MLB 2023 | Yandy won AL batting title, Blanco with three hits, Abreu solid with 18 homer of the year
Major League Baseball (MLB) and other Cuban Players News for the 2023 season. A compendium from several sources
Yandy Díaz won the AL batting title from bench.
A .330 average allowed Yandy Díaz to win the American League batting title over the Texas Rangers' Corey Seager by sitting out the final game of the regular season. It was the first AL Batting Title in Rays history. As of Sunday's game, Díaz was just a few points behind Seager, with Seager at .3298 and Díaz at .3295. Having Tampa already seeded as the AL's top wild-card team, allowing Díaz to watch the Toronto Blue Jays-Tampa Sunday's game from the bench. Seager, however, was 0-for-4 to drop his batting average to .327 while the Rangers were still battling for the AL West title. Díaz has been a little banged up lately and has been resting for the last games of the season, but still managed to hit .345 with five home runs in the month of September. Díaz became the second Cuban from the Cuban National Series to win a batting title - Yulieski Gurriel was the first in 2021 -, and only the third Cuban in MLB history to do so, Tony Oliva was the first.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. logged two hits Sunday. Gurriel Jr. went 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI in Sunday's 8-1 loss to the Astros. Gurriel went just 4-for-16 over four games since shaking off a minor shoulder issue. On Saturday he stole his fifth bag of the season, one shy of his career high from 2019. The outfielder was a fairly steady hitter this year with a .261/.309/.463 slash line, 24 home runs, 82 RBI, 65 runs scored, 35 doubles and two triples over a career-high 145 contests.
Dairon Blanco homers, steals two in win. Dairon Blanco went 3-for-3 with a home run, one RBI, two runs scored and two steals in Sunday's 5-2 victory over the Yankees. Blanco contributed across the board in his return to the starting lineup after coming off the bench in the two games prior. Sunday's game marked his sixth multi-steal effort of the campaign and he concluded the season with 24 stolen bases in 68 games. In the year the rookie outfielder slashed .258/.324/.452 with three home runs, 19 runs and 18 RBI in a part-time role.
Adolis García with one hit in painful loss to Mariners. Adolis García batted 1-for-4 in the disappointing 1-0 loss to the Mariners on Sunday. As a result of the loss, the Rangers lost the AL West Division title. With his last performance of the 2023 regular season, García ended the year with 39 home runs and 107 RBI, a year where he was able to showcase his power and run-producing ability. However, his overall batting average remained at .245, no far from previous seasons, indicating inconsistency at the plate. While García has shown flashes of brilliance throughout the season, his high strikeout rate of 31.1% and low walk rate of 6.7% are areas of concern.
Randy Arozarena was out of Sunday's lineup. Arozarena was not in Sunday's lineup against the Blue Jays. The Rays gave Arozarena a couple days to rest up in advance of the postseason. Arozarena, in other excellent season, ended the year with a .254/.364/.425 slash line and personal records of 23 homers, 95 runs and 80 walks. He also collected 140 hits, 19 doubles, 3 triples and 83 RBI in 151 games.
José Abreu homered in last day of the season. Abreu went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer Sunday against the D-backs. Abreu delivered his 18th home run of the season and second in his last nine games in the seventh inning to give the Astros a solid 8-1 lead. He performed very well overall since returning from a back injury Aug. 23, maintaining a .250 average with eight home runs, 33 RBI and 19 runs scored across 112 at-bats. Abreu still had a bad season showing a slash line of .237/.296/.383 with 18 homers and 90 RBI across 141 games, but he managed to top his homer total from the 2022 season.
Yoan Moncada was sitting Sunday. Moncada was also not in Sunday's lineup against the Padres. Moncada played in only 92 games this year due mostly to a major back injury, but he finished extremely strong, slashing .316/.358/.553 with eight home runs over his final 42 games. In his 8th MLB season Moncada had a slash line of .260/.305/.425 with 11 homers and 40 RBI in 357 PA.
Andy Ibánez one single on Sunday. Ibáñez went 1-for-4 with a RBI in Sunday's 5-2 win over the Guardians. Ibáñez continued his good recent stretch, batting .370 over his last 11 games with nine RBI. It was a solid season overall for the utility player, who batted .264 with a .745 OPS. Ibáñez also recorded career-highs in almost every offensive department playing a personal best of 114 games and including 94 hits, 11 home runs and 40 RBI. The 30-year-old should have a similar role in 2024.
Yordan Álvarez with one single in last game of the season. Álvarez went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in Sunday's 8-1 win over the D-backs. The slugger was replaced by PH Jon Singleton late in the game. The best Cuban hitter in the Majors right now had another phenomenal season, collecting a .293/.407/.583 slash line with 31 homers, 97 RBI, 77 runs scored, 24 doubles and a triple through 114 contests. He will be leading the Astros in the 2023 postseason.
Yulieski Gurriel went hitless on Sunday.
In the last game of the regular season Yulieski Gurriel was back in the Marlins' lineup and went 0-for-3 in a 3-0 loss to the Pirates on Sunday. Since the Marlins acquired Bell on Aug. 1, Gurriel made just 15 starts. He had a secondary role in the Marlins this year but given his experience and great offensive skills, he could have made many more starts. In 2023, the 39-year-old batted .247/.306/.361, compiling a slash line that was just slightly better than in 2022. However, his playing time resulted in a significant deficit in home runs (4) and RBIs (28) for the year.
Raisel Iglesias earned save no. 33 on Saturday. Raisel Iglesias didn't pitch in the last day of the 2023 regular season but picked up the save Saturday against the Nationals, earning his save no. 33 of the year. He allowed one hit while striking out one over a scoreless inning. Iglesias converted on his third save of the last four days, holding the Nationals scoreless in the ninth while fanning a batter. After blowing a pair of saves early in September, Iglesias logged a save in each of his last four chances. During the regular season, Iglesias ranked eighth in saves with a 2.75 ERA across 58 appearances (55.2 innings) in a fructiferous 2023 season.