By Jerry Díaz/ @Jerryto94
The New York Yankees are frequent Cuban talent hunters. Last season, for instance, two Cuban-born hurlers saw action for the Bronx Bombers. Havana-born Nestor Cortés surprised many with what has been his best MLB season to date, throwing 93 innings, while Aroldis Chapman fulfilled his role as the team’s closer and had his third 30-save season in pinstripes.
In the Rookie league we had Carlos Verdecia, a shortstop that left a slash line of .189/.342/.263 with five doubles and five steals.
Pitchers Denny Larrondo and Osiel Rodríguez also saw action. The former had 11 appearances with 52.1 innings pitched and 4.56 ERA. The latter struck out 11 batters and issued two walks in 8.2 innings.
Five days ago, youngster Leam Méndez announced an agreement with the Yankees on his social media . Francys Romero confirmed last March 2 that the signing of the 22-year old right handed had indeed taken place and that he will be in the franchise’s farm system. According to Romero, the Ciego de Avila native is fairly tall and weighs about 200 pounds, with a powerful fastball clocked at 96 miles per hour.
Méndez is the 13th international prospect (fifth pitcher) signed by the Yankees in this period. By the way, the New Yorkers signed the #1 prospect–as per MLB Pipeline–, Dominican Roderick Arias, who had a four-million-dollar signing bonus (80% of the assigned amount).
More Cuban talent is making it to the rosters of the storied team.