The Houston Astros reached their third World Series in five years and it was due in part to contributions from their Cuban connections. Unfortunately the bats of Yuli Gurriel and Yordan Alvarez went quiet in the title showdown. But the Astros wouldn’t have made it that far without them. Gurriel became the oldest first time batting title champion. Alvarez led the team in RBI during the regular season and was instrumental in the American League Championship Series. Earlier this year I joined the crew at Locked on Astros podcast to discuss the pipeline Houston has built to Havana. Get Inside the Dugout for Locked on Astros Cuban Connections.
The Astros have been as aggressive as any MLB organization in acquiring Cuban talent. They have seen major contributions at the Major League level from their Cuban Connections. They have been very active in signing younger talent as well. Their minor league system is stocked with Cuban youngsters. Their prized signing in 2021 was Mayabeque Outfielder Pedro Leon who received the largest bonus at $4 million. Check out my detailed profile of the young slugger and get my thoughts during my chat with the Locked on Astros Crew.
Norel Gonzalez is a unique signing for the Astros. More mature than many but a bit less renowned than a Yuli Gurriel in Cuban National Series resume. He might prove to be a buy low high return type of signing. In his first pro season at multiple levels in the minors he slashed .275/.352/.481 with an impressive 15 Home runs in 316 at bats. He is part of a development system stocked with Cuban baseball players. The Astros now have nineteen Cuban players working their way to the big show.