Yasiel Santoya

From BR Bullpen

Yasiel Santoya Zulueta

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 2", Weight 197 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Yasiel Santoya has been a long-time player in Cuba and has appeared for the Cuban national team.

Santoya played for Cuba when they won Bronze in the 2003 World Youth Championship. [1] He made his Cuban Serie Nacional debut in 2004-2005, going 1 for 3 for Sancti Spíritus. He hit .235/.329/.309 as a bench player in 2005-2006 and was 2 for 11 in the postseason. [2] He batted .236/.336/.368 in 2006-2007 and went 1 for 4 in the postseason.

In 2007-2008, he was at .272/.327/.391 then went 2 for 2 with a double in the playoffs. He slumped to .204/.318/.345 in 2008-2009, still backing up Yunier Mendoza at first. He was 0 for 1 in the playoffs. His playing time was dropping in 2009-2010 to 86 plate appearances but he fared better at .288/.388/.425. He was 0 for 1 in the playoffs again. He had one more rough year for Sancti Spíritus (.212/.206/.333 in 34 PA) and did not bat in the postseason.

Things turned around for him in 2011-2012 when he moved to the Cocodrilos de Matanzas and became a regular. He produced at a .331/.425/.599 clip then hit .265/.308/.367 in the postseason. He led his team in OPS, 18 points ahead of Yadiel Hernández. His production dropped a bit in 2012-2013 to .295/.379/.401. He was 4 for 15 with a double in the playoffs. In 2013-2014, he hit .327/.391/.505 in the regular season but only .158/.261/.316 in the postseason. He tied for 4th in the league with four triples and his 12 times plunked were second to Dainer Moreira. He did come up big in game 3 of the finals against Pinar del Río. Pinch-hitting in the tenth against Julio Martinez, he singled, was bunted over, stole and then scored the winning run on a wild pitch. Matanzas failed to win the series, though.

Santoya hit .336/.432/.442 in 2014-2015 and finished among the leaders in runs (57, 8th), steals (10, tied for 9th), RBI (58, 6th), hit-by-pitch (11, 5th), average (10th) and OBP (10th). In the 2015 World Port Tournament, he fell a triple shy of the cycle against Taiwan. Cuba won the tournament and he finished at .567/.594/.767. He led the event in average (.067 ahead of Shaldimar Daantji and Teppei Ueda), was 3rd in slugging (after Ueda and Osvaldo Vázquez), led in OBP (.044 ahead of Ueda), tied for 2nd in runs (7, 3 behind Lourdes Gurriel Jr.), led in hits (17, 3 ahead of Gurriel and Yurisbel Gracial), tied Kelvin Silvania for 8th in RBI (6), tied Dwayne Kemp and Gurriel for second in doubles (3), tied for 2nd in homers (one) and tied Gracial for 2nd with 23 total bases (one behind Vázquez). He was named the World Port Tournament Best Hitter. [3]

The Cabaiguán native then played for Cuba in the 2015 Premier 12, backing up Alexander Malletta at first base. He got into four games, going 1 for 3. His first at-bat was the biggest. With a 7-7 tie, men on the corners and one out against Puerto Rico, he faced Emilio Pagán. He grounded into a force at second but beat the throw to first, avoiding a double play and scoring Yordan Manduley with the game-winner in the first extra-inning game in a Premier 12. His other at-bats were a ground-out against Italy's Luca Panerati and a single versus Hyun-seong Lee of champion South Korea. [4]

Yasiel hit .294/.377/.418 for Matanzas in 2015-2016 with 55 RBI in 84 games and .333/.407/.417 in the playoffs. He was hit by 13 pitches in the regular season, tying Adolis García for 3rd in the league. He played for Cuba in the 2016 Canadian-American Association, posting a .289/.322/.325 batting line. He hit .316/.400/.454 with 61 RBI and 17 doubles in 87 games in 2016-2017, followed by 3 for 10 with a double in the postseason. He finished third in RBI after Yordanis Samón and Vázquez and tied for 6th in doubles with Yeison Pacheco and Michael González.

He posted very similar stats in 2017-2018: .329/.423/.464, 15 2B, 65 RBI (.278/.350/.278 in the playoffs). He was 10th in the league in hits (100), 8th in total bases (141, between Samón and Danel Castro), 7th in RBI (between Samón and Castro) and tied for 5th in sacrifice flies (6). He had two three-hit games against Italy in the 2018 Haarlem Baseball Week but only two hits in his other five games to finish at .308/.333/.346. He turned seven double plays to tie Yuma Tongu for the lead. [5]

Santoya had a busy 2018-2019. He started with Matanzas and hit .308/.402/.487. When they did not qualify for the second half, he reinforced Holguín and batted .264/.321/.408. Then, he moved to Las Tunas for the playoffs as they won their first title. He hit .250/.294/.281 in eight postseason games.

The veteran kept on at age 33, hitting .350/.422/.543 with 30 doubles in 92 games for Matanzas in 2019-2020 but .220/.273/.293 in 10 playoff games. He was 7th in RBI (58), 4th in hits (112, between Yhosvani Peñalver and Dayán García), 1st in doubles (two ahead of Santiago Torres, leading the league for the first time in an offensive department), total bases (176, 3rd, behind Yordanis Alarcón and Yusniel Ibáñez), 9th in runs (57), tied Carlos Benítez for first in sac flies (8), 5th in average (between Pavel Quesada and Alexander Ayala), 5th in slugging (between Alarcón and Yasniel González), 10th in OBP and 6th in OPS (between Yasniel González and Alarcón). He won both a Gold Glove and an Offensive All-Star nod. [6]