Island of Opportunity

Cuban players have been migrating to the U.S. for two decades, but the trickle has become a flood—since 2009, 30 defectors have signed with big league teams. The result: a vibrant Cuban subculture in clubhouses around the majors—and a growing sense that the country's talent pool is deeper than anyone thought
March 31, 2014

DODGERS

YASIEL PUIG

OF Age: 23

Raw and extremely talented, he hit 19 home runs in 104 mesmerizing games after being called up last June, and finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting.

1. RANGERS

LEONYS MARTIN

OF Age: 26

Speed freak: He stole 36 bases in 2013, his first full season.

2. REDS

AROLDIS CHAPMAN (L)

LHP Age: 26

BRAYAN PENA (R)

C Age: 32

The closer, who will miss the first month of the season after he was hit in the face by a line drive during spring training, tossed the fastest pitch on record: 105.1 mph in 2010. For the veteran Pena, the Reds are the fourth team of his 10-year career.

3. WHITE SOX

ALEXEI RAMIREZ (L)

SS Age: 32

DAYAN VICIEDO (C)

OF Age: 25

JOSE ABREU (R)

1B Age: 27

Ramirez has been Chicago's starting shortstop since 2009, while Viciedo (in his fifth season) and Abreu (a rookie) are part of a new wave.

1. A'S

YOENIS CESPEDES

OF Age: 28

His ferocious swing became a lineup fixture soon after he signed in 2012. In his first two seasons he hit 23 and 26 homers, respectively.

2. CUBS

JORGE SOLER

OF Age: 22

Since signing in 2012 he has risen to No. 41 on Baseball America's list of top 100 prospects.

3. MARLINS

ADEINY HECHAVARRIA

SS Age: 24

He signed wth Toronto in 2010, was dealt to Miami in '12 and is now a top glove man.

SIX PHOTOSPhotographs by ROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED PHOTOBILL FRAKES/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (HECHAVARRIA)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)