Cuba Loads Up Roster for Caribbean Series

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Ben Badler (Baseball America) writes that, after finishing in last place in the 2014 Caribbean Series, Cuba is taking a different approach this year, with a roster that’s essentially a modified version of the national team. The island is gearing up for the 2015 Caribbean Series, which begins in Puerto Rico on February 2.

At last year’s Caribbean Series, Cuba sent its league champions from the previous season, Villa Clara, to represent the country at the round-robin tournament. There were a handful of reinforcements with the team—outfielder Alfredo Despaigne, infielders Jose Fernandez and Yulieski Gourriel, among others—but the team was mostly players from a Villa Clara roster that was light on potential major league talent, and the results were poor.

When the Caribbean Series begins in Puerto Rico on Feb. 2, Cuba will send its 2014 Serie Nacional champion Pinar Del Rio, but the roster is heavily loaded with reinforcements from other clubs around the league. That’s good news for major league scouts, who will have another opportunity to evaluate several of the top players on the island, with the advantage of seeing them in the middle of the Serie Nacional season instead of the summer, which is Cuba’s offseason.

The most notable omission from the Pinar Del Rio roster is Randy Arozarena, an athletic 19-year-old who has played both infield and outfield and is hitting .279/.394/.380 in 221 plate appearances this season. Two other noteworthy but unsurprising omissions from the Pinar Del Rio team are catcher Lorenzo Quintana and lefthander Julio Alfredo Martinez, both of whom have been suspended from playing in Cuba.

For the roster Cuba will send to Puerto Rico, see full post at http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/cuba-loads-roster-caribbean-series/

[Photo above: Catcher Frank Morejón]

[Many thanks to Rod Fusco for bringing this item to our attention.]

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