Venezuelan Summer League Cards Report: 07/20

After nine weeks of play in the 2008 Venezuelan Summer League, the VSL Cardinals rookie-level club has fallen below .500 at 25-27-4, in sixth, ten games out of first place in the eight-team league. Alberto Rivero and Geney Rios are among this week's standouts.



The VSL Cardinals had a rough ninth week after a great last week.  They began a losing streak that was carried over and was extended to three games.  Errors were a huge difference maker in a couple of the games played this period.  The team committed 14 errors in the last four games.  Cardinals went on to end the losing streak, tie the next one, and started up another losing streak once again.  The Cardinals went 1-3-1 this period, dropping their record to 25-27-3 and they fell to 6th place, ten games out of first.


The Tigers visited the Cardinals for the first game of the week and they clubbed 11 hits and outscored the Redbirds 4-2.  The Cards' bats were just not there in this game as they were held to only four hits.  The Cardinals then headed on the road to take on the Mets, getting better results this time around.  The team got some solid pitching from their starter and their first baseman hit a grand slam in the top of the 7th to put the Cardinals up 5-2.  Unfortunately rain came and forced the game to be suspended, which will be finished on July 23. 


Next the Pirates came to town and shut out the Cardinals 3-0.  The Pirates scored two in the first inning and never looked back, even though the Redbirds' pitching struck out a total of nine.  The team's third baseman committed three costly errors.  The Rays took on the Cardinals in a double header the next day.  First was a home game as one of the team's pitchers made a rehab start and the following pitcher went seven strong innings.  For the second game, the Cardinals headed over to the Rays field and ended their winning streak with a 2-2 tie.  With a shorthanded pitching staff, this game was a bullpen game, which went very well until the Cardinals closer blew the save in the in the top of the 8th.


And for the last game of the week, the Astros sent the Cardinals on another losing streak. This contest was a completion of the 2-2 tie from July 2.  Five errors were committed during this game, again costing the win, but the team's reliever finished off the last two innings allowing only one hit.  The Cardinals were to have the regularly-scheduled game following but weather postponed it and the next game.


The VSL Cardinals have a little over two weeks left in their regular season, which ends August 2 if weather doesn't cause any more problems.  Counting it up, they have 13 games left, pending any rescheduled rainouts.


Who's Hot


Alberto Rivero keeps his name on the hot list with a nine-game hitting streak and a ten-game on base streak currently.  The 19-year old outfielder went 5-for-17 (.295) with one double, two runs, three walks, one stolen base, and two strikeouts.  The second year VSL participant also claimed a running victim with one outfield assist.  He is steady climbing right in behind Gerardo Mannbel in the team leader in most offensive stats.


Hector Garcia has a two game hitting streak and has a hit in seven of his last ten games.  The 18-year old third baseman went 5-for-13 (.385) with two doubles, two runs, one RBI, one walk, and three strikeouts.  The Cardinals' 2007 July 2nd signee has seen his average gradually climb to .286 as he's gone 10-for-33 in his last ten games.  He also is 2nd on the team with six doubles, 3rd with hits (48), walks (21), average, and still leads the team with 17 errors.


Roberto Perez made the list due to the two home runs he hit during the week.  The 19-year old first baseman hasn't really been hitting too well all season (.201) and it still showed this week (2-for-16).  But when Perez connected for both of his hits, one counted for a win and the other took a lead (game on hold due to rain).  Perez hit a two-run home run on July 15 as the team scored a total of four runs in that inning, but the game was suspended.  On July 17 in game one of a doubleheader, the Cardinals' February 17, 2007 signee clubbed a grand slam putting the game out of reach from the Rays.  His two home runs put him in a three-way tie for 2nd on the Cardinals squad.


Geney Rios backed up Javier Avendano who lasted only two innings on July 17.  The 20-year old right-hander was called in for the 3rd inning and pitched the rest of the game, going seven innings allowing five hits, two runs (one earned), and striking out seven for his second 2008 win.  The Cardinals' March 4, 2006 signee now has a 2-3 record and 3.02 ERA and has racked up 45 strikeouts over 56.2 innings.


Fabian Marquez has really bounced back from a rough end to his June.  The 16-year old long-reliever made his first and only relief appearance on July 14, picking up the last 3.1 innings of the game allowing four hits, one (earned) run, two walks, and striking out two.  With the VSL Cardinals being shorthanded in the starting department, Marquez was called upon to make a start on July 17 in game 2 of a doubleheader.  The Cardinals' 2008 signee went four innings allowing two hits, one (unearned) run, two walks, and striking out two.


Who's Not


Gerardo Mannbel continues to stagger after starting the season out very hot.  The 18-year old shortstop went 3-for-13 (.231) with two doubles, two RBIs, two runs, and one strikeout.  The Cardinals' February 17, 2007 signee may not be hitting the ball very well lately but that doesn't mean he's striking out either.  On the season Mannbel has only struck out 15 times in 190 at-bats.  He also picked up another error, putting him at a two-way tie for second on the club.


Anthony Fonseca has seen a drip in his production also.  The 19-year old outfielder went 3-for-16 (.188) with one double, two runs, one RBI, one walk, and two strikeouts this past week.  The Cardinals' February 11, 2007 signee had a hot streak mid-June to early-July and has since calmed, dropping his average to .265 after going 7-for-36 (.194) in his last ten games. 


Jose Cortez was another everyday player that had a tough week.  The 19-year old outfielder went 2-for-15 (.133) with one RBI, one run, four walks, one stolen base, and five strikeouts this past week.  The second year VSL participant has now struck out once in each of his last five games.  Cortez also had two outfield assists as he showed off his arm on July 15 and 16.


Billy Bolivar is having one of the worst Julys of all the Cardinals who are getting regular playing time.  The 20-year old utility player went 0-for-14 with four strikeouts this past week.  The Cardinals' January 21, 2006 signee collected three errors in one game on July 16 which cost the team the game.  In his last ten games he's only connected for one hit in 35 at-bats as he's struck out ten times and only walked four times.


Yonathan Gonzalez once again proved his recent closer struggles are not over.  The 20-year old right-handed reliever made one relief appearance on July 17, blowing the save opportunity and letting the Rays end it in a 2-2 tie.  The third year VSL participant pitched to only three batters giving up two hits, one (earned) run, getting one ground out, and laying claim to one balk before being pulled for another reliever.  His balk led to the runner moving from first to second and a passed ball following allowed the runner to come around and score.  In his last three outings he has blown two saves and allowed the winning run to score in a tie ball game.


Missing in Action and a Return


Javier Avendano made his return after missing a start in the rotation.  He faced eight batters, giving up two hits, no runs, striking out three, and getting three ground outs on July 17 before making an early exit after two innings.


Outfielder Cristofer Dumont out since June 16. 

Reliever David Brito out since June 23. 

Reliever Francisco Guzman out since July 4.

Infielder Moises Marquez out since July 7.

1B/C Yorbel Alcala, reliever Ruben Alvarado, and reliever Jackson Solarte have all not made appearances since July 8.


Venezuelan Summer League


The Cardinals team batting fell from .248 to .243.  The team is sitting in the bottom half of the league in all hitting stats except for walks, which they are in 3rd with 180.


The team pitching's ERA improved from 3.59 to 3.42 and their WHIP improved from 1.35 to 1.33.  Other pitching stats are sitting middle of the road compared to the rest of the league.


Gerardo Mannbel is in 5th with a .316 AVG, 6th with 60 hits, tied for 10th with four home runs, 10th with 83 total bases, 7th with a .411 OBP, 8th with a .437 SLG, and 5th with a .848 OPS.


Alberto Rivero is tied for 10th with 55 hits, tied for 4th with three triples, and 10th with 28 RBIs.


Hector Corpas and David Brito are tied with others for 9th with four wins.


Carlos Noguera is in 10th with a 2.67 ERA.


Yonathan Gonzalez is tied for 3rd with eight saves and 2nd with 23 game finishes.


Geney Rios is in 8th with 56.2 innings pitch and 7th with 45 strikeouts.


Moises Colorado is in 4th with 51 strike outs.


Deimer Bier is in 2nd with a 0.96 WHIP.


Miguel Lopez, Carlos Oraa, and Fernando Cedeno are tied with others for 2nd with three holds.


Up Next


July 21: Mariners (34-21-1, 2nd Place)

July 22: @ Tigers (18-38-1, 8th Place)

July 23: @ Mets (completion of 7-15-08 game), then Mets visit for new game (21-34, 7th Place)

July 24: @ Pirates (37-19-1, 1st Place)

July 25: Rays (26-28-3, 5th Place)

July 26: @ Astros (29-27, 4th Place)


VSL Official Site:


MiLB VSL Cardinals Site: link



© 2008 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories