As Jim already pointed out in his recent Scores and Highlights post, the VSL Rays defeated the VSL Pirates in the decisive game 3 of the VSL championship series with 7:2. Therewith they have won the VSL two times in a row against the same finals opponent.
So ... what made them this years' VSL champion?
While last years' team had a balanced attack with very solid pitching (led by Eli Echarry, Luis Wilches and Felipe Rivero) and hitting (led by Nahum Hernandez, Roan Salas and Franklin Paz), only 1 (Franklin Paz) of the 6 players named above returned for the 2011 season. Nevertheless, the team managed to play a solid regular season (2nd place, 38 wins, 33 losses) which earned them a spot in the championship series. The main reason for the solid season was the by far best offense of the league:
- 1st in OPS: .779 (2nd best: .751)
- 1st in AVG: .277 (2nd best: .275)
- 3rd in OBP: .364 (best: .372)
- 1st in SLG: .415 (2nd best: .380)
- 1st in HR's: 66 (2nd best: 36!!!)
And the guy who not just led the VSL Rays but all of the (qualified) VSL hitters in offensive performance was (now) 18 year old catcher Oscar Hernandez. Just check this out:
I can't wait for 2012 which will mark the stateside debut of Oscar Hernandez.