Pablo Millán Fernández started on the right foot his story in Cuban baseball. He was one of the pitchers of Cuba team that won the Junior Pan American Championships in Ixtapa Mexico in 2007.
However he could have made the grade in 2006 but his 13-2 in the national youth did not give sufficient guarantee, something that he did get with the phenomenal 0.50 ERA in his second year in the category.
He was so fortunate that this team swept in Ixtapa with six consecutive victories. I remember some names: Fredy Asiel Alvarez was the MVP of the tournament by defeating United States and Canada, Yozzen Cuesta and Dayan Viciedo dominated average and RBIs with figures of 667 and 8 respectively, and lefty Onelkis García went scoreless in the tournament.
Besides Cuesta, Viciedo, Fredy Asiel and Onelkis, the All-Star of the event included catcher Yaniel Cabezas and outfielder Yasmani Tomas. What’s more, also part of the team were shortstops Jose Iglesias and Adeiny Antonio Echevarría and pitchers Noel Arguelles and Reinier Roibal. Of all of them only the right-handed pitcher Fredy Asiel Alvarez remains in Cuba.
With this background he debuted at the highest level of Cuban baseball in the 2007-2008 season but his numbers were not good: 2-5 with 5.12 ERAL. In the next series he was not well either with 3-6 and 5.11 but from the following season it was a different story.
His consecration came in the 2011-2012 season (51 SN) when he led the bullpen with effectiveness in the tournament with seven wins and 1.52 ERA and set a saves record for Holguin in national championships with 18.
This brilliant performance led him in 2012 to the Cuba Team that faced the USA in the bilateral match, who attended the tournament in Haarlem, which was on top against Nicaragua and the one with 29 players that took the Asian tour in November, prior the Third World Classic.
When it seemed that his presence was secured to the great event in March 2013, the manager Victor Mesa released him as reinforcement of Matanzas team when he had just tossed twenty innings. This pretty much ostracized him towards international events. In his last season in Cuba he had even balance 8-8 with six saves and acceptable 2.83 ERA.
In seven Cuban classics he won 32 and lost 30 with 40 saves and his ERA was 3.58. The highlight of his Cuban career was his excellent control since he only walked 127 batters in 414.1 innings with only 29 dead balls.
His departure to the Dominican Republic in the summer of 2013 left him in anonymity until several sources announced a few days ago his minor league contract by $ 8 million with the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
He is lucky that at 25 when in eight months he has proven his worth and increased speed that have led specialists at the discretion of converting him into a starter in the minors. A tough test for Pablo Millán because in Cuba he barely averaged a little more than 59 innings per tournament.
I confess I always bet on the quality of this pitcher and even my theory about his level took me to great discussions with my brother, an expert from his position as an amateur. But this time, Delmys, I had more success. Pablo Millán´s came from when he made the grade for an international event in 2007 with that galaxy of luminaries who would reach the maximum level.