Comparing Last 5 Cuban MLBers to Last 5 Japanese Players

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Comparing Last 5 Cuban MLBers to Last 5 Japanese Players
Hunter Martin/Getty Images
Cuban import Aroldis Chapman has emerged as baseball's nastiest reliever in 2012.

There are baseball factories all over the globe. With players now even coming from places like Italy (Alex Liddi) and Spain (Rhiner Cruz), it surely won't be long before martians are standing at the plate and on the mound.

Some baseball factories are more prestigious than others. The United States obviously has baseball covered, and the Dominican Republic has a longstanding reputation for being a hot spot for baseball talent.

The most intriguing baseball factories, however, would probably be Cuba and Japan. Baseball is all the rage in both countries, but it's not easy for Major League Baseball teams to pluck players from Japan, and it's even harder for clubs to pluck players from Cuba.

The players who do arrive in the majors from Cuba and Japan tend to be hit or miss. For every Ichiro, there is a Tsuyoshi Shinjo. For every Aroldis Chapman, there is an Alberto Castillo.

The unpredictability of Cuban and Japanese players once they arrive in the majors makes it hard to determine which country has a better track record of producing major league talent.

One way to at least get a notion of said track records, however, would be to compare the last five Cuban players to the last five Japanese players.

But first, a few ground rules. 

For Cuban players, only Cuban defectors will be counted. Players such as Yonder Alonso who were born in Cuba but raised in America are fodder for another article. 

Second, we'll use debut dates to determine who the "last five" Cuban players were and the "last five" Japanese players were.

And away we go...

Note: All stats and salary figures come from Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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