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Yulieski Gourriel

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Yuliesky Gourriel 2013 WBC.jpg

Yulieski Gourriel Castillo

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 196 lbs.

[edit] Biographical Information

Yulieski Gourriel is the son of long-time Cuban star Lourdes Gourriel, who has managed Yulieski in the Cuban Serie Nacional. His brothers are Yuniesky Gourriel and Lourdes Gourriel Jr. and his uncle is Luis Enrique Gourriel,all of them former or current teammates on Sancti Spiritus. He is also the great-nephew of José R. Delgado and cousin of Yoannys Delgado.

Gourriel was a back-up to Michel Enriquez at 3B for Cuba in the 2002 Intercontinental Cup. He was 0 for 3 with a run. In the 2003 Baseball World Cup, Gourriel batted .358/.400/.789 with 5 doubles, 3 homers, 9 runs and 13 RBI in 9 games to help Cuba win the title. He was error-free in 23 chances at second base. Daisuke Kusano beat him out as the All-Star 2B. He was also a member of Gold Medal Winning Cuban team at the 2004 Olympics.

He led the 2005 Baseball World Cup with 8 homers and was second to Michel Enriquez with 19 RBI. He hit .319/.385/.894 with 12 runs in 11 games. Joey Votto was second in home runs, three behind Gourriel. He made the All-Tournament Team. He was the star of the Cuban National Team which lost in the final of the 2006 World Baseball Classic. In the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games, Gourriel hit .300/.344/.467 and led the tourney with 9 runs in 7 games. He also drove in 7. He batted .389/.381/.500 in the 2006 Intercontinental Cup with 10 runs and 8 RBI in 9 games. In the 2006 qualifiers for the 2008 Olympics, Gourriel batted .314/.400/.743 with 4 HR and 12 RBI in 9 games. He was second to Alexander Mayeta in RBI and tied for the lead with five others in home runs in the tournament.

Gourriel hit .278/.364/.444 as Cuba's #3 hitter and third baseman in the 2007 Pan-American Games. He hit one of the three homers for the Gold Medal winners. He batted .275/.341/.525 in the 2007 Baseball World Cup as Cuba failed to win Gold for the first time in decades. Gourriel cracked 3 homers for the Silver Medalists, tying Mike Saunders, Justin Ruggiano, Andy LaRoche and Chia-Hsien Hsieh for the tournament lead in circuit clouts.

Gourriel hit .302/.396/.580 in the 2007-2008 Serie Nacional. He had 68 runs and 71 RBI in 79 games. He tied for 5th in the league in home runs (22), tied for 6th in RBI and was second in sacrifice flies (7, one behind Yasser Gomez). He failed to make the top 10 in slugging. He was named to the Serie Nacional All-Star team at third base.

Gourriel produced at a .229/.341/.286 clip in the 2008 Olympics as Cuba won Silver. He fielded .980 at second base, after moving to make room for Enriquez at third. Gourriel only drove in one run in 9 games. In the 9th inning of the Gold Medal game, he came up with a 3-2 deficit, the bases loaded and one out against Tae-hyun Chong. Gourriel promptly hit into a game-ending double play. Gourriel rotated between second base and third base in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, when Cuba failed to make the finals in a global baseball event for the first time in 58 years. He hit .333/.333/.625 with 2 homers, 5 runs and 6 RBI in a solid six games. He tied Yoennis Céspedes and Frederich Cepeda for the team lead in runs and was second to Cepeda in RBI.

In the 2008-2009 Serie Nacional, Gourriel batted .399/.499/.710 with 22 home runs, 90 RBI and 77 runs in 84 games. He ranked among the leaders in hits (131, 2nd, 5 behind leader Yoilán Cerce), triples (7, tied for 4th), homers (7th), total bases (233, 2nd to Alfredo Despaigne), RBI (90, 2nd, 7 behind Despaigne), average (2nd, .002 behind Michel Enriquez) and slugging (.710, 2nd, .046 behind Despaigne). He was named the All-Star third baseman and shared Gold Glove honors with Marino Luis.

In 2014, Gourriel was given a rare permission to play abroad by Cuban authorities and joined the Yokohama DeNA BayStars.

[edit] Further Reading

  • Jesse Sanchez: "At Caribbean Series, Gourriel captures the imagination: Cuba star making scouts wonder what could be if infielder makes it to Majors",, February 5, 2015. [1]

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