Venezuelan Summer League...

The home of the Prospects

The Venezuelan Summer League (VSL) was created in 1997, after several operational years of the Major League Baseball's academies in the country. The VSA followed the Dominican Summer League (DSL) as an alternative to improve the development of the young prospects in their early years in organized Baseball, which are the most difficult ones.

Andres Reiner, who was a Scout for the Houston Astros for many years and directed their academy in Venezuela, proposed the project of the VSL. Reiner became recognized for signing dozens of prospects, which later reached the Big Show.

The VSL was a solution for Major League clubs in economical terms, because the players use to travel directly to the US or the Dominican Republic to spend their first seasons after signing to professional Baseball. If a player did not succeed or just decided to quit, the teams had lost their investment.

Now Venezuela is the central league for local prospects, as well as the signed from Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, and the South Caribbean. Players receive a basic salary of $800 per month and they receive daily classes of English and Baseball. They must accomplish an exercise routine, practices routine and an official Minor League Baseball game. In addition, meals are provided, keeping a personalized dietary program on each one.

Almost all the organizations have scouts in Venezuela, but only 18 MLB clubs have placed their prospects on a team, however, all organizations can place their players into a particular team. Some teams are co-operated by two teams. There are two divisions:

Barquisimeto Division
MLB Team
Cabudare
Orioles
Carora
Cardinals & Blue Jays
Chivacoa
Pirates & Padres
San Felipe
Indians

 

Valencia Division
MLB Team
Aguirre
Mariners
Cagua
Reds & Twins
Ciudad Alianza
Red Sox & Brewers
Mariara
Phillies
Puerto Cabello
Cubs & Rockies
San Joaquin
Marlins & Dodgers
University of Carabobo
Mets
Venoco
Astros

When a team is pleased for a considering development from a player, this is raised to another league, which is the moment when the player is sent to the US. There, the player will have a slightly more experience than his American teammates, even more if he was signed at the earliest age, 16.

All of this process will bring in an increased number of Venezuelan players. Teams in the majors are glad of having Venezuelans in their rosters, because of their hard work, discipline, and dedication to this game.

After the VSL season finishes, players wait until September to report to their respective national teams, where they play until the next Minor League season starts. Venezuelan teams may place the players in their big teams, where the gain publicity and the chance to advance quicker in their careers or in a "Parallel League” team, which are the farm teams of the Venezuelan organizations.

This structure has promised a short-term fast development for national players. The results are already visible, one of the first rookie sensations is Anaheim Angels' pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, who debuted in September 2002 in the Majors and won 5 post-season games turning into one of the heroes for his team to win their first World Championship.

Aguirre (Seattle Mariners) celebrates their 2002 title

 

www.venezuelansummerleague.com