Por Yusseff Díaz
Geisel Cepeda is the main talent on display for the Cuban National Team in the U23 World Championship Tournament in Ciudad Obregón, México this coming week. He’s possibly one the most scouted and sought after cuban players since the César Prieto’s defection in February. It’s safe to say he’s the island’s top prospect in the current day.
The talented young outfielder will be playing this winter in México with the Cañeros de Los Mochis. Last Serie Nacional he hit a whopping .348 with 8 homeruns, 48 runs batted in and 7 stolen bases with the Gallos of Sancti Spiritus. Cepeda is a versatile on defender with the ability to play all three outfield positions. Many also say he has the capability of becoming a five tool player.
The Nippon Professional Baseball League has had discussions with the Cuban Baseball Federation about signing some of the island’s top prospects and his name was brought up plenty in negotiations as per my sources. Although he’s hitting a paltry .167 in tournament thus far, plenty of scouts who are in México to see him expect to witness his vast array of talents before the end of the competition.
The team as a whole has started slow offensively. What adjustments must the team make to jump start the offense ?
We have started very slow with the bats but I’m confident as the tournament wears on we can ramp up our offensive production. We are feeling more comfortable at the plate day by day and are due for an offensive eruption.
Cuba has an all-star laden team, does the squad feel pressured to perform?
No not really, we had great practices and workouts leading up to the tournament. We are also very confident in our abilities. We believe that we can win this competition and bring a title back home to the Cuban people.
Being that you were in México ahead of the team, how did you prepare for the tournament?
Being that I signed with Los Mochis I prepared in a more intense way, because I have goals to achieve in México. I want to impress the team’s brass, but I also want to have a good showing with the national team. I really worked hard in preparation for the tournament and for the upcoming Winter League season.
Do you have any goals for the upcoming Winter League season in México?
My goals are these, one I want to have the best results possible and two I want to leave it all on the field. I have been watching film of the pitchers in the league and I’m going to try to adjust on the fly, so I can have excellent results in between the lines. I want to show off my talents so hopefully I can land more lucrative contracts in the near future.
Being that you are the cousin of a legend such as Frederich Cepeda the bar of expectations for you is set high. Is that fair in your opinion?
Yes the expectations for me are very lofty being that I’m Frederich’s cousin, but I don’t feel pressured to perform. In fact it’s the exact opposite my last name motivates me to perform and be a great player like he was, I want to perform to the best of my ability no matter what league in the I play in.
As per my sources the Nippon League has you in it’s sights, would you like to play in the land of the rising sun?
Playing in Japan would be a dream come true for me. It would be one of the biggest accomplishments of my young career. Playing in a prestigious league such as the NPB is something one dreams of as a kid and a goal that one sets when they begin to play baseball.