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Four Baseball Players You Can’t Miss in 2015 Toronto

Four Baseball Players You Can’t Miss in 2015 Toronto

Posted by Miguel Ernesto on July 07, 2015

Baseball is going to be one of the toughest collective sports in 2015 Toronto Pan American Games. Four years ago, during the edition held in Guadalajara, Canada put an end to the 36-year-long reign of Cuba. Now, in front of its public, the Canadian team coached by Ernie Whitt stands as a favorite to win the title, along with the North Americans and Cubans.

The payroll of the seven teams to fight for the Pan American crown does not include baseball players that are active members in the roster of MLB franchises, since that organization does not allow athletes to participate in international events during the season. However, talented sportsmen are going to play in Toronto and Cuba is ready to attend the event with its main stars.

PanamericanWorld proposes an approach to four baseball players that could shine in Toronto. This selection comprises two pitchers and two outfielders, from three countries. We shouldn’t be surprised if, after the event, they are included in the All Stars team.

Albert Almora. Center Fielder, United States

21-year-old Cuban-American Albert Almora stands out in the United States’ 24-baseball player-roster as he is ranked 49th on the list of the best 100 prospects of Major Leagues and he was signed up by Chicago Cubs as the sixth selection of the 2012 draft amateur, for 3.9 million dollars.

Almora has represented the United States in other seven events, in different categories, since he was 14 years old, so his international experience is huge. In this season, with Tennessee Smokies, he has participated in 60 games, average 246, 10 doubles, two home runs and 22 runs batted in.

This central fielder will be a key element in the team headed by Jim Tracy. The US team lost the final in 2011 Guadalajara against Canada and they haven’t won a Pan American title since Winnipeg, 1967.

Andrew Albers. Pitcher, Canada

This left-handed pitcher, who is 29 years old and weighs 200 pounds, has experience in MLB; he played in the Pan American Games, 2011, and is one of the main figures in Canada’s team.

In Guadalajara, Albers won one game and finished with 1.86 ERA, 10 strikeouts delivered in 9.2 innings. In Toronto, Coach Ernie Whitt is certainly going to trust in this left-handed pitcher to head the opening lineup.

During this season, while playing with Triple A Buffalo Bisons, Albers has opened 11 games and his ERA is 4.11. Furthermore, he played once with Toronto Blue Jays, as relief pitcher, and he was later sent back to the Minors Leagues.

In MLB, Albers performed 10 openings with Minnesota Twins, in 2013. He won 2 games and lost 5 that year. Afterwards, in 2014, he played with the Hanwha Eagles in the Korean Baseball League. The Blue Jays saw the potential of this left-handed player and offered him a contract in Minor Leagues this year.

Alfredo Despaigne. Outfielder, Cuba

This well-built baseball player is going to have a lot of eyes on him. After the unexpected resignation of Yuliesky Gourriel –penciled in as the finest player of Cuba –, the looks will be focused on Despaigne, who has had a good season with Chiba Lotte Marines, Japanese League, where he signed a contract for 2 years and 4.1 million dollars.

In Japan, Despaigne has batted 11 home runs to date and he has 30 RBI, in 39 games. As part of his contract, the baseball player must play with the national team, but unlike other Cuban athlete that play in that League, like Hector Mendoza and Frederich Cepeda, Despaigne will arrive in Toronto just a few days before the Pan American Games kick off.

Despaigne will be the fourth bat of the Cuban team coached by Roger Machado. The results of the national team will depend on his strength and skills, in an effort to regain the Pan American title held by the team between 1971 and 2007.

Hector Mendoza. Relief Pitcher, Cuba

Hector Mendoza, described as the best relief pitcher of Cuba, played a leading role in the victory achieved by Pinar del Rio during the 2015 Caribbean Series, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In Toronto, when the game is complicated, Coach Machado won’t hesitate to call Mendoza, a tall-and-slim pitcher, with a straight above 90 miles.

Mendoza worked hard during the 54th edition of Cuba’s National Series. Subsequently, after taking a brief rest, he traveled to Japan in order to fulfill the second year of his contract with Yomiuri Giants. He played most of the time in Minor Leagues with this franchise; although he was later invited to the main team and he played a relief pitcher in two games.

Unlike previous international tournaments, Machado’s opening lineup is not very impressive, so the final position of the Cuban team will depend on the performance of the group of relief pitchers, led by Mendoza. 

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