From BR Bullpen
Yovani Aragón Rodríguez first name also given as Yovany and Yosvani
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 203 lb.
Yovani Aragón pitched for 16 seasons in Cuba and was with the Cuban national team several times.
He was 2-0 with a 3.52 ERA in the 1996 Haarlem Baseball Week, which Cuba won, with 16 strikeouts in 15 1/3 IP. He tied for the event lead in wins and tied for second in strikeouts. He also led with 11 walks, though. In the 1998 Haarlem Baseball Week, the 24-year-old allowed 10 hits and 5 runs in 5 1/3 IP as Cuba's worst hurler. The club still won the competition.
Aragón was 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in the 1998 Central American and Caribbean Games to help Cuba win a Gold Medal. In the 1998 Baseball World Cup, Yovani had a 2-0, 1.13 record to help Cuba win Gold; he was named one of two All-Star pitchers along with Jurriaan Lobbezoo. Among the other pitchers in the event were Byung-Hyun Kim, Jason Jennings, José Contreras, Koji Uehara, Pedro Luis Lazo, Matt Ginter, José Ibar, Norge Vera, Rob Cordemans and Phil Dale.
The Lajas native was with Cuba for the 1999 Baltimore Orioles Cuban National Team Exhibition Series. In the 1999-2000 season, the right-hander tied Gervasio Miguel for the most complete games (14) and tied teammate Maels Rodríguez for the strikeout lead (177).
In the 2000 Olympics, Aragón allowed 9 hits and 6 runs in six innings for the Silver Medal winners; he easily had Cuba's worst ERA; Lazo was next at 4.26, then Omar Ajete at 2.45. Yovani would not pitch for the national team again for the next two years.
The 27-year-old veteran was 12-8 with a 3.46 ERA and 129 K in 2001-2002 as his team made the finals only to fall short in a 7-game loss to upstart Holguín. Yovani lost game 3 of the Series 4-3 with a complete game effort. In game six, he forced a 7th contest by shutting out Holguín for 8 innings before a Juan Pacheco homer; Sancti Spíritus won 4-2.
In the 2002-2003 Serie Nacional, the right-hander led in innings (164) and tied Luis M. Rodríguez and Ciro Licea for the most complete games (10). He then was 4-0 to lead the 2003 Super Liga in wins and win percentage.
Back with the national team, Aragón pitched in the 2003 qualifier for the 2004 Olympics to help Cuba win a spot. He was 1-0 with 9 strikeouts and a 0.00 ERA in the 2003 Pan American Games as Cuba won Gold; he led the tournament in K's. He also was with Cuba for the 2003 Baseball World Cup, allowing one run and fanning six in four innings for the Gold Medalists; only Ifreidi Coss pitched less for the Cuban squad. It was Aragón's final tournament with the Cubans in a major tournament.
Yovani led the 2004 Super Liga with 15 strikeouts. He allowed one run in 2/3 of an inning as Cuba's worst performer in the 2007 World Port Tournament. Entering 2007-2008, Aragón had gone 147-117 with 10 saves and a 3.45 ERA in 15 seasons. He was 8-6 with a 5.23 ERA in 2007-2008, then retired. As of 2009, he ranks 7th in Cuban history with 1,926 strikeouts, the only department he makes the top 10 in.