From BR Bullpen
Maikel Folch Vera
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 1", Weight 172 lb.
Maikel Folch has pitched for the Cuban national team briefly.
Folch debuted in 2001-2002, going 2-1 with a 4.91 ERA for Ciego de Ávila. In 2002-2003, the southpaw went 4-4 with a 5.21 ERA and 99 hits allowed in 84 2/3 IP. He was 3-1 with a 3.90 ERA in six games in 2003-2004 and was out of action the next year.
The left-hander blossomed in 2005-2006, going 11-0 with a 2.43 ERA. He led the league in winning percentage and was third in ERA. That strong campaign earned him a spot on Cuba's team for the 2006 World Baseball Classic. Folch only faced four batters in that tournament, all on March 10 against the Puerto Rican national team. With Cuba down 4-1 in the 4th, he relieved Luis Borroto. Alex Cora reached on a Ariel Borrero error. Folch balked Cora to second then Bernie Williams lined out. After walks to Ivan Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran, Folch was yanked in favor of Dennis Suarez.
Folch was 8-4 with a 3.03 ERA in 2006-2007 but led the Serie Nacional with 61 walks (in 115 innings). He was worse in 2007-2008, posting a record of 9-8, 3.80 and again leading the league in walks (68 in 109 IP).
Folch started 2008-2009 strong with a 3-1, 2.38 record and was on Cuba's preliminary roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic but did not make the final cut. He finished the year with a 11-4, 2.69 record. He tied for 4th in the league in wins and ranked 4th in ERA, winning him All-Star honors as Cuba's best southpaw hurler, beating out much more widely heralded flamethrower Aroldis Chapman, among others.
Folch continued his dominance into the 2009 World Port Tournament, getting extra work after Chapman defected. Maikel went 2-0 with one run (unearned) allowed in 18 innings. He gave up just six hits and fanned 15. He led in ERA, WHIP, opponent average (.102) and wins (tied with Miguel A. González, Yaumier Sánchez, Rob Cordemans and Syogo Suenaga) and was one strikeout behind leader Sánchez. In the finale, he relieved with a 3-3 tie against the Netherlands and tossed four shutout innings for the win as Cuba rallied. He was named the tournament's Best Pitcher.
Folch was 11-5 with a save and a 3.30 ERA in 2009-2010. He finished among the leaders in complete games (6, tied for first with Dalier Hinojosa, Norberto González, Fidel Romero and Yulieski González, wins (tied for first with Vladimir García, Norberto González and Yulieski González), shutouts (tied for first with two, even with Vladimir Baños, Richard Aguilera and Osmel Cintra), innings (128, 4th) and walks (59, tied for 2nd behind Noelvis Entenza).