2020-2021 Cuban National League

From BR Bullpen

The 2020-2021 Cuban Serie Nacional was an unusual one in that no attendance was permitted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As with other leagues during the pandemic, occasionally players were sidelined due to positive tests. There were no spectators permitted and all postseason games were in a "bubble" format like the 2019-2020 NBA playoffs. The league switched formats, scrapping their recent two-half system where half the teams qualify for the second half with the other players being redistributed.

With the playoffs being disrupted by COVID-19, the first semifinal finished before one of the other quarterfinals had ended. In the finals, Granma (#2 in the regular season) met defending champion Matanzas (#3 in the regular season). 3B Yadil Mujica began the finals with a one-out homer in the top of the first off Lázaro Blanco but Granma tied it when CF Roel Santos singled off Yoanni Yera, stole, advanced on a grounder and scored on a fly from LF Raico Santos. In the bottom of the 5th, RF Alexquemer Sánchez doubled off Yera (who fanned 11 in a complete game), Roel Santos walked and 3B Osvaldo Abreu hit the game-winning, two-run triple. Blanco allowed a run in the 6th when 2B Aníbal Medina homered but gave up just four hits and two runs in eight innings in the win. Carlos Santiesteban saved it.

The Alazanes also won game 2, again by one run. CF Roel Santos again started things off for the victors, drawing a walk from Noelvis Entenza, advancing on a walk and wild pitch and scoring on a single by 1B Guillermo Avilés. Granma padded their lead in the 2nd. DH Guillermo García walked, then SS Erisbel Arruebaruena (a former major leaguer) erred on a grounder by SS Yulián Milán. Sánchez bunted the runners over and CF Roel Santos hit a two-run ground-run double for a 3-0 lead. Meanwhile, Leandro Martínez had blanked Matanzas for the first four innings. RF Yadir Dreke drew a one-out walk and 1B Yariel Duque singled to break up the no-hitter. LF Ariel Sánchez hit a three-run homer to tie it, the first of his three hits that game. Matanzas went ahead an inning later against Juan Pérez Meriño. Mujica and DH Javier Camero singled and Arruebaruena drew a walk. Erluis Blanco relieved and Dreke hit a two-run single. Granma tied it back in the bottom of the inning. García singled off Entenza, Milán walked and Alexquemer Sánchez bunted into an error by C Andrys Pérez. Naykel Cruz relieved and got two outs but LF Raico Santos hit a two-run single to even it at five. Granma got the winning run in the 8th when Raico Santos hit a two-run dinger off Joel Suárez. Santiesteban allowed the first two men on the 9th but then got a double-play grounder and Santiesteban fanned CF Eduardo Blanco to end it.

On March 31, Matanzas won in another close game. Reinier Rivero and Cruz combined to allow only one run (a solo shot by CF Roel Santos in the 7th) and four hits. Matanzas scored in the bottom of the third when CF Eduardo Blanco, 3B Mujica and LF Ariel Sánchez all singled off César García. In the 4th, they got their last runs, but enough to win. 1B Duque singled and SS Arruebaruena walked. C Andrys Pérez reached on interference by César García. Eduardo Blanco grounded into a force at home and 2B Medina hit into an error to score Arruebaruena. Mujica singled in the final run for the victors.

Granma's bats boomed in a game 4 romp, 15-5, in a 7-inning mercy rule game. DH Guillermo García goes 4 for 5 with two homers and six RBI, while LF/CF Raico Santos scored three and 2B Carlos Benítez was 3 for 3 and drove in four. Joel Mojena got the win over Rivero, while Dreke drove in a pair in a losing effort. Lázaro Blanco and Yera squared off in game 6 and it was 3-3 entering the 9th. Matanzas then stayed alive, as PH Juan Vázquez reached against Santiesteban. Yoisnel Camejo pinch-ran and Eduardo Blanco laid down a sacrifice. A grounder moved the runner to third and a wild pitch by reliever Miguel Paradelo scored Camejo with the winner. Entenza got the win, his 100th in Serie Nacional play.

The decisive game 6 was a close affair as well. Matanzas loaded the bases in the first against Leandro Martínez but failed to score. In the bottom of the third, Granma got on the board versus Entenza when CF Roel Santos singled, stole and scored on a double by LF Raico Santos. In the top of the 5th, Matanzas exploded for five runs, three on a double by CF Eduardo Blanco off César García. Granma pecked back away; in the 6th, 1B Avilés scored on a double play grounder to make it 5-2. Roel Santos's dinger in the 7th closed it to 5-3. In the 8th, Avilés drew a walk from Cruz and DH Guillermo García singled. Suárez relieved; after a sacrifice hit, SS Milán's sacrifice fly barely scored a run, partly helped by a misplay by the catcher. Roel Santos then singled for his third hit, scoring Guillermo García. Montejo went 1-2-3 in the top of the 9th. Granma then remained hot in the bottom of the 9th, scoring for the fourth straight inning. Raico Santos walked and 2B Benítez singled. Jonder Martínez replaced Suárez but also struggled, plunking Avilés. Guillermo García then singled in the series winner, completing a four-for-dour day to score Santos.

Standings[edit]

Regular Season Standings

Team Record GB Manager
Sancti Spíritus 48-27 -- Eriel Sánchez
Granma 48-27 -- Carlos Martí
Matanzas 44-31 4 Armando Ferrer
Santiago de Cuba 43-32 5 Eriberto Rosales
Las Tunas 43-32 5 Pablo Alberto Civil
Cienfuegos 42-33 6 Alaín Álvarez
Pinar del Rio 42-33 6 Alexander Urquiola
Industriales 42-33 6 Guillermo Carmona
Camagüey 41-34 7 Miguel Borroto
Mayabeque 40-35 8 Michael González
Ciego de Ávila 33-39 13.5 Yorelvis Charles
Holguín 31-44 17 Francisco Martínez
Villa Clara 30-44 17.5 José García
Isla de la Juventud 27-44 19 José Luis Rodríguez
Artemisa 22-53 26 Manuel Vigoa
Guantánamo 20-55 28 Agustín Lescaille

Playoffs: Pinar del Rio def. Sancti Spíritus, 3 games to 0. Granma def. Industriales, 3 games to 2. Matanzas def. Cienfuegos, 3 games to 0. Granma def. Pinar del Rio, 4 games to 2. Las Tunas def. Santiago de Cuba, 3 games to 1. Matanzas def. Las Tunas, 4 games to 2. Granma def. Matanzas, 4 games to 2.

Leaders[edit]

Bold indicates either wooden bat record or aluminum bat record (1976-1977 to 1998-1999), Italics indicate Serie Nacional record

Batting[edit]

Stat Leader Team Number Notes
Batting Average César Prieto Cienfuegos .409
Runs Scored César Prieto Cienfuegos 77
Base Hits César Prieto Cienfuegos 126
Doubles César Prieto Cienfuegos 21
Triples Santiago Torres Santiago de Cuba 7
Home Runs Lisbán Correa Industriales 26
Runs Batted In Guillermo Avilés Guantanamo 74
Base-on-Balls Frederich Cepeda Sancti Spíritus 93
Intentional Base-on-Balls Edilse Silva Santiago de Cuba 26
Hit-by-Pitch Dennis Laza Mayabeque 16
Strikeouts Over Cremet Guantanamo 68
Sacrifice Hit Laindel Leyva Holguín 15
Sacrifice Fly Stayler Hernández Industriales 8
Stolen Bases Magdiel Gómez Villa Clara 24

Pitching[edit]

Stat Leader Team Number Notes
Wins Yudier Rodríguez
Frank Madan
Las Tunas
Camagüey
12
Win-Loss Percentage Carlos Ramírez Cienfuegos .857 6-1
Earned Run Average Pablo Guillén Las Tunas 2.37 129 IP
Innings Pitched Yadián Martínez Mayabeque 136 1/3
Games Pitched Mario Batista Mayabeque 43
Games Started Yadián Martínez Mayabeque 19
Games Relieved Mario Batista Mayabeque 41
Complete Games Frank Madan Camagüey 10
Shutouts Frank Madan Camagüey 4
Hits Allowed Yosimar Cousin Camagüey 139
Strikeouts Frank Madan Camagüey 105
Base-on-Balls Marlon Vega Mayabeque 58
Intentional Base-on-Balls Juan Olivera Camagüey 13
Hit Batters Carlos Font
Alexander Valiente
Yusmel Velázquez
Santiago de Cuba
Guantanamo
Holguín
12
Saves Yunior Tor Santiago de Cuba 13

All-Star Game[edit]

Awards[edit]

Lisbán Correa of the Industriales won the Serie Nacional MVP after leading the league in slugging and homers. He was the first former defector to win. Mayabeque's Marlon Vega was named Serie Nacional Rookie of the Year after going 9-2 with 3 saves and a 4.36 ERA.

All-Stars were C Yosvany Alarcón (Las Tunas), 1B Rafael Viñales (Las Tunas), 2B César Prieto (Cienfuegos), SS Luis Mateo (Cienfuegos), 3B Jefferson Delgado (Matanzas), UT Jorge Alomá (Industriales), LF Yasniel González (Mayabeque), CF Geisel Cepeda (Sancti Spíritus), RF Dennis Laza (Mayabeque), RHP Frank Madan (Camagüey), LHP Yudiel Rodríguez (Las Tunas) and RP Yunior Tur (Santiago de Cuba).

Offensive All-Stars were C Alarcón, 1B Correa, 2B Prieto, SS Mateo, 3B Pavel Quesada (Cienfuegos), OF Yasniel González, OF Geisel Cepeda, OF Laza and DH Frederich Cepeda (Sancti Spíritus).

Defensive All-Stars were C Andrys Pérez (Matanzas), 1B Daniel Pérez (Cienfuegos), 2B Prieto, SS Yordan Manduley (Holguín), 3B Luis Ángel Sánchez (Guantanamo), OF Dailier Peña (Las Tunas), OF Yoasán Guillén (Industriales), OF Andrés Quiala (Las Tunas), UT Magdiel Gómez (Villa Clara) and P José Pablo Cuesta (Industriales).

Cuban National League Seasons
1962 1962-1963 1963-1964 1964-1965 1965-1966 1966-1967 1967-1968 1968-1969
1969-1970 1970-1971 1971-1972 1972-1973 1973-1974 1974-1975 1975-1976 1976-1977 1977-1978 1978-1979
1979-1980 1980-1981 1981-1982 1982-1983 1983-1984 1984-1985 1985-1986 1986-1987 1987-1988 1988-1989
1989-1990 1990-1991 1991-1992 1992-1993 1993-1994 1994-1995 1995-1996 1996-1997 1997-1998 1998-1999
1999-2000 2000-2001 2001-2002 2002-2003 2003-2004 2004-2005 2005-2006 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019
2019-2020 2020-2021