Archive for the 'Cuba' Category

Cuban Baseball Openers

Monday, September 14th, 2020

Over the weekend the Cuban Nacional Series opened up their season. Saturday was the opening day. Below are the results:

Camaguey 15 Matanzas 8

The semi finalist from last year beat the defending champion in the opener. Big days were had by Alexander Ayala and Leonel Moa, who each hit a homerun and drove in four runs. With his four hits Moa was a triple short of the cycle, scoring three runs.

Jefferson Delgado and Yasiel Santoya each went deep and drove in three runs for Matanzas. Matanzas ace Yoanni Yera was not effective coughing up eight runs in his five innings of work.

Mayabeque 9 Las Tunas 5

The game went 10 but Mayabeque outscored Las Tunas 5 to 1 in the final frame. Orlandro Lavandera went deep with a three run homerun in the tenth to win it and Dennis Laza used his three hits to drive in three.

Holquin 7 Pinar Del Rio 1

Carlos Alberto worked a solid seven innings, giving up just one run on five hits. He was helped on offense by Jorge Luis Pena with his homerun and two RBIs. Holquin scattered 11 hits.

Artemisa 3 Granma 2

In one of the closer matches Artemisa rallied for two runs in the ninth inning to pull out the victory. Lazaro Blanco had pitched 8 strong innings, allowing just one early run before turning the ball over to Carlos Rene Santana in the ninth. He failed to protect the lead. Ronny Proenza and Gabriel Garbey got the final two run scoring singles. Jose Garcia pitched the ninth to get the save, despite walking two and giving up a hit.

Santiago de Cuba 7 Isla de la Juventud 6

Santiago rallied for three in the eighth to take a 6-4 lead but Juventud scored two in the top of the ninth to tie it. The third hit by Ariel Enrique proved to be the walk off to lead Santiago to victory. Osday Silva hit a key two run homer for Santiago in the eighth while Leonardo Urgelles and Aquimo Jimenez had two run bombs for Juventud. Aquimo hit his two run homer in the ninth to allow Junentud to tie.

Industriales 10 Guantanamo 4

Yoandry Ugelles drove in three with his pinch hit homerun and Industriales rallied for 9 runs in the last three innings to pull out the victory. Frank Navarro had allowed just one run in the first six innings but tired in the seventh, giving up a three spot.

Cuban National Series to be Televised by WBSC

Friday, September 11th, 2020

The Cuban National Series will begin tomorrow with a game between the defending champions Matanzas against the second place team Camaguey. If you are interested in watching any of the games the World Baseball and Softball Confederation has obtained exclusive rights to televise National Series games. To watch them you can go to GameTime.Sport.

The 75 game regular season will end on December 27. The top eight teams will play from January 9 to 14. The final four teams will play with expanded rosters from January 17-25. The championship round will then be January 28 to February 5.

MLB First - Back to back to back to back by Foreign Born Players

Sunday, August 16th, 2020

Three of them were Cubans and the last was from the Dominican Republic. Back to back to back to back homeruns have been accomplished ten times in major league history, but this is the first time that all four homeruns were hit by foreign born players.

Yoan Moncada started the party off with a three run homer. Yasmani Grandal followed with a homerun and Jose Abreu went deep to make it the first back to back to back for Cuban born players. Dominican Eloy Jimenez finished it off with a homerun. For those who were wondering, Luis Robert was seventh in the batting order, Eloy Jimenez fifth.

WBSC Has Rewind of Last Olympic Gold Medal Game

Saturday, August 8th, 2020

You can watch the last Olympic Gold Medal baseball game that was played between Korea and Cuba that was played in Beijing, China back in 2008. There was enough interest in China that close to 10,000 attended the game. The starting pitcher for Korea was Hyu-Jin Ryu, who had just won the KBO Rookie of the year award. He is the same Ryu who pitched for the Dodgers and now the Blue Jays. The Cuba starter was Norberto Gonzales.

Go to wbsc.org to watch the game. Myworld went to Beijing a couple years after the game was played. They had already torn down the stadium and replaced it with a mall and a parking lot. There was some talk that they were also going to build a basketball venue at the site, but myworld could not confirm that.

That shows you what China thinks of baseball.

White Sox Make History with Cuban Batting Order

Sunday, August 2nd, 2020

The Chicago White Sox made history by becoming the first team in major league history to have the first four players in the batting order born in Cuba. Because of the injury to Tim Anderson, Luis Robert took the lead off spot. Yoan Moncada batted second and played third. Jose Abreu hit third and played first base. Yasmani Grandal, who grew up in the United States but was born in Cuba and migrated here as a youngster, batted cleanup.

The top four in the order did pretty good, leading the White Sox to an 11-5 win over the Kansas City Royals. Luis Robert went 4 for 5 with a homerun and two runs scored and driven in. Moncada went 3 for 5 with two runs scored. Jose Abreu went 2 for 6 with one run scored. Yasmani Grandal closed out the hitting going 2 for 5 with two runs scored and driven in. That is 11 for 21 with seven runs scored and four driven in.

If not for the last two batters in the order it would have been an all Latin lineup. Dominicans Edwin Encarnacion, Eloy Jimenez and Leury Garcia batted fifth, sixth and seventh in the White Sox order. The last two spots in the order were filled by United States born Adam Engel and rookie Nick Madrigal.

The Royals tried to counter the batting order by starting the recently acquired Cuban Ronald Bolanos, making his second start of the season. He did not survive to get to the third inning, giving up five runs in 1.2 innings. He gave up two long balls. Jorge Soler was also in the batting order for the Royals, making it 6 of the 20 players in the starting lineup born in Cuba. Gio Gonzalez was the starting pitcher for the White Sox and he has Cuban ancesters, though he was not born in Cuba.

Top Foreign Countries for Major League Players

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

Baseball America provided an article that identified all the countries that played major league baseball. Below is the list of those countries, separated by hitters and pitchers.

Top Offensive Players

1) United States, 2) Dominican Republic, 3) Venezuela, 4) Cuba, 5) Puerto Rico, 6) Curacao, 7) Canada, 8) Colombia, 9) South Korea 10) Aruba

Even when you add Aruba, Curacao and Netherlands together it still does not get them into the top five.

Top Pitchers

1) United States, 2) Dominican Republic, 3) Venezuela, 4) Japan, 5) Mexico, 6) Canada, 7) Puerto Rico, 8) Colombia, 9) Cuba, 10) Panama

South Korea, Taiwan and Australia just missed making the top ten. The ranking was measured by plate appearances and innings pitched.

Under 15 World Cup Scheduled for Tijuana in October

Friday, June 5th, 2020

Tijuana, Mexico is becoming a hot spot for baseball. First it was announced that the Women’s World Cup of Baseball would be played there November 12-21. Now the WBSC has made it a double header by announcing that the Under 15 World Cup will be played in Tijuana on October 30 to November 8. That is back to back World Cup events held in one city.

In the last World Cup held in 2018 the United States defeated Panama, while Taiwan finished third. The teams that will be competing in this 15 and under World Cup are:

Africa: South Africa
Americas: Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, United States and Venezuela
Asia: Taiwan and Japan
Europe: Germany and Italy
Oceania: Guam

Women’s Baseball World Cup Scheduled for November

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

It was originally scheduled for September 11-20 but had to be cancelled because of the corona virus. It has now been scheduled for November 12-21 in Tijuana, Mexico. Twelve teams will be competing in this event. They are:

Americas: United States, Canada, Mexico and Venezuela
Asia: Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines
Europe: France
Oceania: Australia
Wild Card: Cuba, Dominican Republic and Netherlands

Japan is the defending champion and has won the last six events. They have not lost a game in their last 30 contests. Taiwan lost in the finals to Japan. Canada defeated the United States for the bronze medal. The 2018 games were played in Vierra, Florida.

Cuban Dream Team

Sunday, May 17th, 2020

The Cuban Dream Team could be better if they were not limited to just players who have played in the major leagues. There are a number of Hall of Famers who dominated in international tournaments that probably could have been good major league ball players, but in the early days it was rare for players to defect. The Cuban arrival to major league baseball is still in its infancy when compared with the Dominicans arrival. So the team may not be quite as good but they have some stars. Again, to qualify for the Dream team the player has to be born in Cuba and played in the major leagues. Myworld used Baseball Reference as its focal point to identify the players.

Starting Lineup

Minie Minoso CF
Tony Oliva LF
Tony Perez 1B
Jose Canseco RF
Rafael Palmeiro DH
Yuli Gurriel 3B
Yoan Moncada 2B
Yasmani Grandal C
Bert Campaneris SS

Bench

Eli Marrero C, Jose Abreu 1B, Zoilo Versalles UTL, Leo Cardenas UTL, Yoenis Cespedes OF, Yordan Alvarez OF

Starting Pitching

Luis Tiant, Dolf Luque, Jose Fernandez, Mike Cuellar, Livan Hernandez

Bullpen

Aroldis Chapman, Raisel Iglesias, Diego Segui, Danys Baez, Pedro Ramos, Camilo Pascual

Luis Robert and Jorge Soler may put themselves on this team next year just as Yordan Alvarez put himself on this team based on his rookie performance. Gurriel had a breakout season last year, but was always one of the top players in the Cuban League with Jose Abreu and Yoenis Cespedes. Myworld was torn between Paul Casanova or Marrero as the back up catcher. The team probably has too many first base/DH types that are poor defensively and too many utility players that do not shine offensively when you think of a Dream team. The starting pitching is rock solid, even with the abbreviated opportunity Fernandez had to pitch. The bullpen was a little shy of arms so myworld was forced to add two long relievers in Pascual and Ramos who can both start and relieve. This team will compete.

Comparing Yoenis to Yoelkis Cespedes from Cuban League Numbers

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020

July 2 is coming up and that is the time major league teams normally sign international prospects. This year could be a little different because of the corona virus and the suspension on scouting. Most teams have had their players for this year committed by 15 and probably already have informal contracts in place so there probably should not be that big an impact on signings. The one player getting a lot of buzz is the half brother of Yoenis Cespedes, Yoelkis. When you compare their Cuban numbers you have to wonder why, unless it is a down year for international prospects.

Yoennis was a stud in the Cuban League. You look at his Cuban numbers and as a 20 year old through his early years he was among the league leaders in homeruns, hitting between 15 to 33 his last year, finally defecting at the age of 26. His first couple years he had walk to whiff ratios of 28/65 and 34/59 but after that the number of walks to whiffs were about equal in his last six years. His career Cuban batting average was about .319.

His major league seasons have been impressive when healthy, but staying healthy has been an issue. His best season was in 2015 when he hit 35 homeruns, followed the next season with the Mets when he hit 31. After that his last three years have been major disappointments, plagued by injuries. One has to wonder about his motivation to continue playing.

Looking at the Cuban numbers for Yoelkis brings up some rather unimpressive stats. This is a league that has also been watered down with defections. The pitching is not as strong as when Yoenis played.

Yoelkis put in four years in the Cuban League, half the time as his brother. Both started their careers at 18 years of age. Yet according to the stats on Baseball Reference, Yoelkis highest homerun numbers are just six. Yoennis hit 9 hist first year, 15 his second year and 23 his third year with a career batting average of .319. Yoelkis has just 12 homeruns in his four years in the Cuban League with a career batting average of .287. His walk to whiff rate is also not impressive (37/133).

Finally, if you look at slugging numbers Yoennis slugged .585 over his eight year career, including slugging over .500 in his first four years in the Cuban League. Yoelkis has a career .415 slugging average and has yet to reach the .500 slugging mark in his four years of Cuban ball.

Myworld would be cautious about spending big bucks for Yoelkis, based on the numbers in baseball reference. He is also listed at 5′7″ for his height where Yoennis is shown at 5′10″. We see nothing more than a fourth outfielder or organizational player in the minor leagues, if those numbers at Baseball Reference are accurate.