It’s springtime and that means warmer weather, the flowers are in bloom, and oh yeah — it’s baseball season, folks! The 2023 World Baseball Classic got us primed for the season. From Latin American countries that shocked the world like Mexico did with its continuous fight til the end, to Puerto Rico making history with a perfect game, the WBC was the perfect appetizer for the season.
The 2023 MLB season brings on some changes, including larger bases and a pitch clock, but the purity of the game has not changed and the talent in the game has only grown. From Ronald Acuña Jr. to José Miranda and Oscar Colas, let’s take a look at seven Latino players who are primed to make an impact in 2023.
Oscar Colas — Chicago White Sox
Less than two weeks before the season started, nobody knew if young Oscar Colas would make the Chicago White Sox roster. The 24-year-old Cuban played in the Japanese Baseball Club before signing with the Chicago White Sox organization in 2022. In one minor league season, he hit 23 home runs in 117 games. He proved himself throughout Spring Training in 2023, and the White Sox announced on March 26 that he had made the opening-day roster. Look out for the young Colas to display tremendous power for the White Sox in the outfield.
Ronald Acuña Jr. — Atlanta Braves
I know what you’re thinking. “Ronald Acuña Jr. is an established star! Why is he on the list?” This is true. Acuña has won Rookie of the Year, two Silver Sluggers, and is a 3-time All-Star. After his devastating ACL injury in 2021, people seemed to forget about his impact after a 2022 season that was subpar by his standards. Acuña, a native of Venezuela, is a perennial MVP candidate when he is healthy. He is capable of hitting 30 home runs and stealing 30 bases and leading an Atlanta Braves team to another division title.
Luis Urías — Milwaukee Brewers
A native of Sonora, Mexico, Luis Urías is coming into his sixth MLB season, but only his third season as a full-time player for the Milwaukee Brewers. He has proven that he can hit for power as a middle infielder and play three positions, expanding his value to the Brewers. His low batting average could see a jump in 2023 with the banning of the shift, making his 2023 season something to watch out for.
Miguel Vargas — Los Angeles Dodgers
A top prospect in the vaunted Los Angeles Dodgers farm system, Miguel Vargas made his MLB debut in 2022. He hit a double in his first at-bat and has not looked back since. The Cuban native made the Dodgers’ big league roster for 2023, to nobody’s surprise, a sleeper for the NL Rookie of the Year, Vargas’s bat-to-ball skills and his ability to draw walks make him an exciting player to watch in 2023.
José Miranda — Minnesota Twins
José Miranda was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 2016 out of Puerto Rico. He made his MLB debut in 2022 and had a terrific season in his short rookie season, hitting 15 home runs and positing a 115 OPS+, well above the league average. In 2023 he is poised to be the long-term answer for the Twins at third base. Look for him to have an explosive 2023 season.
Jhoan Durán — Arizona Diamondbacks
Jhoan Durán’s journey from the Dominican Republic to MLB was a long one, starting when he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks back in 2014. The 25-year-old made his big league debut in 2022, posting a 1.86 ERA in 67 innings. His fastball averages a fiery 100 mph to pair with his filthy curveball, and he will likely inherit the closing job for the Twins in 2023.
Edward Cabrera — Miami Marlins
Edward Cabrera’s MLB career has had a lot of false starts, but mainly due to injury. Cabrera’s 2022 season saw glimpses of his immense talent, lowering his walk rate and posting an ERA of 3.01. He ended his 2022 season on such a high note, and with a clean bill of health, there is no reason this 24-year-old from the Dominican Republic cannot explode into an elite starting pitcher for the Miami Marlins.
MLB has plenty of Latino players who are talented and primed to make a big impact in the 2023 season, with these just being a few. Which teams and players are you most excited to see?