(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
By Conor Liguori
December 4, 2023
The Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional season is approaching the 40-game mark. The All-Star Game is just a few weeks away. The game will take place on Sunday, December 18, at Estadio La Rinconada in Caracas, the home field of the Leones del Caracas.
The rosters for the All-Star game will be selected via a fan vote and by Venezuelan baseball journalists. This year marks the first time that the league will play an All-Star Game, since 2017.
Looking elsewhere, plenty of headlines have come from Venezuela’s top professional baseball league in the last week.
Tiburones and Magallanes Appoint New Managers
Ozzie Guillen has been appointed as the new manager of Tiburones de La Guaira, as the team announced on their official Instagram page on Sunday. Edgardo Alfonzo was fired on Saturday night after the team suffered its third consecutive loss.
“The new owners have done things that make you think they want the team to win, and just by looking at the squad, you can see that. “It is a team with a lot of talent, and of course, it is an honor to be taken into account,” Guillén told reporters on Saturday just before accepting the position.
Guillen is a former American League Rookie of the Year with the Chicago White Sox and has a managerial career that includes stints with the White Sox, Miami Marlins, and the Tiburones de La Guaira during the 2016-17 season. He had a .524 winning percentage in eight years as the manager of the White Sox and a .426 winning percentage in one year as the Marlins manager.
The Navegantes del Magallanes also have a new manager. Ramon Hernandez will take the helm for the rest of the season to replace Miguel Cairo, fired by the team. In addition, pitching coach Gerardo Casadiego and hitting coach Roberto Perez have been relieved of their duties.
Hernandez, a former MLB catcher, most recently worked as a staff assistant and interpreter for the Oakland Athletics during the 2023 season. He has one year of managerial experience with the Tigres de Aragua during the 2018-19 Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional season.
Angel Reyes Named Player of the Week
Aguilas del Zulia outfielder Angel Reyes was named Player of the Week for his outstanding play from November 27 to December 2. According to the Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional website, Reyes received 53 percent of the votes from a panel of Venezuelan baseball journalists.
Reyes had a .409 batting average in six games with a .435 on-base percentage. He hit two home runs last week, which tied three other players, including Ronald Acuna Jr.
Reyes has been one of the best hitters on the Aguilas de Zulia this season, hitting .333 with four home runs and 23 RBI.
Cardenales De Lara and Leones del Caracas Fight for First
The Cardenales de Lara and Leones del Caracas have been the best teams this Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional season. Heading into Monday night, both teams were 24-13 and five games ahead of the Bravos de Margarita (18-17) for first place.
Infielder Hernan Perez has been performing well for the Cardenales de Lara, hitting .311 with a .917 OPS. The Leones del Caracas’ best hitter by a mile has been shortstop Jose Rondon, who leads the team with 11 home runs and a whopping 1.117 OPS with a minimum of 50 plate appearances.
The two teams will play against one another on Saturday, December 16, at 6:30 a.m. ET at Estadio Antonio Herrera Gutiérrez, home of the Cardenales de Lara.
Standings as of December 4
1. Cardenales de Lara– 24-13
2. Leones del Caracas– 24-13
3. Bravos de Margarita– 18-17
4. Aguilas de Zulia– 18-19
5. Tiburones de La Guaira– 17-19
6. Navegantes del Magallanes– 16-20
7. Tigres de Aragua– 15-21
8. Caribes de Anzoátegui– 13-23