(Photo Credit – MiLB)
Victor Labrada was signed out of Havana, Cuba in 2019 by Everett AquaSox’s parent club, the Seattle Mariners. Labrada was first discovered by MLB teams in 2018 while Victor played for the Cuban 18-and-under team. He was not only known for his speed but also for the ability to play all three outfield positions. Victor was a leader on and off the field and seen for his leadership. The left-handed outfielder was named Captain by his teammates who looked up to him. A year later, the Seattle Mariners inked him to a contract and the rest has been history.
For the last two years he has played for the Modesto Nuts (Low A) and our own Everett AquaSox (High A). In 2022, the 22-year old has hit a combined .246 average this season with 8 home runs and 34 RBIs while swiping 20 bases. Victor also has shown the knack for getting on base with 84 hits and scoring 55 runs (mostly from the leadoff spot in the lineup). With an on-base-percentage of .346 and an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .732, Labrada has shown he has patience at the plate and can get on base via the walk (44 of them) or the hit (27 extra base hits). He continues to play an outstanding centerfield, establishing himself as a defensive genius. He truly has made Funko Field a special place to come every night for the fans.
Seattle Sports Union was fortunate to sit down with Victor Labrada after a recent baseball game and learn how he came to America and found out some other pretty special tidbits about Victor.
SSU: Victor, what a pleasure it is to finally meet you in person. Thank you for joining us. You have some special followers on media that love you and are so excited for you. It’s been a pleasure getting to meet them and get to know them as they follow your career via SSU and other social media.
VL: Thank you for having me on, nice to meet you SSU. It’s nice to know I have that support from my family and friends 😊.
SSU: You were born in Havana, Cuba. Care to share about what it was like growing up in Cuba?
VL: Cuba is a great country, it’s kind of like a poor country, but I was blessed to have a great family who raised me to be who I am today. My Father made sure I got a great education, showed me his values and how great life can be. He didn’t have a whole lot growing up, but he made best of it. He always was really happy and full of energy and enjoyed his life. My Father is the reason why I am who I am today, and I thank God for that.
SSU: When did you start playing baseball and who was your inspiration?
VL: In first grade my friend played baseball and I was a swimmer. He was a great baseball player, and I was a great swimmer, but he kept trying to get me to play baseball. I started to playing baseball while I still swam and eventually stuck with just baseball. My swimming coach told me to stop playing baseball because I wasn’t going to go anywhere. He even told my Dad that and well we both knew that was rubbish and here I am today.
SSU: Tell us the story of how you came to America! How did the Seattle Mariners find you?
VL: I escaped from Cuba and went into Haiti. After a few days we crossed the border and went into the Dominican Republic. I stayed there for two years. The Mariners found me at a tryout in the Dominican Republic. My friends and I went to tryouts one day and it happened to be throwing day, a regular day his friends said. I told them no, it’s not going to be a regular day today, but it is going to be MY DAY today. So, the Mariners watched me play, liked me, and signed me a few days later. April 4th, 2021, I touched American soil for the first time and the rest once again is history.
SSU: I got to ask, where did you get your speed? You are fast my friend!
VL: I don’t really want to say but I will tell you guys anyway (for the fans, haha). In my country we have chickens and if we want to eat them, you have to be fast, you have to be able to catch the chickens and that is what I did. We had lots of chicken to eat lol.
SSU: What has it like so far playing Minor League Baseball?
VL: It has been truly great, each day I go out and improve on my game. I have been trying to develop my baseball skills to become a better player. I’d like to think I have made some progress. It has also been nice because my family has been really happy for me and supportive. I hope I am making them proud.
SSU: Where did you get your power because you have shown some pop in that bat of yours Victor?
VL: I just got to go out there and make contact and execute it. The power has just become a compliment to my game. I don’t go try and swing for the fences but every once in awhile I get a hold of one, plus the ball carries here at Funko, haha.
SSU: What’s the next step for Victor Labrada? What do you have to do to get to Arkansas, Tacoma and ultimately the Seattle Mariners?
VL: I just got to keep on doing what I have been trained to do, play baseball. I have to be consistent day in and day out. Setting goals is important too and if I achieve them, that will help with my growth. If I follow and achieve what the Mariners want for me then I like my chances.
SSU: Where do you see yourself 20 or more years from now after you finish your playing career? Also, who plays Victor Labrada in your very own Hollywood movie?
VL: First of all, I want to thank God for everything he has done for me and continues to do. In the future I hope to do something with young guys trying to learn baseball, to teach them the right things on and off the field. Perhaps I will be a coach, I don’t know. I just hope to help others like those who helped me get here.
To answer your last question, I hope they make a documentary about me and my life with Victor Labrada starring in the lead role.
SSU: We have never had an answer like that before, awesome response. We can’t wait to see you climb the ladder to the big leagues. Thanks again for joining us.
Best of luck to you Victor Labrada, you are truly a blessed young man. Wherever you might end up, we will always be fans of Victor Labrada.