Team Cuba Loses its Best Player

Magnetismo. Illustration by Yasser Castellanos
Magnetismo. Illustration by Yasser Castellanos

Yulieski Gourriel and his brother Lourdes Jr. will seek MLB contracts

HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban government lamented today having lost its top baseball player and one of its best prospects, Yulieski and Lourdes Jr. Gourriel.

Having long resisted the call to join dozens of other Cuban stars in the Major Leagues, Yulieski finally decided to make the jump. He is fresh off being the only Cuban to shine in the recently concluded Caribbean Series where he hit for a whopping .450 average.

Yulieski y Lourdes Gourriel. File photo: Roberto Morejon/AIN
Yulieski y Lourdes Gourriel. File photo: Roberto Morejon/AIN

At 31 years old, and considered by experts to be ready to play at the top level, Yulieski will be at the top of the free agent market for international player signings to take place between June 15 and July 2.

Lourdes Jr., 22, has played in six seasons in the Cuban league and compiled a .355 OBP in 1,036 at-bats.

While both players and their older brother Yunieski had of late been playing for Havana’s Industriales in the Cuban league they all began their careers in their home town, Sancti Spirtus.

Yunieski has also played the last two years in Quebec in the Canadian-American Association. Their father, Lourdes Gourriel Sr., played for the national team for 15 years and won a gold medal, two batting titles and an MVP Award in Cuba. He was also a national team manager, noted Jesse Sanchez of

Statement from the Cuban government

“In the early morning on Monday two players abandoned the hotel where the Cuban baseball team attending the 58th Caribbean Series Baseball in the Dominican Republic was staying. Yulieski Gourriel and Lourdes Gourriel Castillo, in a blatant attitude of surrender, were taken in by the merchants of professional baseball.
The event was immediately rejected by the other members of the Cuban team, who issued a statement.”

2 thoughts on “Team Cuba Loses its Best Player

  • February 8, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    It’s sad that this can’t be handled without defecting. It’s like a divorce with children, you take one side and the other is devastated. Cuban sports department must be doing something right producing some of the best players in US Major League Baseball! Just doesn’t seem right.

  • February 8, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    When Mexican or Venezuelan players leave their country and their national league teams to go to the US to play in the Majors, the press release reads like this: “Roberto Clemente, outfielder for the (insert team name) notified team management and the media this morning that he has just signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates and will not be returning for the fall season. While sad to see him go, family and friends as well as the entire community applaud Clemente’s success and wish him the best.” Why are the Castros so bitter?

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