Roel Santos: A man in Cooperstown

Roel Santos may have never played in the majors, but his jersey and cap are in Cooperstown.

Although Roel Santos has never played a game in the Majors he is enshrined in Cooperstown, well at least his  2015 Caribbean World Series jersey and the 2016 cap Which he wore in the exhibition game between Tampa Bay and Cuba in March of that year.

The outfielder was a member of the 2015 Cuban Caribbean World Series winning Pinar del Río team that defeated Mexico’s champion that year Culiacán Tomato Growers for the championship.

Just because he hasn’t seen any big league action it doesn’t mean he hasn’t faced it’s pitching. Santos has faced plenty of current, past and future Major League hurlers in his incursions with the Cuban National, Quebec Capitales of the Can-Am league, Chiba Lotte Marines and his current stint in the Mexican League with Tabasco.

In 2017, he was the catalyst for Cuba as their leadoff hitter in the Caribbean Series and World Baseball Classic tournaments in which he hit over .300 against quality pitching.

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Although he had a disappointing performance in Japan in 66 games with the Chiba Lotte and hit .250 with three long balls and eight runs driven in, in the eyes of many he’s a talent worthy of that league and was even MLB worthy in his earlier days.

Last season in his first season in Mexico with the Tabasco Olmecas he hit .378 and stole 12 bases in 45 games and was such a dynamic first batter that the team resigned him for another season.

How did your experience in Japan aid you in your preparation for the 2017 WBC? 

Well, we played Japan in the tournament and I saw plenty of familiar pitching, which probably why I had such good results against that quality pitching.

Tell me one thing you learned during your time in Japan that made you a better player?

My time in Japan was important in my development as a player. I learned how to conduct myself as a professional on and off the field. I also learned to work harder every day and the results will show on the field. Japan was definitely a life lesson for me as a player and person.

Describe the difference between the pitching you faced in Japan and that of the Can-Am league?

Well, there is a big difference in the talent level of the two leagues. There are more quality pitchers in Japan, yet the Can-Am might have pitchers who throw a little harder. In Japan pitcher like to throw more off-speed and breaking pitches. Japan has a plethora of talented pitchers.

What is your most fond memory from your incursions in the Caribbean World Series?

My grandest memory was how beautiful the island of Puerto Rico is and how much of a good time I had while I was there.

How does it make you feel knowing you have not only one but two items in the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown?

Knowing they have these articles in Cooperstown is something special for me. My articles are enshrined in those halls with plenty of greats of the game. Having my own space is something that really resonates with me.

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What was your take on the now defunct agreement between Cuba and MLB?

My opinion on it was that it would have been very beneficial for both countries. Allowing us to play in the Majors with no strings attached would have taken Cuban baseball up of a few notches talent wise.




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