Blog Entry

Five hits, misses on recent Cuban imports

Posted on: November 10, 2011 4:38 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2011 9:51 pm
By Matt Snyder

With 26-year-old Cuban star Yoennis Cespedes ready to join Major League Baseball, it's worth taking a look at some of the recent Cuban players to defect to America. Obviously, there have been lots of players in history to come to America from Cuba and the interesting twist is that not near as much is known about these players as ones from other international destinations due to the embargo. So it's often a bit of a guessing game, in conjunction with Cuban numbers (which sometimes vary) and individual team workouts. Here are five recent hits and misses on Cuban imports -- at least as things appear now.

So far, so good

Yonder Alonso, Reds. The 24-year-old slugger looks like a rising star, if the Reds can either find a defensive spot for him or trade him somewhere that he can play everyday (or trade Joey Votto and play Alonso at first?!). In only 98 plate appearances in the majors, the highly-touted prospect hit .330 with five homers, 15 RBI and a .943 OPS this past season.

Aroldis Chapman, Reds. He went through a stretch of command problems in 2011 -- in six appearances he allowed 13 walks and 11 earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings -- but was strong once again after he was recalled from the minors. We've seen the phenom hit 105 on the radar gun and the strikeout rate (90 K in 63 1/3 innings) bodes well for the success of the 23-year-old lefty moving forward. Plus, considering the aforementioned horrifying stretch of six games, Chapman still has a 3.27 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 69 appearances.

Kendrys Morales, Angels. He finished fifth in American League MVP voting in 2009 and was having another good season in 2010 before a broken leg hit the pause button on his career.

Alexei Ramirez, White Sox. In four big-league seasons, the average line for the Cuban Missile has been .279/.323/.421 with 17 homers, 71 RBI, 75 runs and 12 stolen bases. Lots of teams would take that from their shortstop.

Dayan Viciedo, White Sox. Sure, I'm banking on him blossoming at the major-league level, but Viciedo has shown good power at every stop. Last season, he hit .296 with 20 homers, 78 RBI and an .856 OPS in Triple-A. Those who have seen him in person know he's capable of some prodigious shots, too, like Mark Reynolds-level power. Considering Viciedo's only 22, there's definitely a good shot he becomes a 25-to-30-homer guy in the majors.

So far, not so good

Francisley Bueno. The 30-year-old left-handed pitcher has logged over 500 mediocre minor-league innings. His shot in the bigs lasted just 2 1/3 innings for the Braves, in which he allowed five hits and two earned runs.

Barbaro Canizares. He actually mashed in the Mexican League (Triple-A) in 2011, hitting .396/.499/.653 with 20 homers in just 83 games, so maybe he'll back. But he always hit in the minors before, too, it was getting a shot in the bigs that was a problem for Canizares. He only received 21 plate appearances for the Braves in 2009, getting just four hits (.190). He's 31 years old.

Yoslan Herrera. His major-league stint came back in 2008, when Herrera put together five unimpressive outings (9.82 ERA, 2.56 WHIP). He last pitched in the minors in 2010 for the Twins' Triple-A affiliate, putting together a 6.08 ERA in 26 2/3 innings.

Yuniesky Maya, Nationals. He's 1-4 with a 5.52 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in 58 2/3 innings at the big-league level. He hasn't fared much better in Triple-A and he's now 30 years old.

Amauri Sanit, Yankees. He's good if he's facing Double-A or worse competition, but after that it's been pretty bad. Sanit has a 5.99 ERA and 1.67 WHIP in 50 Triple-A appearances and was horrible (12.86 ERA, 2.14 WHIP) in seven major-league innings this season. He's 32 and first made an appearance in the minors in 2008, so it's hard to see much changing.

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Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: November 13, 2011 8:39 pm

Good idea for an extended piece

It would be interesting to see what percentage of Cuban players have "made it" to the Show for more than a cup of coffee and compare it with other countries, including the US.  I'll bet the US would have the lowest percentage.  I would imagine that the DR would have a very high percentage, but I think Cuba might turn out to have either the highest or second-highest percentage.  

Since: Feb 20, 2010
Posted on: November 12, 2011 12:11 pm

Five hits, misses on recent Cuban imports

Thinger --

Apparently you are 4 years old and can't read.  The title, as well as the beginning of the article, refers to "some" "recent"  Cuban imports.

Since: May 18, 2010
Posted on: November 12, 2011 8:10 am

Five hits, misses on recent Cuban imports

Apparently the writer is 14 years old and only knows current players.

Since: Oct 8, 2011
Posted on: November 11, 2011 9:37 pm

Five hits, misses on recent Cuban imports

Livan Hernandez would have been a nice addition. He's had a long and sometimes-successful career. I agree that Chapman should be in the bullpen. Guys with that kind of walk rate rarely make for successful starters... Not because they can't be effective, but because they have 110 pitches by the 4th inning. I'm pulling for him to make it as a starter, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Since: Nov 23, 2006
Posted on: November 11, 2011 8:12 pm

Five hits, misses on recent Cuban imports

Aroldis Chapman should be the Reds closer next year.  However, the Reds are so poorly managed and coached that will also be screwed up too.  The Reds should have won 95 games this year. 

Since: Nov 11, 2011
Posted on: November 11, 2011 12:30 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Apr 25, 2008
Posted on: November 11, 2011 12:24 pm

Five hits, misses on recent Cuban imports

Where is El Duque? 

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