Venezuelan League Top Prospects – Hitters
Welcome to another edition of Touch’em All! We are going through the minor leagues with one goal in mind: Give you the fan, or fantasy player, the info and analysis that you need. This time, we are reviewing some of the top performances in the Venezuelan Summer League. Players were selected for this list with age for the level, performance, physical tools, and skill set in mind. So let’s get started!
Oscar Hernandez, C Tampa Bay Rays - 7/09/1993 (18) – Height: 6’0″ Weight: 196 – The Venezuelan Summer League triple crown winner, Hernandez had PS3 type numbers in 2011. He hit .402/.503/.732 for the VSL Rays. He also added HR-21/3B-1/2B-14/RBI-66/R-56/SB-3 in just 239 at bats. While it’s crazy that he had a .402 batting average, the fact that he had a .330 IsoP on top of that is totally sick. He’s in Port Charlotte, Florida now with OF Josh Sale, SS Hak-Ju Lee, RHP Taylor Guerrieri and other top Rays’ prospects for the Winter Instructional League. He should open 2012 in the Gulf Coast League with a possible chance of making it to the Appalachian League quickly.
Leopoldo Correa, 3B Tampa Bay Rays - 12/03/1991 (19) – Height: 6’0″ Weight: 186 – Correa took a big step in his 3rd season with the VSL Rays. He hit .322/.414/.500 which included HR-8/2B-17/RBI-54/R-35 in 230 at bats on the 2011 campaign. His 31/31 K/BB ratio was an improvement over the previous 2 seasons as well. Correa should make his way to the Gulf Coast League in 2012.
Ulises Montilla, 2B Pittsburgh Pirates - 5/12/1992 (19) – Height: 5’11″ Weight: 170 – Montilla hit .364/.439/.506 with HR-3/3B-3/2B-21/RBI-47/R-39/SB-11 in just 253 at bats for the VSL Pirates. Originally signed to play outfield, the Pirates have converted him into a 2B in 2011. He’s shown great plate discipline, striking out 17 times vs 33 walks. He should be on his way to the states for to play in the Gulf Coast League in 2012.
Edgard Munoz, OF Pittsburgh Pirates - 10/31/1991 (19) – Height: 5’8″ Weight: 150 – Possibly the biggest surprise of the VSL was the vertically challenged Munoz. He didn’t sign until he was 19, but hit an impressive .360/.464/.439 with HR-1/3B-1/2B-8/RBI-17/R-42/SB-20. Munoz is a speedy project for the Rays who needs to work on reading the pitcher, as he was picked off 15 times in 35 attempts. His 14/23 K/BB in 164 at bats was very good. 2012 will be a true test for Munoz to see if he will advance in the system, he will be back for another round in the VSL.
Miguel Mendez, SS Cincinnati Reds - 04/16/1993 (18) – Height: 5’10″ Weight: 160 – Signed by the Reds on 11/20/2010, Mendez hit .341/.414/.495 with HR-2/3B-5/2B-16/RBI-35/R-45/SB-12. He had a 12/13 K/BB rate in 208 at bats. Mendez has a decent glove and should stick at shortstop, but there are indications that he could be moved to third base down the road. We should get a better look at him in 2012, as he joins the Arizona League Reds.
Yordi Calderon, 3B Seattle Mariners - 02/15/1994 (17) – Height: 6’2″ Weight: 185 – Signed in the summer of 2010 by the Seattle Mariners for $500,000, the young Calderon didn’t disappoint by hitting .275/.373/.421 with HR-7/3B-1/2B-16/RBI-39/R-30/SB-14. His 62 strike outs in 247 at bats and getting caught stealing 8 times in 22 attempts is cause for concern, but the fact that he is loaded with talent and this was his 1st professional year should ease most concerns. Another season in the VSL in 2012 is likely, though he could make it to the Arizona League at some point.
Renato Nunez, 3B Oakland Athletics - 04/04/1994 (17) – Height: 6’1″ Weight: 185 – Nunez didn’t exactly light up the Venezuelan Summer League, but having just turned 17 right before the season started, he played pretty well. He received one of the largest signing bonuses that the A’s have ever given out, signing for $2.2 million in July of 2010. He hit .268/.301/.407 with HR-5/2B-12/RBI-28/R-20/SB-1. His 42/6 K/BB ratio was ugly, but he’s just too talented to not improve and another season in the VSL in 2012 should make all the difference in the world.
Check back soon as we profile many more top MLB Prospects and also get our baseball geek on and take a look at some of the later draft picks from the 2011 draft that we think could be big names on the prospect radars in the near future. Take a look at our Prospect Instinct series, where this time we feature another top prospect – Prospect Instinct | Martin Perez, LHP Texas Rangers. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be. So don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at firstname.lastname@example.org.