Welcome back to The Cardinal Nation’s weekly summary of St. Louis Cardinals players competing in winter leagues around the world. Again in Week 6, we start with the offense.
The 2016 Arizona Fall League prospect showcase is now complete. Final player results were in our Week 5 Report.
The four leagues which join Cuba in the annual Caribbean Series in February continue – the Dominican League (LIDOM), Mexico (LMP) and Venezuela (LVBP) and Puerto Rico League (PWL).
In Puerto Rico, two Cardinals hitters are still participating – Anthony Garcia and Yariel Gonzalez. A third player has joined them in State College outfielder Roberto Bautista.
In the Dominican is Memphis catcher Alberto Rosario, Palm Beach shortstop Juan Herrera plus Peoria outfielder Magneuris Sierra. After multiple weeks of inaction, catcher Luis Cruz and second baseman Eliezer Alvarez have been removed from this report.
The two Mexican Winter League position players still under Cardinals contracts are Cuban outfielder Randy Arozarena and Mexican native and catcher Irving Wilson. Arozarena was named a MWL all-star this past week.
Three hitters are suiting up in Venezuela, including VWL all-star outfielder Jose Martinez, who finished 2016 in St. Louis. Also playing are recently-signed free agent shortstop Wilfredo Tovar and new 40-man roster player, second sacker and outfielder/second baseman Breyvic Valera. Catchers Joshua Lopez and Jose Godoy have been removed here due to inactivity.
Hitting stats - season
Following are hitting stats for the winter ball season through November 30, sorted by OPS.
Hitting standouts - season
Valera continues to increase his winter ball momentum. He leads all Cardinals in the four slash categories, plus is tops in runs, triples and home runs by a considerable amount. Further, like RBI leader Martinez, Valera 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 29 RBI in 31 games. Arozarena leads his league and Cards winter ball players with 14 steals, though his success rate of 63.6 percent could use some improvement.
Newcomer Tovar has a winter slash line comparable to his minor league career, but of note is his system-best 10 doubles. 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 player Sierra’s terrible winter performance across the board is becoming alarming.
Following are hitting stats for the last week only, sorted by batting average.
Hitting standouts – week
The Cardinals had two .400 hitters for the week, but while Gonzalez’ .417 mark is impressive, Valera’s overall stat line blows his and everyone else's away. Valera had the system’s only triple and home run last week and was 3-for-3 in stolen base attempts. Oh yeah, he also batted a cool .455, so his repeat as Player of the Week should be no surprise.
Tovar’s three two-base hits and .389 mark for the week is eye-catching for sure. Martinez continues to knock in runs at an impressive rate with six in seven games. Equally interesting was his six walks to go with seven hits for an OBP for the week of .448.
Garcia is starting to drive in runs with five over six games. Arozarena swiped a couple of bags, though his bat was a bit quieter.
On the other hand, Sierra had a terrible week. He went a dismal 1-for-14 with five strikeouts and was thrown out trying to steal in his one time on the basepaths. Sierra’s overall numbers suggest he is overmatched this winter.
Look for the Week 6 Pitching Report coming on Thursday.
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