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February 7, 2012

Alfredo Despaigne wants his HR record back

Filed under: MLB — The Wizard @ February 7, 2012 9:00 pm
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Ben Bradler:

Alfredo Despaigne set the single-season home run record in Cuba’s Serie Nacional with 32 homers in 2008-09, only to have it broken last year when Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Abreu each hit 33 home runs. It may not take long for Despaigne to reclaim his crown.

The Granma outfielder hit his 20th home run of the season today, the latest in a recent homer binge that included two home runs in a game on Sunday and one on Wednesday, and all in just 46 games. Granma has played 47 games of its 90-game schedule so far, so even with some second-half regression there’s a good chance that Despaigne could become Cuba’s newest single-season home run king.

Despaigne, 25, is now hitting .358/.479/.756 with 26 strikeouts and 35 walks (including 11 intentional walks), leading the league in slugging and ranking seventh in OBP entering today’s game. Of course, this is nothing new for Despaigne, who already has two Serie Nacional MVPs after winning the award in back-to-back years in 2008-09 and 2009-10 and being named an all-star last season.

Here are some cool videos of Alfredo Despaigne:

This may be the coolest. Alfredo Despaigne (red t-shirt) and Yoenis Cespedes (blue t-shirt) prepare for the baseball season:

January 24, 2012

Video of Yoenis Cespedes from his days at Cuba [UPDATE]

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 24, 2012 3:00 pm
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Ben Bradler:

Luckily we were able to track down some great video from someone who posted four at-bats of Cespedes playing for Granma, his team in Cuba. In the video, Cespedes is the hitter in the first three at-bats, after which a double from Leslie Anderson (Rays) of Camaguey and Yoelvis Fiss of Ciego de Avila are spliced in between one final at-bat from Cespedes. I’m not much for spoilers (I always like to go in fresh), but I don’t think anyone should be surprised that these aren’t clips of him rolling over grounders to the shortstop.

The YouTube feed has some other great clips of Cubans, including Leonys Martin facing Aroldis Chapman, at-bats from Yulieski Gourriel and Alfredo Despaigne, an 18-year-old Kendrys Morales homering and the Cuban team facing Rangers righthander Yu Darvish in the 2008 Olympics, among other highlights. I would definitely recommend perusing when you have the time.

UPDATE: Cespedes established residency in the Dominican Republic.

December 27, 2010

Cuba may allow Cuban baseball players to play in other countries

Filed under: MLB — The Wizard @ December 27, 2010 7:32 pm
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Passan @ YS:

The Baseball Federation of Cuba, headed by Fidel Castro’s son Tony, is discussing a plan that would allow baseball players to leave the country in exchange for a proportion of their salary going to Cuba, according to two sources familiar with the proposal.

Ideally, one source said, Cuba would send players to the major leagues and circumvent the spate of defections that have embarrassed the country. Such a plan, the source said, is currently a non-starter. Though MLB would welcome Cuban players, the arrangement would in effect pay the Cuban government for players, a violation of the United States’ 50-year-long embargo on Cuba. That is unlikely to thaw for baseball. While the U.S. government has allowed Cuba to play in both World Baseball Classics, Cuban players were the only ones not given the prize money handed out by the International Baseball Federation.

For now, the idea is for Cubans to go to Japan, South Korea, Mexico or Europe, like doctors and entertainers who make money elsewhere, then return home eventually. …

September 16, 2010

A look at 22-year old Cuban OF Leonys Martin

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ September 16, 2010 1:12 pm
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Martin is trying to establish residency in Mexico. He could be ready for the 2011 season. Could.

John Manuel @ BA:

He’s a lefthanded hitter whose best tools are his speed and defense. He’s a plus runner at least, being timed in 4.1 seconds to first base from the left side in Taiwan, and showed strong small-ball skills, with the ability to drag bunt for hits and handle the bat on the hit-and-run. He also played center field and showed at least average range. Martin also hit .326 with 10 home runs in the last Serie Nacional, Cuba’s top-level league, while playing for Villa Clara, and has drawn plenty of walks in Cuba, posting a .311/.492/.491 line in 2008-2009, when he drew 78 bases on balls and ranked second in the league with 17 steals (in a 90-game season).

B-R Bullpen:

Leonys Martín became a star in his third season in Cuba in 2007-2008, hitting .398/.497/.564, just behind Yoandy Garlobo for the league lead in average. He tied for second in the league in triples (9) and was 6th in steals (13). He failed to make the post-season All-Star team as Alexei Bell, Alfredo Despaigne and Yoandry Urgelles were picked as the outfielders.

And from Peter Bjarkman:

Cut in the mold of one-time Camagüey star Luis Ulacia (with a dangerous combination of speed and power,) youngster Leonys Martin has developed quickly into the most effective leadoff batter on the entire island. Martin stroked 3 homers in the opening round and added two more in the semis.

“Leonys Martin” @ Google Images

June 15, 2010

Yuniesky Maya free to sign with any MLB club

Google translation of Enrique Rojas’ ESPN deportes column (h/t MLBTR):

The Department of U.S. Treasury on Monday granted permission needed Yunieski Maya Cuban pitcher to sign with a Major League club, according to ESPNdeportes.com one of the handles of the player.

Edgar Mercedes, academia “Born To Play” from the Dominican Republic, said Maya was authorized to sign for the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC, for its acronym in English), a Treasury Department agency that ensures that it comply with the provisions of the U.S. embargo against Cuba. “Now you only need to reach an agreement with an organization to be professional,” said Mercedes.

[The embargo against Cuba is down-right stupid. Punishing people for no reason…]

The White Sox were interested in Maya in December, not-interested in January, and interested again in May.

Maybe Kenny wants to trade J.J. Putz?

BTW, here’s my Yuniesky Maya scouting report.

February 25, 2010

‘If Viciedo can get $10 million, then what am I worth’ ask Cuban ballplayers

Campbell @ Toronto Star:

Neither Morales nor Escobar was a full-time starter in Cuba, but each has excelled in the majors. And Krieger says eyes across the island opened wide when Viciedo signed with the White Sox.

Touted as Cuba’s next great shortstop, Viciedo entered the National Series as a 15-year-old in 2005, and hit 14 home runs the next year. From there, Krieger says, his production declined, yet after defecting in 2008 he still signed a four-year, $10-million (all figures U.S.) deal with Chicago.

“Viciedo had a very significant impact on the thinking of Cuban players,” he said. “They thought, `If he can get $10 million, then what am I worth?” …

December 24, 2009

Yuniesky Maya scouting report

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 24, 2009 9:26 pm
Tags: , , ,

Yesterday we learned that the Sox and the Mets are the front-runners to sign 27–year-old Cuban RHP Yuniesky Maya. Maya and fellow Cuban Deinys Suarez threw for several scouts in the Dominican last week:

One scout said Maya, 28, threw in the 88-92 mph range, much like he did in the World Baseball Classic this year when he had a 1.23 ERA in 7 1/3 innings.

“That’s what he normally pitches,” said Maya’s agent Bart Hernandez. “His command was great. He has three plus quality pitches and he throws them for strikes.”

B-R Bullpen says he trows 4 pitches:

Maya’s repertoire includes a fastball (which peaks at 90 mph), curveball, changeup and slider.

Here’s another scouting report on Maya from cubanballplayers.blogspot.com:

Maya began his baseball career late. He has played six Cuban seasons. The 27 year old Maya is listed as 6’0 and 190 pounds.  The righthander from Pinar del Rio debuted in the ’04 season. Maya was the winning pitcher at the ’05 Serie Nacional All-Star game where he threw three scoreless innings.

During this past season (SN 48), Maya finished 2nd in ERA with 2.22, tied for 1st in CG with 7, tied for 1st in Wins with 13, tied for 1st in Shutouts with 2, 1st in IP with 146, 2nd in Strikeouts with 119 and tied for 5th in Dead Balls with 13.

Maya said during a recent interview that he replaced the slider with a curveball. He also throws sinker, changeup and fastball. This year he touched 96 MPH against Villa Clara. Pedro Pérez, the pitching coach for the Cuban National team, asked him to throw even more inside fastballs. …

He finished with 119Ks and 40 BBs. Peter Bjarkman’s blog shows a 1.51 ERA with 81 Ks and 23 BBs in the midpoint of that season. Here are his W-L and ERA numbers for the last 5 years.

Yuniesky Maya was voted the best right handed pitcher in the Cuban 48th series (2008) awards according to myworldofbaseball:

Maya doesn’t throw 100, but is a pitcher that knows how to slice and dice the corners.  He throws in the low 90s and mixes in a curveball, changeup and slider.  At 27, Maya can probably help a rotation now.

And here are a couple videos of Yuniesky Maya on youtube. You can see the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd innings of his start against Japan in the WBC.

October 22, 2009

Sox interested in Aroldis Chapman? [UPDATE]

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ October 22, 2009 3:25 pm
Tags: , ,

MLBTR:

MLBTR has learned that the Cubs and White Sox have expressed interest in free agenty lefty Aroldis Chapman.  The Cardinals have been more aggressive than those clubs, and plan to meet with Chapman next week. …

Here are some videos of Chapman. And here are his Cuban National Series stats:

Year

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
2005-06 3 5 4.33 15 15 0 54 48 33 26 5 54 56 .240
2006-07 4 3 2.77 23 12 7 81 59 26 25 4 50 100 .207
2007-08 6 7 3.89 16 16 0 74 55 36 32 3 37 79 .200
2008-09 11 4 4.03 22 20 0 118 109 56 53 7 62 130 .252
TOTALS 24 19 3.74 76 63 7 328 271 151 136 19 203 365 .227

Chapman’s birthday is reported as Feb. 28, 1988.

Don’t forget Alfredo Despaigne Kenny!

UPDATE: Here’s a more detailed version of his stats:

	  G GS GF GR  W  L  PCT SHO SV    IP   AB   BF   H  AVG   R  ER  ERA  SO  BB IBB 2B 3B HR HBP WP
2005-06 15 15  0  0  3  5 .375   0  0    54  200  263  48 .240  33  26 4.33  56  54   1  7  0  5   5  3
2006-07 23 12  0 11  4  3 .571   0  7  81.1  285  350  59 .207  26  25 2.77 100  50   0  8  1  4   9  5
2007-08 16 16  2  0  6  7 .462   1  0    74  275  324  55 .200  36  32 3.89  79  37   2 10  3  3   8  1
2008-09 22 20  1  2 11  4 .733   0  0 118.1  433  515 109 .252  56  53 4.03 130  62   2 16  0  7   9 14
  2009P  2  2  1  0  0  2 .000   0  0    14   51   60  12 .235   6   5 3.21  14   7   1  2  0  1   1  0
 TOTALS 78 65  4 13 24 21 .533   1  7 341.2 1244 1512 283 .227 157 141 3.72 379 210   6 43  4 20  32 23

September 26, 2009

Kenny’s next mission: Get Alfredo Despaigne

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ September 26, 2009 2:04 am
Tags: , ,

Baseball America’s John Manuel:

On the current roster, Smoak has emerged as the team’s star, with nine home runs to set a USA Baseball record. The switch-hitter out of South Carolina was a high school teammate of Orioles rookie catcher Matt Wieters and is on track to fulfill the athlete development model that USA Baseball dreams of. He played for the college national team in 2007, is on the team now as a minor leaguer and seems destined to suit up in a WBC down the line.

Cuba’s five-tool center fielder, 23-year-old Alfredo Despaigne, has matched Smoak home run-wise. He’s part of the surprising reality: Contrary to its reputation, Cuba has plenty of hitting talent but not enough pitching.

Stats: .375/-/.681 with 61 BB/45 K and 32 HRs in 328 ABs in Cubas’s 48th National Baseball Series. Here’s his picture.

Peter Bjarkman’s blog has much more.

July 14, 2009

Aroldis Chapman’s Cuban League stats

Filed under: MLB — The Wizard @ July 14, 2009 6:06 pm
Tags: , , ,

Here are Chapman’s number in Cuba’s Serie Nacional from Chapman’s agency via BA:

Year

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
2005-06 3 5 4.33 15 15 0 54 48 33 26 5 54 56 .240
2006-07 4 3 2.77 23 12 7 81 59 26 25 4 50 100 .207
2007-08 6 7 3.89 16 16 0 74 55 36 32 3 37 79 .200
2008-09 11 4 4.03 22 20 0 118 109 56 53 7 62 130 .252
TOTALS 24 19 3.74 76 63 7 328 271 151 136 19 203 365 .227

Chapman’s birthday is reported as Feb. 28, 1988.

UPDATE: Here’s a more detailed version of Chapman’s stats:

Year G GS GF GR W L PCT SHO SV IP AB BF H AVG R ER ERA SO BB IBB 2B 3B HR HBP WP
2005-06 15 15 0 0 3 5 .375 0 0 54 200 263 48 .240 33 26 4.33 56 54 1 7 0 5 5 3
2006-07 23 12 0 11 4 3 .571 0 7 81.1 285 350 59 .207 26 25 2.77 100 50 0 8 1 4 9 5
2007-08 16 16 2 0 6 7 .462 1 0 74 275 324 55 .200 36 32 3.89 79 37 2 10 3 3 8 1
2008-09 22 20 1 2 11 4 .733 0 0 118.1 433 515 109 .252 56 53 4.03 130 62 2 16 0 7 9 14
2009P 2 2 1 0 0 2 .000 0 0 14 51 60 12 .235 6 5 3.21 14 7 1 2 0 1 1 0
TOTALS 78 65 4 13 24 21 .533 1 7 341.2 1244 1512 283 .227 157 141 3.72 379 210 6 43 4 20 32 23

text format:

	  G GS GF GR  W  L  PCT SHO SV    IP   AB   BF   H  AVG   R  ER  ERA  SO  BB IBB 2B 3B HR HBP WP
2005-06 15 15  0  0  3  5 .375   0  0    54  200  263  48 .240  33  26 4.33  56  54   1  7  0  5   5  3
2006-07 23 12  0 11  4  3 .571   0  7  81.1  285  350  59 .207  26  25 2.77 100  50   0  8  1  4   9  5
2007-08 16 16  2  0  6  7 .462   1  0    74  275  324  55 .200  36  32 3.89  79  37   2 10  3  3   8  1
2008-09 22 20  1  2 11  4 .733   0  0 118.1  433  515 109 .252  56  53 4.03 130  62   2 16  0  7   9 14
  2009P  2  2  1  0  0  2 .000   0  0    14   51   60  12 .235   6   5 3.21  14   7   1  2  0  1   1  0
 TOTALS 78 65  4 13 24 21 .533   1  7 341.2 1244 1512 283 .227 157 141 3.72 379 210   6 43  4 20  32 23

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