14ymedio, Havana, 29 August 2023 — The name of the Cuban hitter Juan Álvarez began to appear in June in the sports offices of the Diamondbacks of Arizona (USA). This young man, who left the Island in 2022, took advantage of the opportunity and, after a few calls, signed his contract on Monday. According to journalist Francys Romero, the 16-year-old baseball player received a $100,000 bonus.
Álvarez left the Island after finishing the Under-15 National Championship in 2020, where he got 19 assists at home (throwing the ball to a teammate to touch the base or the opposing player). Romero recalls that a scout of the United States Major League teams told Álvarez that he had a “special (fast) swing.”
He is a talented batter who can connect on both sides, the left-handed one being stronger,” Romero reported on his blog Baseball FR! “His physique is remarkable for players his age. He has power, speed and can play in the outfield,” he added.
A native of Isla de la Juventud, the young baseball player thus joins the Cubans Jairo Digón and Cristian López, who are already part of the Arizona Diamondbacks. In the 2022-2023 international period, there are now 28 athletes hired from both minor and major leagues.
The baseball player Juan Álvarez thus joins the Cubans Jairo Digón and Cristian López, who are already part of the Arizona Diamondbacks
Cuban players leave the Island in search of better training conditions and better salaries. The scale of payments dating back to 2020 for players in Cuba depends on their category. A member of the national pre-selection who participates in the National Series receives 3,725 Cuban pesos per month (19 dollars); one from the Reserve of the National Pre-Selection and National Series receives 2,400 (12 dollars).
Like Álvarez, pitcher John Valle signed with the New York Mets last July. This 18-year-old, who left the Island in 2021, was chosen in the Draft (recruitment period) of the Major Leagues for amateur players. He can throw a fast ball at 95 mph, which he perfected during his stay at Jefferson High School. This athlete received a bonus of $150,000.
Christian Saéz is another Cuban who, after participating in the Under-12 World Cup (2019), where the representative of the Island got a third place, sought to leave the country, a goal that he achieved in 2021. He was chosen by the St. Louis Cardinals. The signing will be made official on January 15, 2024, during the new international period. The pre-agreement includes a bonus of $150,000.
The escape of Cuban players is constant; between July and August, so far, there have been sixteen. Luis Mario Macías, Fernando Ramos, Jaider Miguel Suárez, Jaider Miguel Suárez, Julio César Pérez, Emmanuel Chapman, Alexander Valiente, Roger Bolaños, Marlon Vega, Yulian Quintana, Yunior Villavicencio, Kevin Arévalo, Alexei Ricardo, Javier Mirabal, Yotuel Ávila and Yasiel González are the names of those who fled.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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