WBC: Cuba Announces 50-Man Roster For 2023

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Jan. 8, 2023

The Cuban Baseball Federation’s president Juan Reynaldo Perez Pardo announced the island nation’s 50-player roster for the 2023 World Baseball Classic at a press conference in Havana Friday. 

The 2023 World Baseball Classic will be the first time that MLB players will represent for Cuba in the event. Cuba did not report their 50-man roster a few months ago, claiming the United States Government was not giving legal permission for Cuban players who are playing in the Major Leagues to obtain to participate in the March tournament. Economic interaction between U.S. citizens, corporations, and legal residents is severely restricted by U.S. law stemming from a trade embargo the U.S. leveled against Cuba in 1959.

Cuban manager Armando Johnson was also in attendance at Estadio Latino Americano at the press conference. Cuba named five catchers, 12 infielders, eight outfielders and 25 pitchers to the roster, which will be reduced to their 30 players on February 7.

According to JIT News in Havana, Johnson, when asked about the ability of his evaluation to create the roster, said, “in order to form the roster, it was to taken into account to combine experience, youth and versatility as well as propping up a game concept based on the strength of pitching and defense, and speed depending on the offense.” 

Asked what it was like to be named to the Cuban team, outfielder Ariel Martinez told World Baseball Network, “It was something that I expected my name to come out, that’s why I didn’t feel much, but there was the official confirmation, so we’re in and fighting with extra effort now.” 

“Representing Cuba was always my dream as a child, not only to represent but to win championships with the Cuba team, now I am going to fight for that,” Martinez said via WhatsApp text message, with his answers translated from Spanish.  

The inclusion of MLB players such as Luis Robert, Yoan Moncada, and Roenis Elias will bolster the Cuban team. 

“Playing with Moncada and Robert is going to be very exciting for me, because I played with them years ago when they were still in Cuba, from youth categories and it’s something really nice to repeat those memories from years ago,” Martinez said. “They are immense baseball players and I can also learn from them. Everything is positive around them. Elias is a World Series champion and is doing well now and can greatly help the team in a much needed area.” 

Cuba is slated to have play exhibition games in the Dominican Republic before traveling to Japan to play exhibition games against NPB teams prior to the World Baseball Classic. 

Cuba will play in Pool A against the Netherlands, Italy, Panama, and host nation Chinese Taipei from March 8-13 at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung City, Taiwan. 

Catchers – Team (League)

Andreys Perez – Centrales (Elite League)

Oscar Valdes – Portuarios (Elite League) 

Yosvani Alarcon – Agricultores (Elite League) 

Rafael Vinales – Agricultores (Elite League) 

Lorenzo Quintana – Tigres de Licey (LIDOM) 

Infielders – Team (League)

Ariel Martinez – Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (NPB)

Guillermo Aviles – Agricultores (Elite League)

Bárbaro Erisbel Arruebarruena – Centrales (Elite League) 

Luis Vincente Mateo – Centrales (Elite League)

Yadil Orestes Mujica – Centrales (Elite League)

Yurisbel Gracial – Fukuoka Softbank Hawks (CFA-NPB)

Dayan García – Tabacaleros (Elite League) 

Pavel Quesada – Centrales (Elite League)

Yoan Moncada – Chicago White Sox (MLB)

Andy Ibanez – Toledo (Detroit Tigers, MLB)

Pedro Pablo Revilla – Chunichi Dragons (NPB)

Outfielders – Team (League) 

Alfredo Despaigne – Fukuoka Softbank Hawks (CFA-NPB)     

Lazaro Armenteros – Oakland Athletics (MLB)

Yoenis Cespedes – Aguilas Cibaenas (LIDOM)

Luis Robert – Chicago White Sox (MLB)

Raico Santos – Mayos de Navojoa (LMP)

Yoelkis Guibert – Cafetaleros (Elite League)

Roel Santos – Naranjeros de Hermosillo (LMP)

Yadir Drake – Yaquis de Obregon (LMP) 

Pitchers – Team (League) 

Yoan López Leyva – New York Mets (MLB)

Elián Leyva Delgado – Naranjeros de Hermosillo (LAMP)

Yoennis Yera Montalvo – Charros de Jalisco (LAMP)

Liván Moinelo Pita – Fukuoka Softbank Hawks (NPB)

Carlos Juan Viera Álvarez – Sultanes de Monterrey (LAMP)

Raidel Martínez Pérez – Chunichi Dragons (NPB)

Yariel Humberto Rodríguez Yordy – Chunichi Dragons (NPB)

Frank Abel Álvarez Díaz – Chunichi Dragons (NPB)

Naykel Yoel Cruz Zaldívar – Centrales (Elite League)

Marlon Vega Travieso – Portuarios (Elite League)

Javier Mirabal Espinosa – Centrales (Elite League)

Roenis Elías Leliebre – Aguilas de Cibaenas (LIDOM)

Franklyn Quintana Gamboa – Tabacaleros (Elite League) 

Jonathan Carbó Campoalegre – Tabacaleros (Elite League)

Onelkis García – Aguilas de Cibaenas (LIDOM)

Alexander Valiente Rodríguez – Cafetaleros (Elite League)

Roberto Enrique Hernández Navarro – Ganaderos (Elite League)

José Ramón Rodríguez Menéndez – Ganaderos (Elite League)

Yeudis Reyes Gamboa – Cafetaleros (Elite League)

Pavel Hernández Bruce – Portuarios (Elite League)

Hermes David González León – Centrales (Elite League)

Alberto Pablo Civil Hidalgo – Agricultores (Elite League)

Dariel Góngora de la Torre – Centrales (Elite League)

Ronald Bolaños Coto – Kansas City Royals (MLB)

Luis Miguel Romero Mansfarroll – Oakland Athletics (MLB)

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