loading

  About 3 minutes reading time.

Leyva, Elias, Rodriguez Potential Top 3 Starters at WBC For Cuba

 Matt Tallarini  |    Feb 10th, 2023 9:20pm EST

Roenis Elias, shown here with the Seattle Mariners, could be a key pitcher for Cuba at the 2023 World Baseball Classic. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Pelota Cubana Reporter Yusseff Diaz cited sources from Federacion Cubana de Beisbol that a possible starting rotation for the first three games of the World Baseball Classic would include Elian Levya, Roenis Elias, and Yariel Rodriguez. 

https://twitter.com/yusseff305/status/1624089964295204872?s=20&t=AvFneBPyTvGRSEq2jlAusg

If Cuba used those pitchers in that order, Leyva would be starting against the Netherlands on March 7 at 11 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1,  Elias would start against Italy on March 9 at 6 a.m. EST on Tubi, and Rodriguez would start against Panama on March 9 at 11:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.

Cuba will play in Pool A from March 7-11, and will play host nation Chinese Taipei for the final game in Taichung City on March 11 at 11 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 2.  

Cuba manager Armando Johnson and pitching coach Pedro Lazo, a 14-time gold medalist in international competitions, have decisions to make on filling the roster with Major League players as well as players from other professional leagues. Previously, Cuba’s World Baseball Classic rosters were drawn from the island nation’s Serie Nacional and Winter Elite League players, as well as Cuban players playing in the Japanese, Mexican, South Korean, and Taiwanese leagues.  

Cuba will look to bounce back in the 2023 World Baseball Classic after carrying a similar roster of players that they brought to 2020 World Baseball Softball Confederation Americas Qualifier, which was held in West Palm Beach, Fla. The Cuban national team went 1-2, losing to Venezuela, and to  manager Eric Whitt’s scrappy Canadian team. Both losses were by one run.  

Key notable returning players coming back to Cuba to play for the World Baseball Classic from the 2020 Olympic Qualifier team are Yadir Drake, Alfredo Despaigne, Roel Santos, and Livan Moinelo, who will have to step up and contribute on next month’s global stage.  

During the 2019 WBSC Premier 12 under manager Miguel Borroto, Cuba played in Group C at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea. Cuba went 1-2 in the tournament and got shutout by Canada and South Korea when they were fifth in the world.  

Carlos Marti managed the 2017 Cuban national team in the World Baseball Classic, where they went 2-1 in Pool B and advanced to the second round, losing all three games to Japan, Netherlands and Israel. 

Cuba appeared in the first World Baseball Classic in 2006 with a team that rose to the occasion, losing to Japan in the finals. This year’s team will have the task bringing the first championship back to the island since the national team won gold during the 2004 Olympic Games. 

Cuba has also 31 total medals in the history of the Baseball World Cup, with 25 of them being gold. This will be labeled as an historic run for Cuba if they can get to Miami for the championship game at Loan Depot Park on March 21.

author avatar
Matt Tallarini
Matthew (Matt) Tallarini is the Founder and Chief Correspondent for the World Baseball Network. Matt played semi-professional baseball with the Pelham Mets in Pelham, New York for four years, including the 2018 Semi Pro World Series. During the pandemic, Matt began engaging with international baseball, as a way to keep connected to the sport. Matt created the World Baseball Network and its signature website, WorldBaseball.com as a way to promote and inform similar likeminded fans about the players, teams and leagues innovating the sport of baseball and feeding into Major League Baseball (MLB). As a result of Matt’s efforts, World Baseball Network is now the benchmark standard for international baseball coverage, including MLB, MiLB, NCAA, Korea, Japan, Caribbean, Baseball United, WBC, WBSC and more. In a short time, Matt has interviewed a who’s who of global baseball legends and coaches. These include: Former Yankee closer Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera; Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman; former Yankee Luis Sojo veteran of four Yankee World series teams; Mickey Callaway former MLB manager; Paul Mainieri LSU National Championship coach; Eric Holtz manager Team Israel of the 2020 Olympics; Ian Kinsler former MLB player and now Israel national team player; Harold Ramirez of the Tampa Bay Rays formerly with the Indians and Cubs; Joey Meneses of the Washington Nationals; and Mike Cameron current USA Baseball advisor former-MLB outfielder. Matt Tallarini is 2015 graduate of Mitchell College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and a 2022 graduate of Iona University with a Masters in Finance. Since its inception, Matt has been the Chief Correspondent for World Baseball Network. Matt has interviewed and interacted with many international players and coaches including former Yankee closer Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman, former Yankee Luis Sojo veteran of four Yankee World series teams, Mickey Callaway former MLB manager, Paul Mainieri LSU National Championship coach, Eric Holtz manager Team Israel of the 2020 Olympics, Ian Kinsler former MLB player and now Israel national team player, Harold Ramirez of the Tampa Bay Rays formerly with the Indians and Cubs, Joey Meneses of the Washington Nationals, Mike Cameron current USA Baseball advisor former-MLB outfielder. Matthew is 2015 graduate of Mitchell College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and a 2022 graduate of Iona University with a Masters in Finance.