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Eriel Sánchez

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Eriel Sánchez León

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 1", Weight 220 lb.

Eriel Sánchez is a catcher for Sancti Spíritus who has been a frequent back-up on the Cuban national team.

Sánchez debuted with Sancti Spíritus in the 1993-1994 Serie Nacional. In 2000-2001, he hit .272/.307/.449. 2001-2002, the backstop batted .317/.380/.464. During 2002-2003, Eriel's batting line was .300/.342/.507 with 74 RBI in 87 games. In the 2003 Baseball World Cup, he was 0 for 1. He starred for Cuba in the 2003 Olympic qualifier tournament, leading all players with a .571 average.

In the 2003-2004 Serie Nacional, Sánchez hit .327/.392/.504. He was Cuba's DH for the 2004 Olympics, batting .360/.385/.520 with 9 RBI in 7 games. He tied Rodney Van Buizen and Gavin Fingleson for third in the Summer Games in RBI, behind Ariel Pestano and Kosuke Fukudome. With a 2-1 lead in the 6th inning of the Gold Medal game, he delivered a 2-run single against John Stephens, scoring Osmani Urrutia and Frederich Cepeda; he then came around on an Eduardo Paret hit as Cuba took home the Gold.

Sánchez had a big season in the 2004-2005 Serie Nacional, batting .328/.429/.627 with 25 HR and 87 RBI in 86 games. He led the league in RBI and was two shy of Joan Carlos Pedroso in circuit clouts. Eriel hit .286/.286/.679 in the 2005 Baseball World Cup with 3 home runs and 7 RBI in 9 games; he was Cuba's starting first baseman.

Sánchez hit .310/.392/.458 in the 2005-2006 Serie Nacional. In the 2006 World Baseball Classic, he was 1 for 3 as Pestano's backup. In the 2006 COPABE qualifier for the 2008 Olympics, he doubled once and homered once during his 5 at-bats. He was 1 for 3 in the 2006 Intercontinental Cup and was 0 for 3 with a walk in the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games.

2006-2007 was another good campaign as the veteran batted .336/.396/.493, though his eight home runs were his lowest total of the decade to that point. He was on Cuba's roster for the 2007 Pan American Games but did not play. In 2007-2008, Eriel batted .353/.414/.561 with 15 HR and 67 RBI in 84 games for Sancti Spíritus. He was 0 for 3 during the 2008 Haarlem Baseball Week and went 2 for 3 with a double and 2 runs for the 2008 Olympics.

Eriel hit .287/.332/.455 in 2008-2009 with 18 doubles and 12 homers. He had 79 RBI in 84 games, tying Pedro Poll for 7th in the circuit in RBI; he led with 8 sacrifice flies.

Eriel started for Cuba in the 2009 World Port Tournament and hit .400/.462/.657 with 6 doubles, 8 runs and 7 RBI in 10 games. He threw out 1 of 4 attempted base-stealers. Sánchez was among the tourney leaders in slugging (1st, .010 over Ariel Borrero), OBP (3rd), average (4th), runs (tied with Raily Legito and Yorbis Borroto for second behind Borrero), RBI (tied with Borrero, Rolando Meriño and Leonys Martín for second behind MVP Yoelvis Fiss), doubles (1st), total bases (23, 2nd to Fiss) and hits (14, 4th). In the finale, his 2-run homer off of David Bergman put Cuba ahead 3-1 in the 5th; they went on to win 8-3.

Through 2006-2007, his career batting line in Cuba was .301/.353/.449 with 128 HR and 628 RBI in 1,118 games.

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