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Thread: Cuban Players Defectors

  1. #1

    Cuban Players Defectors

    Cuban Players in MLB or Minor Leagues

    Danys Baez Pitcher Devil Rays
    Livan Hernandez Pitcher Nationals
    Orlando Hernandez Pitcher White Sox
    Jose Contreras Pitcher White Sox
    Alain Soler Pitcher Mets
    Yuniesky Betancourt SS/2B Mariners
    Kendry Morales 1B/3B/Outfielder Angels
    Brayan Pena C Braves
    Michel Hernandez C Cardinals
    Ariel Prieto Pitcher Marlins
    Jorge Toca 1b White sox
    Michael Tejera Pitcher Rangers
    Juan Diaz 1B Cardinals
    Vladimir Nunez Pitcher Indians
    Raul Valdez Pitcher Cubs
    Alex Sanchez Outfielder Giants
    Eddy Oropeza Pitcher Orioles
    Juan Muniz Outfielder Marlins
    Yobal Duenas 2B/3B Yankees
    Arian Cruz Pitcher Reds
    Hansel Izquierdo Pitcher Pirates
    Maikel Jova Outfielder Blue Jays
    Joel Perez Outfielder Yankees
    Maique Quintero Pitcher Nationals
    Gary Galvez Pitcher Red Sox
    Yunel Escobar SS/3B Braves
    Saydel Beltran Pitcher Yankees
    Mael Rodriguez Pitcher Diamondbacks
    Jose Cordero Pitcher Twins
    Rafael Galvizo Pitcher Marlins
    Roberto Sotolongo Pitcher Cubs
    Miguel Perez Pitcher Mets
    William Plaza Catcher Yankees


    In other countries waiting legal papers and holding tryouts:

    Dominican Republic

    Francisley Bueno Pitcher
    Osbeck Castillo Pitcher
    Juan Miguel Miranda Outfielder
    Ayalen Ortiz Outfielder
    Donell Linares Infielder


    Costa Rica/Nicaragua

    Michel Abreu 1B
    Barbaro Canizares Outfielder/1B/C
    Mikel Neninger Pitcher
    Yosandry Ibanez Pitcher
    Amaury Sanit Pitcher

    USA

    Amaury Casanas Outfielder
    Hassan Pena Pitcher
    Reinier Bermudez Pitcher
    Last edited by Cubano100%; 12-23-2005 at 09:28 PM.

  2. #2

    Best Cuban Prospects

    Yunel Escobar is ranked # 4 among Braves' best prospect

    Yunel Escobar: Individual Stats (Batting)
    Team From To G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG AVG
    Rome Braves 06/18 06/18 48 198 30 62 13 3 4 19 93 14 30 0 2 .358 .470 .313Danville Braves 06/21 06/29 8 30 9 12 2 1 2 8 22 5 4 0 0 .472 .733 .400
    Rome Braves 06/29 09/05 48 198 30 62 13 3 4 19 93 14 30 0 2 .358 .470 .313

    http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/a...ilb&pid=488862


    Gary Galvez: Individual Stats (Pitching)
    Team From To W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
    Greenville Bombers 04/08 09/05 10 4 3.35 31 18 0 0 0 126.1 118 64 47 12 40 87

    http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/a...ilb&pid=465008

    Kendry Morales is ranked # 5 among Angels' prospects
    Kendry Morales: Individual Stats (Batting)
    Team From To G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG AVG
    Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 05/21 06/13 22 90 18 31 3 0 5 17 49 6 11 0 0 .400 .544 .344
    Arkansas Travelers 06/13 09/04 74 281 47 86 12 0 17 54 149 17 43 2 0 .349 .530 .306
    Surprise Scorpions 10/04 11/10 24 92 19 35 14 0 2 18 55 12 13 0 0 .444 .598 .380

    http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/a...ilb&pid=434778

    Arian Cruz: Individual Stats (Pitching)
    Team From To W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
    VSL Reds 05/17 07/07 2 0 0.00 5 2 0 0 0 13.2 4 0 0 0 0 17
    Chattanooga Lookouts 07/23 09/05 3 1 3.26 13 0 0 0 0 19.1 23 9 7 1 6 16

    http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/a...ilb&pid=485566

    Brayan Pena: Individual Stats (Batting)
    Team From To G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG AVG
    Richmond Braves 04/08 09/01 81 282 27 92 21 2 0 25 117 28 19 3 1 .383 .415 .326
    Atlanta Braves 05/23 10/02 18 39 2 7 2 0 0 4 9 1 7 0 0 .200 .231 .179

    http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/a...ilb&pid=430910

    Roberto Sotolongo 3 2 .600 1.88 .187 11 2 43.0 32 15 9 10 37
    http://www.dominicansummerleague.com...hicagocubs.htm

    Alain Soler is ranked #10 among the Met's best prospects

    The following players are young enough and have time to develop:
    Juan Miguel Miranda
    Ayalan Ortiz
    Osbeck Castillo
    Francisley Bueno

    The following are running out of time:
    Barbaro Canizares
    Michel Abreu

    Note: Does anyone remember pitcher Jose Ibar?
    He started one of the two games for Cuba against the Orioles. The rumor in Cuba is that he was caught trying to defect 2 years ago and was in jail. Because the Cuban government does not comment about these issues, I am unable to corroborate the story. If this is true, I hope he can get out of it soon. He has not been in the roster for the Havana Cowboys for the last couple of years. He has run out of time!

  3. #3
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    Trust me when i tell you that 2006 will be Kendry's year to make people start to talk i see things in him similiar to Linares, just that Linares was put on the Cuban national team as the third hitter at the age of 15.... out of left field...
    And all of those Cuban prospects are not as young as they could be.... If they would have defected b4... And would have studied in this country and were schooled, fed, and trained here well then things would be alot different i bet you that atleast 1/2 of them would be starting on a team right now......
    Last edited by El Nino Linares; 11-23-2005 at 07:43 AM.

  4. #4
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    One question is, how many of these guys lost large chunks of time (half a season or more away from top level competition) in the process of defecting? That plus the family back in Cuba effectively being hostages explains a lot, if not everything.

    Jim Albright
    Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
    Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
    A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

  5. #5
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    From another thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by El Nino Linares
    You have good players in [Japan] but they dont fair too good in the majors the only two worth mentioning is Ichiro, and Matsui (Yankee)... Bc everyone else is good for a while and then they get rocked.....
    You missed Iguchi. Also, while I sympathize with your positions on Cuban players who defect (they had significant lapses in play against top competition, the families back home as virtual hostages, older players, cultural differences, etc), don't the Japanese deserve consideration for the same issues? How many Japanese come over before age 30? Since they have to serve nine years in that system before they can come over unless their teams agree, darned few. Nomo probably outshined El Duque in the majors. Sasaki and Hasegawa had some good years pitching, though Hasegawa had some quite rough ones. Contreras and the Livan Hernandez haven't greatly outshone those two so far. What every day players can Cuban defectors put up to match Iguchi, H. Matsui or Ichiro? Both sides have some positives, both some weaknesses. Certainly, neither players from Japan nor Cuba can simply come to the majors if they want to when they want to. Either way, the pool going to the majors is limited by factors beyond the players' control. Rather than knock the other side's performances in the majors, let's discuss why the performances were what they were--and, more importantly, recognize that there are pools of talent in each country that aren't being allowed the opportunity to play in the majors or minors.

    Jim Albright
    Last edited by jalbright; 11-23-2005 at 09:17 AM.
    Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
    Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
    A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

  6. #6
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    That is very good that we have some people who understand... The truth is that they do waste a lot of time on the defecting... Going to other countries, and then getting citizenship in this country and try to get their families out... I think that certain things that are unseen... I know those family members suffer in Cuba bc their father is the US and the govt as well as the people that are communist get on them and call them names throw things at them, etc....

  7. #7

    Cuban Defectors: the story behind the name

    Cuban authorities take away players passports when the team travels abroad. On the other hand, if you defect while not traveling with the team, Cuban authorities won't allow you to apply for a passport. Cuban players have to gain citizenship in other countries to get a passport for traveling to America. Often, this is a long process.

    First: The story of Juan Diaz, "the Cuban Thunder" (Industriales Lions)
    http://www.minorleaguenews.com/baseb.../05/11/01.html

    Second: Former Reds pitcher Jose Rijo saved 6 Cubans from deportation

    Juan Miranda (Pinar del Rio Cigar Growers) and Ayalen Ortiz (Industriales Lions)
    http://www.washtimes.com/sports/2005...1417-1224r.htm

    Last: The story of Orlando "El Duke" Hernandez who once said: "I have played for the two best teams in the world: The New York Yankees and The Industriales Lions"
    http://www.tuftsprimarysource.org/is...of.havana.html

  8. #8

    Mael Rodriguez

    He used to throw 100 and 101 mph consistenly. He established a new record for most strikeouts in the Cuban National League. He could not top 88 mph while holding tryouts. It is believed he had back problems prior to his defection. The Diamondbacks selected him in the later rounds during 2005 draft. I hope they put him under the knive or fix him. He is still young. One scout once said he was worth 100 millions, but now he is not worth a penny.
    Too bad that the world has not been able to see his talent. Hopefully, he can comeback. He was assigned to play for the Owls(A), but he was not used in any games. This leave me to assume that Arizona is trying to fix him or that he was released.

    Does anyone knows anything new about this guy?
    Last edited by Cubano100%; 11-26-2005 at 09:02 AM.

  9. #9

    Cuban Pitcher Hassan Pena of Industriales Lions, The New York Yankees of Cuba

    Where are the scouts? He is very young and with tons of talent. He will be a first round pick in 2006.

    Originally Posted by joe-fan:
    Hassan Pena was seen at Jupiter, Florida on the 18th of this month. He pitched two innings, and needless to say he had great stuff! He struck out 4, had great comand, and his fast-ball was in the nineties. He seemed bigger(more muscular). Rumor has it that he is going to stay in the U.S. and enter the draft.People are going ape-sht over that because its said that he is going to play at Palm Beach Community college this semester. Their season starts in January and the coach there is Alex Morales, also a Cuban who use to play MLB.




    Stay tune, more defections are coming. Poor Castro.
    Last edited by Cubano100%; 12-04-2005 at 09:34 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by jalbright
    From another thread:



    You missed Iguchi.
    Another person also said Iguchi is a fluke because he can't turn a clean DP.
    Frank's Field of Dreams
    "If I build it, you'll come."

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Ichiro51
    Another person also said Iguchi is a fluke because he can't turn a clean DP.

    Ichiro51:

    We had our argument and I wished you good day in the WBC Thread. This is a Thread for Cuban defectors. If you wish, you can opened your own Thread about Japanese baseball.

  12. #12
    I assume agree with Jim Albright requires me to create another thread for it?
    Frank's Field of Dreams
    "If I build it, you'll come."

  13. #13
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    Please, Ichiro51 and Cubano100%, don't drag me into your battles. I think both of you have knowledge and both have something valuable to say--but from where I sit, when the two of you post in the same thread, you irritate each other to the point it's a simple spitting match. I don't want any part of that.

    Jim Albright
    Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
    Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
    A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

  14. #14

    This is a courtesy of Baseball Fever user Fermin Lafitta!

    Hassan Pena will stay here and enter the draft

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Crack of the Bat

    More Jupiter Part 3

    By Blaine Clemmens



    At the close of Jupiter report #2, I was headed to the stadium to catch Friday's 12:40 game between the NY/SF Bandit Stars and Louisiana All Star Baseball Team. There was a buzz in the complex about the starting pitcher for the Bandit Stars, a young Cuban named Hassan Pena. So I joined dozens of other scouts to watch Pena's two inning outing. For me he lived up to the buzz.



    The team Pena was to face, Louisiana All Star Baseball Team, is generally a very quality team, with a number of upper level D1 and professional prospects. When scouting and evaluating players of any age, it is always helpful if you get a chance to do so when they are facing quality competition. For that reason, Perfect Game's showcases and tournaments are extremely valuable to both MLB scouts and college coaches. They know when they come to scout a PG/WWBA tournament they are going to see the top players competing against each other, and in the case of WWBA tourneys, they will see them competing in wood bat tournaments.



    So as we all settled into our seats, about 20 minutes before game time. Whenever there is a standout pitcher scheduled to pitch, scouts generally will get to that game early. We want to get there in time to watch the pitcher warm up. It is fun to get a look at prospects from the time they are playing catch and long toss in the outfield all the way through their pre-game bullpen session. It is not only fun, but it is very useful. Watching a pitcher play long toss can tell you a lot about his arm action, arm strength, and the effort with which he throws. With the good ones, the ball just comes out of their hand much easier. They reach long distances with easy effort.



    Pena is one of the good ones. He is not a physically imposing right-hander, but has a quality frame - 6'2" 205 lbs. with a strong lower half and a loose and wiry upper half, an excellent build for a pitcher. He pitches from a 3/4 slot with a very loose and easy arm action. The ball came out of his hand easily.



    Pena's delivery had some similarities to Jose Contreras of the White Sox. He has a relaxed little leg kick and fluidity throughout his delivery, maintaining good rhythm. As for his stuff, well, Pena caught everyone's attention when he was warming up at 89-90 mph. He also teased us with his breaking ball and change-up during the warm-ups. Yes, it appeared that we all had made the right decision to scout the young Cuban righty.



    During Pena's two innings he was pitching comfortably in the 91-93 range with explosive life at the plate. Pena has a sleepy and rhythmic sort of delivery that can relax hitters a bit. It is clear that Pena throws hard, so yes, hitters are geared up for that when they step in the box. However, most hitters are taught to approach pitchers with what is called "soft to fine focus" and that approach, which is the proper approach, can play into the favor of pitchers that have sleepy, relaxed deliveries. The best hitters will still be on time, but generally those are the hitters who have excellent timing mechanisms and bat speed, and yes, that is why they are the best hitters.



    If you are not aware of what "soft to fine focus" means, get in touch with a local hitting coach, he should be able to demonstrate or explain it to you. Basically, it means the hitter trains his eyes to focus softly on the bigger image of the pitcher on the mound and the background around him. As the pitcher progresses through his delivery, the hitter starts to gradually narrow his focus, ultimately being totally focused by the time the pitcher's hand reaches the window from where the ball comes out.



    That is why you see so many young hitters with poor timing. Some of them have plenty of natural bat speed but have not mastered the ability to stay relaxed until the ball is ready to come out of the pitcher's hand. So many young hitters are intensely focused as soon as they step into the box, which causes them to be tense. No hitter can hit with tension. Then again, there are also many young hitters that have good bat speed, but they are too relaxed in their approach, which causes a late timing mechanism.



    Ok, this was not supposed to be a hitting lesson, but if one talented player reads this and is able to apply some of that to his game and becomes a prospect, then it was a good lesson to offer. As for Pena, he is a prospect right now and I believe he is subject to the amateur draft. If that is the case, his performance certainly earned him some money.



    Besides that lively fastball, he also showed a plus breaking ball, a 73-76 mph curveball with a very sharp change of direction. It looked perhaps like he was throwing a spike curveball. In any case, he was very aggressive with that pitch and frankly, I love watching pitchers that throw the curveball aggressively. Pena also showed a very usable 77-78 mph change-up. He kept all of his stuff down in the zone and got a lot of ground balls. Pena has power stuff, but he can pitch with it, which will allow him to keep his pitch counts down, which will allow him to reach back and get something extra later in games when he wants or needs a strikeout.



    Ok, so clearly I liked Pena. He is an upper round talent, but like I said, I think he is subject to the draft, but not for sure. As for some players from that game that are draft eligible, the players that stood out the most to me were Tyler Slocum, a SS/OF for the Louisiana team, his teammate, catcher Dillon Guillory (committed to Louisiana-Lafayette), and for the NY/SF team I liked SS Jonathan Fernandez (son of Tony Fernandez, former MLB All-Star shortstop), and to a lesser extent, right-hander Nick McCalley (committed to Coastal Carolina).



    Slocum has tools that stand out for the pro game. He has a plus arm from both SS and the outfield, which he showed off during the Skill Show workout, reaching 90+ from each position. Not only does he have the arm, he is at least an average runner and is athletic. Though his swing is a bit long, he does get the barrel to the ball pretty well and he is strong with some physical projectability (6'0" 170).



    Right now he is a strong prospect as a draft and follow, but with some refinement in his game, particularly his fielding technique at SS and better timing with the bat, it is conceivable to see him going around the 15th round and going out next summer. He reminded me somewhat of a high school shortstop from Hamilton HS in Arizona that was drafted and signed in the 4th round with the Cubs this past draft, Dylan Johnston. The difference is that Johnston is a left hand hitter and a notch better runner, thus he was a 4th rounder. Johnston was known to be very signable and Slocum could be too, as we were informed his academic record has kept him from receiving D1 offers at this point.



    Guillory is a strong armed catcher with quick footwork and a quick arm. In that game against NY/SF he threw out a runner and I had him in the range of 1.90 on that throw. Now, I might have been a smidge off (though I don't feel like I was), but regardless, he tossed a laser right on the bag. In the Skill Show workout he showed the same type of footwork and arm strength. Guillory also showed strong block and recover abilities and a playable bat. Did I mention that he is a switch hitter with a 6'1" 185 lb. frame? There will be some pro interest in Guillory as switch hitting catchers with excellent catch/throw skills are not real common, especially at the high school level.



    There is another good '06 prospect on the Louisiana team, 6'5" 175 lb. RHP T.J. Forrest, but I did not see him. Oh wait, there was another '06 on Louisiana that sort of caught my eye, though not particularly from a pro perspective. Chandler Laurent is a 5'10" 170 lb. OF/MIF with a plus arm. He showed good defensive abilities and fundamentals in both the outfield and infield. Laurent is an athlete with some tools and should be followed.



    A couple of quality '07 arms were on the Louisiana team. Though I did not see him in Jupiter but have seen on a couple of other occasions, LHP Forrest Moore is one to watch in the coming year. The '07 arm I did see and thought deserved some mention, at least from the college perspective was RHP Jordy Poche.



    Poche is a small righty (5'9" 165), but he touched up to 91 in his first inning against NY/SF and sat in the 86-88 range for quite awhile. He showed a hard rolling 72-73 mph curveball and an excellent change-up that he threw with command and plus arm speed. Poche also showed the ability to both sink and cut his fastball. Quite a bit of pitchability with him, he will be a good college recruit because of that and because pro ball will shy away from him.



    As for the NY/SF Bandit Stars, I did like RHP Nick McCalley, who I saw on two occasions in Jupiter. The concern I had with him was not his stuff or abilities, and if he was really the 6'3" 185 lbs. he was listed at, then he is a legit prospect. However, there is no way (and I am not the only one that felt this way) he is 6'3" 185 - more like 5'11" 200 for me. I did like the quick arm, the 87-90 mph fastball (T91) with sink and the late breaking 71-73 mph curveball he was able to throw for strikes.



    Fernandez was another player that caught my eye on the NY/SF team. He has such similar actions and body type of his father that for any fan that watches as much baseball as I have my whole life, it was obvious that he had to be related to former All-Star and Gold Glove winning shortstop Tony Fernandez. His actions were fluid and he made plays on the run look easy. He is a switch hitter and appears to be much more physical than his father would have been at a similar age, though I must tell you that my history of watching Tony is limited to seeing him on TV with the Blue Jays, among other teams. After all, I am only 32 and was 10 years old when he broke into the Big Leagues in 1983.



    That is another of the great things about scouting high profile PG events like WWBA in Jupiter, there are always sons of ex-big leaguers and those players always get at least a second look. The genes and lineage of a player is very important when considering the type of player a youngster may become. There is also the factor of those players having polished games and a general comfort level around the game. Though it is not a guarantee that a son of an ex-big leaguer is going to be a future star or even prospect, but there are plenty that are.



    Some of present day crop of sons of ex-big leaguers or those with pro athlete lineage that were in Jupiter include Fernandez, INF Marcus Lemon (father is former All-Star Chet Lemon, OF with White Sox and Tigers, now the coach of Chet Lemon's Juice), RHP Chris Andujar (father is former All-Star Joaquin Andujar, RHP with Astros and Cardinals), SS Justin Jackson (I believe his uncle is former NBA All-Star Brad Daugherty), RHP Tyree Hayes (father Charlie Hayes, 3B with Phillies, Yankees, Giants, Rockies), don't think he attended (injured) but was on a roster and has attended PG/WWBA events - RHP Kyle Drabek (father is former All-Star and Cy Young winner Doug Drabek, RHP with Pirates, Astros, others), and SS Steve Lombardozzi (father Steve Lombardozzi, SS with Twins, Astros). The likelihood is that there were others there too.



    After the hitting lesson tangent and the ex-big league dad thing, I am not going to get to the night games from the Friday at 2005 WWBA Championships. However, I promise to get to them in the next report. They were well worth my time and there were plenty of prospects to report about. But I am not finished with this report because...



    I missed a couple of the best young prospects in the earlier blocks of games. An '07 RHP (6'5" 190) named Rick Porcello, pitching for the Farrah's Builders team out of New Jersey, was seen up to 94 mph by the scouts covering his game and his teammate, '06 LHP (6'2" 170) Jeffrey Locke also reportedly touched up to 93 in a relief appearance in that game. I did see Locke later in the tournament and was very impressed by him. Locke is a quick armed lefty with wide, sloped shoulders and a good, leveraged delivery. He tilted the fastball and in the two innings I saw he was 88-91.



    I also like his breaking ball and saw him lock up hitters with its tight spin and late action.

    I had velocity readings for his curveball anywhere from 78 mph down to 68 mph but the shape seemed to be about the same, a hard 12/6 breaker. He came in with the fastball against righties and I felt like he showed some pitchability. Gotta love those strong armed cold weather (he is from New Hampshire) lefties with athletic and projectable bodies. Look for Locke to possibly get some early round consideration this spring. A 6'2" 170 lb. lefty with the ability to reach up to 93 and with a good hook, yeah, I think someone will like him.



    While I was watching Hassan Pena, I missed two RHP prospects for the East Coast Grays in their game against Midland. Brian Dupra, a 6'3" 180 lb. RHP from Rochester, New York was reportedly 88-92 against Midland. Rawnsley had given Dupra's name as a kid to see if I got a chance. Well, I missed my chance when watching Pena. I also missed him teammate, 6'4" 185 lb. '07 RHP Matt Harvey. I was told by our scouts that in that same game against Midland that Harvey was up to 94 mph. To boot, on the second day he showed big time resilience by reaching up to 93 mph, though I missed that game as well.



    So, as you can see, there is not a perfect science for one roving scout to catch all the top action. You roll the dice, commit to a game, get out of it what you can, then move on to another one. Do I wish I had missed Pena to see Harvey and Dupra? I was disappointed, but that is just the way it goes. If I had seen Dupra and Harvey, that would mean I missed Pena and that would have also disappointed me.



    The point I need to make here is that even though I did not see them, our Perfect Game staff did, and they are able to report it. Again, a fine illustration of why these events are such a valuable service to the game. Our listing of all the pitchers that registered fastballs above 88 mph just goes to show how many quality players were in Jupiter.

  15. #15

    Cuban Defectors Accomplishments!

    Orlando "El Duke" Hernandez (Mr. October)

    3 World Series Rings with The New York Yankees
    1999 ALCS MVP with The New York Yankees
    1 World Series Ring with The Chicago White Sox
    Post Season Record 9 wins 3 loses 2.55 ERA

    Livan Hernandez

    1 World Series Ring with the Florida Marlins
    World Series and NLCS MVP with the Florida Marlins
    Post Season Record 6 wins 2 loses 3.99 ERA
    2005 Washington Nationals All Star

    Jose Contreras

    1 World Series Ring with The Chicago White Sox
    Post Season Record 3 wins and 3 loses 3.77 ERA

    Rolando Arrojo

    1998 Tampa Bay Devil Rays All Star

    Danys Baez

    2005 Tampa Bay Devil Rays All Star

    Rey Ordonez

    3 Times Gold Glove Winner with The New York Mets

  16. #16

    Defector just looking for a chance

    http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald...l/13386734.htm

    Cuban Bárbaro Caņizares, who is playing in Nicaragua, wants the opportunity to show he can play in the major leagues.BY KEVIN BAXTERkbaxter@herald.comFifty dollars.
    That's all it took to change Bárbaro Caņizares' life forever. And though time will ultimately tell if it's changed for better or worse, on at least one level worse seems to be winning. In a rout.

    ''I can't stand not being with him,'' said Onix Vargas, a Miami beautician and the Cuban ballplayer's girlfriend of 12 years. ``It hurts. I want him with me, because I want to start a family. We want to start a family. But we can't do that if we're apart.''

    And they have been apart for more than a year, since shortly after Caņizares said goodbye to the rest of his family in Cuba to begin a complicated journey that took him to the Bahamas, Florida, Mexico, Costa Rica and finally to Nicaragua, where he leads that country's four-team winter league in hits (40), home runs (eight) and RBI (27) through 33 games.
    That might be good enough to earn him a shot at playing -- and starting a family -- in the United States, which is all he has wanted. This month, the Yankees and Mets sent scouts to see Caņizares play with the Mets' Wilfredo Blanco, liking enough of what he saw to recommend a contract and a $20,000 bonus.

    HAVING FAITH

    ''I have faith that I'll get the chance to go,'' Caņizares said from Managua, where he plays on a Boer team featuring fellow Cubans Michael Abreu, Yosandri Ibaņez and Maikel Neninger. They left the island together in February 2004, placing them among the 29 baseball players who have defected from Cuba in the past two years but have yet to sign with big-league teams.

    Caņizares' journey began shortly after he gave a fan in Havana the shirt off his back. What he didn't know, though, was the foreigner he sold his national team jersey to was an official with the U.S. Interests Section. Because of that, Caņizares received a lifetime suspension from Cuban baseball -- and left him no choice but to defect.

    ''That was like telling me I couldn't live,'' he told Nicaraguan journalist Edgard Rodriguez. ``My life was baseball. My dream was to make the Cuban team. I had no interest in politics.''
    Sounds good, but the truth is a bit more complicated. An earlier defector, Osmani Garcia, told one baseball agent that Caņizares was ''crazy'' about leaving as far back as 1999 -- desires Caņizares confirmed in Mexico in 2002, days before security around the Cuban team was tightened following the defection of pitcher Jose Contreras.

    The suspension, however, forced his hand.
    ''I was going to leave,'' he said. ``It didn't matter how.''
    But he might have acted too late. Although Caņizares insists he is 26 years old, he already had played eight full seasons in the Cuban national series by 2002, when he was named MVP of the Intercontinental Cup tournament in Havana. The Cuban roster at that competition listed his birth date as Nov. 21, 1974, which would make him 31 now -- ancient for a 6-2, 220-pound catcher starting in pro ball.

    AMONG THE LEADERS

    On the plus side is his performance in Nicaragua, his first real competition in two years. Aside from his power numbers, Caņizares also ranks among the league leaders in doubles (eight), triples (three), runs (23) and batting (.325). Every one of those numbers is better than those of Abreu, who got a $425,000 bonus to sign with the Red Sox in September, only to have the deal voided when Abreu was unable to establish the proper residency to qualify for a visa, then was found to have lied about his age.
    ''All we want is the chance to go [to the U.S.] and demonstrate what we can do,'' said Abreu, who was hitting .264 with five homers and 15 RBI through 110 at-bats for Boer. ``For now, we've stopped here, but at least the possibility exists to go forward.''
    And that's something -- among other things -- the players didn't have in Cuba.
    ''Everyone is free to think, to act, to do what they want,'' said Neninger, who was 2-3 with a 4.10 ERA in seven games. ``That allows us to overcome the other things we don't have, like money, to reach our goals.''

    Added Caņizares, who gets about $2,000 a month plus room and board in Nicaragua: ``We're better off here than in Cuba, because at least we're free and we can do what we want and achieve what we can. We feel bad, because we haven't accomplished what we want. But we have faith we'll get the chance.''

  17. #17
    Complete stats, click below:

    http://www.lnbp.net/pro-stats.htm


    Barbaro Canizares y Michel Abreu are killing the pitching in Nicaragua.

    Home Runs

    Bárbaro Cañizares, Bo 9
    Michel Abreu, Bo 9
    Wilson Batista, Ch 5 (Dominican)

    AVERAGE

    Wilson Batista, Ch .347
    Bárbaro Cañizares, Bo .336
    Danilo Sotelo, SF .333
    Próspero González, Ch .322
    Justo Rivas, Le .311
    Michel Abreu, Bo .308

    RBI

    Bárbaro Cañizares, Bo 34
    Wilson Batista, Ch 31
    Carlos Villalobos, Ch 27
    Michel Abreu, Bo 25
    Last edited by Cubano100%; 12-17-2005 at 02:34 AM.

  18. #18

    Aley (El Toro/ The Bull) Soler and Ponce Lions

    Alay Soler did not pitch to much in 2 years. Only 15 innings in the 2004 Dominican Winter league. Even tough he had a 5.34 ERA, he struck out 22 batters.

    Now he is pitching for the Ponce Lions in Puerto Rico. In 14 innings, he has not allowed a run yet.

    To our Boricua friends: Is there a place that list the players stats in Puerto Rico?

    Even though he will go to Spring training, he will start the season in Port Lucie. The Mets want to protect him from the April cold weather. He may push one of the back end starter out of the rotation sooner than expected though.

    "For those who think that the Cuban national league is A Ball"

    Canizares, Abreu, Alexis Hernandez, Mikel Jova, Miguel Perez and Arian Cruz (excellent ERA) performances in Nicaragua; Soler in Puerto Rico; Raul Valdez and Brayan Pena good performances in the Dominican should leave no doubt that the Cuban National league is the strongest A league in the world.


    PUERTO RICO

    Soler vence a los Lobos
    ARECIBO -- El cubano Alay Soler no permitió carreras en cinco actos en la victoria 6-1 de los Leones de Ponce sobre los Lobos de Arecibo.
    Soler, quien lanza por primera vez en Puerto Rico como pelotero profesional, no ha permitido carreras en 14 actos.
    Su apertura el miércoles fue la primera en lo que va del torneo, ya que los Leones lo estaban usando como relevista.

    http://www.miami.com/mld/elnuevo/sports/13417779.htm
    Last edited by Cubano100%; 12-17-2005 at 02:36 AM.

  19. #19

    Cuban Defetors in Italy

    Some Cubans among the Italian oriundos!



    SQUADRA-Team GIOCATORE-Defector

    Palfinger Reggio Emilia Julio Villalon


    http://www.baseball.it/dati_squadra....=331&anno=2005


    C. dei Normanni Paternō Jesus Ametler


    http://www.baseball.it/dati_squadra....=205&anno=2005


    Caffč Danesi Nettuno Roberto Colina
    Caffč Danesi Nettuno William Ortega

    http://www.baseball.it/dati_squadra....=105&anno=2005

  20. #20

    Despite not having his kids with him, I put my money on Soler!

    12/16/2005 4:37 PM ET
    Soler is Mets dark horse reliever
    Former Cuban star hopes to impress this spring
    By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com

    Mets Headlines



    It's no secret that the Mets have been trying to beef up their pitching staff, particularly their starting rotation. Kris Benson has spent time on the trading block this winter as general manager Omar Minaya continues looking for ways to tinker, hoping to find a way to upgrade a solid but not outstanding staff.
    Minaya may not have to look further than his own organization to find a dark horse candidate who could provide the help he seeks. Alay Soler, the Cuban defector whom New York finally brought into the fold at the end of October, has been brilliant so far while pitching for Ponce in the Puerto Rican Winter League. While it's difficult to get too excited about statistics, especially in the watered down world of the Winter Leagues, Soler seems to offer more than a glimmer of hope in what many believe has become a pitching-depleted system.

    The hard-throwing right-hander is 1-0 in four games (two starts) for Ponce and hasn't allowed a run in 14 innings. He's struck out nine and walked five while opposing hitters are batting .104 against him. In contrast, Jason Scobie, who pitched last season at Triple-A Norfolk and led the organization with 15 victories, was 1-2 with a 10.50 ERA in four starts for Ponce with the opposition hitting .418 against him.

    "I feel good, but it still feels like I have a little bit more to go until I'm 100 percent," said Soler, 26, whose only other meaningful innings since he pitched for the Cuban National Team in 2003 were the 15 1/3 he recorded last year in the Dominican Winter League. "It's not injuries or anything like that. I just haven't pitched in a while. I'm still fine tuning everything. Everything is starting to take off the way it's supposed to, though.

    "I didn't feel I'd be this effective coming in here, but I'm working hard and everything is now falling into place little by little. I'm effective and that's all that counts. I hope the club takes that into consideration for next [2006] season."

    While the club will give Soler a long look in the spring, it's difficult to say where he would fit in, especially if Benson is still in the picture. There are already six starters for five spots with Brian Bannister waiting in the wings at Norfolk. He would conceivably compete with Jae Seo, who had a remarkable August, and Victor Zambrano, who lost his spot in the rotation. New York's middle and long relief remains a muddled situation so there is the possibility that Soler could come out of the 'pen if he pitches well enough in camp to make the team.

    "I'm not worried about it," said Soler, who went 10-4 with a 2.01 ERA in 125 1/3 innings for Pinar Del Rio of the Cuban League in 2003, striking out 102 and walking only 17. I know I have to work hard to earn a spot. Everyone is there for one reason and that's to help the team. Whatever role I have, that's what I'll do to help the team."

    Soler will be back in the United States next week, closing on his new Virginia waterfront home. Next Friday, he's planning on visiting the Children's Hospital in Norfolk and has already made a substantial donation to the Ronald McDonald House. Soler loves children, and he wants to do his part for the holidays. He left his two sons in Cuba and although he speaks to them regularly, he hasn't seen them since he defected in 2004.

    Though Soler will return to Puerto Rico after the holidays to continue pitching for Ponce, he's scheduled to participate in the 15th annual Rookie Career Development Program in Virginia in mid-January. While he's already experienced so much during his time in Cuba and during his subsequent flight to and exile in the Dominican Republic, he wants to participate in the program in an effort to get better acclimated to life in the Major Leagues.

    "I've had good times and bad times, but I feel at this time I have an open road ahead of me," said Soler, who signed a three-year $2.8 million deal in 2004. "I basically led the big league life when I played for Cuba though it wasn't much. I was living the lifestyle on the National Team."

    As for his friends and teammates on Cuba's National Team, Soler said that he was sad to hear that they may not be able to participate in next spring's World Baseball Classic because of the United States embargo on his country.

    "It's too bad because the young guys can't come here and show everyone what they have," said Soler, whose repertoire includes a fastball, sinker, slider, changeup and occasional knuckleball. "Still, I'd like the U.S. to put together a Cuban team that I can play for and represent my country that way."

    Soler expects to arrive in St. Lucie sometime in late January, three weeks ahead of report time for Spring Training. He wants to continue working out and not lose any of the ground he has gained by pitching in Puerto Rico.

    "He can't wait to get to the U.S. and play baseball for the Mets," Soler's agent Joe Rosario said. "He goes to sleep early every night so the next day can come."


    Kevin T. Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

    http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/NASApp/m...p?ymd=20051216
    &content_id=1283417&vkey=news_nym&fext=.jsp&c_id=n ym


    By the way, Mr. Brian Banister got rocked by Cuba in Holland. The American team did not show up for the game to decide the fifth place. The American team went shopping instead of playing the game. I wonder how the people in Holland perceived that.

  21. #21
    The U.S. skipped their last game because the field was unplayable, not because they wanted to go shopping.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Agente Libre
    The U.S. skipped their last game because the field was unplayable, not because they wanted to go shopping.
    Was the USA the only team that found the field unplayable?

  23. #23
    There was a huge rainstorm and the field was not in good shape. It did not make sense to risk injury over 5th place in a tournament that really didn't mean much anyway.

  24. #24

    Michel Abreu

    In Nicaragua, Cuban Michel Abreu of Boer Indians hit 2 home runs in a game and leads the league with 11.

    Where are the Marlins?

    I wonder why they can not fill the stadium.

  25. #25
    From what I've heard, Abreu still can't sign a contract because his papers aren't in order.

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