2009 Cardinals DSL Starting Position Players

Josh Jones' detailed report on the starting position players from the 2009 Dominican Summer League Cardinals.

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

 

Shortstop Grabiel Hernandez played in 67 games batting .308 (77-for-250) with a .392 OBP, .448 SLG, and .840 OPS.  He had nine doubles, ten triples, two home runs, 32 RBIs, 112 total bases, 58 runs, 29 walks, and 26 stolen bases.  Hernandez was hit by a pitch seven times, caught stealing four times, struck out 42 times (17%), grounded into two double plays, committed 32 errors, and assisted in 28 double plays.  He played 62 games at shortstop, 3 at second base, one as a pinch hitter, and one as a pinch runner.
 
The Cardinals' July 2, 2008 signing started the season out about as hot as anybody could but by mid-season went into a slump where he was either on or off.  Hernandez had 23 multi-hit (six with three or more) and five multi-RBI games.  The 17-year old switch-hitter had a nine-game hitting streak that ran from June 24 through July 3 where he went 17-for-37 (.459).  He reached base in 11 consecutive games between July 25 and August 6.  His best game came on July 2 when he went 4-for-4 with one double, one triple, one home run, two RBIs, three runs, two walks, and assisted in one double play.
 
Hernandez will likely get a hard look during extended spring training for a spot on the Gulf Coast roster.  He was very close to starting out his Cardinals career with GCL but team officials were concerned with his bat.  I think he has proven he swings the bat and brings the speed.  I'm more concerned with his glove which will improve as he matures, ala Cesar Valera.
 
Outfielder Oscar Taveras played in 65 games batting .257 (61-for-237) with a .338 OBP, .392 SLG, and .731 OPS.  He had 13 doubles, eight triples, one home run, 42 RBIs, 93 total bases, 35 runs, 28 walks, and nine stolen bases.  Taveras was hit by a pitch three times, caught stealing four times, struck out 36 times (15%), grounded into five double plays, committed four errors, and had eight outfield assists.  He played 34 games in centerfield, 24 in left field, three between left and center, one in right field, one in right and center, one as a pinch hitter, and one as a designated hitter.
 
The Cardinals' November 15, 2008 signing started off the season as the team's centerfielder and made the move into left field, getting him more playing time and at-bats.  Taveras had 15 multi-hit (four with three) and 11 multi-RBI games.  The 17-year old left-handed hitter had seven-game hitting streak running from August 10 through August 19 where he went 8-for-27 (.296).  He reached base in 13 straight games between August 2 and August 19.  His best game came on June 29 when he went 3-for-5 with one double, one triple, two RBIs, one stolen base, and one strikeout.
 
Taveras showed us he has the arm to man the outfield, the speed to leg out triples and steal bases, and bat to drive in runs.  He may not bring a ton of power but put runners on and this guy delivers.  I expect a return to DSL in 2010 where he could tear up the league. Very much a kid to keep an eye on next season.
 
Outfielder Roberto Reyes played in 71 games batting .261 (57-for-218) with a .379 OBP, .413 SLG, and .792 OPS.  He had eight doubles, five triples, five home runs, 33 RBIs, 90 total bases, 40 runs, 37 walks, and 22 stolen bases.  Reyes was hit by a pitch five times, caught stealing four times, struck out 72 times (33%), grounded into five double plays, committed seven errors, assisted in 17 double plays and one triple play, and had seven outfield assists.  He played 30 games in centerfield, 13 at first base, 12 in right field, four in right field and at first base, four as designated hitter, three in left field, three in centerfield and at first base, one as pinch hitter, and one at first base and left field.
 
The Cardinals' December 15, 2007 signing began the season out very well but in the last month went into a slump and also jumped all around the field every game playing multiple positions.  Reyes had 13 multi-hit (three with three) and eight multi-RBI games.  The 20-year old left-handed hitter had an 11-game hitting streak that ran from July 17 through July 29 where he went 13-for-29 (.448).  He reached base in 22 consecutive games from July 14 through August 6.  His best game came on June 18 when he went 3-for-5 with two home runs, four RBIs, three runs, and one stolen base.
 
Reyes made a major improvement compared to last season, all across the board.  He still had a lot of trouble at the plate with the high percentage of strikeouts, but when on base, he made the catchers and pitchers nervous.  He could return to the DSL in 2010 and if so, expect him to be a major threat when he gets on base and at the plate slugging a few more home runs.
 
Corner infielder Luis Pimentel played in 54 games batting .280 (53-for-189) with a .367 OBP, .434 SLG, and .800 OPS.  He had 12 doubles, one triple, five home runs, 27 RBIs, 82 total bases, 35 runs, 24 walks, and eight stolen bases.  Pimentel was hit by a pitch four times, caught stealing five times, struck out 16 times (8%), grounded into three double plays, committed 11 errors, and assisted in 15 double plays.  He played 16 games at third base, 16 at first base, 14 as designated hitter, and three at both first and third.
 
The Cardinals' December 15, 2007 signing started the season just as hot as Hernandez but slumped really hard in the following months and then only played only one game in the final two weeks after being hit by a pitch.  Pimentel had 13 multi-hit games (five with three) and six multi-RBI games.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter had a six-game hitting streak from June 12 through June 18, when he went 13-for-25 (.520) with the June 15th through June 18 games each with multiple hits.  He reached base in 13 straight games between June 12 and June 26.  His best game came on June 15 when he went 3-for-4 with one home run, two RBIs, and one run.
 
Pimentel improved quite a bit this season and could get an invite to extended spring training in 2010, but I still wouldn't rule out a return to the DSL next season.  The guy is hard to strike out and carries a lot of power when he connects.  
 
Infielder Wader Perez played in 51 games batting .275 (50-for-182) with a .389 OBP, .341 SLG, and .730 OPS.  He had eight doubles, two triples, 19 RBIs, 62 total bases, 33 runs, 30 walks, and 13 stolen bases.  Perez was hit by a pitch four times, caught stealing seven times, struck out 24 times (13%), grounded into two double plays, committed five errors, and assisted in 17 double plays.  He played 24 games at third base, 18 at second base, seven at shortstop, on at both third and short, and one as pinch hitter.
 
The Cardinals' December 15, 2007 signing began the season out as the team's second baseman but slumped and missed about two weeks in June to return to full duty as one of the team's third basemen.  Perez had 15 multi-hit games (three with three) and four multi-RBI games.  The 19-year old switch-hitter hit safely in 12 consecutive games from August 4 through August 20 where he went 18-for-53 (.340) and included two separate three-game multi-hit streaks.  His best game came on June 3 when he went 3-for-3 with one triple, two RBIs, one run, one hit by pitch, and one stolen base.
 
Perez is most likely going to end up back with the Dominican Summer League Cardinals in 2010 where he'll get more work in at third base.  He could force the organization to promote a kid like Pimentel.
 
Second baseman Jorge Lopez played in 53 games batting .268 (44-for-164) with a .297 OBP, .311 SLG, and .607 OPS.  He had five double, one triple, eight RBIs, 51 total bases, 21 runs, six walks, and five stolen bases.  Lopez was hit by a pitch once, caught stealing seven times, struck out 30 times (18%), grounded into three double plays, committed seven errors, and assisted in 21 double plays.  He played 42 games at second base, nine as designated hitter, one at first base, and one at both second and third base.
 
The Cardinals' July 3, 2007 signing took over second base as Wader Perez slumped and went out with a possible injury and stayed put for the remainder of the season.  Lopez had ten multi-hit (two with three) games.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter had four separate four-game hitting streaks; June 23 through June 29 (5-for-14, .357), July 23 through July 25 (5-for-14, .357), July 29 through August 2 (4-for-14, .286), and August 15 through August 18 (5-for-15, .333).  He reached base in nine straight games between July 23 and August 2.  His best game came on June 4 when he went 3-for-4 with one double, two runs, and two stolen bases. 
 
Lopez will most likely make a return to the DSL Cardinals in 2010 and work to continue his improvements at second base and at the plate.
 
Third baseman Juan Cabrera played in 47 games batting .230 (34-for-148) with a .310 OBP, .331 SLG, and .641 OPS.  He had four doubles, four triples, one home run, 19 RBIs, 49 total bases, 24 runs, and 12 stolen bases.  Cabrera was hit by a pitch four times, caught stealing four times, struck out 29 times (20%), grounded into two doubles plays, committed 18 errors, and assisted in 14 double plays.  He played 34 games at third base, seven at second base, three as designated hitter, two at first base, one at shortstop, and one at both third and short.
 
The Cardinals' April, 24, 2007 signing actually declined this season compared to last an lost out on playing time and at-bats with the return and shift of Wader Perez to third.  Cabrera had nine multi-hit (one for three and another for four) and three multi-RBI games.  The 21-year old right-handed hitter had a five-game hitting streak running from June 3 through June 11, when he hit 6-for-20 (.300)  His best game came on June 24 when he went 4-for-5 with one home run, three RBIs, one run, one sac fly, and assisted in one double play.
 
Cabrera was promoted to Jupiter with one week left in the DSL season.  I was confused on his promotion since he was not hitting like he did the previous year but looking, you'll see he was one of the oldest players on the roster and had logged already three years under his belt.  I'm not sure he'll stick with the Cardinals organization next season, but obviously team officials saw something to hand him a pass to the States.  Also referred to as 'Juan B Cabrera' in the Scout.com archives due to a former player with a similar name.
 
Catcher Yorbel Alcala played in 47 games batting .255 (37-for-145) with a .310 OBP, .303 SLG, and .614 OPS.  He had seven doubles, 15 RBIs, 44 total bases, 16 runs, ten walks, and one stolen base.  Alcala was hit by a pitch twice, caught stealing three times, struck out 22 times (15%), grounded into one double play, committed three errors, allowed 16 passed balls, assisted in two double plays, and threw out 44 of 84 runners.  He played 36 games behind the plate, ten as designated hitter, and one at first base.
 
The Cardinals' July 11, 2006 signing joined the team late after starting the 2009 year in extended spring training.  Alcala had nine multi-hit and two multi-RBI games.  The 19-year old switch-hitter had a five-game hitting streak from June 24 through July 1, when he hit 8-for-20 (.400).  He reached base in eight straight games between July 3 and July 16.  His best game came on July 29 when he went 2-for-4 with one double, three RBIs, one run, and threw out one of two runners.
 
Alcala will most likely again return to extended spring camp and get a shot to crack the Gulf Coast League roster.  This time around I think he'll stick and force several other players either up or out.  He's still young and brings with him an arm to nail attempting base stealers.
 
Outfielder Victor Encarnacion played in 57 games batting .217 (31-for-143) with a .349 OBP, .310 SLG, and .649 OPS.  He had ten doubles, one triple, 16 RBIs, 43 total bases, 28 runs, 25 walks, and 15 stolen bases. Encarnacion was hit by a pitch five times, caught stealing three times, struck out 42 times (29%), grounded into three double plays, committed one error, assisted in two double plays, and had six outfield assists.  He played 38 games in right field, seven in centerfield, six in left field, three in right and left, one in right and center, and one as designated hitter.
 
The Cardinals' November 8, 2008 signing didn't really take over right field completely until slow bats by Jose Pena and Santo Sandoval forced the club to make some changes.  He had six multi-hit and four multi-RBI games.  The 19-year old right-handed hitter had two separate four-game hitting streaks from July 20 through July 24 (4-for-9, .444) and August 18 through August 21 (5-for-13, .385).  He made it safely on base in 15 consecutive games between June 27 and July 24.  His best game came on August 8 as he went 1-for-3 with one triple, three RBIs, one run, one strikeout, grounded into one double play, one outfield assist, and assisted in one double play.
 
Encarnacion is another candidate to return to the DSL Cardinals in 2010.  He could also make a play for the leadoff spot if he continues to get on base and steal bases like he did this past year plus he brings with him a cannon to right field.

 

 

Links to previous articles in this series:

2009 DSL Cardinals Starting Pitchers

2009 DSL Cardinals Relief Pitchers

2009 VSL Cardinals Starting Pitchers

2009 VSL Cardinals Relief Pitchers

2009 VSL Cardinals Starting Position Players

2009 VSL Cardinals Reserve Position Players 

 

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