Yurisbel Gracial

From BR Bullpen


Yurisbel Gracial García

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 1", Weight 180 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Yurisbel Gracial has played in the Cuban Serie Nacional and Nippon Pro Baseball. He has been on the Cuban national team and won a Japan Series MVP.

Gracial hit .315/.361/.405 in 40 games as a rookie for Matanzas in 2009-2010. In 2010-2011, he became the starting third baseman for Matanzas and batted .292/.365/.534 with 20 homers and 63 RBI in 88 games; he fielded .898. He led the Serie Nacional in errors (31) and tied Dary Bartolomé for 8th in the league with 58 strikeouts. He fell one homer shy of making the league's top 20.

Yurisbel improved to .328/.415/.536 in 2011-2012, while fielding .898. He scored 84 runs in 92 games, with 16 doubles and 15 home runs. He was among the league leaders in runs (4th after Guillermo Heredia Jr., Ramón Tamayo and Alfredo Despaigne), triples (tied for 6th with 6), total bases (tied for 7th at 188, even with Yulieski Gourriel) and RBI (tied for 9th with 68). He lost out All-Star honors at 3B to Gourriel.

He was then put on Cuba's preliminary roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He would not make the cut yet, but brighter days were ahead. He fell off a bit from 2011-2012 in 2012-2013 (.287/.369/.410) and 2013-2014 (.283/.367/.443). In 2014-2015, he produced at a .303/.456/.440 clip with 24 steals in 29 tries and 53 walks to 28 whiffs. He led the league in steals (9 ahead of Randy Arozarena), was 6th in walks and was 5th in OBP.

Playing short, third and left for Cuba in the 2015 World Port Tournament, he hit very well (.400/.436/.657, 6 2B, 9 RBI in 8 G) but fielded only .878. He was 4th in the event in slugging (between Yasiel Santoya and Dwayne Kemp), tied Jorge Luis Barcelán for 6th in average, was second to Osvaldo Vázquez in RBI (by 3), tied Lourdes Gurriel for 2nd in hits (14), tied for 2nd in runs, had twice as many doubles as anyone else, tied Santoya for 2nd in total bases (23) and tied Shurendell Mujica for the most assists (23) but also tied for the most errors (4, even with Kemp, Lourdes Gurriel, Ulrich Snijders and Mujica). His first major event for Cuba was the 2015 Premier 12. Backing up Yulieski Gurriel at 3B, he was used almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter, going 0 for 4 in at-bats against Andrew Albers of Canada, Emilio Pagán of Puerto Rico, Hung-Wen Chen of Taiwan and South Korea's Hyun-seung Lee.

Gracial blossomed further in 2015-2016, hitting .326/.440/.562 with 15 homers, 69 runs, 25 steals in 34 tries and 61 walks in 85 games, fielding .957 at SS. He hit a three-run homer in the Cuban All-Star Game to power the Occidentales to victory. He was second in the league in runs (7 behind Stayler Hernández), tied Alex Malleta and Yordanis Samón for 4th with 21 doubles, tied for 5th in triples (4), tied Yuli Gurriel for 3rd in homers, was 3rd in RBI (after Adolis García and Michel Gorguet), was 3rd in steals (4 behind Roel Santos and Dairon Blanco), was 2nd in walks (11 behind Yunior Paumier) and tied Hernández for 2nd in OPS. He was named a postseason All-Star at third base.

Reinforcing Ciego de Ávila for the 2016 Caribbean Series, he struggled at 1-for-10. He went 1 for 2 against Matt Moore in the 2016 Tampa Bay Rays-Cuban National Team Exhibition Game before Rudy Reyes replaced him at third. He spent the summer with Les Capitales de Québec, part of an arrangement for Cuban players to appear in foreign leagues without having to defect. He did well at .320/.376/.476 with 57 runs and 58 RBI in 87 games. He was 7th in the Canadian-American Association in average (between Maxx Tissenbaum and Yeicok Calderón), tied for 4th with 5 triples and 5th in slugging (between Junior Arrojo and Calderón). He did not make the postseason All-Star team as Arrojo was picked at short.

He hit .317/.440/.427 for Matanzas in 2016-2017. In the 2017 World Baseball Classic, he had a three-hit game against China and homered off Tomoyuki Sugano of Samurai Japan to give Cuba a 2-1 lead they would not hold. He hit .435/.435/.739 on the event with 4 doubles in 6 games. He tied Didi Gregorius and Christian Yelich for 2nd in the Classic in two-baggers, one behind Jurickson Profar. He tied Carlos Beltran, Brandon Crawford, Eric Hosmer, Francisco Lindor, Hayato Sakamoto and Ángel Pagán for 5th in the WBC with ten hits.

The Guantánamo native did even better his second season with Les Capitales - .333/.399/.524, 28 2B, 71 R, 14 SB (2 CS) in 95 G. He fielded .957 at the hot corner. He was 3rd in batting average (after Johnny Bladel and Tissenbaum), 4th in runs, 4th in doubles, tied Tissenbaum and Mike Montville for 7th in home runs (13), 7th in RBI (65), 9th in OBP and 5th in slugging (between Javier Herrera and Bladel). He was named the Can-Am All-Star third baseman. He only was briefly with Matanzas that winter, going 6 for 10. He was a reinforcement for Granma in the 2018 Caribbean Series. He did well as their right fielder, batting .353/.381/.412 and tying for 8th in the event with four RBI.

He went to Japan in a similar arrangement Cuba had as with Canada; he hit .292/.347/.481 in 54 games for the Softbank Hawks and mashed Japanese minor league pitching to a .431/.488/.778 tune with 28 RBI in 21 games. His first NPB hit came off Nick Martinez and his first home run off Kohei Arihara. He got one vote for the 2018 Pacific League Rookie of the Year Award. He hit .250/.348/.400 as Softbank won the 2018 Japan Series, including a homer off Kris Johnson in the clinching Game 5. He missed some time that year when he represented Cuba in the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games. Starting in right for Cuba, he had 3 hits, 2 runs and 2 RBI against the Dominican national team and finished at .300/.344/.300 with 6 RBI in 7 games for the Silver Medalists to help them win a spot in the 2019 Pan American Games. He tied Ozzie Martínez and Willie Vásquez for 6th in the Games in RBI.

Gracial made the Pacific League All-Star team the next season. In 2019 NPB All-Star Game 1, he replaced Masataka Yoshida in left field late in a 6-3 win over the Central League and was hit by a Yasuaki Yamasaki pitch in his lone plate appearance. He started Game 2 and went 0 for 2 with a whiff in a 11-3 loss; Kensuke Kondo took over in right field. He took a break from the Hawks to play for Cuba in the 2019 Pan American Games. He had 3 runs and 2 RBI in a win over Argentina and finished 5 for 18 with 4 runs, 3 RBI and no walks or extra-base hits; he had 3 putouts in left field. Despite missing that time, he still hit 28 homers for the Hawks in 2019, producing at a .319/.365/.595 clip. Had he qualified (he was 33 plate appearances shy), he would have been 3rd in the PL in average (behind Tomoya Mori and Yoshida) and led in slugging (.048 ahead of Mori). He was 9th in home runs, between Yoshida and Shuta Tonosaki. He was 6 for 16 in the 2019 Japan Series, with a 2-run homer off Shun Yamaguchi for the first runs in Softbank's Game 1 win, another dinger in Game 3 off Yuki Takahashi and a 3-run shot against Tomoyuki Sugano in the 4-3 Game 4 win to complete the sweep. He was an easy pick for Series MVP.

He was on Cuba's roster for the 2019 Premier 12.