Cuba has produced many MLB players over the years but in recent memory teams have shoveled out money to players who have not performed. Since 2013 Cuba has given the MLB Yasiel Puig, Hector Olivera, Aledymys Diaz, Jorge Soler, Rusney Castillo, Yulieski Gurriel, Yoan Moncada, Jose Abreu, and Alex Guerrero to name a few.
The players mentioned are obviously the bigger names that have come from Cuba but they are also the players who had to back up the truck to the bank. Combined the mentioned players have made close to $400 million. Have they been worth it? Not at all. Castillo has been banished to the minors, Guerrero has been cut, Olivera’s career seems to be over due to domestic abuse, Soler has just been traded, and the once electric Puig appears to be leaving Hollywood very soon.
All 9 of the players mentioned have combined for 3 All-Star appearances and 1 rookie of the year award. Would you pay $400 million for that? Din’t think so. If you wanted those accolades you could’ve just gone with Eric Hinske and Brady Anderson.
Granted most of these players have not been in the league very long. Moncada has only had 19 at bats (with 12 strikeouts) and Diaz had a tremendous rookie season. But if I were to tell you a success rate out of the players I am talking about I would say 2/9.
Abreu is a stud and has been nothing but good for the White Sox. Diaz had a spectacular rookie season but we need to see how he continues to progress. Puig has been good but more of a headache for the Dodgers. Castillo, Soler, Olivera, and Guerrero have all been disappointments. Gurriel is to be decided but at 32, I think he left his best years of baseball in Cuba. Moncada is also TBD but he is one of the top prospects in baseball and helped get the Red Sox Chris Sale. We will see how he pans out but based on the recent Cuban talent to come to the MLB I wouldn’t be expecting a hall of fame career.
Any time your favorite team signs a player you get all giddy inside like a 7 year old on Christmas Eve but I am no longer positive about foreign players being instant impacts. Of course there have been successful players such as Yoenis Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman from Cuba but they came here a couple years before any of these other guys showed up. Talent evaluation is a tricky thing especially when evaluating foreign players. You have no idea what competition they are up against. It has been boom or bust with Cuban players so all I have to say is that teams should proceed with caution when shoveling money into the pockets of unknown entities.