Lourdes Gurriel Jr.: A Rising Star in Cuban Baseball
In Cuba, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was known for his impressive height, speed, and exceptional fielding skills. Despite his slender build, he didn’t rely on sheer muscle power to make an impact during his three National Series appearances.
Early Career in the National Series
Gurriel Jr. made his debut in the National Series at the age of 16 in 2010. Although he didn’t play regularly, he left a positive impression with a .200 batting average in 15 at-bats. The following season, he saw more playing time and improved his average to .227 with three home runs in 55 games.
In his final season with the Roosters, Gurriel Jr. continued to raise his average, hitting .253 with four home runs.
Transition to Industriales and International Attention
In 2013, Gurriel Jr. joined Industriales and played in 45 games, achieving a .218 batting average. The following year, he began to attract national and international attention with an impressive .308 average, eight home runs, and 42 RBIs in 63 games.
His last season with Industriales was outstanding, as he recorded a .344 average with 10 homers and 53 RBIs.
Move to Yokohama DeNA BayStars and MLB Success
Following his remarkable performance, Gurriel Jr. secured a contract with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). However, he didn’t have the opportunity to showcase his skills in any games.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s Breakout Home Run Season in 2023
Gurriel Jr.’s career trajectory as a baseball player has been on a constant rise. In his five seasons in Cuba, he hit a total of 26 home runs. However, in MLB, he has become known not only for his fielding abilities but also for his impressive offensive stats.
In the recently concluded season, Gurriel Jr. boasted an offensive line of .261/.309/.463/.772, along with 35 doubles, two triples, and 24 home runs. He also contributed 82 RBIs in 145 games.
Potential for a Record-Breaking Season
It’s worth noting that Gurriel Jr. hit more home runs in a single season than he did throughout his entire career in Cuba. As the 2024 season approaches, there are high expectations for Gurriel Jr. as he embarks on his journey with a new team. He also has a record within reach that he can easily surpass.
With a career average of .279 and 336 RBIs in 2,275 at-bats, Gurriel Jr. has already hit 92 home runs in his six seasons in the majors. He is just eight home runs away from reaching the milestone of 100.
A Promising Future
Gurriel Jr. hit 11 home runs in his debut season with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018. He showcased his power by hitting 20 home runs in 2020. In 2021, he continued to impress with 21 home runs, but had a forgettable season in 2022 with only five homers. That marked his final season in Toronto.
In his first season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Gurriel Jr. set a new career-high with 24 home runs. The question now is whether he can surpass this figure in 2024.