Gourriel with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars
|Houston Astros – No. 10|
June 9, 1984 |
Sancti Spiritus, Cuba
|NPB: June 8, 2014, for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars|
|MLB: August 21, 2016, for the Houston Astros|
(through 2015 season)
|Runs batted in||30|
Yulieski Gourriel Castillo (born June 9, 1984) is a Cuban professional baseball third baseman for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for Industriales in the Cuban league. A former member of Cuba's national team, Gourriel is primarily a third baseman, though he has also played other positions, such as shortstop and second base. The son of former Cuban player Lourdes Gourriel, Yulieski was regarded as the best player in Cuba in 2006. At the World Baseball Classic in 2006, Major League Baseball scouts projected that Gourriel would be a first-round draft pick if he were eligible for the draft.
Gourriel's contributions helped the national team win a gold medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics and World Cup of Baseball championships in 2003 and 2005. During the 2005 World Cup, he led all batters with eight home runs.
He played second base for Cuba in the inaugural 2006 World Baseball Classic, making the final out for Cuba in their championship game loss to Japan. He batted .273 in the tournament, with a .342 on-base percentage and a .515 slugging percentage. Coincidentally, later in the finals of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Tournament, he again made the final out by grounding out into double play against South Korea. 
Gourriel had a solid season during the 2004–05 Cuban National Series, leading the league in hits and runs. However, he truly dominated in 2005–06, leading the series in RBIs, runs and triples. His 27 home runs, which also led the league, were one short of the record of 28. Gourriel's batting average was .327 and his slugging percentage was .676.
Defection from Cuba
In February 2016, Gourriel and his 22-year-old brother, Lourdes Gourriel, Jr., defected after competing in the Caribbean World Series in the Dominican Republic. In June, Major League Baseball declared Gourriel eligible to be signed by a major league team as a free agent.
Nearly ten years prior, ESPN.com had erroneously reported that Gourriel and another Cuban national player, Eduardo Paret, had defected from Cuba and into Colombia. Gourriel refuted this claim on August 1, 2006, stating that he returned to his home in Cuba immediately after the conclusion of the tournament the Cuban national team had been playing in.
On July 16, 2016, Gourriel signed a five-year, $47.5 million contract with the Houston Astros. He made his American debut in July with the Gulf Coast Astros of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, playing in two games. He was then promoted to the Lancaster JetHawks of the Class A-Advanced California League. After playing in four games for Lancaster, the Astros promoted Gourriel to the Corpus Christi Hooks of the Class AA Texas League. He batted 2-for-17 (.118) in five games for Corpus Christi, and was promoted to the Fresno Grizzlies of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League. He was recalled from Fresno on August 21.
His brother, Lourdes Gourriel Jr. also played in Cuba before defecting.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yulieski Gourriel.|
- Cuban Baseball Career statistics
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
|Cuban National Series MVP