Top 10 Latin American Baseball Players in the 2016 MLB Season
Top 10 Latin American Baseball Players in the 2016 MLB Season
The 2016 season of Major League Baseball already witnessed its much-anticipated play ball!, so it’s a very opportune moment to take a closer look at the best Latin American baseball players. Offensive power, strong arms, commitment on the field… and huge bank accounts are some of the elements which are characteristic of these men, who will be playing the leading role in each franchise in an effort to conquer the World Series.
Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers, 32 years old, Venezuela)
The “Tiger of Maracay” is described as the best ballplayer of the world. His highly successful career was affected by lesions in 2015, but not even this situation stopped him from winning the batting title in the American League. The Venezuelan athlete has been chosen twice as the Most Valuable Player and he holds a triple crown, in 2012; as well as a champion ring, obtained with the Marlins in 2003. Detroit’s aspirations of winning an Autumn Classic, after 32 years, depend on what Cabrera can do with the bat.
Albert Pujols (Anaheim Angels, 36 years old, Dominican Republic)
The Dominican athlete is no longer that batter capable of directing the ball to every angle of the field, just as he used to do with the San Luis Cardinals; but those who thought that his career was finished, after two disastrous years with the Angels, were totally wrong. In 2015, Pujols shot 40 HRs, seventh time in his history, and he only needs another 40 to total 600 and become the ninth baseball player that reaches that spectacular number in Major League.
Yoenis Cespedes (New York Mets, 29 years old, Cuba)
The New York Mets entered the World Series in 2015, the first time in 15 years. Several people explain that surprising results—nobody thought they were favorites in the early days of the season—by pointing out the introduction of Cuban Cespedes, who came from the Detroit Tigers. His good offensive performance—although he didn’t stood out in the Autumn Classic against the Kansas City Royals—convinced the Mets executives to give him a 75-million dollar contract for the next 3 years. Now it’s up to Cespedes to show that he knows how to handle pressure when it comes to playing in New York.
Felix Hernandez (Seattle Sailors, 29 years old, Venezuela)
“King Felix” is still the best Latin American pitcher in MLB. Unfortunately, he has been playing in a team, the Sailors, that hasn’t gone to the playoffs since 2001; but, even with a mediocre team on his back, the Venezuelan athlete has managed to prevail over the rival batters. He’s not as fast as he used to be five years ago, but Hernandez’s experience is vast and turns him into a dominant pitcher. With a Cy Young and 143 victories, Felix only needs more offensive supports in order to 20 games in 2016.
Jose Fernandez (Miami Marlins, 23 years old, Cuba)
Recovering from a Tommy John surgery is not easy at all for a starter, but Cuban Jose Fernandez wants to show it’s possible to return to the mound and be the star once again. After winning the Best Rookie of the Year award in 2013, Fernandez suffered from an injury in his pitching elbow and he spent a year and half away from the field. He joined the team again and his performance was good, with a speed that was similar to the one he used to deliver before undergoing surgery. The Marlins, with the team’s new manager, Don Mattingly, expect Fernandez to lead the starter rotation.
Robinson Cano (Seattle Sailors, 32 years old, Dominican Republic)
The Seattle Sailors put their hope in Robinson Cano when they offered him a 240-million-dollar contract. The Dominican star was remarkable during the time he spent with the New York Yankees, but his numbers on the west coast are far from his results in Manhattan. The patience of the Sailors executives and fans is not endless and Cano knows it, so the 2016 could mark his offensive awakening.
Carlos Correa (Houston Astros, 21 years old, Puerto Rico)
It’s not usual for a batter, in his rookie year, to have the third batting turn in the lineup of a team that goes to the playoffs. It happened to Puerto Rican Carlos Correa, who is probably the best talent in MLB. Correa not event took the first steps in the lineup of the Houston Astros, but since he was taken to the main team Correa showed his great offensive potential and good defense. He was given the Rookie of the Year award and the expectations around this 21-year-old player are high in 2016.
David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox, 40 years old, Dominican Republic)
No player has had bigger impact on a MLB team over the past decade than David Ortiz, with the Boston Red Sox. “Big Papi”, as people usually name this strong batter, became leader of a franchise that had spent 86 years without winning a World Series title. The blows delivered by the Dominican player fostered the victories achieved in the Autumn Classics held in 2004—after recovering from a 0-3 against the New York Yankees—, 2007 and 2013, when he was labeled Most Valuable Player of the Series, against the Cardinals. In 2015, Ortiz totaled 500 HRs and he is the batter with the highest number of homeruns in the history of Major League Baseball. The 2016 season is going to mark his last performance on the field. A new World Series title would be the perfect farewell and the Red Sox executives invested some millions of dollars to strengthen the team, but we’ll see if that move is fruitful.
Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees, 28 years old, Cuba)
He is the fastest pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball. That’s the reason why people call him “the Cuban missile”. With pitches over 100 miles per hour, Chapman has left his mark in MLB. He was playing with the Cincinnati Reds last year, a team that made headlines due to Chapman’s records instead of the number of victories on the field. Now the Cuban pitcher is going to be the closer in the most popular and hated team in MLB. We’ll see if he can endure the pressure of pitching at the Yankee Stadium.
Yovani Gallardo (Baltimore Orioles, 30 years old, Mexico)
Throughout his career, the Mexican ballplayer has shown his great physical strength. In eight seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, he won 89 games and pitched over 180 innings; nevertheless, after some negative results in 2014 many people thought he was finished. In 2015, Gallardo’s performance in Texas was good, since he got 13 victories with the Rangers and his ERA was 3.42. The Baltimore Orioles were trying to strengthen their starting rotation and decided to offer him a 2-year contract, for 22 million dollars.