Yosimar Cousin Through My Lens

I recently questioned whether Cuba was at the core of a baseball migrant crisis. The twelve youngsters that defected during the U23 competition in Mexico represents a torrent after a consistent rain of departures. Noticeably absent from that squad was a young pitcher that many consider one of the brightest young talents in the National Series. The exclusion of Yosimar Cousin from that squad was perhaps preemptive to prevent him leaving. Ironically that exclusion might end up pushing him to leave. Take a look at Yosimar Cousin Through My Lens.

Yosimar Cousin P Camaguey Toros

Yosimar Cousin first appeared on my radar and in front of my camera during the CanAm tour of 2019. The lithe 6’2 right hander along with Yariel Rodriguez and Norge Vera represented outliers on the veteran laden staff. Vera left during that tour and has since signed with the Chicago White Sox. Cousin and Rodriguez formed a potent combination for the Camagüey Toros and later that year would help lead the Bulls to the Cuban Series finals. Yariel Rodriguez has since been granted the chance to pitch professionally with the Chunichi Dragons in Japan. Cousin however has seemed to have fallen out of favour with the Cuban brass.

Cousin recently expressed his frustration with his exclusion from Cuba’s national team in the Olympic qualifier, U23 and the upcoming PanAm Junior tournaments. He has indicated he has asked the Cuban Federation for his release and will explore a legal exit of the country. He spoke very openly, perhaps more openly than any Cuban athlete prior while still on the island in an interview with Pelota Cubana.

They didn’t give me an answer. They told me that they have nothing to do with that, that is a matter of State Security and they did not give me an answer that convinced me. So, that’s why I decided to ask for the discharge. I’m not going to continue playing ball because it’s not worth it. I have sacrificed enough to be able to get a contract; whether in Japan, Mexico, wherever. I was given one in Panama, but I couldn’t go because of the pandemic. I thought another chance was going to come to me and I got this one with the “Charros” and it wasn’t given to me.

Yosimar Cousin via Pelota Cubana (translated from spanish)
Yosimar Cousin with team Cuba via Phil Selig

Cousin took a step back in 2020 and put up underwhelming numbers. He pitched to a 5.68 ERA and surrendered a robust 152 hits in 120 innings. His exclusion might be explained by this regression. It is interesting that it comes at the same time Cuba is suffering serious attrition of arms. As the player himself alluded he is more likely a victim of politics or the fear that he is a flight risk. Many might suggest Cousin’s reaction was predictable. Especially in the face of many of his contemporaries seeking baseball opportunities outside of Cuba? Other believe this is ultimately a situation of those in charge creating that which they fear? Which side do you fall on?

Phil Selig

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