Cards Venezuelan Parallel League Hitters

Josh Jones looks back at the recently completed Venezuelan Liga Paralela season for standout position player performances by St. Louis Cardinals prospects.

Many of the St. Louis Cardinals players competing in the Liga Paralela in Venezuela this winter showed considerable improvement compared to their summer season with their respective teams. All are still teenagers.

We could see Jose Garcia being prepped for a starting role at Quad Cities and Domnit Bolivar for Batavia. Several more July 2nd/fall signings saw their first action: Kevin Moscatel, Alexander Castallano, Kaiser Inojosa, Carlos Yeques, and Jose Valera. We saw The Birdhouse's 2007 Position Player of the Year for VSL in Ismael Cardona. And there were Cardinals farm director Jeff Luhnow's players to watch previously mentioned in interviews with The Birdhouse: Kleinenger Teran, Gerardo Mannbel, Yorbel Alcala, Ted Obregon, and Romulo Ruiz.

The Cardinals Parallel team ranked in the top five of all hitting team-vs-team stats for the league. The club had a .270 average (4th), 467 hits (5th), 293 runs (4th), 91 doubles (5th), 8 triples (7th), 42 home runs (3rd), 251 RBI's (4th), 216 walks (3rd), 383 strike outs (2nd), 65 stolen bases (5th), caught stealing 34 times (5th), .365 OBP (4th), and .404 SLG (4th).

The only reasons I can think of that the team had trouble winning was due to the pitching and fielding. The club had a total of 114 errors (3rd overall) in 52 games for a .944 pct (3rd to last overall). The Cardinals also had 12 passed balls (4th overall).

The team was 8-5 in October, then dropped off to 10-14 in November, and ended the winter season at a horrible 5-10. The team started off strong and slumped hard. Also the Cardinals team left 374 runners on base compared to 346 stranded by their opponents.

I went through each player's stats as posted and put together the starters and bench players, and we begin with the starters today. While doing that, I came up with the idea to also list them in the way they fell in the batting order. Each player's age and regular season 2007 team are noted in parentheses following his position and name.

Starting Position Players

SS Ted Obregon (17-DSL) played in 43 games for the Cardinals Parallel team, batting .278 with a .382 OBP and .361 SLG. Obregon was 3rd on the team in doubles (9), 3rd with runs (32), 4th with hits (44), led the team in triples (2), 5th in total bases (57), 4th in walks (20), and 2nd in stolen bases (11). His downsides were that he struck out 25% (40/158) of the time and had 19 errors.

He started out 8th/9th in the lineup and was soon bumped to leadoff in November, when the Cardinals did some adjusting of the lineup. He played all of his games at SS except for a few stints at 3B, 2B, LF, and RF. He also had 12 multiple-hit games. Obregon opened the season up with a six game hitting streak where he batted 8-for-19 (.421) with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 RBI's, 4 runs, 4 stolen bases, assisted in 7 double plays, and only struck out 3 times. His best game came on October 16th when he hit 3-for-3 with 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 stolen bases, and 1 sacrifice.

Obregon showed a lot more in Parallel League play than he did in VSL/DSL. Hopefully we can see some of the same numbers next season. (runners left in scoring position, 2-outs: 15-5, 3 RBI's)

CF Frederick Parejo (17-GCL) played in 47 games for the Cardinals Parallel team, batting .260 with a .393 OBP and .426 SLG. Parejo led the team in runs (37), 3rd in hits (44), 2nd in doubles (11), 3rd in home runs (5), 4th in RBI's (23), 4th in total bases (72), led the team in walks (33), and 4th in stolen bases (7).

Parejo struck out 21% (36/169) of the time, had only 4 errors, and was caught stealing 46% of the time. He made CF his home and did not play any other positions for the Cardinals. Parejo had 12 multiple-hit games and his best game came December 7th when he batted 2-for-4 with 1 home run, 1 double, 3 RBI's, and 1 walk.

Parejo is another player showing dramatic improvement compared to his time at GCL. Maybe this will carry over to next season. (runners left in scoring position, 2-outs: 23-9, 10 RBI's).

2B Jose Garcia (19-Quad Cities) played in 49 games for the Cardinals Parallel team, batting .362 with a .449 OBP and .480 SLG. Garcia led the team in hits (64), doubles (13), stolen bases (20), OBP, batting AVG, and tied for 1st in runs (37). He also was 3rd in RBI's (29), 3rd in total bases (85), 2nd in walks (25), and 5th in SLG.

Garcia struck out 13% (24/177) of the time and had 11 errors. He spent all of his time at 2B, except for a couple stints at 1B and RF at the end of the year. Garcia started out 2nd in the batting order and was dropped to 3rd in November when the lineup was shuffled. Garcia also had 17 multiple hit games. His best game came on November 6th when he went 4-for-6 with 2 doubles, 4 RBI's, 2 runs, and 2 stolen bases.

My thoughts are that he spent this off season in Parallel League to get prepared for a full season at Quad Cities and maybe further on up, and probably work on his fielding. (runners left in scoring position, 2-outs: 20-6, 7 RBI's)

DH Romulo Ruiz (18-GCL) appeared in 48 games for the Cardinals Parallel team, batting .301 with .380 OBP and .541 SLG. Ruiz led the team in RBI's (49) and total bases (99). He was 5th in runs (27), 2nd in hits (55), 3rd in doubles (9), 2nd in home runs (11), 3rd in walks (22), 4th in stolen bases (7), 2nd in SLG, and 4th in AVG for the team. He also led the team in strike outs with 41.

Ruiz was the DH for the team and played one game at 1B, in which he had a fielding error. Ruiz showed a tremendous amount of power that we did not see in the GCL. Ruiz opened his season with a five-game hitting streak in which he went 9-for-24 (.375) with 2 home runs, 1 double, 1 triple, 7 RBI's, 2 runs, 1 walk, and 1 stolen base. Then he had another five-game hitting streak in mid-November. His best game came on October 20th in which he was 3-for-4 with 2 home runs, 5 RBI's, 2 runs, and 1 stolen base. Ruiz also had 17 multiple hit games, 1 multiple HR game, and 11 multiple RBI games.

Some ask why Ruiz didn't get to play shortstop this winter. I personally think he was sent to Parallel League to work on his hitting that he didn't show at GCL. Plus the team already had Obregon and Bolivar who could play the position. (runners left in scoring position, 2-outs: 29-9, 11 RBI's)

3B Domnit Bolivar (18-Batavia) played in 47 games for the Cardinals Parallel team, batting .269 with a .342 OBP and .556 SLG. Bolivar led the team in home runs (12), SLG, and also errors (22). He was 4th in runs (28), 5th in hits (44), 5th in doubles (8), 2nd in RBI's (30), 2nd in total bases (89), tied for 5th in walks (17), and 3rd in stolen bases (9). Bolivar struck out 24% (39/160) of the time and was caught stealing 36% of the time.

Bolivar had 9 multiple-hit games and 7 multiple-RBI games. He spent most of his time at 3B, but also played SS. Bolivar's best game came on October 15th when he hit 3-for-4 with 1 HR, 1 double, 2 RBI's, and 1 run. He did have a couple games with multiple errors.

This was the guy the other teams feared, but couldn't really pitch around cause of Ruiz and Garcia in the lineup. This winter was meant to prepare him for a year at Batavia. He got some pop out of his bat. Now we just need to see his fielding skills improve. (runners left in scoring position, 2-outs: 18-4)

1B Ismael Cardona (18-VSL) played in 40 games for the Cardinals Parallel team, batting .278 with a .391 OBP and .374 SLG. Cardona was 32-for-115 with 17 runs, 2 doubles, 3 home runs, 14 RBI's, 43 total bases, 16 walks, 3 stolen bases, and only 3 errors. He also only struck out 20% (23/115) of the time.

Cardona spent most of his time playing 1B with a few games at C and DH. Cardona had a five-game hitting streak a couple weeks into the winter season where he hit 7-for-15 (.467) with 2 RBI's, 3 runs, 3 walks, 1 stolen base, and only 2 strike outs. He also had five multiple-hit games. His best game came on November 19th when he went 3-for-4 with 1 home run, 2 RBI's, 2 runs, and 1 walk.

The only reason I can think Cardona played a bulk of his time at 1B is cause Ruiz was the DH and the Cardinals had four other catchers on the team. (runners left in scoring position, 2-outs: 22-7, 9 RBI's)

LF Kleinenger Teran (18-VSL) played 39 games for the Cardinals Parallel team, batting .271 with a .391 OBP and .383 SLG. Teran was 29-for-107 with 19 runs, 6 doubles, 2 home runs, 16 RBI's, 41 total bases, and 17 walks. Teran only struck out 21% (22/107) of the time and had 10 errors (4th on the team). Most of Teran's errors came while playing at 3B. He spent most of his time playing LF, but played some games at 3B (less than half) and a couple between 1B and RF.

Teran had three multiple hit games. He was a little slow catching on in the beginning, but by mid-to-late November was hitting consistently. As soon as he caught on, he had a 10-game hitting streak where he was 11-for-30 (.367) with 1 home run, 2 RBI's, 4 runs, and 4 walks. Teran's best game came November 6th when he went 3-for-5 with 1 home run, 3 RBI's, 3 runs, and 1 walk.

His hitting stayed roughly the same as it was when he played for VSL, but he is another who needs some work on his fielding if he plans to play 3B in the future. (runners left in scoring position, 2-outs: 15-3, 5 RBI's)

C Kevin Moscatel (16-July 2nd signing) played 27 games for the Cardinals Parallel team, batting .225 with a .313 OBP and .268 SLG. Moscatel was 16-for-71 with 7 runs, 3 doubles, 5 RBI's, 19 toital bases, 3 walks, and 1 stolen base. Moscatel only struck out 20% (14/71) of the time.

He played all of his time at the catcher position. Moscatel came in a week late in the winter season and bumped Alcala out of the starting role for the team. It was probably to get him some experience at the catcher position, since he had no previous professional experience. While at catcher, he had 5 errors and 5 passed balls. Moscatel had a four-game hitting streak a couple games into his season where he hit 4-for-11 (.363) with 1 double, 2 RBI's, and 2 runs. His best game came on December 12th when he went 2-for-4 with 1 double, 1 RBI, and 1 run.

Will be a guy to keep an eye on and see how well he turns out this coming season. Bumping Alcala might be an indication of good things to come. (runners left in scoring position, 2-outs: 11-3, 3 RBI's)

RF Alberto Rivero (18-VSL) played 36 games for the Cardinals Parallel team, batting .255 with a .325 OBP and .377 SLG. Rivero was 26-for-106 with 12 runs, 7 doubles, 2 home runs, 13 RBI's, 40 total bases, 10 walks, and 1 stolen base. Rivero struck out 25% (26/106) of the time and had only 1 error.

He spent most of his time playing either LF or RF, and a couple games in CF. Rivero opened his winter season with an eight-game hitting streak, going 11-for-31 (.355) with 2 home runs, 2 doubles, 11 RBI's, 3 runs, and 5 strike outs. After his hitting streak, he went into an eight game hitless streak, and soon ended up spending time on the bench. But after all of that he calmed down and moved back into his starting role. Rivero's best game came on October 17th when he hit 3-for-4 with 1 double and had 3 RBI's. His numbers were quite similar to his numbers in VSL. (runners left in scoring position, 2-outs: 21-5, 6 RBI's)

Links to earlier articles in this series:
"Cards Venezuelan Parallel League Relievers"
"Cards Venezuelan Parallel League Starters"

Yet to come: Bench players from the Cardinals team as well as other Cardinals organization Parallel League players that competed for the Aragua squad.



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