VSL Cardinals Report: June 14, 2009

By Josh Jones, Cardinals Best News Links

The Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals had one of their slowest weeks of the season as they took only two of six games during this period.  The Cardinals extended their winning streak at the beginning of the week to three games and end it on a three-game downward turn.  They are 12-11 on the season and dropped to fourth place in the division, five games out.  The team is still playing better ball on the road than at home, with a 7-3 mark as the visiting team and 5-8 record when hosting.

The Cardinals opened this period up hosting the Mets and got another great performance from their staff ace.  He pitched a strong six innings (one run) and then was followed by another four scoreless by the bullpen.  The mets may have taken the early lead but the Cardinals tacked on two in the third and rounded out the game with another three in the eighth for a 5-1 victory.

The Phillies came to town and ended the Cardinals three-game winning streak.  The bats were alive in this game as both teams combined for 24 hits, with the Phils collecting 13 of those.  The Cardinals starter struggled through the first four innings and the teams fielders committed four errors during the rest of the game allowing more runs to score.  The Phillies scored in seven of the nine frames and outlasted the Cardinals 8-5.

Everything came together for the Cardinals, in the next game, as they visited the Tigers.  The Cardinals used only two pitchers who held the Tigers scoreless and only gave up six hits.  The bats were a swinging and the Tigers had miscues in the field to let the Redbirds plate five in the fifth.  The Cardinals went on to claim their third shut out of the season with a 7-0 win.

The Pirates visited and started the Cardinals three-game losing streak that ended the week.  The Redbirds scored early scoring two in the first but the Buccs came back in the following innings and then went on to tack on another five in the late frames.  The Cardinals’ three errors came into play in the early part of the game and the Pirates went on to win 7-3.

Next up the Cardinals played host as the Mariners came to town.  The Mariners pitching staff managed to hold the Redbirds to only five hits during the game. The Cardinals had a chance and were within striking distance as the M’s had a 2-0 lead heading into the seventh.  But the Cards never came through and their bullpen chalked another five runs in the final three frames as they fell to the Mariners 7-0.

The Cardinals ended this period with a visit from the Rays.  The Cardinals again got another quality start from their ace and even scored early to take the lead.  The Rays however tied it up and took the lead as the Redbirds’ bat went silent and errors started to add up (five total for the game).  The Rays took the game 5-2.

Who’s Hot

Roberto Perez will carry a three-game hitting and 12-game on base streak on into the next week.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter went 6-for-18 (.333) with three RBIs, one run, six walks, and struck out four times.  He was on the back end of four double plays and was 1-for-2 in the stolen base department.  The third-year first baseman leads the team in most hitting stats for the 2009 season.

Anthony Fonseca has has hit way back up to the second hole in the batting order.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter went 7-for-23 (.304) with one RBI, two runs, one stolen base, one hit by pitch, struck out three times, and was picked off once.  He is currently sporting a 12-game hitting streak and made the move from right to centerfield in the last two games.

Javier Avendano didn’t drop the ball during the week and keeps racking up the solid starts for the team.  The 18-year old right-hander opened the week up for the Cardinals pitching five innings and allowing six hits, one earned run, one walk, and struck out six for his second winning decision of the season.  In his next start, he gave up six hits, two earned runs, one walk, and struck out a season-high seven over five innings.  The second-year VSL pitcher has lasted five or more innings and has struck out six or more in four of five starts on the season.

Deimer Bier bounced back after having to shaky starts.  The 18-year old right-hander tossed six innings of scoreless ball on June 9 and only allowed four hits, two walks, and struck out a season-high eight for his second winning decision of the season.  The second-year VSL pitcher has lasted four or more innings in three of his four starts.

Fernando Cedeno showed signs of life this past week in his two relief appearances.  The 19-year old right-hander followed Bier’s quality start with his very own three innings of no-run ball.  Cedeno only gave up two hits and struck out two for his first save of his career.  His next outing great but it was much improved.  The third-year VSL reliever pitched three innings giving up three hits, two runs (one earned), and struck out two for his second losing decision of the season.

Jackson Solarte had two scoreless outings during the week.  The newly turned 19-year old right-hander pitched four innings and gave up three hits, no runs, one walk, and struck out three for his first career save on June 7.  Then on June 10 he tossed another inning and a half just allowing one hit.  The second-year VSL reliever has not given up an earned run in four of seven relief appearances.

Who’s Not

Jem Argenal has hit quite a snag as of late.  The 17-year old left-handed hitter went 3-for-18 (.167) with one home run, one RBI, one run, and struck out seven times.  He’s only connected for seven hits in his last ten games (33 at-bats).

Hector Garcia is still struggling at the plate and hasn’t connected for a hit in the last two games.  The 19-year old right-handed hitter went 5-for-23 (.217) with one double, one home run, three RBIs, three walks, and struck out three times.  The third-year VSL third baseman picked up three of his five hits on June 9.

Gerwins Velasco received his chance for to impress behind the plate in the catching rotation.  The 18-year old right-handed hitter went 1-for-13 (.077) with one double, one RBI, one walk, and walked four times.  He’s picked up one hit in five of his last ten games and batting .195 on the season.  The rookie VSL backstop threw out two runners, watched three steal a base, and lofted away two balls for errors in the four games he participated in during this period.

Sergio Nieves couldn’t turn it around in his latest start on June 8.  The 17-year old right-hander made a short start, going four innings and allowing seven hits, four earned runs, one home run, two walks, threw a wild pitch, and struck out two for a losing decision.  Nieves has had one solid start in four games this season.

Francisco Guzman had trouble with location in his worst appearance of the season.  The 21-year old right-hander made his only relief outing on June 10 and pitched one inning coughing up one hit, three earned runs, two walks, hit one batter, threw two wild pitches, and struck out one.  This ended his nine-game streak without allowing and earned run.

The Happenings

Angelo Echeverria made his return to the bullpen for the team, after missing three plus weeks, and Johnny Polanco made his 2009 debut.  Both coming on June 12.

Carlos Oraa has been missing in action since June 5 when he was pulled after making the start and pitching to two batters.

Fabian Marquez hasn’t pitched since June 2.

Wilson Perez, who was released in the spring, was signed by the New York Yankees and assigned to their Dominican Summer League #2 team.

Jonathan Gonzalez has been promoted from extended spring training to the A-Advanced Palm Beach Cardinals.

The St. Louis Cardinals are said to be one of a handful of teams scouting Venezuelan prospects Gioskar Amaya and Ernesto Leon, according to ESPN Deportes.

Venezuelan Summer League Stats

The Cardinals hitting took a slight drop sliding from .265 to .259 on the season, and now third overall in the league.  The rank third in walks, strikeouts, and on base percentage.

The Cardinals’ ERA improved from 4.43 to 4.19, which is good for fifth in the seven team league.  The team is second in shut outs, first in saves, second in holds, and are third best in home runs allowed.  They however rank second in hits allowed, third in runs, third in earned runs, second in walks, and third worst in WHIP (1.51).

Roberto Perez is tied for seventh with a .333 AVG, tied for third with four home runs, tied for tenth with 14 RBIs, tied for seventh with 39 total bases, tied for third with 13 walks, fourth with a .439 OBP, second with a .591 SLG, and second with a 1.030 OPS.

Anthony Fonseca is tenth with a .323 AVG.

Jose Cortez and Hector Garcia are tied with others for fifth with six doubles.

Osmir Medina is tied for seventh with five stolen bases.

Alexander Castellano and Hildemaro Vargas are tied with others for fourth with two triples.

Javier Avendano is seventh with a 1.44 ERA, tied for third with two wins, sixth with 25 innings pitched, and fourth with 28 strikeouts.

Deimer Bier is tied for third with two wins.

Moises Colorado is tied for third with two wins and tied for ninth with 21 strikeouts.

Francisco Guzman is first with six saves and first with ten game finishes.

Fernando Cedeno is tied for first with two holds.

Next Up (Overall, vs. Cardinals)

June 14: @ Mets (11-12, 0-3)

June 15: @ Phillies (8-15, 2-2)

June 16: Tigers (7-17, 0-4)

June 17: @ Pirates (17-6, 4-0)

June 18: Off Day

June 19: @ Mariners (13-10, 3-1)

June 20: @ Rays (13-10, 2-2)