VSL Cards Position Players of the Year: 2008

Gerardo Mannbel and Alberto Rivero delivered the top performances by position players on the 2008 Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals.

Each month of the Venezuelan Summer League season saw a different overall top hitter on the St. Louis Cardinals' club there, so I decided to compare overall production (certain stats) from the entire season.

In the tables below, you can see that both Alberto Rivero and Gerardo Mannbel remain within reach of each other in all categories. Hector Garcia falls short. But when Mannbel went on his mini-slump in the last couple months of the season, Rivero exploded and led the team in the batting department.

I really couldn't decide between the two, so that's why I decided both deserve to share the award as the 2008 Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals Players of the Year.

The following monthly stats illustrate their fine results.

2008 VSL Cardinals Position Players

  May June July/Aug
Jose Cortez 9-for-56 (.161) 15-for-44 (.341) 20-for-75 (.267)
Anthony Fonseca 12-for-32 (.375) 15-for-66 (.227) 22-for-87 (.253)
Alberto Rivero 14-for-59 (.237) 22-for-80 (.275) 37-for-97 (.381)
Gerardo Mannbel 22-for-65 (.338) 22-for-79 (.278) 27-for-91 (.297)
Hector Garcia 11-for-47 (.230) 25-for-84 (.298) 22-for-75 (.293)
Roberto Perez 8-for-45 (.178) 11-for-50 (.220) 12-for-63 (.190)
Billy Bolivar 10-for-34 (.294) 10-for-50 (.200) 17-for-89 (.191)
Yorbel Alcala 12-for-45 (.267) 16-for-63 (.254) 10-for-48 (.208)
Wilfred Vivas 2-for-22 (.091) 9-for-49 (.184) 7-for-43 (.163) 
Cristofher Dumont 10-for-58 (.172) 8-for-33 (.242) Promoted To GCL
Average at-bats  46 60 74

Overall Production 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB Runs SLG OBP
Rivero 10 3 2 33 95 26 32 0.403 0.376
Mannbel 14 1 4 29 99 28 33 0.421 0.401
Garcia 9 0 2 23 73 24 18 0.354 0.355

Rivero's season

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 centerfielder 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 through 26, and was on base in 22 straight games from June 9-July 26. The 5-foot-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 the Gulf Coast League in 2009 as he showed a lot of improvement over the 2007 season. He had an outstanding year, even overtaking Mannbel for the team's lead in batting average.

Mannbel's season

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 shortstop, but also got some time in here and there at second base and third.

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.

Mannbel had 19 multi-hit games and had a seven-game hitting streak from June 27-July 7 going 9-for-24. The 5-foot-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 previously mentioned by Cardinals Vice President of Amateur Scouting and Player Development Jeff Luhnow after 2007 as one of the highlights up the middle for the VSL squad. And after his improvement in 2008, Mannbel may also follow Rivero to the GCL in 2009.

Luhnow on Mannbel

Luhnow offered up this scouting report on Mannbel, praising his bat and versatility.

"The 18-year-old middle infielder is currently at instructs in Jupiter, FL. Mannbel led the team offensively this year in Venezuela. He is a contact hitter who doesn't swing and miss at strikes and only struck out 8% of the time he came to the plate.

"Mannbel has enough strength to get his share of doubles and occasionally hit the ball out. He is an excellent baserunner and he is a very good defender up the middle who can play second, short or third," explained Luhnow.

Note: Like the details on Rivero and Mannbel above, you can read individual capsules on each of the club's top position players in our recent four-part series recapping the 2008 VSL Cardinals season.

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