Wednesday, December 23, 2009


1} HERMOSILLO NARANJEROS (17-10/.630/0.0GB/6.0Pts)
Hermosillo has won six of their last 10 games to maintain their half-game lead over Culiacan in the second half pennant title chase.

Ex-major leaguer Karim Garcia has hit well since returning from Korea, batting .356 in 11 games, and Luis Alfonso Garcia continues to lead the LMP with 21 homers to go with his 52 RBIs and .268 batting average. Aussie Travis Blackley has pitched very well in his six starts, going 4-1 with a 2.79 ERA.

2} CULIACAN TOMATEROS (16-10/.615/0.5GB/3.0Pts)
Culiacan has kept pace with the leaders by winning six of their last 10 games, including an 8-4 record away from home, after a horrendous first half.

Phillies prospect Mike Cervenak is hitting .353 with 10 homers and 45 RBIs, but also has 10 errors at third base. Part-timer Jorge Vazquez is hitting just .250, but has 11 homers in 112 at-bats. Hector Rodriguez has become the top Tomateros starter with a 4-1 record and 2.17 ERA in 10 starts.

3} OBREGON YAQUIS (15-12/.556/2.0GB/5.0Pts)
Despite having the Philadelphia Phillies pull prospects Michael Taylor and John Mayberry Jr. back to the USA earlier this year, Obregon has stayed in contention thanks in part to Mexican mainstays Erubiel Durazo, Carlos Valencia and Luis Mendoza.

Durazo is hitting .326 (with an OBP of .492) in 28 games, while Valencia has a .300 average, 14 homers and a league-high 58 RBIs. Mendoza is 7-3 with a 2.64 ERA, leading the LMP with 78 strikeouts.

4T} MAZATLAN VENADOS (13-14/.481/4.0GB/8Pts)
Mazatlan has quietly climbed from eighth place to fourth over the past two weeks, winning nine of 13 games since December 13 (including a three-game sweep of Los Mochis last weekend).

Jon Weber continues to pound LMP pitchers with a .394 average while John Lindsey (.318) and Ruben Rivera have combined for 21 homers and 86 RBIs, but the biggest story continues to be Venados pitcher Pablo Ortega, who is 8-2 and leads the league in both wins and a 2.40 ERA in his standout year.

4T} NAVOJOA MAYOS (13-14/.481/4.0GB/4.5Pts)
At first blush, it’s hard to see how Navajoa has remained in the first division. They have just one .300 batter in Matt Young, who’s hitting .324 with 7 homers and 20 stolen bases; and their only starting pitcher with an ERA under 4.00 is Tim Gustafson, who is 5-1 with a .293 ERA in 9 starts.

Adan Munoz leads the Mayos with 8 homers and 45 RBIs, but has had little help in the batting order or on the mound. Manager Orlando Sanchez deserves kudos for keeping this team near .500.

6} GUASAVE ALGODONEROS (13-15/.464/4.5GB/3.5Pts)
Guasave has struggled for wins all year long, which is what happens when you have a weak batting order trying to help mediocre pitchers. The Algodoneros are a longshot for the playoffs.

Dutch National Team infielder Yurendell de Caster has hit .380 in 20 games while Juan Rodriguez has had some timely hits en route to a .283 average and a team-high 8 homers and 36 RBIs. Francisco Cordova has managed a 6-4 record in 13 starts, but this just hasn’t been Guasave’s year.

7} MEXICALI AGUILAS (11-16/.407/6.0GB/7.0Pts)
One of the mysteries of this Mex Pac season is how Mexicali has the league’s best offense with a .304 batting average and serviceable (if undistinguished) pitching, yet is fighting to stay out of last place.

A possible answer is the callback of outfielders Brad Snyder and Matt Camp (hitting .380 and .333, respectively) by the Chicago Cubs in mid-December. Although batters like Jose Amador, Roman Pena and Emmanuel Valdez remain, Mexicali has not recovered. Welcome to winter league ball.

8} LOS MOCHIS CANEROS (10-17/.370/7.0/4.0Pts)
Along with Guasave, Los Mochis is in danger of having their season slip away. The Caneros are in last place after losing eight of their last ten games.

After slipping below .400 briefly, Sandy Madera has gone on a 9-for-22 tear to bring his league-leading average back up to .407. Madera also has 14 homers. Saul Soto is hitting .310 with 13 homers and 42 RBIs, but the Caneros just don’t have the pitching.

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