MLB.com is now confirming a story first reported by ESPN, that two Cuban players considered close to being big league ready have defected from Cuba.
Reportedly, right-hander Yadel Marti, Cuba’s top pitcher in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, and outfielder Yasser Gomez defected for the Dominican Republic.
Both players are expected to immediately pursue MLB careers, and each will be highly sought after.
The following is a short bio on each player as provided by ESPN.
Marti, 29, was the best of Cuba’s pitchers in the 2006 WBC. The right-hander went 1-0 with two saves and led the tournament in ERA (0.00) after not allowing a single run in 12 2/3 innings. He was elected to the WBC All Star team.
Marti won 67 games with a 3.23 ERA in his career with Industriales but participated in a limited capacity last season (4-2, 3.12 ERA in 15 games).
Gomez, 28, is a fast outfielder who was Rookie of the Year in 1997 and hit .394 with 51 runs scored and 41 RBIs in 66 games in the most recent National Series tournament. He has a .331 career average with Industriales.
They both sound very appealing just going by those brief bios. The Cuban national team has always featured some of the best players and athletes in the world. We are not talking about a couple of former beer leaguers here.
It’s too bad we still didn’t have El Duque so that he might help the Mets to recruit each of them. It’s the least he could do for us…