For the Holguin pitcher Rafael Sanchez Thooppe the purposes and dreams begin to materialize early in time. At only 19 years of age, he is already a member of the National Preselection and has been included in the list of players, Amateur category, released by the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB) to be hired by a Major League Baseball (MLB) team.
“I’m very happy with the news. I dreamed of those moments, but it is not the same to know that they are realities, as first steps towards great goals.”
“Of what depends on me, there will dedication, effort and discipline to reach the Cuba team and to play in the highest level baseball in the world,” said Sanchez during his training in the Calixto Garcia baseball stadium.
"I am training these days with the boys of the U-23, waiting to travel to Havana , the next 14 or 15, to join the training of the second group of the Cuban Preselection (Pan-American and Premier 12)" he added.
"I started in baseball when I was eight years old in my municipality of Antilla, then I was trained in the Holguin Sports School (Eide) and the Academy. Before I was a receiver, but one day Noelvis González told me: Do not spend more work as a catcher, you are a pitcher, then I was 16 years old ...”
In this regard, Noelvis said: "They told me that there was a little boy from Antilla who practiced in catching, with a good arm. When he came to do some technical tests to Holguin, I realized that he had the characteristics to be a pitcher ".
This right-handed pitcher throws has reached up to 94 miles, but assures he relies on the strength of his arm to achieve even faster throws. "The straight is the most precious thing I have, but I dominate the slider and the change," he said.
He thanked his coaches: Orlando Figueredo, Alberto Cabrejas, Yoenis Duboys, Osmani del Rio, Orelvis Avila, Oscar Gil, among others.
Sanchez was one of the mainstays of the pitching staff of the Holguin team in the 53rd National Series, particularly as a reliever. In that tournament he averaged for 4.25 clean runs allowed, won seven times (five losses) and saved four games. He relieved 43 times.