2009 Cardinals VSL Relief Pitchers

Josh Jones' detailed report on the ten pitchers who primarily saw action out of the bullpen for the 2009 Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals.

Francisco Guzman made 22 relief appearances posting a 1-2 record, 1.82 ERA, eight saves, two blow saves, and one hold.  He allowed 25 hits, 12 runs (seven earned), hit three batters, walked 13, threw five wild pitches, struck out 25, and picked one runner off over 34.2 innings.  He had a ground out-to-fly out ratio of 46-to-36, let seven of nine inherited runners score, and had a 1.10 WHIP.

 

The Cardinals' May 24, 2007 signing began the 2009 season out at the team's closer and as the year progressed was used less in the role due to the emergence of Hector Corpas.  Guzman didn't allow a run in 13 games and no hits in nine.  He struck out two or more in six appearances and pitched two or more innings in seven outings. 

 

The 21-year old right-hander collected three consecutive saves between May 24th and 27th.  Guzman's best game came on July 24 when he tossed six innings giving up four hits, one earned run, one walk, and struck out a season-high four.  His worst outing came on June 10 when he was tagged with one hit, three earned runs, two walks, threw two wild pitches, and struck out one over one inning.

 

Guzman just finished up his third season in the Cardinals organization and could get a look in extended spring training.  He made a great transition from catcher to reliever much like Jason Motte, Casey Mulligan, and David Carpenter but it's still unclear if he'll make the same impact in the minors as they did.  He showed a lot of wear when it came to the eighth or ninth games during the regular season and Parallel League last winter.  Kind of a wait and see type of deal.

 

Fernando Cedeno made 21 relief appearances posting a 3-5 record, 8.31 ERA, one save, five holds, and two blown saves.  He allowed 50 hits, 33 runs (28 earned), two home runs, hit one batter, walked nine, threw three wild pitches, and struck out 27 over 30.1 innings.  Cedeno had a ground out-to-fly out ratio of 29-to-32, let five of 12 inherited runners score, and a 1.95 WHIP. 

 

The Cardinals' July 8, 2006 signing was used as a middle reliever as he was the previous year.  He pitched two or more innings in six games and struck out two or more in game contests.  Guzman held opponents to no runs in nine outings and no hits in two. 

 

The 19-year old right-hander's best game was on June 30 when he tossed two scoreless and gave up two hits, one wild pitch, and struck out a season-high four batters for the winning decision.  His worst outing came on June 19 when he coughed up six hits, eight earned runs, and two walks over a third of an inning. 

 

Cedeno still shows signs of great control (notice walks and wild pitches) but may be leaving the ball out over the plate giving up a good number of hits.  I would imagine he gets a shot at Parallel League play this coming winter, but may be cut by the time the 2010 season rolls around.

 

Hector Corpas made 16 relief appearances posting a 3-2 record, 1.56 ERA, nine saves, and one blown save.  He allowed 23 hits, seven runs (six earned), hit two batters, walked seven, threw two wild pitches, and struck out 30 over 34.2 innings.  Corpas had a ground out-to-fly out ratio of 40-to-27, let three of seven inherited runners score, and had a 0.87 WHIP. 

 

The Cardinals' May, 31, 2007 signing was used as a middle reliever and later moved into the closer role when Guzman struggled.  Corpas didn't allow a run in 13 games and no runs in seven outings.  He racked up five consecutive saves from June 22 through July 5 and added on one more game (July 10) to make it six straight games without giving up a run.  Corpas also pitched three or more innings in eight contests. 

 

His best game came on June 24 when he tossed four scoreless innings allowing two hits, and striking out a season-high five.  His worst outing came on June 20 when he coughed up four hits, four earned runs, one walk, and struck out one in two-thirds of an inning.

 

Corpas was very impressive after picking up where Guzman left off in helping the Cardinals take a few more games.  He's bounced around from being a middle reliever in 2007 to a middle reliever/spot starter in 2008 to a now top notch closer in 2009. He may get a look in extended spring training but also could see another season in VSL to make sure he's the real deal and not a one-year wonder.

 

Jackson Solarte made 16 relief appearances posting a 1-2 record, 4.44 ERA, two saves, and one hold.  He allowed 29 hits, 17 runs (13 earned), hit one batter, walked 17, threw one wild pitch, struck out 15, and picked off one runner over 26.1 innings.  Solarte had a ground out-to-fly out ratio of 32-to-24, let four of eight inherited runner score, and had a 1.75 WHIP.

 

The Cardinals' May 30, 2008 signing again spent another season pitching in middle relief getting the opportunity to close out a few games.  He didn't allow a run in eight games and no hits in two outings.  He struck out two or more in four appearances and pitched two or more innings in seven contests. 

 

His best game came on June 7 when he tossed four scoreless innings giving up three hits, one walk, and striking out three for his first save of the season.  The 19-year old right-hander's worst outing came on July 18 when he gave up four hits, six runs (five earned), three walks, and hit a batter.

 

I expect Solarte to be back for another round of VSL play in 2010 and a return to Parallel League action over the winter.  Maybe in the next season he'll get a better chance at either being a set-up guy or closer depending where Guzman and Corpas fall.

 

Gregorio Ramos made 15 relief appearances posting a 1-0 record, 6.00 ERA, and one blown save.  He allowed 31 hits, 17 runs (16 earned), hit three batters, walked 12, threw three wild pitches, struck out 12, and picked off one runner over 24 innings.  Ramos had a ground out-to-fly out ratio of 38-to-19, let three of nine inherited runners score, and a 1.79 WHIP. 

 

The Cardinals' October 30, 2007 signing was getting hammered in the beginning of the season and improved as the year went along.  From June 16 until the end of the season Ramos only allowed six earned runs in 17.1 innings.  He had six games in which he didn't allow a run and one without a hit.  Ramos pitched two or more innings in six contests and struck out two or more in three outings, including getting a season-high four on June 12. 

 

His best game came on August 5 when he gave up four hits, no runs, one walk, and struck out one over three innings.  The soon-to-be 20-year-old right-hander had his worst performance on May 29 when he was saddled with four hits, five runs (four earned), two walks, one hit batter, and threw away a ball for a wild pitch over a third of an inning. 

 

Ramos is most likely going to spend a third year with the VSL Cardinals and return to Parallel League action.  I wouldn't mind seeing this kid get a shot at the rotation especially with how well he pitched in the last couple months of the season or maybe used as a long reliever.

 

Ruben Alvarado made 14 relief appearances posting a 1-0 record, 6.30 ERA, one hold, and one blown save.  He allowed 30 hits, 17 runs (14 earned), two home runs, hit one batter, walked nine, threw four wild pitches, struck out 18, and picked off three runners over 20 innings. Alvarado had a ground out-to-fly out ratio of 21-to-13, let one of three inherited runners score, had a 1.95 WHIP, and committed two pick off errors.

 

The Cardinals' July 19, 2007 signing was used in the middle relief role much like last season, but received a just tad more time to showcase his talents.  He didn't give up a run in five games and allowed no hits in two outings.  Alvarado pitched two or more innings in five appearances and struck out a season-high three, three times. 

 

His best game came on May 18 when he pitched two innings allowing one hit, no runs, and struck out three for the hold.  The 18-year old right-hander had his worst performance on August 7 when he was tagged with three hits, three earned runs, threw two wild pitches, and struck out one over one inning.

 

Alvarado should be another Parallel League returnee and if still in the organization, he'll likely see a return to the VSL ballclub in 2010 as he didn't improve all that greatly in 2009.  Look for him to stick in the same role with limited innings.

 

Fabian Marquez made 13 relief appearances posting a 2-0 record, 5.29 ERA, and one hold.  He allowed 20 hits, ten earned runs, three home runs, hit one batter, walked nine, and struck out 18 over 17 innings.  Marquez had a ground out-to-fly out ratio of 14-to-26, let two of eight inherited runners score, and had a 1.35 WHIP.

 

The Cardinals' November 4, 2007 signing was not used as much as expected during the 2009 season, actually seeing less time then the previous year.  He didn't give up a run in eight games or a run in three outings, including a four-game streak that ran from June 19 through July 6.  Marquez pitched one plus innings in four appearances and struck out two in two games. 

 

His best game came on July 17 when he pitched two and two-thirds scoreless innings allowing two hits, one walk, and striking out one.  The 18-year old right-hander had his worst performance on July 26 when he gave up three hits, three earned runs, and one home run over an inning.

 

I was very surprised to see Marquez take a cut in appearances and innings but he was never really on track.  He was spotty at times and when hit, was hit hard.  VSL is probably where he will end up as the 2010 season comes up and hopefully he'll earn a little more time in the games like he did in 2008. 

 

Johnny Polanco made nine relief appearances posting a 10.61 ERA and two holds.  He allowed 12 hits, 11 earned runs, hit three batters, walked ten, threw four wild pitches, and struck out two over 9.1 innings.  Polanco had a ground out-to-fly out ratio of 12-to-13, let both inherited runners score, and had a 2.36 WHIP.

 

The Cardinals' early 2009 signing saw limited time perhaps due to the somewhat "rookie" status and some of the control issues he dealt with early on.  He pitched four games where he didn't give up a hit or run and went beyond one inning once. 

 

Polanco's best outing came on July 28 when he tossed two hitless and scoreless innings and struck out one.  The 17-year old right-hander had his worst game on June 20 when he coughed up three hits, four earned runs, one walk, and struck out one for the hold.

 

Polanco is currently pitching in the Nicaraguan Prospect League and most likely will stick around in the country throughout the off season.  Expect him to return to the VSL Cardinals in 2010 and receive more chances for innings in which to pitch.

 

Fermin Montanez made six relief appearances posting a 3.48 ERA, one save, two holds, and one blown save.  He allowed 11 hits, four earned runs, hit one batter, walked three, threw one wild pitch, and struck out three over 10.1 innings.  Montanez had a ground out-to-fly out ratio of 19-to-8, let both inherited runners score, and had a 1.35 WHIP.

 

The Cardinals' mid-July 2009 signing picked up a hold, a save, and a blown save in his first three appearances, in that order.  He gave up no runs in three games and pitched beyond one inning four times. 

 

Montanez' best outing came on August 2 when he pitched two innings and allowed one hit, no runs, one wild pitch, and struck out a season-high two for the hold.  The 18-year-old right-hander's worst game was on July 27 when he gave up three hits and two earned runs over two innings.

 

Montanez will probably make a return to the Venezuelan Summer League and make his first appearance in Parallel League this coming winter.  He could work his way into a long reliever or even a starting role for the team in 2010, since he has pitched much better than some of the others when they entered the league.

 

Angelo Echeverria made two relief appearances posting a 1-0 record and 0.00 ERA.  He allowed no hits or runs, one walk, and struck out four over 4.2 innings.  Echeverria had a ground out-to-fly out ratio of 3-to-7, held his only inherited runner on, and had a 0.21 WHIP.

 

The Cardinals' 2009 signing pitched two games in the beginning of the season and was lost for the rest due to injuries.  The 17-year old left-hander made his debut on May 20 pitching three hitless and scoreless innings allowing one walk and striking out four for the win.

 

We can only hope he makes a full recovery from whatever injury that kept him out for mostly all of the 2009 season.

 

Jose Vicente Campos, who had been announced as a Cardinals signing then backed out, pitched for the VSL Mariners team in 2009.  The 17-year old right-hander made 13 appearances (four starts) posting a 1-3 record, 5.73 ERA, and one save.  He allowed 38 hits, 23 runs (21 earned), three home runs, hit three batters, walked 16, and struck out 23 over 33 innings.

 

 

Link to previous article: 2009 VSL Cardinals Starting Pitchers

 

 

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