Cuban-American catcher Nick Fortes is generating positive opinions from his coaching staff at the start of the season with Miami Marlins. The backstop spoke to Pelota Cubana about what being of Cuban descent means to him earlier this season.
Although on the year he is only hitting .160 with a home run and three RBIs, the 26-year-old Fortes has been effective in handling the pitching staff when giving starter Jacob Stallings an occasional spell and has been solid behind the plate. For his career he has a .231 batting average, .300 on-base percentage with 14 homers, 34 runs batted in and will definitely need to make some adjustments in batters box to contribute more offensively.
His first season in the majors, 2021 has been his best season at the plate so far, during that campaign he posted an average of .290 with four home runs and seven RBIs in only 31 at-bats. He also slashed .353/ .667./1.030 and he also hit .263 with runners during that campaign.
Last year he showed some pop with nine home runs in 217 trips to the plate and also drove 24 runs during that span. This year he is expected to best his power stats and if can make adjustments at the dish this could be the season where he replaces Stallings and establishes himself as starter at catcher for the fish.
What was it like growing up in a Cuban-American environment?
“It was something wonderful, sharing with my grandparents, with the aroma of my grandmother’s food, parties like Christmas Eve, it’s a culture that we always carry with us and it’s something marvelous to be of Cuban heritage.”
What did they tell you about Cuba?
“My father was born in Holguín and came to the United States when he was six or seven years old. He told me about the difficulties in Cuba, about poverty, about how difficult it was to live there and that it was much easier to live here because of the system”.
Do you enjoy any Cuban tradition?
“Everything, especially in the food. My favorite food is picadillo. My father cooks a tremendous ropa vieja. I love pastelitos, they are pastry I really enjoy.”
How special is it to play in Miami, so close to those roots?
“Is something special. My dad is delighted. I grew up in Miami. I was born in Hialeah and have many relatives who still live in the area. So it’s very nice to be so close to that part of my life.