NEW YORK — With MLB currently being in a lockout between team owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Instead of critiquing the league consistently, here at Latino Sports, we enjoy showcasing and shining light on players who are passionate and deeply attached to baseball on and off the diamond. So many names come to mind; however, we will discuss individuals on a daily basis to refresh your memory as well as learn new details together on key stars across Major League Baseball.
As much as articles can talk about stats, I would rather go into depth on player characteristics, such as what makes fans attached to certain baseball stars. Baseball is not just about a discrete number of individuals; it’s about the people wearing the uniforms, which are players, coaches, and most importantly, the fans.
Today, we will learn about left-handed pitcher Nestor Cortes. At 27 years old, Cortes is a reliever for the New York Yankees. During the 2013 MLB Draft in the 36th round, Cortes was selected by the New York Yankees. However, through the Rule 5 Draft in 2017, Nestor Cortes Jr. was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles. Cortes went through stints with Baltimore, the Yankees minor league system briefly in 2018; then the Seattle Mariners. In 2020, Nestor Cortes agreed to join back with the New York Yankees on a minor league deal.
Yes, I know. The Rule 5 Draft sounds confusing. The Rule 5 Draft was designed by MLB to prevent teams from building excessively only in their minor league farm system. Since opposing teams could and would use these players within their major league roster if able to, this action by MLB is beneficial for all teams.
Notable names who were selected out of the Rule 5 Draft are former All-Star Jose Bautista from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, who was from Puerto Rico, in addition to former catcher Omar Narváez, who was born in Venezuela. The Rule 5 Draft has taken place annually each year and will continue to in the future.
Nestor Cortes Jr. was born in Surgidero de Batabanó, Cuba. The city of Surgidero de Batabano stands on the Caribbean coast. In 1995, while Cortes Jr. was only an infant, his father won the visa lottery. Nestor Cortes Jr along with his family moved to the closest place in the USA possible, the state of Florida. He grew up in the city of Hialeah, Florida playing sports at a young age.
In June of 2021, Cortes Jr. displayed his skillset to the fullest extent for the Yankees. At the time, New York was struggling in all phases, especially the bullpen. Cortes Jr. became an instant stop gap to the bullpen issues from his first appearance with the Yankees. In the month of June, Nestor Cortes generated 22 strikeouts in 14.0 innings pitched. He totaled the 2021 season with 93 innings pitched on a 2.90 ERA (Earned Run Average) and 103 strikeouts. Fan favorite Cortes rocked a trendy mustache for a portion of the season. Cortes’ pitching performances in the regular season helped guide the Yankees to a postseason Wild Card appearance.
During the season, Cortes would switch between being a starting pitcher and a reliever. Not many can sustain that type of workload, especially at such a young age; however Nestor Cortes Jr. is different. Nestor Cortes Jr. is exactly what every MLB team needs nowadays. A pitcher who gives it their all for their team to ultimately come out of the day with a win. Cortes shows that old school mindset while out on the bump. He challenges opposing batters with his all, not letting up on one single pitch.
The pitching form of Nestor Cortes is unlike many. Cortes has gone viral in the past on Twitter and several social media apps in regards to his crafty pitching techniques. His unpredictable form towards the plate instantly reminds me of a left-handed version of Johnny Cueto. Similar to Cortes, current free agent Johnny Cueto displays uncertain types of pitching motions to the plate in hopes to catch hitters off-balance and mess up their timing on the ball. Johnny Cueto was born in San Pedro De Macoris, Dominican Republic. Cueto pitched in the 2009 World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic National baseball team.
Cortes looks to be a key influence in New York’s pitching depth this upcoming season. Yankee fans, above all baseball fans, should embrace and appreciate players like Nestor Cortes Jr.
You can Follow New York Yankees Nestor Cortes on Twitter and Instagram!
Twitter: @Cortes_1210 Instagram: @nestorcortes12
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