Yesterday, it was announced in the podcast “The Show before the Show”, that the Venezuelan Summer League is no more.
After 19 years the league shuts down due to several reasons. The league has been plagued by many teams pulling back due to the turmoil that the country faces. Many teams feared for the safety of their empoyees after some were robbed on the baseball facilities. Venezuela faces a lot of problems: inflation, crime, corruption and food shortages. The unrest in the country is getting bigger, so many MLB teams thought it is not safe anymore.
For the 2016 season, only three teams would start the season, so the league decided to suspend operations for the 2016 season. The teams that still had teams in the VSL will have a second team at the Dominican Summer League or at the Gulf Coast League.
This will be a big blow for the baseball talents in Venezuela. For some kids it was a good thing to start their professional career near home. Now they have to move to the Dominican Republic, which is a strange country for them and which makes it harder for some of them to focus on their career.
The VSL was created in 1997 as an alternative to the Dominican Summer League to improve the development of young prospects from Venezuela in their early years in organized baseball. Through the years players from Argentina, Curacao, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Sint (Saint) Maarten and Venezuela have made their first steps in professional baseball.
Well known players that played in the VSL are Jose Altuve, Wladimir Balentien, Asdrubal Cabrera and Felix Doubront.
In March 2015 there was talk that the VSL would be replaced by a summer league in Curacao because the VSL would disband. Well the disbanding prophecy has become true, but so far there is no news about a new Curacao Summer League. This is also because of a political crisis on the island. The government retreated so for a while the island had a temporary government. According to sources, it is expected that at the end of January news about this upstart Curacao Summer League and the facility that comes with it, will be announced.