Hector Manuel Mendoza Ripoll
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 175 lb.
Mendoza was 2-0 with a 1.12 ERA in the 2009 World Youth Championship, winning All-Star RHP honors for the event as Cuba won the Silver Medal. Hector beat Venezuela twice. He tied for the event lead in wins and was 6th in ERA, though only third on his team behind Elbis Martinez and Darién Núñez. He made his Cuban Serie Nacional debut in 2011-2012 with Isla de la Juventud, going 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA but 17 walks in 28 IP at age 17.
In 2012-2013, he was 0-6 with two saves and a 2.42 ERA while allowing a .227 average. During 2013-2014, he was the closer for Isla de la Juventud and did well (6-4, 13 Sv, 2.36 ERA, .224 average allowed, but 31 BB in 49 2/3 IP). He tied Leinier Rodríguez, Carlos Juan Viera and Félix Fuentes for second in saves, 8 behind José A. García. In the Cuban All-Star Game, he replaced Leinier Rodríguez with a 3-3 tie in the 8th, one out and Alfredo Despaigne on third. He threw a wild pitch that scored Despaigne with the winner.
In July 2014, he signed with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Pro Baseball, one of four Cubans to sign with NPB teams that year under more lenient rules on Cuban players going abroad. At age 20, he was easily the youngest of the four and the only one who was a pitcher, following 34-year-old OF/DH Frederich Cepeda, 32-year-old 3B Yulieski Gourriel (a two-time Serie Nacional MVP) and 28-year-old OF Alfredo Despaigne (a three-time MVP). Also, Omar Linares (3-time MVP) had previously played in NPB. He did not make it to the big club, only pitching in ni-gun (1 R, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K in 5 1/3 IP). He eventually played briefly with the big club in 2015 and 2016. He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals organization for the 2017 campaign and remained there through 2019. He peaked at Triple-A, posting a 7.25 ERA in 17 relief appearances at that level.