Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals prospects in the Venezuelan, Venezuelan Parallel, Puerto Rican and Nicaraguan Leagues

This weekly notebook covers two winter leagues in Venezuela, plus Puerto Rico and Nicaragua. Jhohan Acevedo competed in the Liga Paralela playoffs.

Stats are through December 15th

 Venezuelan League

The Venezuelan League consists of eight teams competing in one group.  Opening Day was October 7th and the regular season ends on December 29th.  The first-half season stats closed on November 15th.

Bravos de Margarita –

Ismael Brito (Johnson City):  Brito was removed from Margarita’s active roster on November 3rd, having not appeared in a game since the 29th.  He resurfaced in the Venezuelan Parallel League and his performance there will be addressed in that portion of the notebook.  His cumulative VL line:  7 G, 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO, 3.37 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .182 BAA, .286 BABIP

Silfredo Garcia (Springfield):  Garcia failed to come through in his only appearance since the last notebook, taking a loss in an extra-inning affair on December 9th.  The righty began well enough, inducing the lead-off batter to ground out, 6-3, but got himself into trouble after issuing a free pass and single up the middle putting runners at the corners.  An intentional walk was issued to the next batter, who had three hits in four at bats to that point, jamming the sacks full.  It looked like Garcia might escape unscathed after he garnered a ground ball to short but the shortstop booted the ball which allowed the go-ahead run to cross.  Fellow St Louis stable hand Justin Wright replaced Garcia on the bump with less than stellar results.  Garcia’s line so far: 7 G, 5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB (2 IBB), 3 SO, 4.76 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, .292 BAA, .318 BABIP, 3 IR/2 IRS in two opportunities

Juan Perez (State College):  Perez’ stay in the Venezuelan League was brief, as the 20-year-old relieved once on November 28th.  He began the ninth trying to maintain the Bravos’ 9-3 lead but alternated two outs with two base-on-balls.  Perez capped the performance with a two-run double before recording the final out.  He was removed from Margarita’s active roster on December 3rd. 

Breyvic Valera (Springfield):  Valera was the starting third baseman in all four of the Bravos’ games for the period, going 5-for-17, with a throwing error, his 10th miscue.  He hit fifth primarily, although his best day at the plate was in the two hole, a 2-for-5 performance.   His overall mark:  .301/.388/.420/.809, 53-for-176 in 51 games/50 starts, 9 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 28 R, 20 RBI, 25 BB, 9 SO, 8 SB, 12 CS, 10 E, .304 BABIP 

Kender Villegas (Brewers Rule 5):  Villegas was chosen by Milwaukee in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft on December 10th so leaves both the organization and this report.  His cumulative VL line:  0-1, 2 G, 2.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R/ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 2 SO, 19.29 ERA, 2.67 WHIP, .545 BAA, .500 BABIP

Justin Wright (Memphis):  Wright still has not been scored upon in eight outings, covering 5 1/3 frames, but he was not effective in either of his two efforts involving inherited runners.  He inherited a bases-loaded mess in the 10th inning on the 9th and allowed two of Silfredo Garcia’s three runners to score via a single to right and base-on-balls.  Wright limited further damage by coaxing a 6-4-3 double-play ball.  On Saturday, the southpaw inherited a 6-4 lead with a runner on first and one out.  An RBI double to left was sandwiched around a fly out to right and 5-3 ground out, the latter out giving Wright his first save.    His cumulative line:  8 G, 1 SV, 5.1 IP, 7 H, 0 R/ER, 0 HR, 2 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, .368 BAA, .438 BABIP, 6 IR/3 IRS in three opportunities

Caribes de Anzoategui -

Jeremy Hazelbaker (Memphis):  Hazelbaker, who exited the notebook upon becoming a minor league free agent at season’s end, rejoins it with his re-signing, the news of which became public on December 10th.  The 28-year-old has posted a strong line of .325/.391/.506/.897, 27-for-83 in 23 games during that interim with eight walks, seven doubles, a triple, two home runs and 16 strikeouts.  Hazelbaker touched home 17 times and knocked in 12 with seven stolen bases in eight attempts.  Overall, he has compiled the following mark:  321/.382/.506/.888, 52-for-162 in 45 games, 11 2B, 5 3B, 3 HR, 30 R, 22 RBI, 15 BB, 35 SO, 11 SB, 1 CS, 3 E

Tiburones de La Guaira –

Juan Gonzalez (Triple-A):  Gonzalez, whom St. Louis signed as a minor league free agent last month, was removed from La Guaira’s active roster on the 8th.  His overall mark:  1-1, 14 G, 13.2 IP, 24 H, 19 R/ER, 3 HR, 1 HB, 8 BB, 5 SO, 12.51 ERA, 2.34 WHIP, .381 BAA, .375 BABIP, 8 IR/5 IRS in four opportunities

 Venezuelan Parallel League

The 14-team VPL is the developmental arm of the Venezuelan League with its own regular season, play offs and championship.  The regular season ran from October 7th through December 4th.  The semi-finals and finals each are comprised of two best-of-three series.  Magallanes swept Boston in one play-off match-up while Lara topped Caracas in their three-game affair.  Lara took Magallanes to the third game of the finale before bowing to them. 

Bravos de Margarita –

Carlos Torres (Gulf Coast):  Torres started 18 of the Bravos’ 39 games, eight times in right, seven in left and the balance in center.  The 23-year-old went .429/.471/.714/1.185, 6-for-14 in his initial five starts but faded quickly, compiling a season’s end mark of .231/.282/.446/.728, 15-for-65, with only four walks, four doubles, two triples and two home runs, .295 BABIP.  Torres fanned 20 times, an average of once every 3.25 at bats, and was not charged with an error.

Ismael Brito (Johnson City):  Brito began the season with the Bravos’ main club in the Venezuelan League but was reassigned to the VPL in early November after seven relief efforts.  The lefty appeared in only three games for the VPL club, all in November.  His VPL line:  0-0, 3 G, 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 0 HB, 2 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP 

Kender Villegas (Milwaukee Rule 5):  Villegas’ VPL season ended prior to the Rule 5 Draft that triggered his departure from the Cardinals’ organization.  His VPL line:  0-1, 5 G, 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 0 HB, 1 BB, 3 SO, 4.50 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, .250 BAA, .308 BABIP

Caribes de Anzoategui -

Ronnierd Garcia (State College):  Garcia played in 18 games, 16 starts, but none after November 5th.  He put up a dismal .152/.278/.217/.495 line in 476 at bats with eight walks, a double, one triple and nine strikeouts, .189 BABIP.  He scored three runs and drove in two.

Leones del Caracas –

Gerwuins Velazco (State College):  Velazco started three of his team’s first 12 games but did not pitch after October 19th.  His overall mark:  0-1, 3 G/GS, 3.75 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 12 IP, 14 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO, 1.50 WHIP, .318 BAA., 333 BABIP.

Jhohan Acevedo (State College):  Acevedo, the only St Louis farmhand to play in the VPL postseason, logged a regular season mark of .268/.455/.293/.747, 11-for-41 in 16 games, 12 starts, with 14 walks, seven strikeouts, seven runs scored, seven RBI and four stolen bases in six attempts, .324 BABIP.  He started all three semifinal contests, going three for 12 with a double, walk and two RBI.  Acevedo was plunked once, giving him a .357 on-base percentage against just a .250 batting average.  He struck out twice.

Tiburones de La Guaira –

Anderson Gerdel (State College):  Gerdel appeared in 11 games in all, starting four times.  His VPL mark:  2-1, 11 G, 4 GS, 4.03 ERA, 29 IP, 35 H, 16 R, 13 ER, 4 HR, 1 HB, 3 BB, 20 SO, 1.31 WHIP, .315 BAA, .356 BABIP, 3 IR/2 IRS in two opportunities

 Puerto Rican League

The struggling Puerto Rican League is down to just four teams with a regular season running from October 30th through December 30, 2015.  They do not play on either Mondays or Thursdays.  Three St. Louis farmhands began the season with the Gigantes de Carolina – pitcher Juan Caballero, outfielder Anthony Garcia and first baseman Jonathan Rodriguez – while Cuban right-hander Pedro Echemendia (State College) was added to Carolina’s roster on December 2nd. Caballero left the organization in the Double-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

Gigantes de Carolina –

Juan Caballero (Miami Rule 5):  Caballero’s numbers as a St. Louis prospect:  His overall mark:  1-1, 9 G, 1 GS, 0.89 ERA, 20.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R/ER, 8 BB (1 IBB), 13 SO, 0.79 WHIP, .114 BAA, .141 BABIP, 4 IR/0 IRS in four opportunities

Pedro Echemendia (State College):  As good as Echemendia was in his initial two outings, he was that bad in his most recent three, the end results being a loss plus two blown saves.  The Cuban took the loss on the 8th, giving up a run on walk, double and fielder’s choice, tossing two frames in all.  Echemendia absorbed his first blown save on Friday, yielding an RBI single to his only batter faced in the 7th, scoring a runner from third.  He was even worse on Tuesday, garnering his second blown save albeit in a tough situation.  Echemendia came into the sixth with two runs already across, his team clinging to a 4-3 advantage and runners on first and second with none out.  The righty tossed gasoline on the fire, surrendering a run-scoring single and infield single that loaded the bases before forcing across another tally on a base-on-balls.  That free pass earned him the hook and his predecessor the loss.  His overall mark:  2-1, (2 BS), 5 G, 6.24 ERA, 4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1.39 WHIP, .250 BAA, .364 BABIP, 5 IR/3 IRS in three opportunities 

Anthony Garcia(Memphis):  Garcia’s numbers went even further south in three starts this week plus with just two singles in 12 at bats, a dreadful .167/.167/.167/.333 line.  He struck out twice and knocked in two.  His overall numbers:  .200/.274/.330/.604, 20-for-100 in 26 games, with four doubles, three home runs, eight walks, 20 strikeouts, 11 runs scored, 16 RBI and a .215 BABIP.  He has committed three miscues.

Jonathan Rodriguez (Springfield):  Rodriguez started twice at first, doubling once in five at bats with three bases-on-balls and two strikeouts.  That makes his overall mark .247/.375/.342/.717, 18-for-73 in 22 games, with seven doubles, 13 walks, 28 strikeouts, seven runs scored and eight knocked in, .400 BABIP.  He committed his first error on the 9th, a throwing miscue.

 Nicaraguan League

The four-team Nicaraguan League got underway on November 3rd and the regular season finishes on January 3rd.  Reliever Jhonny Polanco is part of the Indios del Boer bullpen but no longer part of the Cardinals’ organization.  Polanco was yet another selection in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft.

Indios del Boer –

Jhonny Polanco (Boston Rule 5):  His line:  9 G, 5 SV, 11 IP, 1 H, 2 BB (1 IBB), 7 SO, 0.00 ERA, 0.27 WHIP, .034 BAA, .045 BABIP.


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