VSL Prospects: Position Players

The Venezuelan Summer League - VSL - is home to young players trying to get themselves positioned for a spot on a roster with a minor league club in the states. Most players won't even see the states as a professional player, but there are always those few who find a way to burst through.

The Venezuelan Summer League isn't a well known entity. The players are signed by major league clubs, but for one reason or another, simply aren't ready to come to the United States and join the minor league system here. For many, the team simply doesn't believe they're quite ready, so they don't want to waste one of their precious few visas on them. Others are simply too raw to be able to thrive at other minor league stops and a good chunk of them never will be ready.

The VSL Phillies finished 37-27 this past season, missing the playoffs by just one game. While they were known primarily for their pitching, there were some position players worth taking note of.

Outfielder Enmanuel Osorio led the team in hitting with a .347 average and posted a .414 on-base percentage. Defensively, Osorio showed flashes of brilliance and was pretty steady, posting a .957 fielding percentage with 8 outfield assists. In two seasons with the Phillies in Venezuela, Osorio is a .302 hitter.

Osorio's outfield counterparts include Manuel Centeno, who hit .240. While Centeno didn't post spectacular numbers, he did show improvement on his first season with the Phillies when he hit just .225 in the 2004 season. Daniel Bravo hit just .259 in his first season. Outfielder / first baseman Robert Moron was the lone left-handed hitter on the Phillies VSL club and hit a steady .278 and tied for the team lead in homeruns with four. Moron has shown steady progress in three seasons. Moron turned 20 this past September and if he's going to be brought stateside, it's likely going to have to happen soon.

When Moron was playing outfield, Jean Carlo Rodriguez would get his shot at playing first base. He too showed progress in his second season of pro ball, but hit just .239 and clearly needs more work offensively, although defensively, Rodriguez played well at first base.

Jaime Morales (second base) and Yonderman Rodriguez (shortstop) formed the main double-play combination for the VSL Phillies. Morales showed a little offensive ability, hitting .278, but made a team high 19 errors. Rodriguez was third on the team in errors, making 12 miscues and hit just .236.

Third baseman Redne Fuenmayor was clearly the offensive standout for the VSL Phillies. Fuenmayor hit .316 and led the club with 34 RBI in 59 games. Fuenmayor's glove needs work as he ranked second on the team in errors with 13 and had just a .924 fielding percentage. The good news is that his defense actually improved over 2004, which was his first season in the VSL. Actually Fuenmayor showed progress in every way over his first season when he hit just .222. His glove could cause concerns though, but the Phillies may bring him to the states at some point for at least a look.

Don't look for much help for behind the plate coming out of the VSL. Jorge Guerra and Jose Jimenez split most of the time catching and neither posted impressive numbers. Guerra hit .187 and Jimenez hit .247 in 2005. Francisco Murillo caught 18 games and hit .247, but did show some power with four homeruns.

Second baseman / outfielder Alberto Cambero hit .309 with a .438 on-base percentage in limited playing time. Cambero was rewarded with a trip to the Gulf Coast League late in the season and hit .191 in 28 games in the GCL. Cambero will occasionally boot a ball or two at second base, but his defense has been improving and he's a switch-hitter, so there may be room for him to stay in the GCL or move up to Batavia in 2006. Cambero turns 20 next April, so the clock is ticking.

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