Four Pitchers Who Deserve a Shot in Asia
As we pass the All-Star Break, teams in South Korea’s KBO and Japan’s NPB are looking for replacements for their foreign players who haven’t performed up to snuff in the first half. Here are four pitchers currently laboring for small pay in the Mexican League, who would be good low-cost options for Asian teams: Amauri Sanit, Fabio Castro, Mario Gonzalez and Jose Contreras.
Amauri Sanit is a short, stocky (5’8″, 205 lbs) right-hander from Cuba who just turned age 35. He got a cup of coffee from the New York Yankees in 2011 and has since worked his way down to the Mexican League. He currently leads the Mexican League with a 2.09 ERA and his 95 strikeouts are third best. Last year, he had the second best ERA (3.27) and was third in Ks (103) in the Mexican League.
Fabio Castro is an even smaller (5’7″, 185 lbs) lefty from the Dominican Republic who is 29 this season. He pitched in 30 major league games for the Rangers and Phillies in 2006-2007. His 2.30 ERA is currently second best in the Mex League and his 91 strikeouts are fourth best.
Mario Gonzalez is a thin (6’0″, 168 lbs) 27 year old Mexican right-hander. He’s been pitching in the Mexican League since the age of 18, but didn’t really put it together until last season at the age of 26, which is why no major league team has snapped him up. Last year, his 3.70 ERA was 8th best in the Mex League (it’s a hitters’ league) and his 100 Ks were tied for 4th. This year, he’s third in the league with a 2.65 ERA and second with 104 Ks.
Jose Contreras is the ageless Cuban star we all know and love. He’s currently at least 42 years old and still dealing it. While his 3.42 ERA is only 10th best in the Mexican league so far this season, his 118 Ks (in 105.1 IP) leads the league.
Of these four, Mario Castro is the least likely to go to the Far East. He’s the youngest of the bunch, the only one without MLB experience, and the only one never to have played outside of his home country. Also, as a Mexican player, he’s likely to cost more for an Asian team to buy his contract from his current Mexican League team. At age 27, he isn’t likely to draw much interest from MLB organizations, so he may well continue to be a star in the Mexican League for as long as his arm holds out.
Baseball Abroad, Minor Leagues