We continue our Unheralded Prospect Series with a review of his 2019 season with Darien Nunez, and we were fortunate enough to have him agree to interview with us. This interview is quite unique in that Darien only speaks Spanish. I was able to ask Robert Fuentes, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes Booster extraordinaire and friend, to work as a translating consultant for Darien and myself. As Nunez only speaks Spanish, some things may have been lost in translation.
Before we get to the interview, let’s look at Darien Nunez. Nunez is a hard throwing left handed reliever who fled from Cuba in 2015. The Dodgers signed him in April of 2018, three years after his journey from Cuba. In 2018 he played for 4 different organizational teams and compiled 57 strikeouts in 36.1 innings with an ERA of 2.23.
Darien Nunez spent the beginning of the 2019 season staying in Arizona where he did not pitch. He did not have an appearance in a game until mid June with the Ogden Raptors. By late June he was promoted to the Quakes where he was outstanding as he had 55 strikeouts in 31.1 innings with an ERA of 2.23.
On that note, here is the interview we had with some possible interpretation error.
The Interview In English
Tim Rogers: What year did you leave Cuba and how did you get to the United States?
Darien Nunez: I left Cuba in 2015, I escaped in Guyana, then I went to Haiti, and from Haiti, I crossed to the Dominican. I spent almost 3 years traveling and I spent all that time training. After the Dodgers signed me, I arrived in the United States in the year 2018.
TR: The beginnings of your windup is similar to Aroldis Chapman, especially your leg kick. Did you learn that from him?
DN: If the mechanics of mine are something similar to Chapman’s, it is no coincidence since he played in Cuba. I always followed him as he is my idol.
TR: What pitch types do you like to throw?
DN: I throw my fastball, my curve, my change and my slider.
TR: Are there any new pitches you are working on?
DN: No, I don’t have new pitches. I still hope to learn more later.
TR: How did you like your time with the Quakes?
DN: With the Quakes it seemed like a good season and more than that a good experience with all my teammates. We learned something new every day. They were good people both on the field and off the play as well as the coaches.
TR: Did you have a favorite place to eat in Rancho Cucamonga?
DN: I did not find a favorite. I did not leave the house much. It was only from play to house from house to play.
TR: What would you like to improve on for next season?
DN: I would like to be a little better with my curve so that it falls in for strikes. We are already working on it from home.
TR: How was your Spring Training going before it all ended?
DN: Let’s say my spring training was good with good physical and mental preparation
DN: Thank you for having me for this interview.
The Interview in Spanish
For completeness I am adding the interview in Spanish, completely as Google Translate and Darien wrote.
Tim Rogers: ¿En qué año te fuiste de Cuba y cómo llegaste a los Estados Unidos?
Darien Nunez: Hermano yo salí de cuba en el año 2015 ise escalé en Guyana después pasé para Haití y de Haití crucé para dominicana en dominicana estuve casi 3 años hay me pase todo ese tiempo entrenando y después que Los Dodgers me firmarán llegue a los EEUU en el año 2018
TR: El comienzo de su cuerda es similar a Aroldis Chapman, especialmente su patada en la pierna. ¿Aprendiste eso de él?
DN: Si la mecánica mía es algo parecida a la de Chapman desde que el jugaba en cuba yo siempre lo seguía a él , el para mi es como mi ídolo
TR: ¿Qué tipos de lanzamiento te gusta lanzar?
DN: Tiro mi recta , mi curva mi cambio y mi slaider en eso 4 picheos son los q estoy trabajando
TR: ¿Hay nuevos lanzamientos en los que esté trabajando?
DN: No no tengo nuevos lanzamientos aun espero para más adelante aprender otros mas
TR: ¿Qué le pareció su tiempo con los Quakes?
DN: Con los Quakes me pareció una buena temporada y mas que eso buena experiencia con toda eso compañero de equipo que día a día aprendía algo nuevo buenas personas tanto dentro del terreno como fuera del play al igual a los entrenadores también
TR: ¿Tenías un lugar favorito para comer en Rancho Cucamonga?
DN: Lugar favorito para cómo en Rancho Cucamonga te diría que no mayor mente no salí de la casa solo era del play a la casa de la casa al play
TR: ¿En qué te gustaría mejorar para la próxima temporada?
DN: Me gustaría mejor un poco más en mi curva para que caiga en strikes ya estamos trabajando en eso desde casa
TR: ¿Cómo fue tu entrenamiento de primavera antes de que todo terminara?
DN: Mi entrenamiento de primavera digamos que fue bueno con buena preparación física y mental
DN: Gracias a usted por tenerme presente para esta entrevista
I hope the interview was enjoyable. I want to thank Darien Nunez for willing to give this type of interview a chance. Darien is worth a follow on Instagram (@dariennunez9) and I cannot wait to watch him pitch again. Once everything starts up again I expect Nunez to advance pretty quickly to AA and AAA.
NOTE: This article ran a few days before but is reposted for technical reasons.