Unprecedented Performance of Cuban Relief Pitchers in MLB
The performance of the Cuban relief pitchers in Major League Baseball (MLB) this year was truly remarkable.
In the recently concluded campaign of the big leagues, five Cuban pitchers, with four of them being relievers, appeared in 30 or more games, equaling the second-best historical record. This achievement has only been accomplished in six other seasons, namely 1964, 1965, 1967, 2001, 2002, and 2019.
However, the record still belongs to the 1966 contest, when six Cuban pitchers worked in at least 30 games.
What makes this year’s performance by the Antillean relief pitchers even more extraordinary is that, for the first time in MLB history, three pitchers born in Cuba have accumulated such significant numbers in the same campaign.
These three pitchers, with an ERA of less than 3.10 in at least 58 appearances on the mound, are:
Yennier Cano (Baltimore Orioles):
72 games, 2.11 ERA
Raisel Iglesias (Atlanta Braves):
58 games, 2.75 ERA
Aroldis Chapman (KC Royals/Texas Rangers):
61 games, 3.09 ERA
The previous record was set in the 2022 campaign, when Raisel Iglesias (67 games, 2.47 ERA) and Cionel Pérez (66 games, 1.40 ERA) achieved those figures.
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In only 16 other seasons, Cuba had a single pitcher who accumulated 58 or more games with an ERA less than 3.10.
But that’s not all. This year, for the first time in MLB history, four Cuban pitchers set a new record by recording 58 or more games with an ERA less than 3.60.
In addition to Spout, Churches, and Aroldis Chapman, Cionel Perez of the Baltimore Orioles joined the group. He participated in 65 challenges and his effectiveness was 3.54.
In the 2018, 2021, and 2022 contests, only two Cuban pitchers had achieved these numbers. Therefore, this campaign marks a doubling of their previous best performance.
Aroldis Chapman Doubles His Record
Aroldis Chapman, who won the World Series champion for the second time in his career, managed to pitch in 58 or more games and finish with an ERA of less than 3.60 for the seventh time.
Churches reached these numbers for the fifth time in his major league career, while it was Spout’s first chance and Cionel’s second consecutive year achieving this feat.