Cardinals Winter League Notebook 8: Venezuela

Results from St. Louis Cardinals prospects competing in Venezuela. Breyvic Valera remains red-hot.

Venezuelan League

Stats through December 11th.

Bravos de Margarita –
Record for the Period: 6-4
Overall Record: 18-32
Standing: Eighth, 14 ½ behind Caribes

The Bravos remain mired in last place despite posting a winning record since the last notebook. The team did gain two games in the standings.

- Ismael Brito (Johnson City): Brito’s only recent work is for Margarita’s Venezuelan Parallel League (VPL) team. More on him appears in that portion of the notebook. He has compiled an 11.57 ERA/8.78 FIP and 2.57 WHIP in four appearances totaling 2 1/3 innings in the Venezuelan League.

- Breyvic Valera (Springfield): Valera’s outstanding ‘off-season’ continues, the Bravos’ lead-off hitter compiling a hot .350 batting average in 40 at bats over his last 10 games. Five free passes during that span gave him a .422 on-base percentage but with only one of his 14 hits going for extra bases, a double, Valera managed just a .375 slugging percentage.

Overall, the 22-year-old sports a line of .347/.407/.408/.816, 17-for-49, in 12 starts, with five walks, three doubles, 10 runs scored, seven RBI and a .395 BABIP. Valera has been successful in three of four stolen base attempts with six strikeouts.

Defensively, two of his three fielding errors occurred at center, a position he has not played since 2010 when he appeared in five Venezuelan Summer League games. Valera exceeded that number in his last 10 games, seeing time in center in six of his most recent contests, five of them starts.

Caribes de Anzoategui –
Record for the Period: 4-6
Overall Record: 33-18
Standing: First, three games in front of Aguilas

Caribes maintained its slot atop the Venezuelan League standings despite a losing record and actually gained a half-game over their nearest rival, Aguilas, which they lead by three games.

- Cesar Valera (Palm Beach): Valera remains with Caribes’ VPL club, where he was reassigned on November 24th. The 22-year-old received only 12 at bats in nine of Caribes’ first 29 games, going 3-for-12 with a double, walk, two runs scored and five strikeouts. Valera made three starts at short for the Venezuelan League squad. More on him in the VPL portion of the notebook.

Leones del Caracas –
Record for the Period: 4-6
Overall Record: 22-29
Standing: Seventh, 11 behind Caribes

Caracas not only dropped from sixth to seventh during the reporting period but now find themselves just 3 1/2 games in front of Margarita in the standings.

- Miguel Socolovich (Triple-A): Socolovich made two appearances, facing the minimum on November 28th to keep his team’s deficit to one and working around a throwing error and single for a scoreless eighth in a one-run game two days later. He has not pitched since November 30th due to back discomfort. As of December 9th his status was considered ‘day-to-day’, per El Emergente.

Overall, Socolovich has tossed 18 frames in 17 games, yielding four runs on 10 hits and two walks for a 2.00 ERA/2.09 FIP and 0.67 WHIP. The righty has struck out 21, giving him a 10.5:1 K/BB ratio. Opposing batters are hitting .156 off him, .209 BABIP.

Tiburones de La Guaira –
Record for the Period: 9-2
Overall Record:
Standing: Sixth, 10 1/2 back

A nine-game winning streak gained La Guaira 4 ½ games on the league leaders, advancing them from seventh to sixth, just two games behind Magallanes.

- Rafael Ortega (Memphis): Ortega did not get a single at bat this week, appearing twice as a ninth-inning centerfield replacement in both of La Guaira’s wins. Overall, the centerfielder has posted a line of .167/.231/.208/.439, 4-for-24 in 18 games, seven starts.

- Kender Villegas (Johnson City): There was a brief Villegas sighting on December 10th, his first Venezuelan League appearance of 2014. The righty took the mound with the bases clear and two out in the visitor half of the ninth. He got the final out, a line out to left by the opposition’s number five bat, in an eventual 8-2 loss.

Other league news

Peoria hitting coach Jobel Jimenez, who had been in the same role with the Aragua Tigres, has been moved to first base in a coaching shakeup that cost manager Luis Sojo his job.

Venezuelan Parallel League

The developmental arm of the Venezuelan League is the Venezuelan Parallel League or VPL. The 16-team league breaks down into two divisions and the regular season runs from mid-October through mid-December.

Stats through December 9th.

Bravos -
Record for the Period: 4-4-1
Overall Record: 19-23-2

- Ismael Brito (Johnson City): Brito was scored upon in each of his three appearances and his time spent on the bump decreased each time he took the mound. On December 1st, the lefty lasted 2/3 of an inning but recorded just one out the next day and did not retire a batter on December 4th. He pitched one frame in all, yielding five hits and two base-on-balls resulting in four runs, two earned. The damage was not as bad as it could have been, thanks to his successor stranding four runners in two cases.

Brito has tossed 3 2/3 frames in seven games, surrendering seven runs, five earned, on nine hits and four walks, striking out four. He has a 12.26 ERA, 4.29 FIP, 3.54 WHIP and .529 BABIP.

- Carlos Torres (Johnson City): Torres’ success in limited at bats, a .429 batting average in seven at bats over three games from November 24th through the 28th, led to increased playing time and the 22-year-old made the most of that opportunity. Torres posted a line of .375/.375/.469/.844, 12-for-32 in eight games – one start – with three doubles, two runs scored and two driven in, batting seventh and playing all three outfield positions.

Those numbers elevate his overall stats to .281/.283/.375/.658, 27-for-96 in 33 games, 23 starts. He doubled six times and smacked one home run but has yet to draw a walk. Torres’ 21 strikeouts average out to a K every 4.4 at bats but he fanned just three times in his most recent 32 at bats, an average of once every 10.7 at bats. He has a .347 BABIP.

Caracas –
Record for the Period: 4-3
Overall Record: 25-16

- Jhohan Acevedo (State College): Acevedo went 2-for-5 with a double, touched home once and knocked in one as the starting centerfielder. The December 1st start was his only game for the period.

Overall, he has a line of .353/.402/.418/.820, 32-for-91 in 28 games, 23 starts, with six doubles, eight walks, nine runs scored and nine driven in, batting mainly sixth. Acevedo has fanned 17 times, an average of once every five at bats and is 4-for-5 in stolen base attempts. He has a .421 BABIP and has committed two errors.

Caribes –
Record for the Period: 3-4
Overall Record: 14-28

- Ronnierd Garcia (Peoria): While Garcia hit a measly .250 for the period, it was one of his better efforts this season. The third baseman went 5-for-20 with a double, three free passes, three runs scored and an RBI while fanning seven times. His line is .250/.348/.300/.648 in seven games, six starts at third.

Garcia has a cumulative stat line of .218/.293/.300/.593 in 110 at bats over 32 games, 25 starts, with three doubles, two long balls, 11 walks and 26 strikeouts. He has a .265 BABIP and has been charged with eight errors.

- Jose Godoy (Johnson City): Godoy was hot at the plate in his two starts, one at first and the other at catcher, going 3-for-7 with a double, walk and strikeout, scored twice and drove in one. His overall stats are .338/.436/.477/.913, 22-for-65 in 21 games, 18 starts, with six doubles, a home run, 10 runs scored, 14 knocked in and a .382 BABIP. The 20-year-old has drawn 12 bases-on-balls and struck out just 10 times.

- Cesar Valera (Palm Beach): Valera is thriving in the VPL after struggling in the Venezuelan League, compiling a line of .471/.571/.588/1.160 in 17 at bats over five games as Caribes’ starting shortstop and number three bat. Valera doubled twice, worked two walks, touched home five times and drove in two while swiping his first bag and being plunked twice.

That puts his cumulative numbers at .438/.550/.563/1.113, 14-for-32 in nine games, all starts, with four doubles, three walks, four Ks, nine runs scored and five RBI with a .500 BABIP. He has been hit by a pitch five times.

La Guaira –
Record for the Period: 5-1
Overall Record: 29-13-2

- Anderson Gerdel (Johnson City): Gerdel made two of his team’s six starts with mixed results. He tossed four frames on the 2nd, yielding two tallies in the fourth on a solo shot, two singles and a double – four of the five hits the righty gave up on the game. That was only the second home run he has allowed on the season. Gerdel made an abbreviated start on the 9th, giving up an unearned run on a reached-on-error, plunked batter and two singles in the first and did not come out for the second.

The righty has accumulated an overall mark of a 2.52 ERA, 2.80 FIP, in 25 innings over seven starts, with 11 runs, seven earned, on 20 hits and three walks. He has fanned 14, hit three batters and has a 0.92 WHIP and .213 BAA with a .250 BABIP.

- Kender Villegas (Johnson City): In addition to his Venezuelan League debut on December 10th, Villegas relieved twice for the VPL club. The righty relieved Gerdel on the second, tossing two scoreless innings and allowing one hit in picking up his third win. He was impressive on the 8th when he both cleaned up an inherited jam and gained his first save. Villegas entered a 5-2 contest with a run already across, runners at first and second with one out. He induced two quick groundball outs to second, stranding both runners before working around a lead-off single in the ninth.

Overall, Villegas has a 1.14 ERA, 2.44 FIP in 39 2/3 innings over 12 games, six starts. He has struck out 31 with only one free pass issued, yielding 13 runs, five earned, on 32 hits for a 0.84 WHIP and opposing hitters are batting just .212 against him, .254 BABIP.

Coming up next

Our next report will include results from Cardinals prospects competing in the Dominican, Puerto Rican, Nicaraguan and Colombian Leagues.

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