Seven More Cardinals First-Year Signings

The St. Louis Cardinals continue their aggressive actions in Latin America, having signed another seven 16- through 18-year-olds.

Six of the new St. Louis Cardinals' newest teenage recruits hail from the Dominican Republic while the seventh is from Venezuela. Three are outfielders and the other four are pitchers, including a pair of lefties.

Pos B/T H W DOB Country
Jose Peña  OF   R/R  6-2 190  5/26/1992  Dom. Republic 
Oscar Taveras  OF   L/L  6-2 180  6/19/1992  Dom. Republic 
Vicente Campos  P  /R  6-4 198  7/27/1992  Venezuela 
Lenny Rosario  P  /L  6-1 165  5/21/1991  Dom. Republic 
Angel Tapia  P  /R  5-11 180  5/21/1990  Dom. Republic 
Delvi Rodriguez  P  /L  6-2 170  9/14/1990  Dom. Republic 
Victor Encarnacion  OF   R/R  6-2 165  3/9/1990  Dom. Republic 

It is important to note that while the July 2nd date is assumed to be the only time that really matters in terms of signing these youngsters, the reality is that many of the eligible players often end up signing weeks or even months later. Such is the case here.

Cardinals Director of International Operations Moises Rodriguez is most pleased with the organization's take, especially Campos and Pena, calling them the top players available. Campos did not turn 16 until July 27.

"Vicente Campos and Richard Alvarez, a right-handed pitcher from Venezuela who just signed with the Texas Rangers, were the two best remaining July 2 pitchers on the market at the time of the Campos signing, in our opinion," Rodriguez said.

Though he did not comment on the specific amounts involved, Rodriguez did acknowledge that the Cardinals were also pursuing Alvarez.

"We were monitoring the Alvarez situation but the dollars got way out of control," he explained.

The 16-year-old Pena was also sought-after by the Cleveland Indians, but the Cardinals won the competition for the outfielder.

Rodriguez explains. "Peña was the best position player remaining from the July 2 class. He has lots of tools."

As they do every year, the Cardinals had a winter Instructional League team in the Dominican, akin to the Liga Paralela, or Parallel League, in Venezuela.

Four of the newest Cardinals suited up for their first unofficial professional action, albeit very limited in scope. Please note these are partial stats, from in-division games only.

BATTING G AB R H 2B 3B HR BI BB SO SB AVG OBP
Encarnacion, Victor 10 15 3 3 0 0 0 2 2 5 2 0.200 0.333
Taveras, Oscar 7 21 1 2 1 0 0 0 1 5 0 0.095 0.136

PITCHING W L PCT ERA OBP G SV IP H R ER BB SO
Rosario, Lenny 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.000 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
Tapia, Angel 1 0 1.00 0.00 0.000 4 2 5 0 0 0 2 7

In an upcoming article, you will be able to review stats from the entire Cardinals Dominican Instructional League roster. Don't miss it!

Argenal to Florida early

In other news, one of the Cardinals earlier July 2nd signings, outfielder-first baseman Jem Argenal traveled to the US to participate in the 2009 International High School Power Showcase Home Run Derby. The competition was held at St. Petersburg, Florida's Tropicana Field this past weekend, January 2-3.

Representing Nicaragua, the 17-year-old was one of ten international participants among the 70 total competitors in the contest. Argenal didn't place among the five finalists.

Valera in Liga Paralela

Hopefully everyone is following the Cardinals minor leaguers in winter ball via Josh Jones' daily reports at Cardinals Best News Links.

Shortstop Cesar Valera, who reportedly signed for around $500,000 in July, played quite well in the Liga Paralela this winter at home in Venezuela. Moises Rodriguez was among those who noticed his solid professional debut.

AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB E AVG OBP SLG
Valera 114 29 7 1 0 9 23 11 22 0.254 0.309 0.333
Rodriguez 56 15 2 0 1 5 20 2 3 0.268 0.339 0.357

"Valera more than held his own as a 16-year old player in that league," observed the Cardinals International Director.

Offered in comparison is the Reds' outfielder Yorman Rodriguez. He signed for a record amount for a Venezuelan amateur, reportedly $2.5 million. Other than the errors, Valera does compare most favorably.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com.

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