By Jose Alejandro Rodriguez Zas
During the 2021 season of American professional baseball, more than 100 Cuban players saw action at different levels, from the Minor Leagues to the Major Leagues. Of them, a total of 27 played at the highest level, the MLB, while almost a hundred young talents did it in the Minors.
in the big leaguessome Antillean baseball players stood out with the wood, such as the first baseman of the Houston Astros, yuli gurriel, batting leader in the American League; also the first baseman of the Chicago White Sox, Joseph Abreu, second in RBIs of the young circuit; Rays center fielder and American League Rookie of the Year, Randy Arozarena; another “rookie sensation” and right outfielder for the Texas Rangers, Jose Adolis Garciawhile the gardeners Jorge Soler and William Heredia they were World Series champions with the Atlanta Braves.
From the mound, two Cuban-born extraclass closers ranked among the best of the 2021 MLB campaign, the cases of Raisel Iglesias of the Angels, second place in saved games in the American League, as well as Aroldis Chapman of the New York Yankees, who reached his 300 saves and 1000 strikeouts in his major league career.
In the Minors, almost a hundred players saw action from the Rookie level and up to Triple A, with the expected debuts of young talents such as Yoelqui Céspedes and Pedro León, the offensive highlight of debutant Norel González and other regular players such as Miguel Antonio Vargas and Jairo Jeffry Pomares, as well as solid performances from the box starring Darién Núñez, Yennier Cano and Kendry Rojas.
All these performances, put Cuba’s name on high and is a sign of the health of the island’s baseball, very different from the scenario that is experienced within the National Series. However, there is a recurring question among fans of the national sport of all Cubans: which province currently contributes the most players to professional baseball in the United States?
As reported on his Twitter profile by Cuban sports journalist Francys Romero, “more than 170 Cuban baseball players belong to the MLB system in this 2022”, after the most recent incorporations materialized during the current period of international signings that began last 15 from January.
As can be seen in the graph, the largest number of players come from Havana (47), followed by Matanzas (19), Ciego de Ávila (17), Pinar del Río (14) and Villa Clara (12), provinces that make up the Top 5 in this category.
Sancti Spíritus (7), Santiago de Cuba (7), Cienfuegos (6), Granma (6), Guantánamo (6), La Isla (6), Mayabeque (6), Las Tunas (6), Artemisa (6), Camagüey (4) and Holguín (2) complete the classification, which was carried out according to the province in which the player was trained and not precisely by his place of birth.
Now, another question arises: how many players from each Cuban province played in the Major Leagues in 2021? Romero himself responded to this question by making a distribution by territory and to the “surprise” of many, the most prominent province is not one of the “historical” ones.
Of the 27 Cuban players who participated in the 2021 MLB campaign, five are from Mayabeque (Jorge Soler, Adrián Morejón, Ronald Bolaños, Néstor Cortés Jr. and José Iglesias) and three are from Matanzas (Guillermo Heredia, Cionel Pérez and Yadiel Hernández ) and Las Isla (Raisel Iglesias, Andy Ibáñez and Yohán López)
In addition, several provinces added two elements to the list, the cases of Las Tunas (Yordan Álvarez and Darién Núñez), Pinar del Río (Randy Arozarena and Vladimir Gutiérrez), Cienfuegos (José Abreu and Yoán Moncada), Villa Clara (Aledmys Díaz and Yandy Díaz), Sancti Spíritus (Yuli Gurriel and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.) and Havana (Johan Oviedo and José Israel Barrero).
For its part, Holguín contributed one (Aroldis Chapman) and Artemisa another (Yasmani Grandal).
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BY PROVINCE: Havana contributes MORE PLAYERS to MLB, reported Romero