Monday, July 21, 2014

Alfredo Despaigne

The latest Cuban import to Japan is Alfredo Despaigne, who will likely make his debut with the Chiba Lotte Marines in the next week or so.  Despaigne actually started this season playing for Piratas de Campeche of the Mexican League but he was suspended for life from the league after it was discovered he was using a fake Domincan passport.  (Interestingly he is not the first Campeche player to move to the Pacific League this year - John Bowker started the season there before joining the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.)

Despaigne has had a pretty impressive career in Cuba, setting the single season home run record for Serie Nacional a few years back with 36 (breaking the record held jointly by Jose Abreu and Yoenis Cespedes).  He played on the Cuban World Baseball Classic team in both 2009 and 2013 and well as their 2008 Olympic team.  He doesn't have many cards, however.  Jason has listed 17 cards over at Sports Card Forum's Inventory Manager but 14 of those are parallels.  He had a card in the 2009 Bowman Chrome WBC set (along with 11 parallels) and the 2013 Topps Tribute WBC set (along with three parallels).  He also appeared in the 2009 Konami WBC Heroes set in Japan.

2009 Bowman Chrome WBC #BCW50

2009 Konami WBC Heroes #W09R059

2013 Topps Tribute WBC #87
I'm not sure if Despaigne will have any cards in Japan this year.  It's way too late for him to show up in BBM's 2nd Version and the Marines' team set's been out for a month or so.  Calbee Series Three is probably the best possibility as that won't be released until mid-September (probably).

In addition to Despaigne, there's a fourth Cuban player coming to Japan shortly as well.  The Giants signed pitcher Hector Mendoza last week.  Mendoza is only 20 and did not play in last year's WBC.  His likelihood of getting a card this year is roughly the same as Despaigne's.

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