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Cuban Players Defectors

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  • 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


    Amaury Casanas Outfielder
    Hassan Pena Pitcher
    Reinier Bermudez Pitcher
    Last edited by Cubano100%; 12-23-2005, 10:28 PM.

  • #2
    Best Cuban Prospects

    Yunel Escobar is ranked # 4 among Braves' best prospect

    Yunel Escobar: Individual Stats (Batting)
    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

    Gary Galvez: Individual Stats (Pitching)
    Greenville Bombers 04/08 09/05 10 4 3.35 31 18 0 0 0 126.1 118 64 47 12 40 87

    Kendry Morales is ranked # 5 among Angels' prospects
    Kendry Morales: Individual Stats (Batting)
    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

    Arian Cruz: Individual Stats (Pitching)
    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

    Brayan Pena: Individual Stats (Batting)
    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

    Roberto Sotolongo 3 2 .600 1.88 .187 11 2 43.0 32 15 9 10 37

    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
      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, 08:43 AM.


      • #4
        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
          From another thread:

          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, 10:17 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
            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
              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)

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

              Juan Miranda (Pinar del Rio Cigar Growers) and Ayalen Ortiz (Industriales Lions)

              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"


              • #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, 10:02 AM.


                • #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, 10:34 PM.


                  • #10
                    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
                      Originally posted by Ichiro51
                      Another person also said Iguchi is a fluke because he can't turn a clean DP.


                      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
                        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
                          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
                            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
                              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