Remember speedy Mariners IF Luis Ugueto who totaled 6 hits for the Mariners batting .214 in ’02-’03; you do? Well they are not related but it’s nice to take a trip down memory lane.
Jesus Ugueto, 21, signed with the Seattle Mariners in 2009; meaning he is currently on his 4th season in the Venezuelan Summer League (VSL). Progress in the VSL from year-to-year is something that scouts look to but not the longevity to stay there.
With that being said Ugueto won the VSL MVP without much competition as he hit .388 in 71 games and did it in crushing fashion.
Ugueto previously had not posted a season above .300/.370/.420/.770 before breaking out for .388/.458/.554/1.013 in 2012.
The VSL Mariners finished 2nd in the league, 4.5 games behind the VSL Phillies, at 44-27. The Mariners led the league in runs and RBIs creating a league best 5.42 runs per game.
Be wary of the numbers that come out of the VSL as the Mariners posted an average batter age of 18.8; a full year older than the VSL Tigers.
Don’t think a year is a big deal? Read here on the new tool MLB teams have to fight against age and identity fixing in International Baseball.
Ugueto posted 107 hits and scored 72 runs being the only player to play all 70-71 games in the 2012 VSL.
No player since 2005 (couldn’t trace further) in the Dominican Summer League (DOSL) or Venezuelan Summer League has accomplished 100 hits or 70 runs scored; let alone in the same season.
Tie that in with the 6th highest batting average (.388) in both leagues since 2005 and Ugueto posted one of the greatest all-time seasons in VSL or DOSL history.
Outside typical baseball production Ugueto was king as well – 2nd in 3Bs, 3rd in SBs, 1st in SFs, & 1st in BBs.
The big question that I am asking myself is can a 21-year-old VSL alum come stateside and succeed? Take a look:
- Sergio Escalona received his call stateside in 2007 at the age of 22 and made his MLB debut in 2009 at age 24.
- Alexi Ogando was 25 when he left the DOSL in 2009; making his MLB debut in 2010 at age 26.
- Luis Perez was 22 when he came stateside in 2007; making his MLB debut in 2011 at age 26.
That is it; only those three players since 2005 have been able to break into the Major Leagues. Also note that all 3 of these players are pitchers; no hitter has accomplished the feat since 2005.
Let’s hope that Jesus Ugueto is an exception to this trend; he already did a few things that no one else could do.