VSL Cardinals Notebook: 2010 Week One

The Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals are 2-3 and tied for fifth in the seven-team league. The team is 1-2 at home, 1-1 on the road, and one and half games out of first place.

The Cardinals opened their 2010 season on May 17th on the road at the Rays.  The Redbirds jumped out in front early, but the Rays came back to take the game running the score up to 13-6.  The Cardinal Nation 2009 VSL Pitcher of the Year, Deimer Bier, did not look good at all in his first start, coughing up four runs over two innings.  The bullpen also had the hurting put on them.  The team committed four errors, which didn't factor into runs.  Limbert Rivas came through with the team's first home run of the season and drove in another run.


The Cardinals took on the Tigers at home on May 18th.  The Tigers tacked on three runs in the first five frames, giving them a 3-1 lead.  The Redbirds' bullpen shut them down in the next five innings, only giving up one hit and two walks.  Gerwuins Velazco drove in two runs, while Breyvic Valera and Ronnierd Garcia contributed with three hits apiece.  The Cardinal scored six runs in the final two innings for a 7-3 victory and this was the only game the team did not commit an error this week.


The Cardinals visited the Phillies on May 19th and tacked on the first runs of the game in the top of the fourth.  The Phils fought back taking the lead 6-4 in the sixth.  The Redbirds didn't give up and added another seven runs in the final two frames for an 11-6 win.  Lainer Bueno and Jose Gomez each had a double and three RBIs and Velasco had two doubles and two RBIs.  The Cards' starting pitcher Jose Perez tossed two and a third scoreless innings.


The Reds came to town after an off day for the Cardinals and looked to end their winning streak.  The game was not as high scoring as the previous two and the Reds did come through to end the Cards streak at two games.  The Reds struck early with two in the first and added another two in the fourth, pretty much sealing the victory.  The Redbirds made a small and late comeback, but still came up short in the 5-3 loss.  Velazco chipped in with a double and RBI, while Douglas Planchart struck out five over 2.2 innings.


The final game of this period was the most disappointing of them all.  The Mariners visited and completely shut down the Cardinals offense.  Former Cardinals' free agent signee Vicente Campos tossed five hitless and scoreless innings, and struck out nine for the winning decision.  Valera was the only Cardinals hitter that could muster a hit.  Alberth Almeida and Johnny Polanco combined for six scoreless relief innings allowing one hit, one unearned run, one walk, and three strikeouts.  The M's won 4-0.


Individual Highlights


Limbert Rivas had two multi-hit games and one multi-RBI game, and he is the only Cardinal to crack a home run so far.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter played in three games going 5-for-10 (.500) with one double, one home run, three RBIs, nine total bases, two runs, one stolen base, one sacrifice, one strikeout, and grounded into one double play.  He played first base in all three games only committing one error, a missed catch in the first game.


Breyvic Valera had two multi-hit games along with opening the season with a three-game hitting streak (broke up fourth game).  The 18-year old switch-hitter played in five games going 9-for-19 (.474) with one double, ten total bases, four runs, and three strikeouts.  He played three games at second base (turned one double play), one at third base, and one as designated hitter.


Hayrich Martina will carry a three-game hitting streak on into the next week.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter played in three games going 5-for-11 (.455) with one double, six total bases, three runs, one hit by pitch, three strikeouts, and was picked off.  He was tapped for the designated hitter spot in his three games.


Lainer Bueno had his four-game hitting streak snapped, which included one multi-hit game, on Saturday.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter played in five games going 5-for-15 (.333) with one double, three RBIs, six total bases, four runs, three walks, one sacrifice, one strikeout, and grounded into one double play.  He played four games at shortstop (turned one double play) and one at second base (turned one double play).


Jem Argenal has his four-game hitting streak broken up, including one four-hit game, on Saturday.  The 18-year old left-handed hitter played in five games going 7-for-22 (.318) with two RBIs, seven total bases, four runs, and three strikeouts.  He played all five games in right field where he had one outfield assist, assisted in one double play, and committed one fielding error.


Gerwuins Velazco had his four-game hitting streak end on Saturday, which included two multi-hit and multi-RBI games.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter played in five games going 6-for-20 (.300) with four doubles, five RBIs, ten total bases, three runs, one walk, and five strikeouts.  He played three games behind the plate, where he threw out one runner out of seven and committed one throwing error.  The other two games, Velazco manned first base, assisting in two double plays.


Fermin Montanez made his starting debut on May 18th pitching four innings.  The 19-year old right-handed allowed four hits, two earned runs, and struck one out.  His ground out-to-fly out ratio was 8-to-2.


Douglas Planchart is showing he can strike batters out, but at the same time is leaving the ball over the plate to be hit.  The 18-year old right-hander made two relief appearances allowing seven hits, six runs (five earned), two walks, and struck out nine over 4.1 innings.  His ground out-to-fly out ratio was 2-to-3.


Ismael Brito made his professional debut on May 19th, in a relief appearance.  The 17-year old left-hander entered in the seventh and pitched two innings, allowing no hits or runs, two walks, hit one batter, and struck out three for the winning decision (1-0).  He had a ground out-fly out ratio of 1-to-2. 


Alberth Almeida made his professional debut on May 22.  The 18-year old right-hander entered in the fourth and pitched three innings.  He allowed one hit, one unearned run, and induced five ground out and four fly outs.


Where Have They Gone?


Hector Garcia, Wilfred Vivas, Anthony Fonseca, Ildemaro Vargas, Roberto Perez, Jesus Montero, Carlos Oraa, Moises Colorado, Francisco Guzman, and Hector Corpas are all in extended spring camp in Jupiter trying to make one of the short-season rosters.


Angelo Echeverria had surgery and will most likely miss the 2010 season.


Dail Villanueva is currently serving the final handful of games of a 50-game suspension for a failed performance-enhancing drug test. He should be back in a week or so.


Moises Marquez, Jose Cortez, Carlos Yegues, Kaizer Inojoza, Alexander Castellano, Osmir Medina, Sergio Nieves, Fernando Cedeno, Gregorio Ramos, Ruben Alvarado, Fabian Marquez, and Jose Weffer were all released.  Alvarado had a tryout with the Minnesota Twins, but he has not heard back.


Venezuelan Summer League Stats


The Cardinals are third in batting average (.288), first in hits, second in doubles, second in runs scored, tied for second in RBIs, second in total bases, last in walks, first in strikeouts, last in stolen bases, third in SLG and OPS.


The Cardinals pitching carries a 5.52 ERA which is last in the league.  The team's WHIP is a 1.30 and that's tied for third.  They have coughed up the most runs and hit the most batters, and are third in hits allowed.


Breyvic Valera is second in batting average, tied for fourth in runs, first in hits, tied for second in total bases, tied for seventh in walks, seventh in OBP, tied for seventh in SLG, and tied for eight in OPS.

Lainer Bueno is tied for fourth in runs, tied for ninth in RBIs, and tied for tenth in OBP.

Jem Argenal is tied for fourth in runs and fifth in hits.

Gerwuins Velazco is tied for ninth in hits, first in doubles, tied for second in RBIs, tied for second in total bases, and tied for ninth in SLG.

Limbert Rivas is tied for first in home runs, tied for ninth in RBIs, and tied for seventh in total bases.

Jose Gomez is tied for ninth in RBIs.

Douglas Planchart is tied for first in strikeouts.


Next Up (Record, vs. Cardinals)


May 23: @ Pirates (3-1)

May 24: Rays (2-2, 1-0)

May 25: @ Tigers (2-3, 0-1)

May 26: Phillies (1-3, 0-1)

May 27: Off Day

May 28: @ Reds (3-2, 1-0)

May 29: @ Mariners (3-2, 1-0)



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