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Luis Raven

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Luis Alberto Raven Enriquez

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[edit] Biographical Information

Luis Raven is a former power-hitting prospect who reached as high as AAA in the California Angels and Florida Marlins farm systems and starred in the Caribbean Series a couple years. He hit 20 home runs on four occasions in the minors and smacked 200 circuit clouts overall on the farm. Through 2014, he is 5th all-time in the Venezuelan League in home runs with 94 (behind Robert Perez (124), Eliezer Alfonzo (121), Alex Cabrera (117) and Tony Armas Sr. (97) and 9th all-time in RBI with 402.

[edit] 1989-1993: Early years with the Angels

Raven broke into professional baseball at age 20 with the 1989 AZL Angels as a third baseman, hitting only .207/~.248/.331 with one home run and 41 strikeouts in 145 AB. He missed all of the 1990 season, then in 1991 was the DH of the Boise Hawks, hitting .274/.351/.369. In 1992, Luis hit .288/.331/.413 for the Palm Springs Angels, playing in his first full-season league at the relatively old age of 23. Raven batted .277/.324/.408 and stole 15 in 26 tries for Palm Springs in 1993. His 7 homers led the weak-hitting Palm Springs club. He also was with the Midland Angels for 43 games, hitting .257/.283/.377. He paced the Angels' minor league system in both RBI (82) and strikeouts (129 to only 27 walks).

[edit] 1993-1995: First big years: Midland, Vancouver, Magallanes

That winter, Luis had his first big year in winter baseball, hitting .345/?/.606 in the Venezuelan League. He was third in average and tied Roberto Zambrano, Alex Gonzalez and Willie Magallanes for the home run lead (7). He was the Rookie of the Year. In 1994, Raven led the Angels minors in runs (107) and strikeouts (139). He hit .304/.327/.681 in 47 games for Midland, fanning 51 times in 191 AB while drawing just 5 walks. On the other hand, he scored 41, homered 18 times (leading the team despite being 12th in games) and driving in 57. Called up to the Vancouver Canadians when J.T. Snow went up to California, Raven hit .305/.344/.488 in 85 games, hitting 13 home runs. Raven was now the #2 first baseman in the California chain but Snow was under a year older and considered a hotter prospect. In 1995, Luis bounced around the Angels organization, playing for the Lake Elsinore Storm (.417/.533/.833 in 6 games), Midland (.267/.304/.488 in 21 games) and Vancouver (.244/.318/.452). He bounced around the field as well and saw action at third base, the outfield and first.

[edit] 1995-2000: The peak years

Raven tied Carlos Martinez for the Venezuelan League home run lead in 1995-1996 (7) and hit .276/?/.403 for the Navegantes del Magallanes. In the Cleveland Indians system in 1996, he split third base with Todd Betts (fielding only .885) for the Canton-Akron Indians. Raven hit .302/~.389/.601 in 74 games, smacking 21 home runs, third on the club despite being only 12th in games played. Now 27 years old, Luis seemed set on the path of long-time minor league player.

In winter ball, Raven helped Magallanes to the 1997 Caribbean Series and he earned All-Tournament honros as the best first baseman in that Series. Now with the Chicago White Sox system, he led their minor leaguers in home runs (30) and RBI (112), hitting .336/.397/.612 for the Birmingham Barons. Mostly used at DH, he had 23 errors in just 39 games at third, fielding .800. He tied Mike Coolbaugh and Kevin Witt for the Southern League lead with those 30 homers, tied Witt for the intentional walk lead (7) and paced the SL in slugging. Only Mike Neill posted a better batting average. Raven made the SL All-Star team as the DH. Ben Grieve beat him out for the MVP thanks to a much better OBP rate. Luis had another big winter in 1998, leading the Venezuelan League in RBI (45) and hits (73), batting .299/?/.480 and tying Magglio Ordonez and Alex Cabrera for the home run lead (8). That summer, he was with the Monclova Steelers, hitting .349/?/.537.

For Pastora de Occidente, Raven put on a show in the 1998-1999 Venezuelan League season, batting .321/?/.597. He led the league with 78 hits and his 18 home runs doubled runner-up Jesus Gonzalez, 11 more than Ordonez. He was named league MVP. In the round-robin playoffs, he hit .344 with 4 HR and 16 RBI in 16 games, joining the Caracas Lions. In the finals, though, he only hit .190 with one home run against the Lara Cardinals as Caracas fell. He made the Baseball America Winter All-Star team at DH.

Signing with the White Sox again, the 30-year-old slugger finally got regular time at AAA for the first time in four years. He hit .282/.343/.543 with 97 runs, 33 HR and 125 RBI in 139 games. He led the Chicago minor league system in runs, homers, RBI and total bases (289). The Charlotte Knights slugger led the 1999 International League in home runs and was 2 RBI behind IL leader Steve Cox and made the league All-Star team at DH, his second straight All-Star nod. He finished fifth among all minor leaguers in RBI.

Luis signed with his first National League team in 2000, the Florida Marlins. No longer given the option to DH in many games, he played outfield and first often. He hit .274/.328/.510 with 24 home runs, leading the Calgary Cannons and the Marlins minor league system in homers.

[edit] 2001-2007: The rest of his career

Luis batted .257/?/.438 for Lara in the 2000-2001 winter campaign and hit .318/?/.773 for the club in the 2001 Caribbean Series and his 8 RBI led the Series. At age 32, Raven found no interest from MLB teams so he moved to the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League, hitting .313/.361/.497.

Raven only hit .245 for his hometown La Guaira Sharks in the 2001-2002 winter season, but did smack 10 home runs. He split 2002 between three Northern League outfits, the Winnipeg Goldeyes, Sioux City Explorers and Lincoln Saltdogs combining to bat .288/.338/.462. In the 2002-2003 winter campaign in Venezuela, he batted .201 in 36 games for La Guaira.

Raven played with the Cancun Lobstermen in 2003, batting .270/.299/.406. With his hometown La Guaira club, he hit .282/?/.414 that 2003-2004 winter campaign. He did not play in a summer league in 2004, but hit .284 with 50 hits in 50 games for the VBL's Zulia Eagles in 2004-2005. He joined San Marino of Serie A1 in Italy in 2005 and hit .276/.381/.356 with 24 hits in 24 games. He hit .277 in 83 at-bats for the Navegantes del Magallanes in the 2005-2006 winter season and in 2006-2007, again with Magallanes, he hit .195/.242/.331 with 23 hits in 39 games. He retired after that campaign.

[edit] Notes and other information

Raven suffered a stroke in January 2014. Though he was originally in serious condition, he had surgery and survived.

Sources: 1990-2005 Baseball Almanacs, Minorleaguebaseball.com, 1995 Baseball Guide

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