Astros and the Gurriel-Alvarez Effect

Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports /
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In 2016, the Houston Astros called up a first baseman by the name of Yuli Gurriel. The Cuban-born player was signed as an international free agent, but what made Gurriel different was his age.

At 32-years-old, Gurriel was embarking on his first season of Major League Baseball, while eyed as a mystery prospect to the average fan.

Gurriel is idolized by young Cuban baseball players, as many look to his journey for inspiration. Pedro Leon, a top-five prospect in the Astros system, has expressed his respect to Gurriel that many other Cuban-born players have done before.

As Gurriel was making his debut in 2016, the Houston front office was completing a trade to bring in a Cuban outfielder. This outfielder was traded for right-hander pitcher Josh Fields to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

I think you know where I am going with this, but Fields’ name is most-known for who he was trade for: Yordan Alvarez. The now 24-year-old was traded away by the Dodgers, a team competing for the postseason

The Astros had looked to sign Alvarez earlier that year but were slim on international spending.

Alvarez is no longer a regular outfielder, making most of his starts in the designated hitter position. But his playing time is not what causes “El Efecto Gurriel-Álvarez,” rather it be the string of Cuban talent these two have influenced in their quick rise with the Astros.

The “Gurriel-Alvarez Effect” is flooding the Astros’ system with Cuban talent.

On Tuesday, journalist Francys Romero reported a graphic listing the amount of Cuban-born players in the Astros system since 1962. Over 10 year periods, a slight decline occurred, as a boom flowered the system, between 2012 and 2022.

1962………………..4 players

1972………………..3 players

1982………………..3 players

1992………………..0 players

2002………………..0 players

2012………………..1 player

2022………………..21 players

The 21 Cuban-born players in the Astros system leads Major League Baseball on the international front. With the 2022 international signing period opening in January, the Astros added more to this group, while more signings will be reported over the next year.

Next. Hitting Coach to Manage in Puerto Rican Winter League. dark

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