One of the puzzling things I’ve found in digging into Cuban exiles is just who gets coverage. Jose Abreu has received plenty of attention, of course. But so has Yozzen Cuesta. Cuesta defected from a tournament in Canada last August, and has been mentioned as a promising defector in dozens of articles since. (Even on Deadspin!) The biggest mystery for me was why Cuesta was even with the national team. He’s 25 years old and was only a part-time first baseman with Ciego de Avila. Not once did he even garner 100 PA’s in a Cuban season. Ernesto Molinet, on the other hand, has been one of the better hitters in Cuba since 2008. He’s being scouted by multiple teams, and has the potential to impact a big league roster this season. Good luck finding anything in English on Molinet.
Irait Chirino has been covered even less than Ernesto Molinet. Chirino sent shockwaves through Cuban baseball when he asked off of Industriales’ roster before the start of the current season. He emigrated to Brazil, and… that’s the extent of my knowledge. I don’t know who, if anyone, is scouting him. I have no idea where he is in the process of being cleared to play in the US, or if he is even attempting it.
Irait Chirino Arroyo is a lefty-hitting outfielder who started out with Metropolitanos in 2004-05, and was transferred to Industriales in 2009-10. He is 29, and has mostly played corner spots for the last two years. He served as the team’s regular center fielder for several years prior to that. While not as productive with the bat as Molinet, Chirino would seem a decent bet to at least help a team in need of some outfield depth. Irait also has a twin brother (Iraklis) still playing for Industriales.
Irait Chirino Stats
As I have done with pitchers, I’m now showing BB% and K% as the difference between the player’s numbers and the league average. Positive values are good for walks; negative values are good for strikeouts.
Irait Chirino Comps
I’m not going to argue that Irait is the missing piece for a Tigers World Series Championship. His Cuban numbers don’t show great power, and the speed seems to be lacking. There are a handful of players whose Cuban stats scream “future Indy-Leaguer” consistently showing up in pixels, though, while Chirino has received no attention whatsoever.
For more Cuban defector profiles, go here.