2022 Cuban Baseball Playoffs Primer

The eight team Cuban National Series playoff field is set. The 75 game regular schedule began at the end of January. This timing was actually closer to Cuban Winter Leagues of the past. The season began with as much focus on who wasn’t in the league as was. The National Series has seen a record number of departures. This is due to defections, retirements and players being loaned out to professional international leagues. Get inside the Dugout for your 2022 Cuban Baseball Playoffs Primer.

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Sancti Spíritus Gallos

45-30 (1) 1st Seed

The Gallos finish in the top spot for the 2nd straight year. They fell to the 8 seed Vegueros in the 1st round last season and will face them again in 2022. Their rotation led the way as Yoan Socarrás 9-3 2.90, José Santos 8-3 3.44, Ariel Zerquera 8-2 2.92, and Alex Guerra 7-5 3.94 could all front the staff for most squads in the National Series. Frederich Cepeda looked ageless hitting .406/.574/.577 with 93 BB vs just 15 K’s.

Prediction: Pinar del Rîo Over Sancti Spíritus in 6 Games

Las Tunas Leñadores

43-32 (2 GB) 2nd Seed

The Leñadores are just 3 years removed from their 1st National Series championship and their veteran core of sluggers have kept them competitive. Yosvani Alarcón 10 HR 57 RBI, Rafael Viñales 14 HR 50 RBI, Danel Castro 12 HR 45 RBI and Yordanis Alarcón 7 HR 44 RBI might be the most fearsome foursome of sluggers in any Cuban lineup. The pitching staff gives up too many hits overall but if they can limit the damage the bats might carry them a long way.

Prediction: Matanzas over Las Tunas in 6 Games

Granma Alazanes

43-32 (2 GB) 3rd Seed

The defending Champions lost their ace pitcher when Lazaro Blanco left Cuba but just missed out on clinching the 2 seed. They carry over much of the roster that took the title in 2021, however Roel Santos and Raico Santos are both on loan in Mexico and this will stretch the depth of their lineup.

Guillermo Aviles, Carlos Benitez and Osvaldo Abreu are the veteran leaders while Alexquemer Sánchez and Iván Prieto represent strong young sticks in the lineup. Leandro Martinez leads the staff with his bend don’t break pitching style, relying on his defence and limiting free passes.

Prediction: Granma over Industriales in 7 Games

Mayabeque Huracanes

42-33 (3 GB) 4th Seed

The Huracanes are in the playoffs for the 1st time in their decade long history. Dennis Laza is the most recognizable name and led a balanced offensive attack with a .349/.445/.587 line with 14 HR and 66 RBI. Marlon Vega might be the pitcher of the year in the National Series. He went 11-2 with a 2.81 ERA allowing just 64 hits in 86.1 Innings Pitched. They will have to ride his arm as too many other ERA’s on the staff begin with a 5.

Prediction: Ciego de Avila Over Mayabeque in 5 Games

Ciego de Ávila Tigres

41-34 (4 GB) 5th Seed

Tigers catchers combined to hit 32 home runs. Osvaldo Vázquez with 11 and Alfredo Farrago 21 provided incredible production out of the position. Raul González 60 RBI and Rubén Valdés 59 RBI did much of the heavy lifting for the lineup. This despite neither hitting as many as 10 home runs. Dachel Duquesne was steady at the front of the rotation. His 4 CG prove you can at least rely on him to go deep into games.

Prediction: Ciego de Avila Over Mayabeque in 5 Games

Industriales

41-34 (4 GB) 6th Seed

The Lions of Havana focused on youth in 2022. They said goodbye to multiple veterans and turned over the roster to if not new at least fresher faces. Yasiel Santoya moved to the capital from Matanzas and had a resurgent year swatting 15 HRs. Andres Hernandez cemented the 3B position but will be leaving for Canada soon. Pedro Álvarez peripheral numbers don’t jump out at you but his 11-3 2.95 ERA led the staff.

Prediction: Granma Over Industriales in 7 Games

Matanzas Cocodrilos

40-35 (5 GB) 7th Seed

The Crocodiles depth was tested in 2022. They entered as prohibitive favourites and a 7th seed is a bit disappointing. They currently have 15 players loaned out to professional leagues though. This includes Ace Yoennis Yera who was dynamite going 4-1 1.52 in the 10 starts he was available. Daniel Góngora will look to fill his shoes and had a solid 8-5 2.98 season. Sluggers Javier Camero, Ariel Sánchez, Erisbel Arruebarrena, Jefferson Delgado and Yadel Mujica are still here though and could surprise a higher seed.

Prediction: Matanzas Over Las Tunas in 6 Games

Pinar del Rîo Vegueros

40-35 (5 GB) 8th Seed

The Tobacco farmers received more starts from veterans Erlis Casanova 9-3 2.93, Yosvani Torres 9-6 3.58 and Vladimir Baños 8-3 3.56 than originally forecast. Each had made commitments to leagues in Europe but remained in Cuba. The three could lead Pinar on a deep run with pitching at a premium in the Series. Willian Saavedra looked ageless slashing .405/.467/.722 w 16 HR and 57 RBI at age 39. In a short series the veteran Vegueros could be dangerous as they were in upsetting the 1 seed Gallos in 2021.

Prediction Pinar del Río Over Sancti Spíritus in 6 Games

What are your predictions for the 2022 Cuban Baseball Playoffs?

#1 Sancti Spíritus Gallos vs #8 Pinar dek Rîo Vegueros 2022 Cuban National Series Playoffs LIVE
#1 Sancti Spíritus Gallos vs #8 Pinar del Rio Vegueros 2022 Cuban National Series Playoffs LIVE

Phil Selig

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