Thursday, October 11, 2007

Current Cuban Baseball Champions Could Retain their Crown


Santiago de Cuba 'Avispas' Team

Radio Coco, the best radio station in Cuba for national baseball news, reports the following:

Santiago de Cuba, the current baseball national champion, is in condition to retain the crown during the 2007-08 season, [XLVII Series] thanks to the fact that they have the same squad as the previous season, full of rising figures in Cuban baseball, and add to that the recovery of important players who did not play in the 2006-07 season. In addition, they have a very capable manager who is one of the best in the archipelago.

Regular Season: Should win group D with 55 to 60 victories.

Play Off: Because of its history and its present, there is no team in the eastern group which has the conditions to defeat the santiagueros. Villa Clara is the team with the best option, but needs for its pitching to become consolidated better. They should probably reach the final title series, probably with the Industriales, where the clash would be very even, and Santiago would depend on the physical condition of its arriving pitchers.

Batting: They have very integral batting, among the most complete of the country, and the majority of the batters are in their best moment, with many more years to come in their baseball play. With the exception of Maikel Castellanos, all the remaining players were part of a national selection in 2007, thanks to their relevant performance in the 2006-07 series. José Julio should consolidate his position to be the leader in the offensive power category, and will be complemented by the experienced Reutilio Hurtado, Pedro Poll and Meriño, this last one as he says goodbye to the Nationals. Oliveras and Navas, with less power, give speed and tact to the team, and Castellanos showed in the 2007 playoff that he is in condition to perform above his first campaigns. The bench is in the middle, because Meriño is limited by injuries and age, and this is due to the player not being able to confront a full season, and that in the 2008-09 campaign he will have retired from active play.

Pitching: Depends on the physical conditions of his starting laureates, whom, if they are above 75%, including Vera, Ormari and Danny Betancourt, then the team will walk free of worries, including reaching the final championship series. To them add the arms of less problematic pitchers like Cintra, Bicet and Felix Rivera, the last two being the best couple of relievers in Cuban baseball. Another problem is the deficit of lefty pitchers, where the irregular Carrión appears like the best of all. Of lesser known figures, those with the best expedient are Reinier Roybal and the rookie Alaín Delá, who both are part of the national youth selection and cadets respectively.

Roster:

1- Roinnier Mustelier, Third Base
2- Luis Miguel Navas, Shortsop
3- Alexei Bell, Right Field
4- José Julio Ruiz, Designated Hitter
5- Rolando Meriño, Catcher
6- Pedro Poll, First Base
7- Reutilio Hurtado, Center Field
8- Héctor Olivera Jr., Second Base
9- Maikel Castellanos, Left Field

Starting Pitchers:

Norge Luis Vera, Righty
Osmel Cintra. Righty
Ormari Romero, Righty
Danny Betancourt, Righty
Albert Carrión . Lefty

Closer: Félix Rivera, Righty

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