Venezuelan Summer League Cards Report: 07/06

After eight weeks of play in the 2008 Venezuelan Summer League, the VSL Cardinals rookie-level club has a 20-22-2 record, in sixth, nine games out of first place in the eight-team league. Gerardo Mannbel and Javier Avendano are among this week's standouts.



The VSL Cardinals sunk, stunk (pick a word) in their eighth week.  They began the week extending their winning streak to three games.  But the second game of this period started a whirlwind down hill.  A four-game losing streak would follow and end the week, which hopefully doesn't continue going forward.  The pitching took another hit and the hitting slumped as no batter took the reins this week for the team.  The team went 1-4 in six games (one being suspended due to weather), falling to sixth in the league, and nine games out of first.


The Cardinals began the week with a 6-3 win over the Pirates, scoring five in the 5th inning.  The team got some all around solid pitching from the starter and relievers.  Walks and errors were the downfall for the Pirates.  The next game will probably go down as one of the worst of the season.  The team would commit a season high ten errors.  Ten errors?  I still can't believe it.  The Cardinals lost the game 9-4 to the Rays.  Ten errors and the Rays win by only five.  Only two runs from the game were earned for the pitching staff.  I'm still in shock and awe here. 


The Astros came to town the next day and this would end in the 7th tied 2-2 due to rain.  The game will be finished on July 18 when the Astros come back to town.  In this game the Cardinals brought the same gloves committing another three errors, costing a possible win for a solid starter.  Next up, the Cardinals visited the Phillies and kept within distance, but again no win.  The team lost 3-1 as the their closer blew the save, as the Phils chalked up three runs in the bottom of the 8th.  A well wasted start by the Cardinals' star arm. 


In the following two games, the Cardinals give up a total of 17 runs.  The bullpen blew the first of the two, allowing seven runs in the last four frames.  In three of those four, the Mariners scored two runs in each.  The last game of the week, we saw the bullpen blow two saves in one game following a struggling starter.  Once again, the Cardinals' closer couldn't hold the lead for the win, giving up two runs in the bottom of the ninth. This came after the team scored two in the top of the ninth for the lead. The Tigers committed four errors but still took the win, 9-8. 


Ten errors, ten errors, ten errors....I still can't get past it.


Who's Hot


Gerardo Mannbel makes a slow return to the Hot List.  The 18-year old middle infielder will be carrying a six-game hitting streak into the next week.  Mannbel went 6-for-16 (.375) with one RBI, two runs, two walks, one stolen base, two strike outs, and one caught stealing.  On a negative note, he did commit three errors in one game (the day the team had ten total).  Could be the beginning of a slump breaker.


Jesus Montero finally showed some life at the plate this week, collecting three hits in four games played.  The 17-year old catcher went 3-for-9 hitting his first home run of the season and driving in three runs while only striking out twice.  The Cardinals 2007 July 2nd signee also gunned down two of three base runners making steal attempts.


Javier Avendano keeps adding on to his stellar rookie season in the Cardinals organization.  The 17-year old right-handed starter made one start this week on July 3 vs. the Astros.  The Cardinals 2007 July 2nd signee pitched six scoreless innings allowing only two hits, one walk, striking out seven and committing one balk.  Yonathan Gonzalez blew the save and Avendano didn't get a decision in his impressive effort.  The 6'3" 180 pounder had struck out six or more in his last three of four starts.


Hector Corpas turned it around in his latest start after struggling in his last two outings.  The 18-year old right-hander made his only start on July 2 vs. the Astros.  He pitched five scoreless innings allowing only three hits, three walks, and striking out three. Unfortunately the pitcher he replaced in the VSL Cardinals rotation, Moises Colorado, gave up two runs and rain fell causing the game to be suspended at a 2-2 standstill.


Miguel Lopez has been a steady arm out of the bullpen for the VSL Cardinals squad.  The 17-year old left-handed specialist made two appearances this week.  In his first on July 3, he pitched a 1/3 of an inning allowing no hits or runs and striking out one, but he did walk two (one was intentional.  Lopez, who was signed on February 17, 2007, has only allowed three earned runs in his last ten outings (18 innings).


Who's Not


Yorbel Alcala continues his struggling ways at the plate.  The 18-year old C/1B/DH went 3-for-20 (.150) with one RBI and three strikeouts.  Alcala, who was signed on July 17, 2006, made one start at catcher this last week gunning down one of two attempting base stealers.  The second-year VSL participant has been seeing less time at the catcher position as the team gives newcomers Jesus Montero and Limbert Rivas more experience.


Jose Cortez took a dive this week after having a great week before.  The 19-year old outfielder went 1-for-17 (.059) with four strikeouts.  The second-year VSL participant still has gone 10-for-36 in his last ten games, including a five-hit game and has a .223 average on the season.


Yonathan Gonzalez managed to blow two saves in three save situations this week.  The 20-year old right-handed closer's best outing came June 30 in which he pitched one inning allowing two hits and no runs en route to his team-leading seventh save.  The next two were different stories.  In those two opportunities, he pitched a total of two innings allowing five hits, five (earned) runs, one walk, two hit batters, and striking out two.  The 6'1" 170 pound Venezuelan would take home both the loss and blown save in those two games.  It very unusual to see Gonzalez walk batters as he only has seven over 30.1 innings.


Carlos Noguera finally appeared after being pushed back due to weather.  The 19-year old right-handed starter made two starts this week. The first was on June 30, as he pitched five innings allowing four hits, two runs (one earned), one walk, two hit batter, struck out two, and had one throwing error.  He claimed the win as the bullpen was solid following him.  Noguera, signed by the Cardinals on July 12, 2005, crumbled in his next start on July 5.  He had his shortest start since joining the rotation, lasting only two innings allowing seven hits, five (earned) runs, one walk, and striking out one.  Hopefully he just hit a small bump in the road, from being idle for nine days, and he can regroup in the next week.


New Additions, Notes and Missing in Action


Ildemaro Vargas was recently signed and added to the VSL Cardinals roster this past week.  The 17-year old utility infielder made his debut July 2, at second base, going 0-for-2 with one strikeout, one throwing error, and assisted in one double play in a rain shortened game.  His next game came July 3, this time playing short stop, as he went 0-for-3 with one fielding error. 


Francisco Guzman has made the switch from catcher/first baseman to relieve pitcher.  You can read all about the newly converted right-hander here.


Cristofher Dumont still has been out of action since June 16.  No word yet has been released on whether or not he will be joining the GCL squad yet as reported in a St. Louis Cardinals release a couple weeks ago.


David Brito has been missing since June 23.  This is very unusual as the 19-year old reliever usually makes two or three short, quick appearances a week.


Jose Valera who was brought in during the Venezuelan Parallel League in the winter did not catch on with the Cardinals organization.  No age was released on him, but the right-handed hitter played third base going 0-for-1 with one run in his only appearance.


Venezuelan Summer League


The team's overall hitting took a couple steps back, dropping from .246 to .244.  The Cardinals are last in doubles, triples, SLG, and OPS.  They are also second to last in hits, total bases, stolen bases, OBP, and AVG.  The team's pitching stumbled again this week, as the ERA rose from 3.48 to 3.59 and their WHIP sits at 1.38 (3rd overall).


Gerardo Mannbel is 5th with 49 hits, tied for 8th with four home runs, tied for 11th with 70 total bases, tied for 8th with 20 walks, 8th with a .411 OBP, 9th with a .446 SLG, and 6th with a .857 OPS.


Alberto Rivero is tied for 4th with three triples and tied for 8th with 26 RBIs.


Hector Corpas is tied for 7th with four wins.


David Brito is tied for 7th with four wins.


Moises Colorado is 5th with 38 strikeouts.


Yonathan Gonzalez is tied for 3rd with seven saves and tied for 1st with 20 game finishes.


Deimer Bier is 8th with a 1.02 WHIP.


Miguel Lopez and Carlos Oraa are both tied (along with five others) with three holds.


Next Up


July 7: Split doubleheader: Mets, followed by @ Mets (19-26, 7th Place)

July 8: @ Pirates (30-14, 1st Place)

July 9: Rays (22-21-2, 4th Place)

July 10: @ Astros (22-22-1, 5th Place)

July 11: Phillies (23-19-3, 3rd Place)

July 12: @ Mariners (27-17-1, 2nd Place)


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