Three New Cardinals Assigned to Liga Paralela

The St. Louis Cardinals add two 16-year-old Venezuelans and a Colombian to their Venezuelan academy and put them to work immediately.

Despite the Wagner Mateo fiasco and the recent releases of minor league prospects, there is plenty of positive news coming from the St. Louis Cardinals operations in Latin America.


The organization has signed three 16-year-olds, perhaps not marquee names, but viewed with all the hope that comes with fresh-faced teenage recruits. Two are Venezuelans and one is Colombian, all suiting up this fall for the first time as professionals with the Cardinals Liga Paralela club.


The new signees are right-handed pitcher Kevin Cueto and right-handed hitting third baseman Ronnierd Garcia, both from Venezuela, along with righty Jhonatan Escudero, a native of Colombia.


The two hurlers are expected to begin their professional careers out of the bullpen. The two Venezuelans are already with the team with Escudero scheduled to arrive at the end of the week once some visa issues are resolved.


Following is a brief scouting report on each of the newest Cardinals.


Kevin Cueto6-foot-0, 170 pounds

Young arm.  Loose, very clean mechanics. Easy effort. Commands all pitches. Fastball is 85-87 mph (top 88), and he will throw a lot harder with physical development. Throws curveball at 75-77 mph with 3/4 break and changeup 77-79 mph with sink action. Challenges hitters.


Ronnierd Garcia – 6-foot-2, 175 pounds

Large frame, athletic body. Drives ball to all fields, good balance at plate. Contact hitter. Footwork and hands work well on defense. Arm below average at moment. Hasn't played a lot of baseball and still learning the game. Young talent. Needs time to develop further but has ingredients to become a solid all-around 3B in future. Lots of upside.  Perfect talent for patient academy development.


Jhonatan Escudero – 6-foot-1, 147 pounds

Young player, just turned 16. Fastball is 84-87 mph. Changeup and pitchability ranked among the best in this year's July 2 class. Quick arm and athletic. Competitor. Built similar to Jair Jurrjens (Braves). Somewhat under the radar being from Colombia, but still reportedly drew interest from three other organizations. 


Check back here for the Cardinals full Liga Paralela roster as well as some upcoming signings from the Dominican Republic, all exclusively for subscribers to


Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.


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