Primarily the most attention-grabbing slugger in Classic history wants more

Cuba’s Alfredo Despaigne used to be born to hit home runs

4:55 AM UTC

TAICHUNG, Taiwan — While you first witness him, you practically absolutely would now no longer assume Alfredo Despaigne is a legendary home flee hitter.

He’s 5-foot-7 and, more normally than now no longer, he’s laughing or goofing around with his teammates. He’s with out concerns approachable, now no longer the fierce, towering persona prolific sluggers on the total give off.

However witness at his resume, he’s one of essentially the most attention-grabbing energy hitters Cuban baseball has ever seen.

He has the one-season advise for most home runs in a single Cuban National Sequence season. His four National Sequence MVPs are tied for essentially the most in history with Hall of Famer Martín Dihigo. He hits 350-foot, damaged-bat dingers. And he’s thrived on the international level — turning in seven lengthy balls over three assorted World Baseball Classics. Or now no longer it’s greater than longtime WBC greats Miguel Cabrera and Frederich Cepeda. Or now no longer it’s, the truth is, the most ever.

“Everybody knows Despaigne,” longtime and most neatly-liked Cuba teammate Yoenis Cespedes instructed me. “Everybody knows he can hit. Everybody knows he’s got hundreds of energy.”

Despaigne on the total used to be born to hit home runs.

The metropolis he’s from, Palma Soriano, is the birthplace of Cuban National Sequence’ home flee king Orestes Kindelán. Kindelán holds league data for homers (487), RBIs (1,511) and entire bases (3,893).

Despaigne carried on the custom of Palma energy from a young age: He hit 10 homers in 83 games as an 18-year-old for Alazanes de Granma, slashing at a .313/.341/.491 fee. As he got into his early 20s, his slugging numbers handiest elevated. He won the league MVP in 2008-09, swatting a then single-season-advise 32 homers, while inserting up a ridiculous .375/.482/.756 carve line. The next season, he won the MVP every other time with an improbable greater year. He hit 31 homers, drove in 97 and slashed at .404/.489/.814. His OPS numbers from 2008-2012 are love something out of a online recreation.

However his stats on the international level would possibly presumably per chance presumably’ve been even more ridiculous for the length of that time duration.

His 2009 WBC used to be his handiest precise letdown, though he restful did hit one homer. He went on to hit .436/.500/1.109 in the ’09 World Cup with a advise 11 homers to serve procure Cuba the Silver Medal. In the 2010 World College Championship, he had 13 hits in 24 at-bats with 3 doubles, 4 homers, 12 runs and 12 RBIs in six games. He used to be the tournament MVP — beating out other stalwarts corresponding to Jose Abreu and Cespedes — and used to be the very best bat Cuba wanted in the finals against the United States. From the Japan Times:

On a day the mighty Cubans at closing regarded beatable, Alfredo Despaigne regarded invincible. Despaigne hit a recreation-tying solo homer in the eighth inning and added a go-off three-flee blast in the tenth to lead Cuba past the United States 4-3 in the final of the fifth World College Baseball Championship on Saturday at Jingu Stadium.

“Taking part in for my country is after I in actuality feel most gratified,” Despaigne instructed me by translation from MLB’s Javier Castellano. “Or now no longer it’s additional motivation taking part in for my country than taking part in for my league team.”

Despaigne paced Mike Trout in homers for the length of the 2010 Pan American Video games. He hit .474 for the length of the that year’s Intercontinental Cup. He’s played in Japan’s Pacific League from 2017-’22 — main the league with 35 homers for the length of his debut season. However his play for the length of the closing two Classics — a tournament that’s become practically the Olympics for baseball — has in actuality put his identify available in the market. 

“I cannot wait for [Frederich] Cepeda and Despaigne to retire,” Australia supervisor Jon Deeble instructed serve in 2017. “They bear got outmoded me out for 16 years. They bear got destroyed us. This has gone on and on and on. They’re gargantuan players, wonderful players.”

Or now no longer it’s easy why Despaigne been so successful. Or now no longer now no longer up to he talks that design.

“My success is in my coaching and my additional preparation for the WBC,” Despaigne said.

Combining your entire WBCs by 2017, the sexy-handed slugger has seven home runs, 24 RBIs, and 12 runs in 17 games. He’s won an MVP and is in the tip 5 of practically every most vital offensive category for the length of that time.

Cespedes is overjoyed to be taking part in with his buddy and competitor every other time on this year’s Classic, and the two now veterans — main a team with MLB stars love Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada — hope to at closing recall a title for his or her country.

“That’s our mentality,” Cespedes said. “The games are laborious, they’re anxious. However we’re gonna go on the world and cease our most attention-grabbing.”

And even supposing the gargantuan Despaigne already has the tournament advise for most homers ever, he’s now no longer antagonistic to collectively with to the amount … especially if it helps get hold of his team to the cease.

“I desire a couple more,” the 36-year-old smiled.

Photo art by Dan Phillips /

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