Yadel Martí Carrillo
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 161 lb.
Yadel Martí has been a top Cuban pitcher of the early 21st Century. He twice has led the Cuban Serie Nacional in winning percentage.
Martí was born in Havana in 1979, although his birth date was mistakenly listed as 1984 by some sources, following his defection to the United States; this is inconsistent with his debut in 1998 and all records published prior to his defection, and was likely changed to enhance his status as a potential prospect. He debuted in the Cuban Serie Nacional in 1998-1999. He was 12-3 with a 2.60 ERA in the 2001-2002 Serie Nacional, walking 22 in 114 innings and finishing 5th in the league in ERA. In the inaugural Super Liga that year, he tied for the most wins (4). Yadel made his debut for the Cuban national team in the 2002 Intercontinental Cup, going 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and only 2 hits allowed in six innings. He tied six other hurlers for the most wins in that event, which Cuba won.
The Industriales hurler was 10-2 in the 2002-2003 Serie Nacional to post the best winning percentage. In the 2003 Pan American Games, he had a 2.57 ERA and no decisions. In the 2003 Baseball World Cup, the right-hander had a 3.18 ERA in three relief stints for the Gold Medalists. It would be three years until his next appearance for the national team.
Martí was 11-2 with a 2.00 ERA in the 2004-2005 Serie Nacional, leading in winning percentage and finishing third in ERA. In the 2005-2006 Serie Nacional, he was 9-5 with a 2.69 ERA to help the Industriales to a title. He was 5th in ERA and walked 23 in 117 innings.
Returning to the national team, Martí was the top pitcher in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. In Cuba's first game, against Panama, he relieved Yunieski Maya with one on, none out and a 8-6 lead in the bottom of the 11th inning. He promptly retired Freddy Herrera, Olmedo Saenz and Carlos Lee to save the win. A day later, he replaced Norberto Gonzalez in the 6th inning with a 6-2 lead over the Netherlands and allowed only one hit over the final 3 1/3 innings for another save, whiffing five, four of them major leaguers (Yurendell de Caster, Eugene Kingsale, Ivanon Coffie and Randall Simon). He got the start against Venezuela and pitched four shutout innings (two hits, 3 walks, four strikeouts) for the win before giving way to Pedro Luis Lazo. Venezuela's starting lineup that game included Miguel Cabrera, Bobby Abreu, Magglio Ordonez, Ramon Hernandez, Victor Martinez, Edgardo Alfonzo and Omar Vizquel. He made his final appearance of the Classic against the Dominican national team in the semifinals. Going up against an even more impressive lineup of Placido Polanco, Miguel Tejada, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre, Moises Alou, Wily Mo Pena, Alberto Castillo and Willy Taveras, Martí pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing 3 hits and one walk while fanning two. Unfortunately for him, Bartolo Colon was keeping pace and Yadel got a no-decision when Lazo again relieved him; Lazo picked up the win to get Cuba into the finals. Martí finished the event with no earned runs allowed in 12 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 4 walks and 11 strikeouts. He was 1-0 with two saves. He was second to Koji Uehara in strikeouts, second to Chan-ho Park in saves and led in ERA. He joined Park and Daisuke Matsuzaka on the All-Tourney team as the top pitchers. He was 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games. He pitched two scoreless innings in the 2006 Intercontinental Cup to complete an excellent year in international events.
Martí was just 4-6 with a 2.86 ERA in the 2006-2007 Serie Nacional. In the 2007 World Port Tournament, he pitched 14 1/3 scoreless innings and was 2-0. He just missed the World Port Tournament Best Pitcher Award as Leon Boyd (15 IP) and Arley Sanchez (14 2/3 IP) also had 0.00 ERAs in slightly more work. Martí got the start and the win in the Gold Medal game against Taiwan.
He went 1-1 with a 3.30 ERA in the 2007 Baseball World Cup. He almost made history when he came one out away from the second perfect game in Baseball World Cup annals, but Lino Connell of Venezuela spoiled the bid with a single. Yadel had a 10-0 shutout win that game. Martí got the call in the Gold Medal game as Cuba tried for their 10th straight title but he did not have his "A" game. In the second inning, Delwyn Young, Justin Ruggiano and Jason Jaramillo got three straight no-out singles and Brian Bixler coaxed a walk. Norberto Gonzalez relieved and allowed both inherited runners to score.
Martí was 4-2 with a save and a 3.12 ERA in the 2007-2008 Serie Nacional. He was suspended for the entire 2008-2009 season for disciplinary infractions; some suspected that he had tried to depart from Cuba. He later did succeed in defecting in 2009.
Marti has pitched impressively in the Dominican Winter Leagues for Tigres del Licey, to the tune of a 3-1 Record and a 2.30 ERA in 31 Innings.
- Radiococo bio
- 2003-2007 Baseball Almanacs
- IBAF site
- World Baseball Classic site
- CBS Sportsline coverage of the World Baseball Classic
- Cuban Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation
- 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games
- MILB.com Player Page