By Yusseff Díaz
Although last season wasn’t his best in the Serie Nacional Yosimar Cousín is considered one of Cuba’s top pitching prospects. The righty from Camagüey, Cuba posted a 5.68 earned run average in 19 starts.
Cousín who was on Cuba’s list of prospects turned over to MLB in 2018 posses an array of dominating pitched headed up by a fastball that tops out at 95 mph. Comparisons have been made to the island’s top pitcher Yariel Rodríguez, his teammate on Camagüey’s Serie Nacional squad.
Although the righthander has tantalizing talent he’s in the Cuban Federation’s doghouse after rumors of an attempted defection when he was sent to Panama to participate in the country’s provincial Los Santos team. These accusations have caused the FCB to deny contract offers from foreign leagues for Cousín’s services.
Give me one thing that you learned during your incursion in the Can-Am League with the Cuban National Team that made you a better pitcher?
Yes , that league made me a better pitcher because the hitters in that league laid off my fastball and this forced me to use a lot of my secondary pitches. By doing this I developed better command of my slider and change up. I took all the lessons learned there back with me to the Serie Nacional and applied them with plenty success.
How did you stay in shape last year during the pandemic?
During the quarantine it was hard to train, but thanks to a friend on mine that works for the INDER in Camagüey named Lázaro who opened his gym to certain athletes, including myself I was able to get my workouts in. Thanks to him I was able to do some tossing and some running. Because of his help I was able to get in game shape for the Serie Nacional.
Camagüey possibly has Cuba’s best rotation give your thoughts on that and do you guys have a friendly competition during season?
Well, don’t really compete against each other, well at least there isn’t any competition on my end. We are more like a brotherhood and a very united for a simple cause and that’s to win. This province has always had great pitching and of there are plenty of great pitchers that have come through here. One thing we have always done is try to pass the torch from generation to generation. Now in the current with the pitchers that we have pitching in professional leagues and those that are coming up from the juvenile league in combination with those that pitch in the Serie Nacional exclusively, we have the makings for possibly the top staff in Cuba.
Our talent has shown itself in the way we have filled the National Team and the Sub 23 team with plenty of pitchers from our staff.
Tell me about your experience in the Friendship Series between the US and Cuba in 2019. Compare the talent level of that US team to the level of talent in the Serie Nacional?
Being sincere that team is more talented than just about every team in Cuba, because at such a young age they dominate the fundamentals of our sport. They are also a very disciplined bunch that possess an immense amount of talent. When I pitched against them they gave me fits because of their knowledge of the strike zone and their plate discipline. Most of these guys are going to be future big leaguers. Being able to face them helped up my game and made me a better pitcher.