VSL Cardinals Report: July 5, 2009

Josh Jones' exclusive weekly report on the 2009 Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals. Carlos Oraa and Hector Corpas are among the recent mound stars as the club went 4-1 on the week.

The Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals had another great week extending their winning streak to eight games, which was broken up at the end of the week, and taking four of five games during this period.  The Redbirds are 22-17 and holding steady in third place only seven games out of first.  They now have winning records on the road (12-8) and at home (10-9).


The Cardinals opened the week up visiting the Mets.  The game went scoreless until the Cardinals plated two in the seventh and added three more in the top of the ninth.  But the real story was the Redbirds two pitchers who held the Mets to just one hit the entire game for a 5-0 win.


Staying on the road, the Cardinals then took on the Phillies.  Both teams pounded out hits off each other's first couple of pitchers, for a combined 19, but the Cardinals defense kept the runs from scoring.  The Phils took an early lead, due to an error, and the Redbirds jumped out in front with a home run in the third and scored another five runs in the fifth frame.  The Phillies plated another in the eighth and still came up short as the Cardinals won 5-3.


The Cardinals hosted the Tigers in the next game.  The Cardinals struck first and the Tigers took advantage of a couple errors to take the lead in the fifth.  The Redbirds then came back in the eighth capitalizing on the Tigers' errors and taking the lead and the victory with a 5-2 score.


The Pirates welcomed the Cardinals in the following game.  The Cardinals struck first with two in the first and the Pirates took the lead in next inning with three of their own.  The Redbirds then got a home run from their right fielder to tie and plated another run in the sixth for the lead.  The Cardinals' middle reliever ace came on and held the Bucs to no runs and two hits to finalize the Redbirds win at 4-3.


After on off day the Cardinals stayed on the road to take on the Mariners.  The game was suspended after the first as the Cardinals took an early lead when the M's starter walked the first two batters and then hit the next two of three.  The Redbirds hold a 2-0 lead with no hits and the contest is scheduled to start back up on July 17.


For the final game of this period the Cardinals visited the Rays.  The Rays struck first with two in the first frame and the Cardinals' started settled in holding them scoreless over the next five innings. The Redbirds offense didn't show up until the sixth inning when the plated three runs for the lead.  The Rays then went on the attack and scored another three on the Cardinals bullpen and took the contest with a 5-3 victory.


Who's Hot


Limbert Rivas had his on base streak ended at 11 games in the final game of the week.  The 19-year old right-handed hitter went 6-for-19 (.316) with one double, one triple, four RBIs, three runs, one walk, and four strikeouts.  The catcher seems to have inherited the designated hitter as he's been slotted in at the spot the last five games and he's batting .333 (24-for-72) on the season.


Anthony Fonseca extended his hitting streak to six games but like Rivas it was snapped in the last game of this period.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter went 5-for-15 (.333) with two doubles, two RBIs, three runs, two walks, one hit by pitch, one stolen base, three strikeouts, and one caught stealing.  He now leads the team with a .318 batting average, 22 runs scored, and third with five stolen bases.


Hector Garcia has found his stroke at the plate and will be carrying a five-game hitting streak into the next period.  The 19-year old right-handed hitter went 6-for-17 (.323) with one home run, four RBIs, three runs, three walks, and three strikeouts.  The Cardinals' third baseman hit a three-run shot on July 4th which puts hims in a two-way tie in home runs on the team and lead in RBIs.


Kaizer Hinojoza will be bringing a six-game on base streak on into the next week.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter went 4-for-17 (.235) with one double, two home runs, two RBIs, six runs, four walks, four strikeouts, and was picked off once.  The right fielder is second on the team in home runs, runs scored, and strikeouts.


Carlos Oraa pitched like an ace for the Cardinals this past week.  The 20-year old right-hander made his first start on June 28, pitching six hitless and scoreless innings and striking out a season-high seven.  This has been Oraa's best start of the season and it was capped off by Hector Corpas for a combined one-hit shutout.  The third-year VSL pitcher was jumped on in the first inning of his next start on July 4th.  He logged a total of seven innings and allowed seven hits, two earned runs, one home run, hit one batter, and struck out six.


Hector Corpas has not given up an earned run in his last four relief appearances, spanning 11 innings.  The 19-year old right-hander was on the back end of the Cardinals stellar performance on June 28.  He pitched the final three frames giving up one hit, no runs, and striking out three.  The on July 1, the third-year Cardinals pitcher allowed two hits, no runs, one walk, and struck out another three over 3.2 innings.  Corpas has earned saves in his last four appearances for a total of six over nine games.


Who's Not


Osmir Medina is struggling both at the plate and in the field.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter went 2-for-18 (.111) with one run scored, one stolen base, and six strikeouts.  The second-year shortstop also committed three throwing errors while helping turn three double plays in the five games he played.  Medina is second on the team with 27 strikeouts and leads in errors with 12.


Gerwins Velasco, like Medina, is also having trouble at the plate and in the field (specifically behind the plate).  The 18-year old right-handed hitter went 2-for-11 (.182) with one double, three RBIs, two runs, and six strikeouts.  He played all four games as the Cardinals backstop, allowing one passed ball, four stolen bases, and lofting a throw away for an error.  His batting average is hovering at the .200 mark and has 22 strikeouts in 70 at-bats.


Jose Cortez had his hot streak end in the last period.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter went 4-for-21 (.190) with two RBIs, one run, two walks, one strikeout, and one caught stealing.  The Cardinals' leadoff hitter does have a hit in his last two games and is hitting .326 (14-for-43) in his last ten games.


Francisco Guzman had one great outing to earn a save and struggled in his next.  The 21-year old right-hander made his first appearance on June 30, pitching one scoreless inning and giving up one hit, uncorking a wild pitch, and striking out two.  He then pitched on July 4, allowing three hits, one earned run, hit one batter, and struck out one.  The third-year VSL participant picked up his first save in a little under a month and might have seen his closer days slowed as of late.


Ramon Ulacio made it three straight appearances where he allowed one or more earned runs.  The 18-year old right-hander made pitched in his only game of the period on July 4.  He gave up two hits and induced one ground out for his second hold of the season and then watched from the bench as both runners scored to earn him the loss.  Ulacio has given up five earned runs over his last three games (two innings).


The Happenings


Angelo Echeverria has only pitched twice this season and hasn't made an appearance since June 12.


Pitchers Johnny Polanco (last pitching on June 20), Ruben Alvarado (June 23), Jose Weffer (June 23), and John De Aguas (June 27) have all seen their time cut as of late.


Carlos Yegues hasn't played since June 24. 


Hayrich Martina has only played once since June 23, Tharick Martines and Jem Argenal one since June 24, Alexander Castellano twice since June 23, and Omar Viloria once since June 27.


Infielder Wilfred Vivas can be activated from the suspended list in a little under two weeks.  He has now served 39 of 50 games of his suspension after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs last fall.

Juan Urbina (Venezuela), who was rumored to be on the Cardinals watch list, signed a deal with the New York Mets. Third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert (Nicaragua) signed with the Kansas City Royals and right-handed pitcher Jose Gomez Martinez (Nicaragua) signed with the Houston Astros as the July 2nd International signing period opened.  Both Cuthbert and Martinez were scouted by the Cardinals.


Venezuela Summer League Stats


The Cardinals hitting took a little hit dropping from .273 to .269 on the season, which is second in the league.  They rank third in doubles, home runs, strikeouts, SLG, OPS, and rank second in OBP.


The Cardinals pitching made a major improvement as their ERA jumped from 4.09 to 3.75 and ranked third in the league.  Their WHIP also went in the positive direction from 1.49 to 1.42.  The team ranks second in shut outs, strikeouts, holds and first in saves.  


Anthony Fonseca is tenth in batting average.

Hector Garcia is third in doubles, tied for tenth in home runs, tied for ninth in RBIs, and tied for eighth in total bases.

Jose Cortez is tied for tenth in doubles.

Hildemaro Vargas is tied for third in triples and tied for ninth in stolen bases.

Alexander Castellano is tied for seventh in triples.

Roberto Perez is tied for seventh in home runs, fifth in walks, tied for seventh in OBP, eighth in SLG, and seventh in OPS.

Kaizer Hinojoza is tied for tenth in home runs, tied for ninth in walks, ninth in SLG, and tenth in OPS.

Osmir Medina is tied for ninth in stolen bases.

Javier Avendano is second in ERA, tied for fourth in wins, sixth in inning pitched, and tied for third in strikeouts.

Deimer Bier and Moises Colorado are tied with others for sixth in wins and tied for tenth in strikeouts

Fernando Cedeno is tied for sixth in wins and tied for second in holds.

Francisco Guzman is in second in saves and tied for first in game finishes.

Hector Corpas is in third in saves and tied for tenth in game finishes.

Jackson Solarte is tied for eighth in saves.

Carlos Oraa is in sixth in strikeouts and tied for sixth in WHIP.

Ramon Ulacio is tied for fifth in holds.


Next Up (Overall, vs. Cardinals)

July 5: Mets (18-22, 2-4)

July 6: Phillies (14-27, 2-5)

July 7: @ Tigers (13-28, 0-7)

July 8: Pirates (30-11, 5-2)

July 9: Day Off

July 10: Mariners, completion of 6/26/09 game and brand new game (20-19, 4-1)

July 11: Mariners (20-19, 4-1)


Past Recaps Featured at The Cardinal Nation

5/24/09 Report

5/31/09 Report

6/7/09 Report

6/14/09 Report

6/21/09 Report

6/28/09 Report



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