Everybody who cares knows about the status of Rafael Almeida and Armando Marsans as the first products of the Cuban League to play in the U.S. majors, taking the field for the Cincinnati Reds on July 4, 1911. But virtually nobody knows about the accomplishments of Juan Violá and Estéban Prats, who were (as far as I can tell) the first Cuban Leaguers to play in the U.S. minor leagues. In 1904 they joined the Jacksonville Jays of the South Atlantic League, Violá as outfielder, Prats as first baseman, and did pretty well—Violá led the team with a .281 average (fifth in the league), while Prats’s .235 average, meager as it seems, was actually third among the Jays’ regulars.
Here they are in an (unfortunately blurry) team photo of the Jays, from the 1905 Spalding Guide:
Prats (who currently appears in the SABR minor league DB as E. Pratt) didn’t return to Jacksonville in 1905, and appeared in the U.S. only once more, briefly, for the 1907 Cuban Stars. He spent the balance of his Cuban League career mostly as a relatively light-hitting first baseman.
Violá, on the other hand, spent many years in the minors, including six seasons with Jacksonville (joined in future seasons by fellow Cuban Leaguers Luis Padrón and Valentín González) and several more with other southern teams, and ended his U.S. career with the Long Branch Cubans. After he retired from baseball he became a policeman in Cuba, and was killed during strike-related violence in 1919.