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Articles Tagged Cuba 

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Ben and Sam talk to Alejandro Aldama of the Independent Group for Baseball Investigation about the state of sabermetrics in Cuba.

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Ben and Sam discuss the next potential star from Cuba and the future of Cuban baseball, then revisit a trade for Wil Myers that didn't happen.

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The 1999 meeting between Cuba and the Baltimore Orioles did not go well for the major league squad.

The Baltimore Orioles, led by their owner Peter Angelos, made a bid at international diplomacy in 1999. After a large push by Angelos, Major League Baseball and the Cuban government (along with a little help from the State Department, I'm sure) agreed to play a home-and-home series between the Cuban national team and Angelos' Orioles at the start of the season.

The first game was played in Havana in March before a roaring crowd of 50,000-plus. Angelos was joined in the front row behind home plate at Estadio Latinoamericano with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Cuban leader Fidel Castro. After the home team tied it up in the bottom of the 8th, the crowd was treated to a 3-2 Baltimore victory when an 11th-inning single from Harold Baines scored Will Clark from second. It was a thrilling but, ultimately, predictable game.

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A look back at what the stats said was in store for Aroldis Chapman when he emigrated from Cuba.

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.

We're still trying to figure out whether Aroldis Chapman can handle a rotation spot or is better suited for the bullpen, but at least we know more about him than we did when we wrote the piece reprinted below, which was originally published on August 13, 2009.
 


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The AL West added a couple of the premier international players over the offseason, and both are already contributing to their new teams.

Two high-profile international free agents came to the American League West this year. The two-time defending AL champion Texas Rangers won negotiating rights (with a $51.7 million bid) to Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish in December 2011 and signed him to a six-year, $56 million deal the following month. Meanwhile, the small-market Oakland A's surprised everyone in February by landing Cuban center fielder/Internet sensation Yoenis Cespedes at four years, $36 million.

Darvish was the better-known quantity, having generated buzz well in advance of his U.S. debut, and was expected to contribute right away. Cespedes came with more questions attached, and it wasn't certain that he would break camp with the big club. But he did, and he made an immediate impact, launching a home run in his big-league debut (amusingly enough, played in Japan).

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As the bidding on Yoenis Cespedes begins in earnest, take a look back at some prior prospects from Cuba who tried to make the major-league leap.

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audiencesend us your suggestion.

It's hard to know what to expect from a free agent from Cuba, but as we wait to see what Cespedes will be, we can take a look at how his countrymen fared courtesy of the John Perrotto article reproduced below, which originally ran on February 15, 2007.

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Blow-by-blow recap of the incredible scouting video of top international prospect Yoenis Cespedes

I knew I was in for something special once I saw the email.

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February 25, 2009 1:25 pm

Prospectus Today: The World Baseball Classic

15

Joe Sheehan

A quick review of the pools and the likely outcomes, as well as the outstanding issues that attend the international event.

The first pitch of the World Baseball Classic is a week away. Rosters were announced Tuesday afternoon, making the whole thing a bit more real. We can now take a look at the players who will be on the field playing for their countries in March and get a sense of which teams are emerging as the favorites.

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January 20, 2009 1:30 pm

Over There, Over There

11

Clay Davenport

Translating the performances of the latest crop of forbidden fruit from Castro-country and two high-profile imports from Japan's major leagues.

In the past month, two Japanese pitchers have been signed by major league teams-Kenshin Kawakami, now with the Braves, and Koji Uehara, signed up by the Orioles. We've also heard of major league interest in some recent Cuban migrs-Yadel Marti and Yasser Gomez, as well as Dayan Viciedo, who signed with the White Sox in November. Let's focus a translational microscope on each of these players, with an eye towards giving you an idea of what's in store.

Kenshin Kawakami
DOB: 6/22/75 (33)
Height/Weight: 5-10/200
Bats/Throws: R/R
Team: Chunichi Dragons, Central League, NPB





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February 15, 2007 12:00 am

International Prospectus

0

John Perrotto

With a number of organizations deeply invested in Japan, the Pirates look for Cuban arms to help pull them out of the cellar.

If you don't believe it, just think back to a few months ago when the chat rooms, talk shows, and highlight shows were filled with news of the posting for Daisuke Matsuzaka by Seibu Lions, the spirited bidding war that ensued, the Boston Red Sox winning that bidding at a whopping $51,111,111.11 and the subsequent negotiations than ended with Dice-K signing a six-year contract worth $52 million.

Throw in the $26,000,194 the New York Yankees paid through the posting system to the Hanshin Tigers in order to sign left-hander Kei Igawa to a five-year, $20-million contract, and Japan has clearly replaced Cuba as the nation major league clubs look to for quick fixes.

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March 16, 2006 12:00 am

Suspending Disbelief

0

Jay Jaffe

Jay Jaffe checks in with a WBC report after taking in some exciting games in Puerto Rico.

But as the first round revealed, even the hardest heart is capable of being warmed once the games begin. The sudden presence of baseball in early March--not the lazy exhibition walkthroughs in front of somnolent audiences of sun-worshippers but tooth-and-nail battles between bitter rivals in front of frenzied fanatics--trumps all. Either find a way to enjoy the first (relatively) meaningful baseball in four and a half months, or fill out your bracket and kiss Andrew Jackson goodbye.

As of five weeks ago, I had been planning my own sun-worshipping Florida pilgrimage when my brother-in-law Adam upped the ante by suggesting a couple of second-round WBC games in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Though mindful of my own reservations about the tourney, I've got enough experience in marquee event attendance to know that even the most pilloried events--such as the birthed-in-scandal 2002 Winter Olympics in my hometown of Salt Lake City--look much better when you're holding a fistful of ducats. As my wife, Andra, likes to say, we're "event people"; it doesn't take much arm-twisting to induce us to hunt big games. So with her blessing, we procured a quartet of tickets for the Pool D winner versus Pool C winner matchup on Monday, March 13 (Adam's girlfriend Nicole would also be accompanying us), and a boys-only pair for the previous night's matchup pairing the Pool D winner and the Pool C runner-up. With the Dominican Republic and Venezuela likely to come out of the D bracket and Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Panama vying for the C slots, we were virtually assured of a pair of high-end Latin-flavored ballgames.

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March 2, 2005 12:00 am

Translating Cuban Performance

0

Clay Davenport

Most Cuban players coming to the major leagues have been disappointments. Now, we may know why.

What did we have to say about him? Scouting reports said he had power to all fields, and he hit .391 in Cuba one year. Pretty much everything we knew about him was in the Baseball America article announcing his signing.

As much as I love reading BA, though, that was a pretty unsatisfying answer. We're performance analysts, dangit, and we didn't have a performance record to analyze, because Cuban baseball has always been this gaping black hole. Players came out every once in a while, the scouting reports raved over them, and George Steinbrenner or some other sap wrote out the big checks for them, but no one really knew how they would perform. While the Brothers Hernandez did fine, it seemed that the greatest talent of Cuban players was to be little Barnums, making suckers of the U.S. baseball establishment. Fidel may have been upset at losing the players, but the sight of so many capitalists losing so much money to Cubans had to bring him at least a small chuckle.

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