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Top 10 Latin American Baseball Players in the American League

Top 10 Latin American Baseball Players in the American League

Posted by Miguel Ernesto on October 21, 2015

Latin American baseball players had a great impact in MLB’s 2015 season. The contribution of several of these players was a key element to the inclusion of their American League teams in playoffs. On the other hand, there were others whose teams didn’t make it to October, but they did have outstanding individual results.

Out of the five American League teams that won their tickets to the postseason, Toronto Blue Jays was significantly backed up by the presence of Latin American players. The hits delivered by Dominican Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, combined with the performance of Mexican Marco Estrada and Roberto Osuna at the mound, brought that team back to playoffs, after 22 years of absence.

The Latin American contribution was also visible with Kansas City Royals, since it was the first the team wins its division in 30 years. The power of Dominican Salvador Perez stood out, as well as Cuban Kendrys Morales’ opportunity; meanwhile, the amazing Houston Astros counted on Venezuelan Jose Altuve and Puerto Rican Carlos Correa so as to reach the Divisional Series. What other Latin American names shined in this campaign?

Miguel Cabrera

 

Detroit Tigers had a disappointing year: they went down to the last position of the Central Division. Nevertheless, not even that poor performance or his inclusion on the injured list, which took him two months away from the field, stopped Venezuelan Miguel Cabrera from standing out.

It was the fourth time in five years the “Tiger from Maracay” won the American League batting title, with average of 338. Cabrera participated in 119 games and hit 18 home runs, with 76 runs batted in.

David Ortiz

 

“Big Papi” silenced his critics with a great performance. Boston Red Sox had another year to be forgotten, but the Dominican baseball player’s numbers were excellent: 108 RBI and 37 home runs, so he joined the exclusive club of players with over 500 HR in the centenarian history of Major League Baseball.

Nelson Cruz

 

In 2014, Dominican Nelson Cruz led the American League, with 40 home runs, when he was playing with Baltimore Orioles. A year later, now wearing the uniform of Seattle Mariners, Cruz had the best offensive campaign of his career: he was ranked second in the League with 44 home runs —only surpassed by Chris Davies’ 47—; third in slugging (556), eighth in batting (308) and eleventh in RBI (93).

Moreover, Cruz joined the future member of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Ken Griffey Jr. as the only baseball players that have led the Mariners in terms of offensive average, hits and home runs in the same season.

José Bautista

 

After 22 years without playing a postseason game, Toronto Blue Jays won the East division of the American League, mostly thanks to the team’s powerful offensive lineup. Dominican Jose Bautista was one of the key elements. The veteran slugger participated in 153 games, with 29 doubles, 40 home runs and 114 RBI.

Edwin Encarnación

 

Edwin Encarnacion was another Dominican star in Toronto Blue Jays’ lineup. In 146 games, this 32-year-old player batted 31 doubles and 39 home runs, 111 RBI and his final batting average was 277.

Kendrys Morales

 

After two years of injuries affecting his performance, Cuban Kendrys Morales made a brilliant debut with Kansas City Royals. Morales was the designated hitter of the Central champions and he played in most of the games (158). All in all, he finished with an excellent average of 290, with 22 HR and 106 RBI. He could be nominated to the Best Return of the Year award and nobody would be surprised if he surpasses Alex Rodriguez.

José Dariel Abreu

 

The Cuban baseball player proved his worth for Chicago White Sox. In 2014 he was named Rookie of the Year and he once again showed his hitting power this year. The Cienfuegos-born player participated in 154 games, where he delivered 30 home runs and finished with 101 runs batted in. This is how he became the second player in the history to shoot 30 HR and over 100 RBI in his first two campaigns in MLB. The other one is a member of the Hall of Fame, Dominican Albert Pujols.

José Altuve

 

The small Venezuelan baseball player shows that baseball is not all about physical conditions. With barely 5 feet and 6 inches, Altuve is capable of directing the ball to all angles of the field. In 2014 he won the hitting title of the American League and, a year later, he was ranked third, right behind Miguel Cabrera and Xander Bogaerts, with average of 313. Furthermore, he delivered 200 hits and was the base stealing leader, with 38. His skill and speed played the leading role in the recovery of Houston Astros.

Félix Hernández

 

“El Rey” Felix Hernandez was the best Latin American pitcher in 2015. Seattle Mariners didn’t go to the postseason, but the Venezuelan player’s performance was great. He won 18 games, lost 9, with effectiveness of 3.53 and 191 strikeouts in 201.2 entries (eighth time in a row he goes beyond 200 innings in a year). He was the shutout leader of the American League (2), third in victories, seventh in complete games (2) and eighth in strikeouts. If he had had a better second part of the season, he would’ve gone for the Cy Young.

Carlos Correa

 

Puerto Rican Carlos Correa made his debut on June 8 and since his first game, everybody could see his enormous talent; although just a few could certainly foresee that his development would be so fast. With barely 21 years, Correa’s average was 279 and stood out as the leader of rookies in the American League with home runs (22) and slugging (.512); moreover, he was second in doubles (22) and RBI (68). As for the playoffs, Correa hit two home runs and finished with four runs batted in. Will he be chosen as Rookie of the Year? His main rival for this award is another young Puerto Rican baseball player, 21-year-old Francisco Lindor, who shinned in the short field with Cleveland Indians, with 313 average, 12 HR and 51 RBI; but Correa’s leadership with the Astros could help him win more votes.

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