Diosbel Arias is 20 years old. He is one of the most talented Cuban baseball players looking to get hired by an MLB team. He has great hands, he’s fast, he has a good grasp of the strike zone, and he has experience as a catcher – he was the catcher of his team in 2013 and 2014.
Arias decided to migrate in 2015. With only two National Series played and the fresh memory of his sub-23 with the Artemisa team. He also remembers his first homerun in a National Series, when he had just left the sub-18 series. It was the first homerun of the 54th series against Isla de la Juventud.
“We won the game with that homerun and the team gave me a ball signed by all the players, which I still keep as a treasure. That was one of the best moments in my career because I earned the respect and admiration of my team and my followers,” he told OnCuba.
He was part of a talented generation of Artemisa players – along with Yanio Luis Pérez, Misael Villa, Dariel Crespo, Lázaro Hernández and Navid Cosme – who saw 13 players leave the country in 2015.
OnCuba talked to Arias, who has been named a high level prospect by magazines like Baseball America.
How are you doing in the Dominican Republic after you left Cuba?
Thank God everything is going fine. I’m training hard.
Which skills do you need to improve?
I think I have to work harder every day to improve all my skills. You’re never 100% good, but I think I play better at the defensive.
What are you doing to improve your batting level?
Yes, that’s something I have to improve a lot, but I think that with the help of the couches I have changed a lot. I bat every day, both against real pitchers and the machine, to improve my technique. I’m also lifting weights to increase my muscular mass and hit the ball harder.
You have been assessed as a high level prospect by many experts. Any teams interested in you at the moment?
Well, so far I’ve had the opportunity to show myself to a few teams, but none of them has given me a definitive answer. I hope that with my sacrifices and God’s help they will continue to have an interest in my skills.
Are you a free agent already?
Not yet. I hope I will be soon.
Why didn’t you wait to gain more experience before leaving Cuba?
Because the opportunity came and I had the unconditional support of my family.
In the two series you played, you got several bases on ball. Do you consider yourself a patient batter?
Yes, I like to wait for the pitch I’ll be more comfortable with.
Most of the players in the team that won the sub-23 series have left Cuba. What do you think of that generation and why do you think most of them left?
I think we were a very talented team, eager to make a name for ourselves. We made our best to put the name of our province high. Most of us left to pursue our dream to play in the MLB. I think that is something we have in common. My colleagues are very good athletes and very good at what they do.
Do you think having been part of the juvenile team in Cuba is going to help you to get a contract with an MLB team?
I think it may help, but that is not everything. I have to continue training and doing my best.
What players of the Artemisa team do you admire and who taught you the most?
I admired everybody in that team. I don’t want to name anyone in particular because all of them were my teammates and all of them helped me a lot. I always had the support of Roberto “Tito” Zulueta, who was not part of the time at the moment, and I have a lot to thank to my teacher Adrian Alvarez.