Born: Jun 9, 1984
A standout on the Cuban National team that won World Cup Championships in 2003 and 2005 and Olympic Gold in 2004, Gurriel fled his homeland in 2015 and was declared a Free Agent the following year. On July 16, 2016, the Astros signed the 32-year-old infielder to a five-year contract worth $47.5 million and sent him to the minors to get back into baseball shape. After brief stints at four different levels of the Astros' minor league system, Gurriel was called up to the big leagues and made his Houston debut on August 21st.
The veteran international star got off to a hot start with the Astros, hitting .344 with an OPS of .899 through his first 19 games. But Gurriel cooled off down the stretch, finishing the season with a .262/.292/.385 slash line in 36 big league games. A solid contact hitter with power throughout his career, Gurriel amassed a .335/.417/.580 slash line and recorded more walks than strikeouts over his 15 seasons in Cuba. Gurriel is expected to serve as a regular in the Astros lineup in 2017 and should be considered one of the favorites for the Rookie of the Year Award.