Yadir Drake of Team Cuba hits a double at the bottom of the 4th inning during the World Baseball Classic Pool A game between Chinese Taipei and Cuba at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on March 12, 2023 in Taichung, Taiwan. (Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Journeyman Yadir Drake will play for the Algodoneros de Guasave in the Liga ARCO Mexicana del Pacifico during the 2023-24 winter league season. The team announced Drake’s signing on the organization’s social media pages on August 10.
Drake has been producing well for Leones de Yucatan during the 2023 season in Liga Mexicana de Beisbol and was selected to the league’s All-Star Game this season.
Drake helped the Leones reach the Zona Sur playoffs, playing in 89 games with 382 plate appearances and batting .360 with 120 hits, 21 doubles, six home runs, 66 RBI, 10 stolen bases, 39 walks and a .903 OPS.
He was a huge part of the Leones championship run in 2022, batting .328 in 84 games with 361 plate appearances, 109 hits, 23 doubles, 14 home runs, 61 RBI, 25 walks and a .909 OPS.
On May 31, Yusseff Diaz from Pelota Cubana reported Drake was going to play for Aguilas Cibaenas in the Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana.
Drake, 33, born in Matanzas, Cuba left the island nation in 2011 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. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 2015 season.
Drake has also 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, and the Sultanes de Monterrey for two seasons in 2018 and 2019.
Drake suited up with Cuba during the 2023 World Baseball Classic, helping them reach the semifinals at loanDepot Park in Miami against the United States, appearing in six games and batting .381 with eight hits, two doubles, two RBI, two walks, and a .934 OPS while playing all games defensively at first base.
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 will return to Guasave after spending two seasons with the organization in 2019-20 and 2020-2021, where he batted over .300 in both seasons.
In seven seasons in the winter leagues, Drake has played in 320 games, batting .278 with 1,350 plate appearances and recording 330 hits, 61 doubles, six triples, 29 home runs, 175 RBI, 26 stolen bases, and 125 walks.
The Liga ARCO Mexicana del Pacifico 2023-24 regular season will begin on October 13.
The Algodoneros de Guasave will open up on October 14 at home against the Tomateros de Culiacan at 9 p.m. EDT at Kuroda Park. All Liga ARCO Mexicana del Pacifico regular season games will be on https://www.extrabase.tv/home paid streaming service through the final out of their championship series in January, right before the 2024 Caribbean Series in Miami at loanDepot Park.