Cardinals Venezuelan Winter League Recap

Cumulative results from St. Louis Cardinals prospects competing in the Venezuelan Winter League. New addition Miguel Socolovich is among those who performed well.

Venezuelan League

Bravos de Margarita –
Final Regular Season Record: 23-39
Final Standing: Eighth and last

- Ismael Brito (Johnson City): Although Ismael Brito began the season with the Venezuelan League club, he pitched primarily for the Bravos’ Venezuelan Parallel League team. His season was covered in that report.

- Silfredo Garcia (Palm Beach): Garcia’s stint with Margarita encompassed October, the righty tossing 6 2/3 frames in seven relief appearances. He allowed five hits with three base-on-balls, one intentional, while fanning five and did not give up a run. Opponents hit .250 against him, .250 BABIP, with a 5.30 FIP.

Twice Garcia came into the game with runners on board and none of the four touched home. The first time he defused a bases-loaded jam with two outs but in the second instance the 23-year-old benefited when his inherited runner was caught stealing prior to Garcia issuing a free pass and what may have been an RBI single.

- Breyvic Valera (Springfield): Valera made the most of his off-season, participating in both the Arizona Fall League and Venezuelan (Winter) League. After slashing .333/.400/.359/.759 in 39 at bats as a member of Peoria’s taxi squad in the AFL, Valera debuted for the Bravos on November 26th.

The 22-year-old became a fixture at the top of the line-up, starting 23 of his team’s last 24 contests. Valera made 16 starts in centerfield, a position he had not played since five games in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2010, and eight at second. Four of his five errors were committed as a centerfielder. At the plate he put up a line of .326/.385/.389/.774, 31-for-95 with six doubles, eight walks, 18 runs scored and 12 knocked in with a .360 BABIP. Valera fanned nine times or 8.5% of his plate appearances.

In an interesting development near season’s end, it was initially reported on December 24th that Valera would not participate in the post-season. But Magallanes selected him in the January 3rd playoff draft, noting that Valera would miss the first week so he can visit St. Louis and that Magallanes was advised as such before drafting him. However, he played for the team that same day, going hitless in three at bats as the centerfielder. St. Louis pulled him from further participation, with that action announced on January 5th.

Caribes de Anzoategui –
Record for the Period: 4-6
Final Regular Season Record: 39-24
Final Standing: First

- Cesar Valera (Palm Beach): Valera started the season in the Venezuelan League but was reassigned to the VPL squad on November 24th after receiving only 12 at bats in nine of Caribes’ first 29 games. His season was reviewed in the VPL summary.

Leones del Caracas –
Final Regular Season Record: 30-34
Standing: Tied for fifth with Tiburones

Caracas finished the season tied with La Guaira for the final slot in the Round Robin tournament. They dropped a 4-1 decision in the tie-breaker game on January 2nd.

- Tommy Pham (Memphis): Like Silfredo Garcia, Pham spent October in the Venezuelan League, appearing in 14 games, all as the starting centerfielder. He struggled, going 7-for-49 with two home runs, seven runs scored, 4 RBI, 12 bases-on-balls and 15 strikeouts, .143/.317/.265/.583. He was successful in two of four stolen base attempts.

- Miguel Socolovich (Triple-A): St. Louis signed Socolovich as a minor league free agent, his signing announced on November 11th. The right-hander reliever tossed 16 innings in 15 games, surrendering four runs on nine hits and two walks for a 2.25 ERA, 2.08 FIP and 0.69 WHIP. Socolovich notched 20 K’s, an average of 11.25 for every nine innings pitched and a 10:1 K/BB ratio. He had a .222 BABIP while holding opponents to a .161 batting average.

On December 9th El Emergente reported that the 28-year-old had not pitched since November 30th due to back discomfort but that he was considered ‘day-to-day’ and may miss three more days. Although Socolovich was activated on Caracas’ roster for the January 2nd tie-breaker contest, he did not pitch after November 30th.

- Boone Whiting (Memphis): Whiting was pretty dismal in his eight starts totaling 30 frames, yielding 20 runs, 18 earned, on 29 hits and 22 free passes, a 5.40 ERA, 5.40 FIP and 1.70 FIP. The 25-year-old struck out fewer batters than he walked, 21 versus 22, and was released on November 19th.

Tiburones de La Guaira –
Final Regular Season Record: 29-35
Final Standing: Tied for fifth with Caracas

La Guaira finished the regular season tied for fifth with the Leones. They won the tie-breaker game, advancing them into the Round Robin post-season tournament.

- Rafael Ortega (Memphis): Ortega did not capitalize on his early opportunities, garnering just one hit in 12 at bats over four starts in his squad’s first five games. His playing time quickly dwindled, the centerfielder appearing in just 14 more games through November 22nd. In fact, Ortega was strictly a defensive replacement in his last two games and did not make a plate appearance in either game.

Overall, he posted a line of .167/.231/.208/.439, 4-for-24 in 18 games, seven starts, with one double, two bases-on-balls, touched home twice and drove in one while striking out four times.

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