Breyvic Valera (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Weekly summary of 14 St. Louis Cardinals position players competing in winter leagues around the world.

In our second St. Louis Cardinals winter league report of the 2016-2017 period, Breyvic Valera is the Hitter of the Week.

Welcome back to The Cardinal Nation’s weekly summary of St. Louis Cardinals players competing in winter leagues around the world. As I mentioned last week, as more leagues open play, I will be breaking the hitters and pitchers into separate reports. We start today with the offense.

The leagues

The Arizona Fall League prospect showcase is in its third week of action.

The main change from last week is that the Dominican League (LIDOM) opened on Thursday, October 20 so is included for the first time. Now, three of the four leagues which join Cuba in the annual Caribbean Series in February are underway – including Mexico (LMP) and Venezuela (LVBP). Puerto Rico follows on October 27.

In addition, there is a minor winter league in Venezuela called Liga Paralela or Parallel League. At times, players move up to the LVBP temporarily and many times right back down.

Other winter leagues yet to open, which typically feature lower level players from those nations, include Panama (November 3) and Colombia (November 4).

The hitters

So far, two top prospect hitters are playing in the Dominican - 2016 Peoria teammates outfielder Magneuris Sierra and second baseman Eliezer Alvarez. In addition, a player added as depth at Palm Beach during August, utility man Jose Fernandez, is suiting up. (I will carry Fernandez, Efren Navarro and other prospective free agents in these reports until they are officially granted free agency.)

In the AFL, the Cardinals position player contingent includes catcher Carson Kelly, Paul DeJong, who is playing shortstop, and outfielder Harrison Bader.

In Mexico, the player to watch is Cuban center fielder Randy Arozarena, Grana’s winter ball teammate. Mexican native and league veteran Efren Navarro is also back as is young catcher Irving Wilson.

Four hitters are suiting up in Venezuela, two regulars and two part-timers. Outfielder Jose Martinez, who finished in St. Louis, played his first game Wednesday and his Memphis teammate, second sacker Breyvic Valera is also competing. Catchers Jose Godoy and Joshua Lopez are also active.

Though Leobaldo Pina was pushed to third base at Peoria due to the presence of other prospects, he is back at shortstop in Liga Paralela.

Hitting stats - season

Following are hitting stats for the winter ball season through October 25, sorted by OPS.

Hitter Pos Lvl Tm Lg AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS  
Martinez, Jose OF Mem LAG LVBP 0.412 0.476 0.588 1.064
Valera, Breyvic 2B Mem MAR LVBP 0.360 0.414 0.600 1.014
Wilson, Irving C GCL CUL LMP 0.400 0.400 0.533 0.933
Bader, Harrison OF Sgf GDD AFL 0.370 0.400 0.519 0.919
Arozarena, Randy CF TBD NAV LMP 0.348 0.455 0.413 0.868
Navarro, Efren OF Mem HER LMP 0.327 0.352 0.429 0.780
Kelly, Carson C Mem GDD AFL 0.235 0.300 0.441 0.741
Sierra, Magneuris OF Peo TOR LIDOM 0.250 0.400 0.250 0.650
Lopez, Joshua C JC MAR LVBP 0.125 0.125 0.500 0.625
Godoy, Jose Peo ORI LVBP 0.222 0.364 0.222 0.586
DeJong, Paul SS Sgf GDD AFL 0.194 0.182 0.290 0.472
Fernandez, Jose UT PB CIB LIDOM 0.222 0.125 0.125 0.347
Alvarez, Eliezer 2B Peo ESC LIDOM 0.000 0.167 0.000 0.167
                 
Pina, Leobaldo SS Peo CCS Par 0.282 0.349 0.513 0.862

 

Hitter G   AB   R   H   2B   3B   HR   RBI   BB   SO   SB   CS  
Martinez, Jose 5 17 3 7 0 0 1 2 3 2 0 1
Valera, Breyvic 14 50 12 18 4 1 2 6 6 6 2 2
Wilson, Irving 6 15 6 6 2 0 0 1 0 4 0 0
Bader, Harrison 8 27 6 10 1 0 1 5 2 7 1 2
Arozarena, Randy 12 46 11 16 3 0 0 3 5 5 3 6
Navarro, Efren 12 49 5 16 2 0 1 9 3 8 1 0
Kelly, Carson 9 34 4 8 1 0 2 10 3 3 1 0
Sierra, Magneuris 4 12 3 3 0 0 0 1 2 2 0 0
Lopez, Joshua 3 8 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 2 0 0
Godoy, Jose 4 9 2 2 0 0 0 2 1 1 0 0
DeJong, Paul 9 31 2 6 0 0 1 6 0 9 0 0
Fernandez, Jose 5 16 1 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0
Alvarez, Eliezer 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0
                         
Pina, Leobaldo 10 39 9 11 6 0 1 6 4 6 2 0

Hitting standouts - season

The performance of the first five hitters in the tables above stand out with the most encouraging results coming from Valera in Venezuela, Bader in Arizona and Arozarena in Mexico.

http://www.scout.com/player/175479-harrison-bader?s=321

Also of note is Martinez’ play as he also looked good with the bat for St. Louis in September. Martinez could be protecting his 40-man roster spot this winter, a spot Valera would surely covet.

http://www.scout.com/player/190376-irving-wilson?s=321

The other player in my top five is the 20-year-old catcher Wilson, who is earning more playing time in Mexico. It is encouraging to see a young player who suited up this summer in the rookie level Gulf Coast League doing well against much more experienced competition.

Hot hitters

Following are hitting stats for the last week, sorted by batting average.

Week G   AB   R   H   2B   3B   HR   RBI   BB   SO   SB   CS   BA
Wilson, Irving 3 11 5 5 2 0 0 1 0 3 0 0 0.455
Valera, Breyvic 5 18 5 8 2 1 0 1 3 1 1 0 0.444
Arozarena, Randy 6 24 6 8 3 0 0 1 2 4 0 2 0.333
Bader, Harrison 4 12 1 4 0 0 0 3 0 3 0 2 0.333
Martinez, Jose 4 13 2 4 0 0 0 1 3 1 0 1 0.308
DeJong, Paul 4 14 1 4 0 0 1 4 0 4 0 0 0.286
Navarro, Efren 6 24 2 6 1 0 1 6 1 3 0 0 0.250
Sierra, Magneuris 4 12 3 3 0 0 0 1 2 2 0 0 0.250
Kelly, Carson 4 16 2 3 1 0 1 5 1 1 1 0 0.188
Pina, Leobaldo 3 12 2 2 1 0 0 1 1 3 0 0 0.167
Fernandez, Jose 5 16 1 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0.125
Alvarez, Eliezer 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 0.000
Godoy, Jose 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
Lopez, Joshua 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.000

Hitting standouts – week

Though in a different order, the same five hitting standouts for the season to date also lead the hot list for the last week. Arozarena collected his first three extra-base hits this fall, all doubles.

http://www.scout.com/player/210771-randy-arozarena?s=321

But Valera is my Hitter of the Week, going 8-for-18 (.444) including two doubles and a triple. He also drew three free passes, plated a run, stole a base and scored five runs in five games.

http://www.scout.com/player/143613-breyvic-valera?s=321

Note that DeJong is getting his feet on the ground in Arizona as Kelly is slumping with the bat.

Though it is very early in the Dominican, I really like that Sierra has drawn two walks in his first four games. I am hoping we see a bit of gap power this winter, too.

Alvarez is off to a rough start with three strikeouts and a walk in six plate appearances, but of course, one good game could turn that around quickly. Both he and Sierra are up for 40-man roster consideration this fall, so keep that in mind when evaluating their performances.

Next up

Look for the Week 2 Pitching Report coming on Thursday.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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