Two Cuban Players Escape to the Dominican Republic and Are Now Aiming for the Major Leagues

Cuban baseball players Emmanuel Chapman and Julio César Pérez. (Collage/Twitter/@francysromeroFR)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 8 August 2023 — Two other promising young men have joined the long list of players who have left Cuba. Emmanuel Chapman and Julio César Pérez are now in the Dominican Republic,according to sports journalist Francys Romero.

Romero reported last Saturday that 24-year-old pitcher Emmanuel Chapman Ayón left Cuba in April of this year. He had participated in three National Series with the Holguín Cubs before leaving the country.

“Several Major League (U.S.) organizations have confirmed interest in Chapman. He has been training in the Dominican Republic for a couple of months, increasing his power and muscle mass,” Romero emphasized.

Chapman now has a demonstration scheduled before Major League coaches for August 25 in the Dominican capital. His exhibition will be at the Villa Mella stadium, located on the Hacienda Estrella road. The young man seeks to shine before the evaluators with a pitch that is over 90 miles per hour.

For his part, the catcher Julio César Pérez Dávila, only 19 years old, has been in the same Caribbean country since last week, Romero said last Sunday.

The reporter included Pérez at number 11 as the best catcher in his class in his list of 25 best U-18 prospects in Cuba, for the year 2022. He also recalled that the athlete finished the National Championship as the most valuable player in the category.

Romero explained that during that event, the promising Havana player achieved a record of 14 hits in four turns at bat, which is equivalent to a batting average of .286. In addition, he contributed with a double and participated in four games as catcher and one as designated hitter.

“In the 2022 U-18 National Championship he led the batters with .438/.579/.604, 8 doubles, a triple and 2 home runs. His average was the highest among the qualified batters. At defense he’s an excellent fielder,” Romero wrote about the catcher’s abilities.

Romero added that “if he has to improve anything, it’s his arm.” However, he said, “Pérez’s definitely has potential.”

In this regard, he said that although coaches have traditionally preferred Venezuelans and Dominicans as catchers over Cubans, “in recent times that reality has changed,” with the signing of  catchers like Edgar Quero (top prospect of the Chicago White Sox).

As the specialist recalled, the emigration of Cuban baseball players “has maintained constant numbers in 2023.” In 2022, “more than 100 players left through different routes.” Recently Romero reported on the departure from Cuba of pitchers Alexander Valiente, Renyi Norbel Membrives, Javier Mirabal, Yulian Quintana, Daivel Álvarez de la Torre, Roger Bolaños and Marlon Vega.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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