Cuban third baseman Yulieski Gourriel and his brother Lourdes, a shortstop, have agreed to deals with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars in Japan, Baseball America’s Ben Badler notes. 30-year-old Yulieski, long considered one of Cuba’s best players, hit .305/.349/.536 for Yokohama last season.
Badler notes, though, that it’s Lourdes who might be more interesting to Major League scouts right now, since he’s clearly talented and yet less of a known quantity. Lourdes, who’s 21, has hit .326/.402/.486 this season in 214 plate appearances for Industriales in Cuba’s Serie Nacional. Badler writes that teams are keenly interested in getting a closer look at Lourdes, who would be a key player to them should relations between the U.S. and Cuba keep improving. For now, the Cuban government brokers deals for some players (such as Alfredo Despaigne) to appear in Japan, with those players coming back to Cuba each offseason.