Cuba loves baseball. It’s a fact that most American baseball fans know as well. The history of Cuban ball players defecting to the United States to play in the Majors has been long documented, and many of the players from Cuba that have immigrated to America have become All-Stars, especially as of late. Here is our take on rating the 5 best baseball players from Cuba currently playing in the MLB:
5. Yasiel Puig – Probably the most famous Cuban player today, Puig came with massive expectations and produced immediately, hitting 4 home runs in his first 5 games, including a grand slam! He is known for being fun-loving and having a great disposition. His exciting style of play and superstar potential could make him a Cuban legend one day. Though he’s had a bit of a down 2015 due to injury, Puig was a 2014 All Star and promises to be one of the keys to success for the L.A. Dodgers.
4. Jose Abreu – Another hard hitter, Abreu came to America late in his career, and immediately produced. The American League Rookie of the Year in 2014, Abreu has hit 66 home runs in just two seasons and has been an integral force in the middle of the Chicago White Sox’s lineup. 28 years old, he is entering into his prime, and will surely continue to be a force in the MLB.
3. Jose Fernandez – The National League Rookie of the Year of 2013 is a highly prized ace pitcher with the potential to start one day if his team makes the post-season. After an incredible first season with the Miami Marlins, injury threatened to derail his promising career, but after successful Tommy John surgery, Fernandez returned in 2015 and continued to pitch impressively, which suggests that his career-to-date 2.26 ERA, or better, will continue into the future.
2. Aroldis Chapman – Nicknamed the “Cuban Missile,” this pitcher plays on the back end as a closer, and he is highly regarded for a fastball at 105 MPH that broke the MLB record for the fastest pitch! He was the quickest pitcher ever to get to 500 strikeouts and is a 4-time All-Star for the Cincinnati Reds. Chapman is widely heralded as one of the game’s finest closers and posted just a 1.63 ERA during the 2015 season. Looking ahead, he will prove to be a vital cog in any team with their eyes on the post-season.
1. Yoenis Cespedes – Perhaps the most complete package of a great Cuban
baseball player is Cespedes, who is set to enter the 2015 MLB playoffs as a vital piece of the New York Mets. Also a 2014 All-Star, he has been the Home Run Derby Champion on two occasions. Since joining the Mets midway through the season, Cespedes belted 17 home runs and a key force propelling the Mets forward for their 2015 postseason run. A true power hitter with proven success, Cespedes is, in our view, the best Cuba has to offer in baseball today.