Myworld has been remiss in our reporting of the Cuban Nacional Series. They have already completed the first half of the season and are now in the round robin portion. With the many defections the power structure of the league has changed. Myworld was not able to get numbers on relievers because many of the websites we normally relied on for stats either have an innings limit for their pitchers or their stats are incomplete or only provide second half numbers. So we did the best with what we could piece together. Below are the standings of the league to date:
Las Tunas Lenadores (44-20)
Jorge Yhonson is second in the league in hitting (.425) but lacks power (3 homeruns). He is second on the team in runs scored with 48, though all of his runs scored have been with Las Tunas. His bat has gotten particularly hot in the second round with a .580 average. Rafael Vinales (.363, 11, 55) has been the power bat, though his bat has cooled during the second round (.269, 1, 9). At 25 years of age he is a player to keep an eye on. Junior Paumier (.344, 7, 49) has been another productive bat for Las Tunas leading the team with his 49 runs scored, though 33 of those runs were scored when he was playing for Holquin in the first round. He also splits the gaps with 22 doubles, tops in the league. Yosvany Alarcon (.314, 11, 41) is another veteran bat that provides power in the lineup and leads the pitching staff from behind the plate. At 41 years of age Daniel Castro (.350, 8. 42) still knows how to hit.
Yoalkis Cruz may not have an impressive ERA (3.98) but he leads the league in wins (12-3) which is all that counts in this game. He and Yudiel Rodriguez (9-4, 3.10) have combined for 21 wins, the most for a twosome in the league. A third pitcher Yariel Rodriguez (8-3, 2.99) gives them an impressive threesome. Yariel was picked up from Camaguey for the second round playoff run.
Matanzas Cocodrilos (42-23)
Osvaldo Vazquez (.242, 11, 44) drives in the runs for Matanzas though his average is disappointing. Eduardo Blanco (.323) leads the league in stolen bases with 18 but his rare 17/41 walk to whiff ratio shows his lack of patience. Most players in the Cuban League walk more than they strikeout. Yasiel Santoya (.334, 5, 42) and Jefferson Delgado (.330, 4, 36) are two other bats to note.
Matanzas has the top two pitchers in ERA in Roy Hernandez (2.14) and Yoaanni Yera (2.16). At 22 Cruz is a rookie and his innings (67) and wins (4-4) have been limited. Even though Yera is a veteran he is still only 28 and is second in the league in wins with 11 (11-2). His 113 whiffs leads the league by more than 40. Jonder Martinez (5-4, 3.18) is still their steady veteran ace at 39. Dachel Duquesne (8-5, 3.59) was grabbed from Ciego de Avila to provide consistent starts. He is a work horse who leads the league in innings pitched (115).
Industriales Leones (38-26)
The 36 year old veteran Yordanis Samon (.317, 9, 48) leads this team in RBIs, but his second round production (.223) has been disappointing. Another veteran Alexander Malleta (.300, 11, 40) is still sending balls over the fence even at 40 years of age. Juan Torriente is hitting .387 but the power is lacking with only three homeruns. He is a contact hitter with only four whiffs in close to 200 at bats.
Freddy Alvarez (2-8, 3.82) was another pitcher drafted from Ciego de Avilla. He used to be one of the premier pitchers in the league but is struggling to find wins. His second half performance (0-3, 5.29) has not been of much help. Yunior Gamboa (6-6, 3.53) was a starter for Isla dela Juventud but the Industriales have been using him in relief. Jose Rodriguez (4-4, 2.46) was picked up from Camaguey and has not liked his new surroundings (0-1, 9.00).
Granma Alazanes (38-26)
At 24 years of age Guillermo Aviles is still attractive to major league scouts. He is hitting .369 with 12 homeruns though the park is small. Guillermo has slumped a bit in the second round (.314) but his 57 RBIs and 59 runs scored are among the league leaders. Carlos Benitez is the other big bat (.366) with his 11 homeruns second on the team and his 62 RBIs leading the league. Lazaro Cedeno has taken advantage of the small park with his league leading 16 homeruns and his 60 RBIs is just two short of Benitez. With all those big power hitters someone has to be scoring runs ahead of them. That is the job of Raico Santos (.315, 3, 23) a 23 year old who leads the league in runs scored with 61. Alfredo Despaigne is probably their best bat but he plays in Japan and saves himself for playoff time.
They have a solid three starters to rely on. Ulfrido Garcia (9-4, 3.17) is turning into their ace at 22. He made his debut in 2012 as a 17 year old for Santiago de Cuba and has now turned into the ace of the Granma staff after being drafted for the second round. Alain Sanchez (7-5, 3.09) was picked up from Villa Clara and has struggled with Granma (2-2, 4.54). They need him to get back to form to stay in the race. Leeandro Martinez (8-4, 4.75) is the main stay of their staff who has been banged around (1-3, 8.56) in the second round. At 22 Yanier Gonzalez (6-5, 3.75) is another youngster they are now relying on for their rotation. His 30/24 walk to whiff ratio is not very impressive.
Pinar del Rio Vegueros (34-32)
The veteran Frederich Cepeda leads the league in hitting (.437) at 37 years of age. Myworld thought he was on the down side of his career but with many of the stars leaving he is able to compete. Cepeda does run well but 11 balls have carried over the fence to drive in 38 runs. Pitchers still fear him walking him 74 times. The veteran was drafted from Sancti Spiritus to energize an impotent offense. Raul Gonzalez (.325, 7, 33) was a second player drafted (Ciego de Avila) but his production has been lacking (.163, 0, 6). The 36 year old William Saavedra (.312, 7, 30) has been the original bat on the team, though all of his homeruns came in the first round.
Erly Casanova (8-4, 2.46) is the ace of their staff. He has had some second half struggles with the opposition improving their hitting against him to .282 from .202. This has raised his ERA from a league leading 1.94 to 2.46, though he has allowed 12 unearned runs. Yosvany Torres (7-6, 3.53) has been a consistent member of the rotation.
Artemisa Cazadores (34-33)
Yunier Mendoza was picked up from Sancti Spiritus. While he is hitting .395 his bat has slowed down for Artemisa (.277). He has gone from a 1.050 OPS for Sancti Spiritus to a .718 for the Cazadores. Lazaro Hernandez (.324) is their big homerun bat with 11 but at 24 needs to develop more patience (19/43 walk to whiff). Dennis Laza (.335, 10, 39) was a second round pickup but with the improved pitching his bat has gotten cold (.241).
At 24 Misael Villa (7-3, 3.21) has been giving Artemisa some solid starts. They drafted Vladimir Garcia (6-4, 3.66) from Ciego de Avilla to be their ace but his second half performance has been disappointing (0-2, 7.10).