Welcome back to The Cardinal Nation’s weekly summary of St. Louis Cardinals players competing in winter leagues around the world. Here in Week 5, we start with the offense.
The 2016 Arizona Fall League prospect showcase is now complete. This is the final week those player results will appear here.
The four leagues which join Cuba in the annual Caribbean Series in February are all underway – including the Dominican League (LIDOM), Mexico (LMP) and Venezuela (LVBP) and Puerto Rico League (PWL).
In the AFL, the Cardinals position player contingent includes catcher Carson Kelly, shortstop Paul DeJong and outfielder Harrison Bader.
In Puerto Rico, two Cardinals hitters are still participating – Anthony Garcia and Yariel Gonzalez. Luke Voit was released this past week, so this is his final appearance here.
In the Dominican are catchers Luis Cruz and Alberto Rosario plus Peoria teammates, outfielder Magneuris Sierra and second baseman Eliezer Alvarez. A new, fifth addition is Palm Beach shortstop Juan Herrera.
The two Mexican Winter League position players still under Cardinals contracts are Cuban outfielder Randy Arozarena and Mexican native and catcher Irving Wilson.
Five hitters are suiting up in Venezuela, including recently-signed free agent shortstop Wilfredo Tovar. Outfielder Jose Martinez, who finished in St. Louis, and his Memphis teammate and new 40-man roster player, second sacker and outfielder Breyvic Valera, are also competing. Catchers Jose Godoy and Joshua Lopez are active, too.
Hitting stats - season
Following are hitting stats for the winter ball season through November 19, sorted by OPS.
Hitting standouts - season
There is no way around it. Valera is hitting like a man possessed. For the winter season, he leads all Cardinals in all four slash categories, in doubles, triples and home runs and has more walks than strikeouts.
Martinez and Arozarena have similar strong batting average and on-base marks, but Martinez has more power as well as an organization-best 23 RBI in 24 games. Arozarena leads Cards with 12 steals, though his success rate of 60 percent could use some improvement.
Kelly finished his AFL campaign strongly. His 18 RBI in 23 games tied for second-most in the league. Just four strikeouts in 77 at-bats is pretty impressive, indeed. It will be interesting to see if Kelly can continue his offensive upturn to start 2017. He certainly has momentum.
Bader batted .304 in Arizona and his .779 OPS was certainly respectable. The outfielder’s 16 RBI in 21 games was also not shabby at all. In the desert, DeJong hit like a shortstop, which he now is.
Newcomer Tovar has a winter slash line comparable to his minor league career. Anthony Garcia has yet to get on one of his patented hot streaks, which once led him to the PR batting title. New 40-man roster players Sierra and Alvarez are showing absolutely nothing in winter ball.
Following are hitting stats for the last week only, sorted by batting average.
Hitting standouts – week
Valera is showing impressive pop, with over half of his 13 hits for the week going for extra bases, including three long balls. The utilityman also drew five free passes on his way to our Player of the Week honors.
Martinez tied Valera with six RBI, but did it in just seven contests. So far, he is St. Louis’ fourth outfielder for next season, though that will surely change in the weeks ahead.
Shortstops Herrera, starting his winter ball play, and DeJong, finishing his, each hit .333 last week.
On the other hand, Garcia and Sierra both batted in the .220s for the week. The former stroked four doubles, but just three singles in 31 at-bats. The latter had just 10 plate appearances, likely losing playing time due to poor results.
Tovar, Gonzalez, Voit, Irving and Rosario all hit under the Mendoza Line for the period. Alvarez did not play last week.
Look for the Week 5 Cardinals Winter Ball Pitching Report coming on Monday.
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