Venezuelan Baseball Player Yilber Diaz Triumphs in His MLB Debut, After a Story of Inspiration

Yilber Diaz
Venezuelan Baseball Player Yilber Diaz (Credit: Getty Images)

One way or another, it can be said that Venezuela’s talent has been escaping for more than 20 years. Many emigrants have to live a completely different life than they expected. Others take their goals with them until they achieve them, as is the case of the new Venezuelan baseball player Yilber Diaz, who made more than just a debut in the MLB.

The 23-year-old right-hander was called up to the Major Leagues by the Arizona Diamondbacks and immediately put on a starting uniform for the team.

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The debut began with a glorious strikeout of Ozzie Albies of the Atlanta Braves. Getting the first strikeout for a pitcher is already an exciting achievement, but the rest of the game allowed the right-hander to add more pleasant experiences to a single day.

Yilber Diaz pitched six innings and became the fourth Venezuelan pitcher to achieve this feat. The other Venezuelans who debuted with 6 innings, 5 strikeouts, and one or fewer runs are Jose Alvarez, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Carlos Eduardo Hernandez.

Yilber Diaz’s excellent debut was for naught in a heartbreaking 5-4 extra-inning loss to the Atlanta Braves. The Diamondbacks were one hit away from making it a winner, but Paul Sewald served up a game-tying home run to Sean Murphy. Ultimately, Arizona’s offense couldn’t catch up, as the Braves took the lead for good in the 11th.

An inspiring story for a Venezuelan

When the Cascabeles first discovered Yilber Diaz, he was selling candy on the streets of Peru, trying to make ends meet while looking for an opportunity to pitch.

In February 2021, the Cascabeles gave him that opportunity. They signed the 20-year-old Venezuela native as an undrafted free agent with a signing bonus of just $10,000.

Diaz’s professional career did not start well. In his first year as a rookie in the Dominican Republic, Diaz posted a 5.13 ERA in 26.2 innings with more walks than strikeouts.

However, he showed that just as he struggled as an immigrant in Peru selling candy and ice cream to survive, he was able to raise his head until his long-awaited debut.

Three years later, Diaz is hitting 99 mph with improved command and two quality secondary pitches. He is one of the top pitching prospects in the Arizona organization.

“His determination, his mentality, his work ethic got him over the hump, and he’s the ultimate success story,” Diamondbacks farm director Shaun Larkin told PHNX Sports. “It’s an integral moment for player development as we watch him make his debut tonight. It’s really cool.”

In a video posted on the team’s social media, Diaz shared his impressions of his debut and how rewarding his career has become.

“My parents were together when I told them I had moved up. We are happy because I always fought every day until I achieved one of my dreams and now I am here,” said Diaz.

The young man born in Miranda, Venezuela, is a living example of the diaspora that has affected the country for 25 years. But he also serves as an inspiration for those who, when they emigrate, believe that their goals or dreams are eliminated. You are always on time.

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