HAVANA TIMES — Two of Cuba’s top batters, Alfredo Despaigne and Yordanis Samon, will play soon in the Mexican professional baseball league after an agreement between that organization and the Cuban sports authorities, reported Baseballdecuba.com.
Despaigne, 27 and Salmon, 31, arrived in Havana on Monday to meet with Cuban sports officials before leaving for Mexico.
Another active star player from the Cuban league, Michel Enríquez, joined the Piratas de Campeche of the same Mexican League on June 14.
Despaigne and Samon are currently two of Cuba’s most feared hitters. Despaigne has been a mainstay in recent years on the Cuban national team while Samon has been overlooked despite excellent stats, noted Ray Otero of Baseballdecuba.
Both players hailed from the Granma team in the first half of the just concluded 2012-2013 Cuban baseball season. In the second half Despaigne played for Pinar del Rio while Samon was with Isla de la Juventud.
Despaigne was the season’s batting champ hitting a whopping .382 (100 for 262). He also had 17 homers and drove in 50 runs. His on base percentage was a phenomenal .523 and his slugging percentage .649.
Samon wasn’t far behind, hitting .354 (108 for 305) with 16 homers and 61 RBIs. His OBP was .434 and slugging .577.
Michel Enriquez became the first active Cuban player to take part in a professional league. The closest thing to that was Omar Linares, who in 2002 played for the Chunichi Dragons of the Japanese professional league, but after he had retired from Cuban baseball.
If Despaigne and Samon are headed for the Pirates of Campeche they will add much offense to the team currently in sixth place, 13.5 games behind the division leading Quintana Roo Tigers in the Mexican League South.
Pedro Luis Lazo also pitched for the Piratas de Campeche in 2012, after previously having retired from Cuban baseball. He managed a 2-2 record with a 2.25 ERA in 33 relief appearances (a total of 36 innings).
The Mexican League is rated as Triple A according to standards of US Major League Baseball.