Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Look at the V-Rays: Hitters

Down in Venezuela, it's time for teams to showcase their prowess in their Latin America Scouting Departments and time for players to show why they were "bonus babies" when the July 2nd signing period began. The VSL Rays, last year's league champs, are set to defend their crown and there's a few interesting prospects in the mix that may lead them on their way to repeating.

The elder statesmen, if that's even possible, of this year's V-Rays crop are Roan Salas(19.9 yrs old) and Nahum Hernandez(20.7). These guys are the "big bats" of the line-up. Last year, Roan collected 37 XBHs(15 HRs) and had a triple slash of .338/.409/.653 with his BABIP being only .339. I feel this year is a make-or-break year for both these players, seeing as they've still yet to come stateside and play in a complex/short-season league. Nahum needs to improve on last year's numbers(4 HRs, sub-.300 average), though, to even be considered for one.

Looking through the roster, Jose Paez pops out at you. At the young age of 16, Paez is the lead-off hitter and starting centerfielder for the V-Rays. He's already stolen 3 bases, scored 5 runs and has an OBP of .381 through the first 6 games. I know that's not great, but considering his age and everything, this may be a player to keep track of going on.

Wester Silva(18.3) is a name that I was telling people to keep an eye on, after his late-season debut last year. He's one of our kids from our Brazilian Academy and showed a knack for hitting and getting on base last year. I'm fairly interested in him, due to the fact that he was our first non-pitching, teenage signee from Brazil to be put in a summer league. If he can build on last year and work his way into eventually being a stateside player, it'd do wonders in recruiting teenagers in Brazil to switch from soccer to baseball.

Omar Narvaez(18.3) is another name I'm keeping an eye on, however I'm a bit pessimistic with Rays catching prospects coming out of the VSL with the way Mayobanex Acosta and Alejandro Segovia have performed stateside(though Segovia still has some time). With everything a catcher does in a game, both offensively and defensively, I won't be surprised either way with how Omar's season goes.

Next up: A look at V-Rays pitching staff
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