2009 VSL Cardinals Reserve Position Players

Josh Jones' fourth report in our series of in-depth articles covers the position player reserves from the 2009 Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals.

Players listed in order of number of at-bats received.

 

Outfielder Alexander Castellano played in 43 games batting .231 (27-for-117) with a .323 OBP, .376 SLG, and .699 OPS.  He had seven doubles, two triples, two home runs, eight RBIs, 44 total bases, 16 runs, and nine walks.  Castellano was hit by a pitch seven times, caught stealing four times, struck out 40 times (34%), grounded into two double plays, committed five errors, assisted in one double play, and had four outfield assists.  He played 25 games in left field, nine as designated hitter, five as pinch hitter, two in right field, one in both left and centerfield, and one as a pinch runner.

 

The Cardinals' December 12, 2007 signing began the season as the team's starting left fielder, but struggled at the plate causing him to move to the bench.  Castellano had four multi-hit games.  The 19-year old switch-hitter had two separate three-game hitting streaks with one from May 19 through May 22 (4-for-12, .333) and the other from May 26 through May 29 (6-for-13, .462).  He had a seven-game on base streak running from May 26 through June 2.  His best game was May 29 when he went 4-for-5 with two doubles, two runs, and one strikeout.

 

Castellano may return to the Colombian League like he did last winter and play with Barranquilla, who also lists Donovan Solano on their roster.  He is probably going to land on the VSL roster when the 2010 season opens and try to rebound after two subpar seasons in the Cardinals' organization. 

 

Infielder Carlos Yegues played in 33 games batting .240 (25-for-104) with a .282 OBP, .365 SLG, and .647 OPS.  He had two doubles, one triple, three home runs, 13 RBIs, 38 total bases, nine runs, four walks, and one stolen base.  Yegues was caught stealing once, struck out 31 times (30%), grounded into one double play, committed seven errors, and assisted in seven double plays.  He played 13 games as designated hitter, nine at third base, eight at second base, one between both second and third, and one as pinch hitter.

 

The Cardinals' July 2, 2007 signing didn't get a lot of playing time due to the log jam at all his listed positions, but was a major player at the plate during the month of June.  Yegues had seven multi-hit games including one with three and one four-game multi-hit streak from June 16 through June 20 (9-for-16, .563, and three home runs).  He had four multi-RBI games including one four-RBI contest.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter had a five-game hitting streak that ran from June 16 through June 21.   His best game was June 16 when he went 2-for-5 with one home run, four RBIs, and one run.

 

As mentioned above, Yegues was caught between a rock and a hard place when it came to playing time.  He fell behind Hector Garcia at third and several middle infielders at second.  If certain players are moved around during the off season, it could open up more playing time for Yegues, who will bring a possible power bat to the VSL squad.

 

Infielder Hayrich Martina played in 29 games batting .241 (20-for-83) with a .241 OBP, .289 SLG, and .530 OPS.  He had four doubles, three RBIs, 24 total bases, and nine runs.  Martina was caught stealing once, struck out 23 times (28%), committed eight errors, and assisted in four double plays.  He played 11 games at second base, nine at third base, eight as designated hitter, and one at shortstop.

 

The Cardinals' April 18, 2007 signing was another who didn't get a quality amount of playing time due to the abundance of infielders on the roster.  Martina had four multi-hit games.  The 19-year old right-handed hitter had one four-game hitting streak between June 16 and June 23 (5-for-11, .455).  His best game was on June 19 when he went 2-for-2 with one double and one run.

 

Martina, who spent his first two seasons in the Dominican Summer League, improved quite a bit in his first season in Venezuela.  He'll possibly get a chance at the Parallel League and could wind up back with the VSL team in 2010.

 

Outfielder Tharick Martines played in 33 games batting .190 (15-for-79) with a .235 OBP, .228 SLG, and .463 OPS. He had one double, one triple, six RBIs, 18 total bases, nine runs, three walks, and two stolen bases.  Martines was hit by a pitch twice, caught stealing once, struck out 28 times (35%), grounded into two double plays, committed one error, assisted in one double play, and had two outfield assists.  He played 13 games in right field, 12 in left field, five in centerfield, two between both center and right field, and one as a pinch runner.

 

The Cardinals' August 23, 2007 signing spent most of the 2009 season as a bench player getting a small number of chances in the starting lineup.  Martines had four multi-hit games.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter had a three-game hitting streak between May 25 and June 2 when he went 3-for-10 (.300).  His best game was June 16 when he went 2-for-2 with one RBI, one run, and one stolen base.

 

Martines, who came over with Castellano and Martina from the DSL, is most likely going to return to the VSL in 2010.  He still has time to improve and push his way into more playing time in the next year, but it could be limited if guys like Anthony Fonseca or Jose Cortez return.  I'll throw this out there....why not see if the kid can still pitch like he did for Curacao in the 2003 Little League World Series?

 

Infielder Moises Marquez played in 42 games batting .244 (20-for-78) with a .372 OBP, .346 SLG, and .718 OPS.  He had five doubles, one home run, eight RBIs, 27 total bases, 12 runs, and 13 walks.  Marquez was hit by a pitch once, caught stealing five times, struck out 25 times (32%), grounded into two double plays, committed seven errors, and assisted in ten double plays.  He played 19 games at second base, eight at shortstop, four as a pinch runner, four as designated hitter, two at third base, two between shortstop and left field, one between second and third base, and one in left field.

 

The Cardinals' April 17, 2008 signing was another middle infielder that was blocked from getting major playing time during the season.  Marquez had four multi-hit games and with two consecutive on July 18 and July 19.  The 19-year old right-handed hitter had a five-game hitting streak running from July 14 through July 24 when he went 7-for-17 (.412).  Add on another game (July 25th) to his hitting streak and he had reached base safely in six straight games. His best game was June 7, when as a pinch hitter, as he drove in two RBIs with two outs.

 

I expect Marquez to receive a little more playing time when the 2010 season rolls around.  He could also end up playing in the Parallel League.  He shows the ability to play both second and short and I don't expect the organization to let a slumping Osmir Medina to continue on like he did this last season.

 

Catcher Gerwuins Velazco played in 24 games batting .192 (14-for-73) with a .298 OBP, .288 SLG, and .585 OPS.  He had seven doubles, ten RBIs, 21 total bases, eight runs, and 11 walks.  Velazco was caught stealing once, struck out 22 times (30%), grounded into three double plays, committed seven errors, had five passed balls, assisted in one double play, and threw out 16 of 38 runners.  He played 23 games as catcher and one as designated hitter.

 

The Cardinals' July 5, 2008 signing looked to be the number one catcher for the team, but a catcher's interference in his final game of the season (July 6) knocked him out for the rest of the 2009 year.  Velazco had two multi-hit games, with one being for three, and two multi-RBI games during the season.  The 17-year old right-handed hitter had a six-game on-base streak running from June 8 through June 16.  His best game was on June 16 when he went 3-for-5 with two doubles, one RBI, two runs, and threw out two runners.

 

I think we all hope Velazco makes a full recovery from his finger injury and is ready to go for the 2010 season.  He'll probably force Jesus Montero back into the DSL and maybe a couple other backup catchers into various other positions.   If healthy, he could be the everyday backstop for the VSL squad next year. 

 

Catcher Omar Viloria played in 27 games batting .206 (14-for-58) with a .341 OBP, .309 SLG, and .650 OPS.  He had one double, two home runs, five RBIs, 21 total bases, seven runs, six walks, and two stolen bases.  Viloria was hit by a pitch eight times, struck out 17 times (25%), grounded into six double plays, committed six errors, assisted in three double plays, had six passed balls, and threw out 20 of 41 runners.  He played all his games behind the plate.

 

The Cardinals' November 24, 2007 signing had a lot of his time clipped due to the roster carrying four catchers, but improved his showing as the season went on.  Viloria had two multi-hit games including a 3-for-5 performance on June 23.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter's best game was on July 24 when he went 2-for-3 with one home run, one RBI, two runs, and one walk.

 

Viloria should see much more time as the team's catcher in 2010 depending how healthy Velazco is when he returns and if the team decides to move Rivas to another position and Montero back to the DSL.  Many factors come into play on how long he sticks around with the organization.  He has an arm and can throw out the runners.

 

Infielder Wilfred Vivas played in 17 games batting .302 (19-for-63) with a .371 OBP, .365 SLG, and .737 OPS.  He had two doubles, one triple, five RBIs, 23 total bases, 12 runs, seven walks, and three stolen bases.  Vivas was caught stealing three times, struck out seven times (11%), grounded into one double play, committed seven errors, and assisted in seven double plays.  He played nine games at shortstop, four at second base, three as designated hitter, and one between second and short.

 

The Cardinals' February 14, 2007 signing missed the first 50 games of the season after failing a mandatory drug test but when he returned, he played well.  Vivas had six multi-hit games.  The 19-year old switch-hitter had a ten-game hitting streak that ended in his second to last game of the season and ran from July 24 through August 7 (14-for-41, .341).  He also reached base in his last 16 consecutive games.  His best game was on July 26 when he went 2-for-5 with one triple, one RBI, one run, one stolen base, and one caught stealing.

 

Vivas' suspension was likely due to the non-regulation of certain banned substances throughout the Latin countries.  I doubt he was out there loading up to get bigger and stronger, more to rehab, since his 2008 numbers seemed to really lack in all departments.  I'm figuring he was playing injured in 2008.  He could get a heavy amount of time in the Parallel League this winter and make a return to VSL in 2010 to gain back any experience lost due to his unfortunate suspension.

 

Catcher Jesus Montero played in 15 games batting .089 (4-for-45) with a .268 OBP, .111 SLG, and .379 OPS.  He had one double, two RBIs, five total bases, and one run.  Montero was hit by a pitch twice, struck out 14 times (31%), grounded into three double plays, assisted in two double plays, had two passed balls, and threw out 12 of 25 runners.  He played all his games behind the plate.

 

The Cardinals' July 11, 2007 signing began the 2009 season out with the Dominican Cardinals and was bumped back to Venezuela when the DSL team added Juan Castillo.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter's best game was on July 27 when he went 1-for-3 with one double, one RBI, and two walks.  He also had a four-game on-base streak that ran from July 25 through July 29. 

 

He could again get a shot at the Dominican Summer League in 2010 especially with the abundance of catchers in VSL and the possible moves of Yorbel Alcala and/or Juan Castillo up to the GCL.  He did a fine job when playing in the DSL but had trouble adjusting back to the Venezuelan way of baseball life.

 

 

Links to previous articles in this series:

2009 VSL Cardinals Starting Pitchers

2009 VSL Cardinals Relief Pitchers

2009 VSL Cardinals Starting Position Players

 

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