Venezuela Update

Time flies.  Myworld didn’t realize it has been a couple weeks since we last updated the Venezuelan League.

Magallanes Navegantes (9-9) 20-13

They have not lost their first place standing despite only playing .500 in their last 18 games.  The two hottest bats in the league have to belong to Jose Altuve (.403) and Jesus Flores (.383), who stand 1 and 3 in the batting race.  Jose had five hits in his last two games and four games of three hits or more in his last 10.  Flores has had five balls leave the park and is slugging .593.  He is ready for the Nationals backup job, or a starting position if the Nationals choose to trade him.  The balls have stopped leaving the park for Bryan Lahair.  His average has dropped to .264 and his homerun total has only gained one since the 10 game report that happened 23 games ago.  He is stuck on seven, which is still tied for the Venezuelan League, but now he must share that lead with two players.  Johermyn Chavez has recently joined the team and in 10 games he is only hitting .091.  He is supposed to compete for the Mariners DH job in 2012 but his .130 on base average and .091 slugging is cause for concern.

In six starts Jerome Williams is 5-0, 1.00 with a .219 opponent average.  He did not give up any earned runs in his first four starts, covering 23 innings, but he has coughed up four in his last two starts.  Robert Coello (0.54) and Tanner Scheppers (0.69) have been providing excellent relief.  Robert has not allowed a run in his last 12 appearances and opponents are only hitting him at a .088 pace.  He has 20 whiffs in 16 innings of work.  Tanner has limited the opposition to a .121 average and has only allowed one earned run in his 14 appearances.  They have been a solid bridge to closer Jean Machi (1.69).  Machi has won two games in addition to his seven saves.

Aragua Tigres (10-6) 19-13

Lastings Milledge (.325) has been the big bat for the Tigres.  He had an eight game hitting streak broken with an 0 for 4.  He has banged out 11 doubles to put his slugging average at .509.  He is tied for the team RBI lead with Vinny Rottino (.272) with 19.  Ronny Cedeno has recently joined the team and is hitting .346 in his first six games.  Ronny had three multi hit games in his first five games.  Unfortunately, he has made three errors in those six games.

The Tigres have a good group of starters in Deunte Heath (2.29), Sergio Perez (2.45) and Darin Downs (3.00).  Deunte has 34 whiffs in his 35 innings pitched while Sergio is right behind him with 31 whiffs in 33 innings of work.  Zach Segovia (3.68) is a recent addition to the rotation and has pitched effectively in three starts.

Caribes Anzoategui (8-8) 18-14

Luis Nunez (.268) is their top RBI man with 19, but he has significantly slowed his pace.  Luis also leads the team in stolen bases with eight.  He is joined by his double play partner Alexi Amarista (.270) as the biggest offensive contributors on the team.  Alexi is still not showing the same power he showed last year.  Alexi has only hit two homeruns and is slugging just .421 compared to the nine dingers he hit last year that gave him a slugging average of .521.  Mike Wilson is tied with Lahiar for the league lead in homeruns with seven, but he is only hitting .217.  The first base combination of Dmitri Young (.186) and Gabby Martinez (.163) has been a dud.

Reynel Pinto has been one of the top pitchers in the league with his 5-0, 1.24 in seven starts.  He has struck out 42 in his 43 plus innings of work and had a streak of starts where he did not give up a run in 19 innings.  The opposition has been held scoreless by him in four of his seven starts.  He is second to Jerome Williams in ERA and has matched his win total for the league lead.  The last five starts from Andrew Baldwin (1.64) have been quality starts.  In his six starts he has yet to give up more than two earned runs.  Alex Herrera (2.45) has not given up more than one earned run in his last five starts.  Two of the three starts for Carlos Zambrano (3.29) were quite effective.  He was stinged by a line drive in the face during his third start and may be out of commission for awhile.

La Guaira Tiburones (9-9) 19-15

Buster Posey better beware.  Hector Sanchez (.389) is getting a lot of playing time at DH because of his hot bat.  He has gone deep four times and driven in 18 runs and is second in the league in hitting.  His slugging percentage of .589 leads the team and is four percentage points behind Jesus Flores for the Venezuelan lead.  Gregor Blanco (.317) continues to be a walking machine.  His 24 walks are tied for the lead leauge in that category.  Danny Worth has made an immediate impact, delivering a homerun in each of his first two games.  Those two homeruns have been his only hits in his first nine at bats, but they have driven in five.  Eduardo Escobar (.270) has been getting most of the shortstop playing time over Ehire Adrianza (.298).

Sharon Martis (1.84) has been a nice addition to the rotation, though he has walked 10 hitters in his 19 innings of work.  He doesn’t have the dominant stuff to be putting that many runners on base without it coming back to bite him.

Zulia Aguilas (11-5) 16-16

The Aguilas have made a nice run to get back to .500.  Jose Pirela (.347) has been raking, but has been slowed recently by a few too many 0 fers.  His hot bat has taken playing time away from Freddy Galvis (.224) who hoped to prove to the Phillies that he is ready to take over their shortstop job if Jimmy Rollins decides to bolt.  He has a nice 12/12 walk to whiff ratio, but the hits are not falling for him.  Ernesto Mejia (.297) has matched his 2011 end of the season batting average.  He has 13 doubles are tops in the league and his four homeruns and 23 RBIs lead the team.  He also has 34 strikeouts in just 32 games, a bad stat that tops the Venezuelan League.

Wilfredo Boscan (1.97) has not allowed a runner to cross the plate in his last two starts covering 12 innings.  Of his six starts three have not allowed a runner to score.  Adys Portillo (2.16) has moved his success from the bullpen to the starting rotation.  He has thrown eight shutout innings in his two starts, giving up only one hit in each start.

Caracas Leones (5-12) 14-19

The defending champions from the previous two years are closer to the basement than qualifying for a playoff spot.  Jesus Guzman (.268) has returned to the team but his bat has been very tame.  The usual RBI machine has only seven in his 16 games played.  He has walked 14 times in those 16 games so perhaps teams are not pitching to him when he has had RBI opportunities.  The .286 slugging percentage is uncharacteristic.  Caleb Gindl (.235) is not hitting for average but his six homeruns and 18 RBIs lead the team.

Dylan Owen (1.73) has put togther a string of good starts.  He has not given up more than one run in his last four starts covering 23 innings.  Unfortunately, he won only one and lost two of those four starts.  Franklin Morales is trying to make a return from arm problems.  He has yet to give up an earned run in eight relief appearances, giving up just three hits.  The opposition is only hitting .111 against him.  Fu-Te Ni went from the Taiwan exhibition series to Venezuela and got treated rudely, giving up four runs in his three inning start.  He pitched much better than that in his one start against the major leaguers in Taiwan.

Lara Cardenales (9-9) 14-20

Luis Jimenez (.291) has been the Cardenales big bat with seven homeruns and 17 RBIs.  But Joe Thurston (.347) has recently joined the team and is hitting the pitching in Venezuela as he did the pitching during the World Cup in Panama.  Joe has yet to hit a homerun in the 14 games he has played, but he has walked eight times.  Alex Liddi (.136) was released from the team because of his inability to hit.  He shouldn’t feel too bad because his Mariner teammate Michael Saunders (.148) also struggled as did Twins top prospect Rene Tosoni (.195).  At least Alex hit better than Cesar Izturis (.103).

Erasmo Ramirez (1.48) has turned into their ace.  He has only walked one batter in 30 plus innings of work and has yet to have more than two runners cross the plate in any of his six starts.  Poor Yoervis Medina (4.41) is 0-6 in his first seven starts.  No other pitcher in the league has more than four losses.

Margarita Bravos (8-11) 13-23

Sean Burroughs (.333) has provided the Bravos some offense, but it has not extricated them from last place.  Burroughs has yet to hit a homerun and is 0 for 9 in his last three games.  In five of his last six games he has gone hitless.  Wilmer Flores (.200) is exhibiting a tepid bat.  He has only contributed two extra base hits in his 21 games played.  He doesn’t play defense well enough not to hit.  His slugging average of .233 would be good if he was a professional bowler, not a run producer.

Despite their perch on the bottom of the ladder, Mike Parisi (2.22) and Yusmeiro Petit (2.38) have been providing them quality starts.  Mike has a 5/31 walk to whiff ratio in 44 plus innings while Petit has one complete game and given up just one run in his last two starts, covering 16 plus innings.  Petit also leads the league in whiffs with 44.

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