Rafael Viñales

From BR Bullpen

Rafael Ramón Viñales Álvarez (El jonronero de Managua)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 174 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Rafael Viñales has been a MVP in Cuba.

He debuted for Las Tunas in 2010-2011, going 0 for 8 as a 4th-string catcher (Yosvani Alarcón was the starter). He hit .172/.226/.224 in 2011-2012, becoming the top backup to Alarcón. In 2012-2013, he batted .325/.367/.482 while taking over as the starter when Alarcón was suspended due to a temper outburst. He threw out 47% of those who tried to steal. With Alarcón returning in 2013-2014, he was back on the bench and his production plummeted (.200/.257/.277) though he continued to show a fine arm (8 SB, 9 CS). He batted .286/.342/.486 in limited time in 2014-2015.

He left Cuba to go to the Dominican Republic and spent ten months there, but failed to attract interest from teams and returned to Cuba. [1] He started 2016-2017 very well for Las Tunas (.326/.414/.614, 9 HR, 31 RBI in 41 G). When they failed to make the second half, he was picked up by Camagüey and hit .267/.316/.422 the rest of the way. He tied Luis Robert and Alexander Ayala for 3rd in the league in homers (12) and his .536 slugging was good for 7th, between Víctor Victor Mesa and Jefferson Delgado. [2] He made the preliminary roster for the Cuban national team for the 2017 World Baseball Classic but did not make the final cut. [3]

Las Tunas found a way to put both Viñales and Alarcón regularly in the lineup in 2017-2018, moving Rafael primarily to 1B, though he still caught on occasion. He produced at a .373/.481/.592 clip with 67 runs, 23 doubles, 15 homers, 80 RBI and 60 walks in 89 games. He was 4th in the league in runs (between his teammates Jorge Jhonson and Yuniesky Larduet), was second to Johnson in hits (116 to 126), was second to Yunior Paumier in doubles (by two), ranked 4th in home runs, led with 184 total bases (four ahead of Guillermo Avilés), led in RBI (9 ahead of Osvaldo Vázquez, Carlos Benítez and Lázaro Cedeño), was 6th in walks (between Benítez and Yusniel Ibáñez), was 3rd in average (behind Jhonson and Juan Carlos Torriente) and 2nd in slugging (.008 behind Lázaro Hernández). [4] Las Tunas made the finals for the first time ever, but his fly out against Raidel Martínez with two aboard and a two-run deficit ended game 7 as Las Tunas fell to Granma. [5] He won the Serie Nacional MVP. [6] The only prior Las Tunas player to take that honor was two-time winner Osmani Urrutia.

After his MVP season, his numbers were way down in 2018-2019 (.257/.338/.373) when he was splitting time between catcher (53.6% CS) and first base. He led the league in double play grounders (22) and strikeouts (64, 5 ahead of Leandro Turiño while failing to crack the top 10 in any other offensive leaderboard. [7]