the righty entered, covering seven appearances, and four of those runners scored. Rondon was less effective in these situations as the season wore on. He stranded five in scoring position in four stints from November 22nd to December 11th but allowed all four to cross that were in scoring position in three efforts from December 15th through the 22nd.

Date IR IRS Outs Inning Base
23-Oct-13 1 0 2 5th 1st
6-Nov-13 1 1 1 7th 1st
20-Nov-13 1 0 2 7th 1st
22-Nov-13 3 0 1 7th loaded
24-Nov-13 1 0 1 5th 2nd
28-Nov-13 2 0 1 7th 1st & 2nd
11-Dec-13 1 0 2 3rd 3rd
15-Dec-13 2 1 2 8th 1st & 2nd
19-Dec-13 3 2 0 8th loaded
22-Dec-13 1 1 1 5th 2nd
Totals: 16 5      

Overall, Rondon tossed 26 innings, yielding 12 runs on 26 hits, including one long ball, and 14 base-on-balls with 19 strikeouts. His 4.15 ERA splits heavily to the right-handed batter side with a 1.02 ERA in 17 2/3 frames versus a 10.80 ERA in 8 1/3 innings against lefties.
Season: 4.15 ERA/3.97 FIP, 26 G, 0 GS, 26 IP, 26 H, 12 R/ER, 1 HR, 1 HB, 14 BB, 19 SO, 1.54 WHIP, .268 BAA, .321 BABIP, 4.9 BB/9 IP, 6.6 SO/9 IP, 1.4:1 K/BB

Cardenales de Lara –
- Scott McGregor: McGregor pitched for Lara the first month-plus of the season, appearing in six games, five starts, against three teams. The right-hander's best outing was his first on October 19th when he shut down LaGuaira on four hits over four frames with no walks or strikeouts. A week later the Tiburones touched him for two runs on four hits and a free pass with two K's in the same time span. November 1st saw McGregor hold the Caribes to a tally on four hits, two walks and one strikeout in 3 2/3 but they torched him for five runs on seven hits, no walks, in his only relief appearance on November 8th. His longest outing was on November 14th when he faced Aragua, giving up three runs on six hits and a base-on-balls while fanning four. Three of the four tallies permitted by McGregor in his five-inning final start, versus Aragua, came on the only long ball the righty served up during the season. He returned to the United States at that point, having fulfilled his contract.
Season: 5.55 ERA/3.73 FIP, 6 G, 5 GS, 24.1 IP, 32 H, 15 R/ER, 1 HR, 0 HB, 6 BB, 12 SO, 1.56 WHIP, .327 BAA, .365 BABIP, 2.2 BB/9 IP, 4.4 SO/9 IP, 2:1 K/BB, 8.71 ERA in 10.1 IP vs. lefties, 3.21 ERA in 14 IP vs. righties

Bravos de Margarita -
Regular Season Record: 23-40
Standing: Eighth (Last), 16 games back
- Ismael Brito: Brito began his season in the Venezuelan Parallel League and finished in the Venezuelan League. Since he pitched more in the former league, his performance will be discussed in our wrap up for there.
- Silfredo Garcia: Garcia's 23 appearances led Margarita's bullpen and his 19 innings pitched was just two outs off the team lead. Ten times he took the mound with runners on and six of the 17, 35%, crossed. Nine of 10 featured at least one runner in scoring position with four of those 10 eventually scoring. Of those four, Garcia had to record at least two outs three times and twice the runner scored due to an error. Six of his first eight efforts were with runners on and, as the chart below shows, those six were in late-inning situations. That pattern ended with an October 29th appearance in which Garcia yielded two singles that allowed both runners to cross and broke a tie game. He did not come in with runners on again for another month, a span of seven appearances. From November 30th on four of his last seven stints came with inherited runners and those four were in high leverage situations.

Overall, Garcia lacked consistency, interspersing scoreless efforts with ones in which he allowed multiple tallies. His control was far worse than the regular season as Garcia walked an average of 4.3 batters every nine innings compared to 2.7 averaged in 99 frames for Peoria. On the other hand, his K rate increased from 5.8/9 IP during the regular season to 7.6/9 IP.

Date IR IRS Outs Inning Base
11-Oct-13 1 1 2 7th 3rd
17-Oct-13 2 0 1 9th 1st & 2nd
19-Oct-13 1 0 2 8th 2nd
23-Oct-13 1 0 2 9th 1st
27-Oct-13 1 0 2 9th 3rd
29-Oct-13 2 2 1 9th 1st & 2nd
30-Nov-13 3 0 2 5th loaded
5-Dec-13 2 2 0 6th 1st & 2nd
12-Dec-13 2 0 1 6th 1st & 2nd
19-Dec-13 2 1 0 5th 1st & 3rd
Totals: 17 6      

Season: 7.11 ERA/5.15 FIP, 23 G, 19 IP, 23 H, 20 R, 15 ER, 3 HR, 0 HB, 9 BB, 16 SO, 1.68 WHIP, .291 BAA, .333 BABIP, 4.3 BB/9 IP, 7.6 SO/9 IP, 1.8:1 K/BB, 7.11 ERA in 6.1 IP vs. lefties, 7.11 ERA in 12.2 IP vs. righties
- Breyvic Valera: The Bravos' 2013 Rookie of the Year began his season on a hot streak, batting .333/.391/.433/.825 in his first 60 at bats through November 4th, a period of three plus weeks. Valera finished that span hitting a torrid .412/.476/.647/1.123 in 17 at bats. At that point the 21-year-old fell into a prolonged slump, going .226/.284/.323/.606 in his next 62 at bats through December 9th. Valera did a bit better in his final 80 at bats, .263/.287/.350/.637 through the end of December.
Valera started 54 of 63 games, playing primarily left field (41 games). He was the starting centerfielder 11 times, once in right and once at second and subbed into six other contests, committing one error. Valera hit from first to ninth in the batting order.
Season: .272/.318/.366/.685, 202 AB, 26 R, 55 H, 5 2B, 7 3B, 0 HR, 17 RBI, 15 BB, 18 SO, 6 SB, 5 CS, 1 E, .291 BABIP, 1:11 K/PA, 1:15 BB/PA

Related article: Part one of this report covered Cardinals prospects' results the past week in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Nicaragua.

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