‘08 VSL Cards Starting Position Players Recap

The third of a four-part series looks at season highlights for the 2008 Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals' starting position players.

Jose Cortez played in 51 games batting .251 (44-for-175) with a .307 OBP, .371 SLG, and .678 OPS.  The 19-year old right-handed swinger had ten doubles, one triple, three home runs, 13 RBIs, 65 total bases, scored 23 runs, and walked 13 times.  He was 7-for-10 in stolen base attempts, struck out 16% (28) of the time, and had three errors.  Cortez spent most of the season as the team's starting LF and had a game here or there in CF and RF. 

 

The 2nd year VSL participant was pegged as the Cardinals' lead off hitter and was only bumped to the 9th and 2nd spot a couple of times.  He started the season out very slowly for a leadoff hitter and it seems was benched or injured in mid-June and returned with a little fire in his belly.  Cortez hit his first home run on May 20 and had nine multi-hit games over the season.  The 6'0" 165 pounder had two really great games, one on June 25 as he went 5-for-6 with one double and three RBIs and on July 24 when he went 4-for-5 with two doubles, two runs, and two stolen bases.  He had a four-game hitting streak that spanned July 24-26 as he hit 8-for-16 (.500) with three doubles, one RBI, three runs, and stole three bases.  (Runners left in scoring position with 2-outs: 25)

 

There wasn't much improvement from Cortez this season.  All his stats stayed pretty steady compared to last season. He could possibly be looking at a promotion to GCL if he is not released over the off-season.

 

 

Anthony Fonseca played in 56 games batting .265 (49-for-185) with a .380 OBP, .308 SLG, and .688 OPS.  The 19-year old right-handed swinger had four doubles, two triples, 18 RBIs, 57 total bases, scored 28 runs, and walked 20 times.  He was 11-for-14 in stolen base attempts, struck out 16% (30) of the time, and had one error.  Fonseca spent most of his time playing RF for the Cardinals but also got in some time in LF.

 

The Cardinals' February 11, 2007 free agent signing began the season flip-flopping between the 1st and 9th spot in the batting order, even taking over for Jose Cortez for a short time in June.  He later was slotted in the 2nd hole.  Fonseca had 14 multi-hit games and best game came May 19 when he went 3-for-6 with one double, two RBIs, and one run.  He had a five game hitting streak from May 13-28, as he hit 10-for-19 with one double, 6 RBIs, and one run. (Runners left in scoring position with 2-outs: 18)

 

Fonseca showed a lot of improvement and received more quality playing time, due to injuries and benchings.  He could see some time in winter ball and a possible return to the VSL, to see if his improvement is not a fluke.

 

 

Alberto Rivero played in 66 games batting .309 (73-for-236) with a .376 OBP, .403 SLG, and .778 OPS.  The 19-year old left-handed swinger had 10 doubles, three triples, two home runs, 33 RBIs, 95 total bases, scored 32 runs, and walked 26 times.  He was 5-for-11 in stolen base attempts, struck out 13% (30) of the time, and had four errors.  Rivero was the everyday CF for the Cardinals.

 

The Cardinals' February 12, 2007 free agent signing was one of two players that kept this team going throughout the season in the batting department.  He started out a little slowly but by mid-June and July he was on fire.  Rivero had 20 multi-hit games, had a 16-game hitting streak from July 8-26, and was on base in 22 straight games from June 9-July 26.  The 5'10" 155 pounder clubbed his first home run on May 29 and he hit a grand slam on June 13.  (Runners left in scoring position with 2-outs: 13)

 

Rivero could be seeing an invitation to instructional fall instructional league and a promotion to GCL in 2009 as he showed a lot of improvement over the 2007 season.  He had an outstanding year, even over taking Gerardo Mannbel for the team's lead in batting average.

 

 

Gerardo Mannbel played in 67 games batting .302 (71-for-235) with a .401 OBP, .421 SLG, and .822 OPS.  He had 14 doubles, one triple, four home runs, 29 RBIs, 99 total bases, scored 33 runs, and walked 28 times.  He was 9-for-14 in stolen base attempts, struck out 9% (20) of the time, and picked up 19 errors.  Mannbel mainly played at SS, but also got some time in here and there at 2B and 3B.

 

The Cardinals' February 17, 2007 free agent signing was the other player that kept the Cardinals going in the batting lineup.  Mannbel opened the season knocking the ball around the park and as the season continued on he slowed down quite a bit and wasn't as big of a threat.  He had 19 multi-hit games and had a seven-game hitting streak from June 27-July 7 going 9-for-24.  The 5'11" 165 pounder had his best game May 13 when he went 4-for-5 with one double, one home run, and three RBIs.  He also had a three error game on July 1 and committed a majority of his errors in the last month of the season.  (Runners left in scoring position with 2-outs: 27)

 

Mannbel was mentioned by Jeff Luhnow after 2007 as one of the highlights up the middle for the VSL squad.  And after his improvement in 2008, he may also follow Alberto Rivero to instructional league in the fall and GCL in 2009.

 

 

Hector Garcia played in 59 games batting .282 (58-for-206) with a .355 OBP, .354 SLG, and .709 OPS.  The 18-year old right-handed swinger had nine doubles, two home runs, 23 RBIs, 73 total bases, scored 18 runs, and walked 24 times.  He was 2-for-4 in the stolen base attempts, struck out 18% (37) of the time, and committed 20 errors.  Garcia was the team's everyday 3B, and played a couple games at 1B and served as DH.

 

The Cardinals' July 1, 2007 free agent signing did very well taking over for Kleineger Teran who was promoted to GCL for 2008.  The bulk of his errors came in the beginning of the season, but his bat spoke very well for him.  Garcia had 12 multi-hit games including two for four hits.  His best game came June 7 when he went 2-for-4 with one double, one home run, and drove in two runs.  The 6'1" 185 pounder had a nine-game hitting streak between June 10 and June 19 as he went 13-for-32 including a 4-for-4 performance on June 12.  (Runners left in scoring position with 2-outs: 18)

 

Garcia will be looking at his second full season in the Cardinals organization in 2009 (he played only 25 games as a back up in 2007).  I'm figuring a spot on the Parallel League roster over the winter and maybe a return to VSL in the following summer, but don't take my word for it as Jeff Luhnow named him a top position player in the pre-season.

 

 

Roberto Perez played in 54 games batting .196 (31-for-158) with a .291 OBP, .285 SLG, and .575 OPS.  The 19-year old right-handed swinger had five doubles, three home runs, 16 RBIs, 45 total bases, scored 17 runs, and walked 18 times.  He was caught stealing in his only stolen base attempt, struck out 25% (39) of the time, and committed five errors.  He was the go-to guy at 1B for the Cardinals.

 

The Cardinals' February 17, 2007 free agent signing jumped around the middle of the batting order, at times hitting 6th then moving to clean up and ending the season in the 6th spot.  Perez had five multi-hit games.  The 6'0" 185 pounder had a 4-for-5 performance with one double, two RBIs, and one run on May 16.  Perez' best game would have to be the one in which he hit a grand slam in on July 17, for his only hit of the game.  He had a three-game hitting streak between July 10-12 as he went 4-for-11 with two RBIs.  (Runners left in scoring position with 2-outs: 18)

 

Jeff Luhnow named Perez as one of his top position players in the pre-season, but he didn't really improve much in 2008 compared to 2007.  Perez may be looking at spending some time in winter ball and a return to VSL in 2009.  He just seems more like roster filler right now, with little pop at times.

 

 

Billy Bolivar played in 54 games batting .214 (37-for-173) with a .313 OBP, .289 SLG, and .602 OPS.  The 20-year old right-handed swinger had four doubles, three home runs, 21 RBIs, 50 total bases, scored 26 runs, and walked 20 times.  He was 5-for-8 in stolen base attempts, struck out 18% (32) of the time, and committed six errors.  Bolivar showed versatility during the season playing multiple positions for the VSL Cardinals.  He played 12 games in RF, eight in LF, seven as DH, five at both 2B and 1B, four at 3B, two in CF, one at SS, and he played two or more positions in his other games.

 

The Cardinals' January 21, 2006 free agent signing was up and down over the 2008 season.  He opened the first month hitting the ball, then cooled off until mid-June and then again cooled off ‘til the end of the season.  Bolivar was a starter but not at one particular position, basically filling in as a reserve type player giving rest to the everyday players or injured.  The 5'11" 170 pounder had six multi-hit games and clubbed his first home run on May 18 driving in three runs in that same game.  Bolivar had a six-game hitting streak from June 25-July 4 as he hit 9-for-21 with two doubles, one home run, four RBIs, and scored six runs.  (Runners left in scoring position with 2-outs: 32).

 

After playing his 3rd year (2nd full season) in the VSL, Bolivar could be looking at an invitation to the instructional leagues in the fall.  I think Bolivar being able to play multiple positions is one thing that will keep him around in the organization at least for another year.

 

 

Yorbel Alcala played in 49 games batting .244 (38-for-156) with a .292 OBP, .308 SLG, and .599 OPS.  The 18-year old switch hitter had five doubles, one triple, one home run, nine RBIs, 48 total bases, scored eight runs, and walked five times.  He was caught stealing in his only stolen base attempt, struck out 18% (28) of the time, and had six errors.  Alcala was tabbed as the starting catcher, playing 30 games behind the plate, 11 at 1B, one between both, and seven games as the DH.

 

The Cardinals' July 17, 2007 free agent signing had 35 bases stolen on his clock while only throwing out a total of 20.  Twice he allowed five stolen bases in a game.  He also had eight passed balls.  The 6'0" 160 pounder had 11 multi-hit games including three games with three hits.  He also started off the first month on a solid hitting note and then tailed off as the season played on and missed a short time at the end of June and beginning of July.  Alcala clubbed his one and only home run on June 2 and his best game came on July 7 when he picked up his only triple and drove in three runs while going 2-for-4 at the plate.  (Runners left in scoring position with 2-outs: 23)

 

Alcala was named by Jeff Luhnow at the beginning of the season a top position player on the squad for 2008.  He struggled at times but did improve a great deal in the hitting department compared to last season.  With three other catchers pretty much set for the roster next season, Alcala could be seeing some time in the States in 2009.

 

 

Wilfred Vivas played in 51 games batting .158 (18-for-114) with a .250 OBP, .184 SLG, and .434 OPS.  The 18-year old right handed swinger had one double, one triple, eight RBIs, 21 total bases, scored 17 runs, and walked ten times.  He was 3-for-5 in stolen base attempts, struck out 24% (27) of the time, and committed nine errors.  Vivas was the team's everyday 2B, getting a small amount of time as the DH, and was slotted at the back end of the batting order. 

 

The Cardinals' February 14, 2007 free agent signing really had a hard time at the plate this season.  He had only one hit in May and didn't get a hit in his last eight games of the season (19 plate appearances).  The 5'11" 160 pounder had three multi-hit games including a 3-for-4 performance and driving in one RBI on July 7.  On June 30, Vivas picked up his only triple and drove in a season-high three runs for another highlight of his 2008 season.  (Runners left in scoring position with 2-outs: 10)

 

Vivas took a downward turn to his 2008 season and may see some time in winter ball and a possible return to VSL in 2009, if he is not released.  The Cardinals didn't have anybody backing up Vivas during the season to at least give him some time off.

 

 

Cristofher Dumont played in 25 games batting .198 (18-for-91) with a .265 OBP, .308 SLG, and .572 OPS.  The 21-year old had one double, three home runs, 12 RBIs, 28 total bases, scored 13 runs, and walked eight times.  He was 3-for-4 in stolen base attempts, struck out 30% (27) of the time, and committed two errors.  Dumont started in either RF or as the team's DH before receiving his promotion to the GCL Cardinals in June.

 

The Cardinals' July 2, 2004 free agent signing didn't start out very hot in the VSL.  Perhaps his playing for the VSL Cardinals was more of a rehab type deal as he missed all of the 2007 season for unknown reasons.  The 6'3" 172 pounder had three multi-hit games and he clubbed his first home run on opening day (May 12).  His best game came May 17 when he slugged a grand slam for the Cardinals.  Dumont also got on base in his final eight games played by either a hit, walk, or hit by pitch before his leave.  (Runners left in scoring position with 2-outs: 21)

 

Link to part one: 2008 VSL Cardinals Starting Rotation Recap

 

Link to part two: Venezuelan Summer League Cards Bullpen Recap

 

 

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