Cuban player from "Team Asere" leaves the country for the Major Leagues

The left-handed pitcher, a native of Matanzas, is 24 years old.

El pelotero cubano Naykel Cruz © Collage Twitter/JIT
Cuban baseball player Naykel Cruz Photo © Collage Twitter/JIT

The left-handed pitcherNaykel Yoel Cruz Zaldívar He left Cuba for the Dominican Republic, where he sought to sign a contract with a Major League organization, according to sports journalist Francys Romero.

Cruz Zaldívar, a native of the province of Matanzas, was part of what is known asTeam Asere, the Cuba team that participated in the V World Baseball Classic in 2023.

“Naykel has excellent potential for the professional firm. He is 24 years old and has a stable fastball at 91-93 mph that could increase”Romero noted in hisweb.

The aforementioned source also specified that in the World Classic Naykel Cruz touched 93 miles and reached up to 94 miles per hour in preparation speeds weeks before in Taiwan.

“Its curve is quite pronounced and with movement. He could also perfect pitches such as the changeup andsinker, added the specialized journalist.

Francys Romero stated that, according to an MLB evaluator who was in several international tournaments,Cruz has the potential to climb the systemMajor League Baseball (MLB), because “he has good breaking pitches and spin rate on the curve.”

The left-hander from Matanzas will now settle in the Dominican Republic, where he will opt for free agency and will also appear against MLB teams.

Naykel had already been in the Dominican Republic and returned to Cuba in 2019, the year in which he won the National Series title with his province. He was then part of the Cuba U-23 teams in 2021 and 2022.

In the 2022 World Cup average 1.00 effectiveness inseveninnings, with eight strikeouts. A year earlier, in Mexico, he also demonstrated dominance against many players signed in the U-23 World Cup.

“In Obregón and Hermosillo, he struck out 15 in 10.2 innings and between the two world championships they hit .212,” the source concluded.

Naykel becomes the third player who was part of Cuba's roster in the World Classic to leave the country, Yariel Rodríguez did before (which alreadysigned with Toronto Blue Jays) and theguantanamero Yeudis Reyes.

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