Saturday, August 12, 2017


Continuing with my list of honorable mentions from Latin America, here are a few players from Mexico and Panama who didn't make the final cut for my book but figured prominently into the mix.


In 2003, Loiaza led the AL with 207 strikeouts and was the starting pitcher in the All-Star game. He made another All-Star appearance the following year. The hard-throwing right-hander spent portions of fourteen seasons with eight different clubs and finished with double digit win totals seven times. He was a runner up for Cy Young in 2003. Shoulder problems reduced his effectiveness and shortened his career. He retired with 126 wins.


A right-handed reliever, Lopez spent most of his career with the Tigers. He lasted eleven seasons in the majors, earning an All-Star berth in 1983. He made 3 postseason appearances with the Tigers in 1984, allowing no runs and picking up a pair of wins as Detroit ended a long World Series drought. Lopez entered 459 games during his career and retired with a creditable 3.56 ERA.

Currently property of the Blue Jays, Estrada began his career as a reliever. He became a swing-man in 2011 with Milwaukee, making 7 starts and 36 appearances out of the bullpen. In 2014, the Brewers called upon him to start 18 games while using him in relief 21 times. Upon signing with the Blue Jays in 2015, Estrada became a regular member of the starting rotation. As of this writing, he had compiled a 26-24 record in that capacity for Toronto. He earned an All-Star berth in 2016, but his best all around season (to date) came the previous year, when he won 13 games and posted a 3.13 ERA.


Just 22 years old, Osuna is at the beginning of a promising career with the Blue Jays. He finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting in 2015 and made his first All-Star appearance this season. He has averaged more than 12 strikeouts per nine innings so far in 2017. He is also on pace to break his career-high mark of 36 saves, set in 2016.


Kelly is perhaps best remembered for his days as a starting outfielder with the non-contending Yankee teams of the early-'90s. He made consecutive All-Star appearances in '92/'93. In the latter season, he was traded to the Reds for Paul O'Neill, who proved to be one of the missing links for the Yankees. Kelly continued to play competently after his departure from the Bronx. He compiled a lifetime .290 batting average over fourteen seasons. 


The left-handed Chen was an enigma to several of the eleven teams he played for during his career. But his stuff was good enough to keep him at the major league level for portions of seventeen seasons. Enjoying stretches of brilliance, he was plagued by inconsistency at times. Even so, he was a versatile starter, middle reliever and mop-up man. Between 2005 and 2012, he put up double digit win totals on four occasions. He averaged close to 7 strikeouts per nine innings over the course of his career.  


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