The 2008 Liga Paralela season in Venezuela has reached its midway point and the first European team is ranked eighth in the 15-club field. The ALB ORKAS have a 14-15 record with two ties in 31 games, nine games out of first place. The CARIBES are leading the standings with a 23-6 record (two ties) and a 4.5 game advantage over LA GUAIRA and the BRAVOS. The ORKAS struggled a bit the last couple of weeks, as some teams have Major Leaguers in their roster for a few days, which are using the Liga Paralela games to get in shape for their stint in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Let’s take a look at the numbers of the BBC. Especially on the offensive side of the game, the ORKAS are currently in a slump. As a team they are ranked twelfth in the league with a batting average of .236, 13th with an on-base-percentage of .317, eighth with a slugging percentage of .362 and tenth with 134 runs scored. They are second with 26 homeruns.
Pitching wise the ORKAS are in the middle of the pack with an ERA of 3.74 (8th), 141 runs allowed (8th) and 206 strikeouts (8th), but struggle with their control (132 walks, second most in league). They are tied in first place with three other teams with four shutouts. The defense is ranked narrowly above the league average with a fielding percentage of .959 (6th). They have made 50 errors (10th) in 31 games.
Individual only two batters of the ORKAS are having batting averages over .300. Emilio Linarez is hitting .310 (.386/.460) with two homeruns, nine doubles, 14 runs scored and a team-leading 16 RBIs in 28 games. Leadoff hitter Gerson Manzanillo, who is in the league top ten in a few categories, bats .304 (.316/.452) with four homeruns, 18 runs scored, eleven RBIs and ten stolen bases. Bryon Bell (.247/.393/.455) and Gabriel Montero (.243/.344/.393) each also had four homeruns this season. Bell has scored eleven times and drove in 15 in 23 games. Montero has 14 RBIs in 30 games.
Besides Bell the other European-experienced batters do not have the best numbers. Daniel Bittar is batting .224 (.262/.362) with five extra base hits, four runs scored and five RBIs in 24 games. Steffan Hoogewerff (.200/.333/.200), Sytse Visbsen (.192/.276/.192) and Zair Koeiman (.167/.259/.250) are fighting with the Mendoza-line. Ricky Thomas (.151/.338/.283) may have a terrible batting average, but he gets on base.
Despite a 0-3 record Yulman Ribeiro does have a nice season. He has an ERA of 2.57 in seven games (six starts) with 28 strikeouts in 35 innings, walking ten. Jesus Perez leads the team with an ERA of 2.16 (minimum 8 IP) in 8 1/3 innings. Steven Van Groningen is second with an ERA of 2.19 in ten games. He has ten strikeouts and ten walks in 12.1 innings pitched. Six players are tied with two wins. Nine pitchers got the nod for starting. Kevin Alarcon (ERA 7.11, 2-3, 25.1 IP, 8 BB) leads the staff with 32 K’s. Alexis Fumero (ERA 2.39, 2-2, 26.1 IP, 14 SO, 9 BB), Carlos Farias (ERA 2.84, 1-1, 31.2 IP, 19 SO, 17 BB) and Nelson Santander (ERA 2.66, 0-0, 23.2 IP, 19 SO, 9 BB) also are in the rotation for most parts of the season. Jurjen Van Zijl appeared in seven games (two starts) with a 2-0 record and an ERA of 3.98. He struck out 13 (four walks) in 20 1/3 innings. Shane Gnade (1-0) pitched in five games with an ERA of 7.50 and two strikeouts (three walks) in six innings pitched.