Yadir Drake of Team Cuba hit a single in the top of the 8th inning during the World Baseball Classic exhibition game between Cuba and Rakuten Monkeys at Douliu Baseball Stadium on March 05, 2023. Drake signed with Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Republic for the upcoming winter season. (Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Yadir Drake will play for Aguilas Cibaenas in the Liga de Beisbol Profesional de la Republica Dominicana’s 2023-24 winter season, Pelota Cubana writer Yusseff Diaz reported on Wednesday.
Drake, from Matanzas, Cuba, left the island after playing two seasons in the Serie Nacional for his hometown team, the Cocodrilos de Matanzas, where he developed as a catcher before going to Mexico to play in the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol’s development academy league with the Diablos Rojos de Mexico and Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos before signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Drake has been a professional journeyman since he signed with the Dodgers as an international free agent prior to the start of the 2015 regular season, after participating in a workout for Major League scouts in August of 2014.
Drake began 2015 in minor league camp with the Dodgers and started his professional career in the United States with the Class-A Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest league. He advanced through the Dodgers organization to the Double-A Tulsa Drillers before he was released on May 27, 2016, after just hitting .109 in 19 games to start the regular season.
Drake has since played in the Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional, one season with Matanzas in Serie Nacional in 2021-22, and in the Liga ARCO Mexicana del Pacifico over the last six seasons. He’s also played with the Generales de Durango of the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol in 2017 and 2018, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in Nippon Professional Baseball for the half the season in 2017 after he was signed in late June and the Sultanes de Monterrey for two seasons in 2018 and 2019.
He signed with Leones de Yucatan during 2021 in Liga Mexicana de Beisbol, and Drake helped the club win their fifth Serie del Rey last season, beating the Sultanes de Monterrey in seven games.
Last season, Drake hit .328 in 84 games with 361 plate appearances. He belted 109 hits, 23 doubles, 14 home runs, 61 RBI, with 25 walks and a .909 OPS.
During the last winter league season, Drake played with Yaquis de Obregon in the LAMP, where he played in 65 games, hitting .273 and recording 65 hits in 270 plate appearances with 12 doubles, six home runs, 42 RBI, 12 stolen bases, and 23 walks.
Drake played for Cuba in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, appearing in six games and batting .381 with eight hits, two doubles, two RBI, and two walks, helping Cuba reach the semifinals.
In Drake’s third season with Leones de Yucatan, he is hitting .348 in 35 games with 137 plate appearances recording 41 hits, seven doubles, two home runs, 23 RBI, 18 walks, and an .891 OPS.
The Liga de Beisbol Profesional de la Republica Dominicana 2023-2024 winter league season will begin on October 19, with Aguilas Cibaenas playing their home opener against Gigantes del Cibao at 7:30 p.m. EDT at Estadio Cibao in Santiago, Dominican Republic.