Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mexican League results for Wednesday, Mar. 30

PUEBLA 12-19-0, Veracruz 11-16-0 (10)
W-L. Ramirez (2-0). L-H. Navarro (0-1).
Alberto Carreon singled in game-winner for Pericos despite Jorge Guzman’s (pictured) seventh homer in ten contests for Veracruz.

REYNOSA 6-11-1, Yucatan 1-7-0
W-H. Chavarria (2-0). L-O. Bustillos (1-1)
Adan Munoz blasted two homers and Hector Chavarria tossed seven shutout innings for Broncos.

Laguna 3-11-1, MEXICO CITY 2-9-1
W-J. Mateo (2-1). L-M. Duarte (1-1).
Vaqueros snapped eight-game skid as Emmanuel Valdez broke 2-2 tie with homer in eighth inning.

Minatitlan 10-15-1, OAXACA 6-10-2
W-F. Cordova (1-1). L-S. Valenzuela (1-2).
Rolando Acosta homered, doubled and drove in four runs to lead Petroleros win.

Tabasco 7-18-0, CAMPECHE 6-11-0 (10)
W-J. Silva (1-0). L-I. Castillo (0-1).
Mario Santana had four hits, including key double in three-run Olmecas tenth inning.

SALTILLO 9-16-0, Monclova 8-14-0 (12)
W-R. Diaz (1-0). L-I. Cordova (0-1).
Saltillo’s Carlos Gonzalez singled in Jose Lopez with game-winning run in bottom of 12th.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mexican League results for Tuesday, Mar. 29

MEXICO CITY 10-16-0, Laguna 3-8-1
W-Robles (2-0). L-Gutierrez (0-1).
Luis Terrero (pictured batting) led Diablos’ 16-hit attack with 4-for-5 night, including two homers and five RBIs.

Yucatan 5-8-1, REYNOSA 4-7-1
W-Navarro (1-0), L-Guerrero (0-1).
Fernando Valenzuela, Jr. had two hits as Leones scored twice in ninth for comeback win.

OAXACA 6-8-1, Minatitlan 5-7-1
W-Valenzuela (1-0). L-Marquez (0-1).
Jaime Brena powered two solo homers and notched four runs in Guerreros triumph.

CAMPECHE 5-9-1, Tabasco 1-6-3
W-Elizalde (2-0). L-Madero (0-1).
Piratas starter Carlos Elizalde pitched six innings of one-run ball for his second win of season.

PUEBLA 10-12-1, Veracruz 4-8-3
W-Lara (1-0). L-Santamaria (0-1).
Mendy Lopez singled, hit a two-run homer and drove in four to pace Pericos victory.

SALTILLO 7-11-0, Monclova 2-7-1
W-Villalobos (1-1). L-Garcia (0-2).
Saraperos’ Gabriel Martinez broke 1-for-22 slump with three-run homer and RBI single.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mexican League results for Monday, Mar. 28

Quintana Roo 4-9-1, MONTERREY 3-12-1
W-Etherton (1-0). L-Serafini (0-1).
Carlos Sievers (pictured) homered, doubled and drove in two runs for the Tigres.

Monclova 14-15-4, SALTILLO 11-15-4W-N. Rodriguez (1-1). L-J. Mercedes (0-1).
Efren Espinoza hit a two-run single during six-run fourth as the Acereros sent 11 batters to the plate.

MEXICAN LEAGUE STANDINGS
Northern Zone:
Monterrey 7-2, Reynosa 6-2, Mexico City 5-3, Saltillo 4-4, Puebla 4-4, Monclova 2-6, Laguna 1-7.
Southern Zone: Veracruz 7-1, Oaxaca 4-4, Tabasco 4-4, Yucatan 4-4, Quintana Roo 4-5, Campeche 3-5, Minatitlan 2-6.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mexican League results for Sunday, Mar. 27

VERACRUZ 10-12-0, Minatitlan 8-15-0
W-Aguirre (2-0). L-Alvarez (0-2).
Aguilas’ Victor Diaz (pictured) blasted two homers and drove in six during 3-for-3 game at plate.

Puebla 7-11-2, CAMPECHE 2-5-0 (1st game)
W-Barcelo (1-1). L-Campos (0-1).
Mendy Lopez was 2-for-4 with three-run homer for Pericos in twinbill opener.

CAMPECHE 6-8-1, Puebla 1-5-1 (2nd game)
W-Armenta (1-0). L-Espinoza (0-2).
Alejandro Armenta tossed complete game and Ruben Rivera conked two-run homer for Piratas in nightcap.

QUINTANA ROO 6-11-1, Mexico City 3-8-2
W-Chiasson (1-0). L-German (1-1).
Tigres broke open 3-3 game with three runs in eighth on two hits, two Diablos errors and hit batsman.

TABASCO 7-13-0, Oaxaca 3-7-1
W-Vazquez (1-1). L-Valdez (0-1).
Olmecas leadoff batter Tike Redman went 4-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs.

YUCATAN 8-9-1, Saltillo 3-11-1
W-Gutierrez (1-0). L-Mendoza (0-1).
Santiago Gutierrez allowed one run in seven innings and Sandy Madera sliced a three-run double for Leones.

Monterrey 5-13-1, MONCLOVA 2-5-1
W-Zavala (1-0). L-Villegas (0-1).
Sergio Mora tossed five shutout innings and Humberto Cota was 3-for-5 with three runs for Sultanes.

Reynosa 8-13-2, LAGUNA 6-10-2
W-Gonzalez (1-1). L-Garcia (0-2).
Adan Munoz homered twice and collected three RBIs as Broncos held off furious four-run ninth rally by Laguna.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mexican League results for Saturday, Mar. 26

Reynosa 13, LAGUNA 0
Broncos bashed four homers to support Marco Tovar (pictured) go to 2-0 with 0.00 ERA in two starts.


VERACRUZ 11, Minatitlan 8 Francisco Mendez cracked two homers as Aguilas were lone LMB home team to win game on Saturday.

Puebla 8, CAMPECHE 3 Omar de la Torre homered and scored three runs and Andres Meza let in two runs in 6.2 innings for Pericos.

Saltillo 7, YUCATAN 1 Danny Rodriguez allowed one run in six frames and Jesus Cota crunched two-run homer in Saraperos win.


Monterrey 6, MONCLOVA 2 Karim Garcia homered, doubled and drove in four runs to help Walter Silva aise record to 2-0 for Sultanes.


Mexico City 4, QUINTANA ROO 1 Gabriel Gutierrez lined a two-run homer in eighth inning to lead Diablos win over archrival Tigres.


Oaxaca 6, TABASCO 5 Jesus Lopez legged out two-run triple and later scored in fourth to hand Guerreros a lead they'd never relinquish.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mexican League results for Friday, Mar. 25

YUCATAN 3, Saltillo 2
Oswaldo Morejon (pictured) plated Alejandro Rivero with walkoff single in ninth for Leones.

VERACRUZ 5, Minatitlan 1
Joel Vargas (7.2IP/1R/4H) was sharp while Jose Chavez went 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs for Aguilas.

Monterrey 2, MONCLOVA 1
Sultanes starter Rosman Garcia (7IP/0R/2H) outdueled Monclova's Jasiel Acosta (8IP/1R/5H).

Reynosa 7, LAGUNA 5
Marshall McDougall singled in go-ahead run in ninth to give Broncos road win.

Mexico City 8, QUINTANA ROO 3
Mario Valenzuela blasted 3-run homer in decisive 5-run fifth for Diablos.

Oaxaca 6, TABASCO 3
Erick Rodriguez singled twice, scored two runs and had one RBI for Guerreros.

Only games scheduled

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mexican League results for Thursday, Mar. 24

REYNOSA 16, Monclova 3
Broncos’ Yurendell de Caster (pictured) slashed 3 doubles, scored 3 runs and drove in 2 more.

Tabasco 15, PUEBLA 5
Henry Mateo went 3-for-5, doubled, stole base, had 3 RBIs and scored 2 runs for Olmecas.

Veracruz 7, MINATITLAN 2
Jorge Guzman pounded homers in 6th and 7th innings during 3-for-5 night for Aguilas.

MONTERREY 12, Laguna 6
Sultanes put 25 men on base (15 hits, 10 walks) against six Laguna pitchers.

OAXACA 9, Campeche 4
Jaime Brena’s 2-run double keyed 5-run fifth as Guerreros erased 4-1 Campeche lead.

Only games scheduled

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mexican League results for Wednesday, Mar. 23

REYNOSA 7, Monclova 4
Yurendell de Caster hit 2-run homer and Willis Otanez went 2-for-3 in Broncos win.

Campeche 10, OAXACA 5
Jolbert Cabrera whacked 3-run homer in first inning as Piratas were lone LMB road team to win Wednesday.

PUEBLA 4, Tabasco 3
Pericos’ Luis Suarez singled in Serafin Rodriguez with winning run in bottom of ninth.

MINATITLAN 9, Veracruz 8
Luis Fonseca single in bottom of ninth drove in Ramon Valdez with game winner for Petroleros.

MONTERREY 3, Laguna 2 (12)
Carlos Orrantia (pictured) led off bottom of 12th with triple, then scored on Leo Medrano wild pitch to win game for Sultanes.

YUCATAN 7, Mexico City 2
Leones starter Oscar Bustillos let in one Diablos run over 5 innings to earn win.

QUINTANA ROO 5, Saltillo 0
Jose Ramirez (6IP/5H/1K/0BB) combined with four relievers on shutout for Tigres.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mexican League results for Tuesday, Mar. 22

OAXACA 5, Campeche 3
Alejandro Gonzalez (pictured) belted grand slam to cap Guerreros’ miracle 5-run 9th inning comeback win.

Monclova 3, REYNOSA 0
Oswaldo Verdugo (4 IP) combined with Irving Jimenez (3 IP) and two other relievers on 5-hit shutout for Acereros.

Tabasco 10, PUEBLA 4
Jesus Castillo crunched grand slam for Olmecas as Tabasco starter Leonardo Gonzalez held Pericos to 1 run in 6 IP.

Veracruz 3, MINATITLAN 2
Jorge Guzman’s 3rd homer in 3 games keyed 3-run first inning in Aguilas win.

MONTERREY 10, Laguna 5
Sultanes cracked 3 homers (including Agustin Murillo grand slam) in 8-run second frame.

Mexico City 13, YUCATAN 2
Diablos’ Carlos Valencia singled, doubled and drove in 3 runs.

Saltillo 3, QUINTANA ROO 2 (10)
Jesus Cota slammed solo homer in top of 10th and closer Rafael Diaz had 1-2-3 inning in Saraperos triumph.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mexican League results for Monday, March 21

Mexico City 8, YUCATAN 6
Diablos RF Ivan Terrazas went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles and 3 RBIs, including game-winning RBI double in 8th

Saltillo 5, QUINTANA ROO 4
DH Noe Munoz (pictured) blasted 3-run homer off Tigres reliever Jorge Campillo in 8th to erase 4-2 deficit for Saraperos

Only games scheduled

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mexican League results from Sunday, Mar. 20

REYNOSA 1, Laguna 0
Broncos’ 5’4” Oscar Ramirez (pictured) hit homer for only run of game as Marco Tovar and Alan Guerrero combined on 3-hit shutout.

Veracruz 8, OAXACA 4
Victor Diaz hit 3-run homer, Jovanny Rosario and Hector Paez each had 3 hits for Aguilas.

MEXICO CITY 3, Quintana Roo 1
Marco Quevedo scattered 3 hits with 7 K’s in 6 innings for Diablos, who scored 3 runs in top of ninth for win.

MINATITLAN 9, Tabasco 8
Carlos Rivera bashed 3-run homer and Adelaido Martinez slashed 3-run pinch triple to lead Petroleros victory.

MONTERREY 6, Puebla 1
Edgar Quintero homered and drove in 3 as Walter Silva pitched 5.2 innings of 1-run ball for Sultanes.

Yucatan 8, CAMPECHE 5 (10)
Fernando Alejos homered and Carlos Piste rapped 2-run double in 10th for Leones.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mexican League results from Saturday, Mar. 19

Quintana Roo 8, MEXICO CITY 6 (10)
Doug Clark hit 2B in 10th for go-ahead RBI before LMB record 28,753 fans in Mexico City's Foro Sol (pictured)

TABASCO 5, Minatitlan 4
Henry Mateo hit 2-run 2B and scored once for Olmecas


VERACRUZ 2, Oaxaca 0
Aguilas starter Joel Vargas scattered 5 hits and K'd 7 in 7.0 shutout innings

PUEBLA 8, Monterrey 7 (10)
Eliezer Ortiz scored game-winner on Omar de la Torre's bases-load sac fly in bottom of 10th

Campeche 6, YUCATAN 1
Steve Moss crushed 3-run HR, Luis Matos went 3-for-4 to lead Piratas to win

Saltillo 6, MONCLOVA 4
Jesus Cota's 2-run 2B keyed 4-run 8th in comeback win for defending champs

LAGUNA 6, Reynosa 4
Jesus Romo hit 2-run pinch 3B in 3-run 7th for Vaqueros as Dionys Cesar went 4-for-5

Thursday, March 17, 2011

YUTACAN LEONES (2010 record: 54-50)

A capricious ruling by the Liga office handed the Leones the fourth and final LMB South playoff berth in 2010 despite fewer points than second-half champion Campeche, but Yucatan should get another postseason berth this year the old-fashioned way: By earning it.
Not that the perennial contenders were chopped liver last year. 1B Sandy Madera (.383/18/70) hit 10 bombs in 33 games after being traded to Yucatan by Saltillo and gives the Leones a legit power threat. 3B D’Angelo Jimenez (.355/9/60), C Said Gutierrez (.278/13/55), 2B Oswaldo Morejon (.303/5/48) and 1B Fernando Valenzuela, Jr. (.308/6/49) are all useful hitters, but Yucatan teams historically are built on defense and pitching, and 2011 should be no different under manager Lino Rivera.

While the Leones had an uncharacteristically charitable 4.98 ERA, they still have four-time All-Star lefty Oscar Rivera (7-5/3.48) atop the rotation, righty Wilton Chavez (9-5/5.12) should pitch better than he did last season and Oswaldo Verdugo (6-7/5.50) was 29-6 for the Leones between 2007 and 2009 before landing with a thud last year. Yucatan pitching can be better in 2011, but it'll require some comeback seasons.

Yucatan should make the LMB South playoffs along with Quintana Roo, Oaxaca and Campeche.

-Copyright 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

VERACRUZ AGUILAS (2010 record: 39-66)

The Aguilas were an all-or-nothing team in 2010: Their 107 homers tied for second in homers, but they also were third in strikeouts with 619 and last in hitting at .262. New manager Daniel Fernandez takes over a last-place team that plays in one of Mexico’s most historic cities (and a place where people love a good time), but Veracruz fans are not likely to see their first LMB championship since 1970.

Defending Liga homer champ Victor Cruz (.298/29/96) and fellow OF Jorge Guzman (.238/22/65) will supply most of the power while 1B Kevin Barker (.291/12/48), 2B Jose Chavez (.273/11/35) and 3B Jesus Castillo (.293/5/31) have some pop, but this is a lineup that can be pitched around. OF Sergio Garcia (.174/5/19) is young at age 20 and had 15 steals in 17 attempts last year, but will simply have to hit better.

Fernandez has an unreliable everyday lineup, which won’t be much help with the pitching staff he inherited from Tatis. Joel Vargas (8-5/3.66) was a decent top-of-the-rotation guy who didn’t give up many walks (33 in 120.1 innings) and Rafael Cruz (4-0/1.69) was simply outstanding in just five starts, but the two midseason All-Stars had little behind them as Veracruz pitchers turned in a 5.49 ERA.

Poor hitting and pitching likely means no playoffs for Veracruz. But the music should be good.
-Copyright 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

TABASCO OLMECAS (2010 record: 46-60)

The Olmecas are historically one of the Mexican League weak sisters, and 2010 was another object lesson in “how.” Tabasco finished 14 games under .500 with a revolving door of players coming in and out of Villahermosa (no less than 68 different men suited up for the Olmecas last year), three men managed the team and just 105,379 fans found their way to the ballpark for home games.

New manager Derek Bryant inherits this mess. He is not entirely without talented players. 1B Michel Abreu (.292/17/71) was the only player to hit more than six homers, OF Tike Redman (.355/4/41) did well in 62 games and journeyman OF Lorenzo Buelna (.294/5/50) is a career .300 hitter in nine Liga seasons, but the Olmecas lineup is not going to frighten anyone beyond their own fans.

Of those 68 players last year, 39 were hurlers who combined for a 5.16 ERA. Only William Vizcarra (9-3/4.63) had more than five wins and Francisco Villegas (2-1/2.98/24 saves) was an effective closer, but the well starts running dry. Juan Pena (5-5/3.83) and Gerardo Esparza (5-6/4.98) will battle for the number two starter’s job, which is kind of like being first mate on the Titanic: Someone has to do it.
Under a proven skipper like Bryant, the Olmecas WILL show up for games…but that’s about it.
-Copyright 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

SALTILLO SARAPEROS (2010 record: 55-49)

The Saraperos had to hold off Reynosa for the fourth and final LMB North playoff berth with the Liga’s seventh-best season record, but Saltillo made the most of the postseason by winning their second consecutive pennant. The road to another flag won’t be easier with the addition of Puebla in the North.

The Saraperos might be up to the challenge. Saltillo’s batting order will include solid veterans like 2B Jose Rodriguez (.333/12/64), DH/1B Refugio Cervantes (.291/20/90) and OFs Cristhian Presichi (.342/8/58), Jesus Cota (.332/12/47) and Willie Romero (.323/7/56). Romero came to Saltillo in a midseason trade with Yucatan for 1B Sandy Madera and hit .358 for the Saraperos over 31 games. Saltillo manager Orlando Sanchez has a good batting order with a nice combination of power and speed.

Sanchez should probably worry about his pitching, however. Although Danny Rodriguez (4-4/3.97) was the playoff MVP with five postseason wins (including a no-hitter) and ex-MLBer Jose Mercedes (0-3/5.40) pitched a complete game in Saltillo’s pennant-clinching win over Puebla, this is still a staff with a 5.15 ERA. Sometimes games are actually won on pitching, so this is an area of concern for the Saraperos.

Saltillo may earn a three-peat, but they need to outscore opponents…they won’t win on pitching.

-Copyright 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011

REYNOSA BRONCOS (2010 record: 56-51)

The Broncos are one of those teams that look like contenders on paper until you peek at who other teams have. Reynosa might be a contender in the LMB South, but they’ll scramble to even make the playoffs even though they’ve got a good everyday lineup and a respected manager in Homar Rojas.

Reynosa’s big offseason pickup was LMB batting king Willis Otanez (.393/12/76), who makes the border city his seventh LMP stop in 12 years. Wherever Otanez has gone, he’s hit, and he DH for a team with productive hitters like IF Yurendell de Caster (.339/15/66), 1B Jesse Gutierrez (.326/21/84), CF Leo Heras (.316) and popular 3B Marshall McDougall, who went .286/20/86 for Reynosa in 2009 before spending last year in Taiwan. Potentially this is a stronger batting order than Otanez left behind in Puebla.

The Broncos pitchers were collectively unimpressive in 2010 but finished fifth in the LMB with a 4.66 team ERA, so they weren’t bad, either. Marco Tovar (8-4/3.24) became Reynosa’s most reliable starter last year, Alan Guerrero (4-4/3.38/16) is a sometimes dominant closer and there is hope that ex-KC Royals starter Runelvys Hernandez (2-5/4.63) can be effective, but Reynosa pitchers will have to do it with mirrors.

Rojas has done some good managerial work in the past, but his Broncos don’t have the horses.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

QUINTANA ROO TIGRES (2010 record: 56-47)

The Tigres had a good season in 2010, making the playoffs under manager Matias Carrillo and settling a bit in the front office after the Peralta family took the “For Sale” sign off the team. Still, it’ll be tough for the Cancun nine to repeat their on-field success without Bobby Cramer in Tigres togs.

Cramer (13-3/2.95) parlayed a summer with Quintana Roo as the LMB’s best pitcher into four starts and two wins during his MLB debut with Oakland in September. Left behind were Arturo Barradas (8-5/5.46), Pablo Ortega (2-6/8.24) and Juan Ramon Mares (2-5/4.77) among the starters. Efficient closer Scott Chiasson (2-2/2.67/24 saves) is very good, but the overall quality of Tigres pitching drops quite a bit in 2011.

Quintana Roo hit .301 as a team last year despite some regulars having off-years. OF brothers Albino (.329/6/44) and Sergio (.323/10/55) Contreras both had nice years, as did vet 2B Carlos Gastelum (.325/5/43), but SS Flavio Romero (.251), UT Kevin Flores (.294), and 3Bs Jaime Trejo (.298) and Abel Martinez (.311/11/49) combined with Gastelum for 59 errors. Obregon’s postseason hero C Iker Franco (.259/11/69) needs to rebound from a quiet 2010 and 1B Carlos Sievers (.285) needs to turn back time.

The Tigres should compete well in the weaker LMB South, but ultimately won’t overcome the loss of Cramer.

Friday, March 11, 2011

PUEBLA PERICOS (2010 record: 66-39)

One of the changes brought about by the layoffs for the Nuevo Laredo and Chihuahua franchises in the Liga this year is the shift of LMB South champion Puebla to the tougher LMB North, where the Pericos will have to compete against Mexico City, Monterrey and defending champion Saltillo just to return to the League Championship Series. And they’ll have to do it without Willis Otanez.

The reigning Liga batting champion took his .393 average to Reynosa, his seventh LMB team since 2001. Otanez will be missed, but Puebla skipper Houston Jimenez’ cupboard hasn’t been left bare. Returning will be Luis Suarez (.361/8/63), Rene Reyes (.336/16/84) and Omar de la Torre (.338/12/72), forming one of the Liga’s best outfields plus DH Serafin Rodriguez (.361/6/38) adds pop. The infield is not nearly as strong offensively while 3B Miguel Terrero and SS Ivan Cervantes combined for 32 errors.

Puebla’s pitching staff has three solid starters in Lorenzo Barcelo (11-5/3.65), Omar Espinoza (11-4/4.31) and Andres Meza (10-5/4.58), but the fourth and fifth slots in the rotation are unsettled. Closer Luis Ramirez (3-3/3.86) had 30 saves and Jose Cobos (6-4/3.18 is a useful setup man.

The Pericos should still be winners, but the road to the pennant is a harder one from the North, especially without Otanez' bat.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

OAXACA GUERREROS (2010 record: 60-45)

It ain’t easy being a ballplayer in Oaxaca. The city itself is more than nice enough, but the Guerreros had to overcome nearly moving or disbanding last season (a workers strike shut down the Oaxaca ballpark for a time and threatened to close it entirely) to finish 15 games over .500 and give a good showing in the playoffs before losing to Puebla in the LMB South finals. Then they lost their manager.

Marco Antonio Vazquez replaces Eddie Diaz as manager (Diaz will scout full-time for Tampa Bay in 2011) and takes over a decent team, including an offense that hit .313 with gap power and a pitching staff that tossed seven shutouts but allowed too many baserunners. A lot of skippers have started with less.

Guerreros RF Christian Quintero (.317/12/77) led with only a dozen dingers but five players had 22 or more doubles. C Erick Rodriguez (.327/10/61) may be the Liga’s best backstop, 3B Victor Mercedes (.336/8/81) has been productive and DH Juan Canizales (.301/10/52) keeps telling Father Time “Not yet!”

Oaxaca’s pitching is not their strength. Rodolfo Gonzalez (10-6/4.89), Rolando Valdez (10-4/5.87) and Serfio Velazquez (9-4/4.41) combined for 29 wins and a 5.02 ERA. Sort of says it all right there.

Puebla’s move to the North will help, but the Guerreros will live by their hitting. Pitching will keep Oaxaca out of the LMB Finals.
-Copyright 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

MONTERREY SULTANES (2010 record: 58-48)

An already good Monterrey team got better in the offseason by bringing in OF Karim Garcia and 1B Erubiel Durazo. The two ex-big leaguers will combine with RF Luis Alfonso Garcia (.338/21/86), LF Edgar Quintero (.320/13/65) and CF Chris Roberson (.306/12/46 with 21 steals) to give the Sultanes a potentially lethal lineup behind one of the best pitching staffs in the league. Getting a rebound year from SS Heber Gomez (.279/2/47) is critical. The underrated 6’3” 220-pound vet has a well-deserved reputation as a clutch player.

Monterrey didn’t stop with the power boost. The Sultanes added P Dan Serafini (5-2/3.84 for Los Mochis and 4 games for Obregon in CS last winter) and Rosman Garcia (6-8/3.32 for Nuevo Laredo in 2010 plus a 5IP/1ER start for Anzoategui in CS) to a staff that already included Walter Silva (7-3/4.45), Jonathan Castellanos (6-2/2.90) and Sergio Mora (6-6/4.92). Manager Che Reyes may not have a star-studded starting rotation, but it’ll be one of the Mexican League’s deepest. Julio Manon (1-2/3.30/12 saves) shared closing duties with Gaudencio Aguirre last year but Aguirre is in Tabasco this season so Manon, who had three saves for Este to lead CS relievers, will own the role in 2011.

The Sultanes will join Mexico City as top threats to unseat Saltillo in the LMB North this year.
-Copyright 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

MONCLOVA ACEREROS (2010 record: 52-50)

Which Monclova Acereros team will we see in 2011? Monclova’s first-half club that went 20-33 and finished one game out of last place in the LMB North? Or the Steelers side who battled to a 33-19 record and came in 2.5 games behind second half champ Mexico City?

The Acereros are an intriguing team, with a good number of proven veterans sprinkled through the lineup. 1B Pedro Valdes (.324/16/68) is the best of a middling batting order. 3B Efren Espinosa is back from a .318/12/50 season, LF Leo Arauz (.305/6/53) has his best years behind him but is still fairly productive, CF Donzell McDonald (.301/12/65 with 19 steals) has been one of Mexico’s best leadoff hitters for years, while C Saul Soto (.301/9/45), 1B/OF Abraham Valencia (.291/12/57 for Campeche) and 2B Hector Garanzuay (.248/6/47) are all decent batsmen. Monclova is capable of putting together a good batting order.
The pitching staff is workmanlike: Nerio Rodriguez (9-7/4.13) is 40 but can still get strikeouts with 88 in 100 innings lasdt year, Roberto Novoa (6-0/3.97/5 saves) did well both starting and closing, Oswaldo Verdugo (6-7/5.50) was 29-6 in three years for Yucatan before a tough 2010 and Jasiel Acosta (9-5/4.79) is a decent veteran lefty.

Manager Gerardo Sanchez’ Acereros could surprise and slip into the playoffs, but it's less likely now with Puebla joining the LMB North in 2011.
-Copyright 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

MINATITLAN PETROLEROS (2010 record: 44-60)

The Petroleros were not one of the more interesting teams in the Mexican League last season, finishing 16 games under .500 and drawing just 74,529 fans in 53 games. However, under new manager Victor “El Loco” Meza, things in Minatitlan will be anything but boring in 2011. Meza, a longtime star in the Cuban National Series, was as renowned for his flamboyance and temper as for his playing ability. He won’t have an easy time lighting a fire under this team, though.

Minatitlan hit .298 as a team to finish eighth in that category, but they didn’t score many runs. 1B Carlos Rivera (.373/16/82) is the top returning batter, while CF Frank Diaz (.338/13/66) gives strong support and SS Rolando Acosta (.327/7/50) is one of Mexico’s most underrated infielders. The Petros will be helped if OF Amaury Cazana (.380 in 29 games) is able to play for a full season.

Minatitlan pitchers had a 5.63 ERA in 2010. Enrique Quintanilla (7-8/4.17) and Francisco Cordova (7-6/4.67) head the rotation and reliever Isidro Marquez (3-3/3.61/17 saves) broke Ramon Arano’s Liga record of 812 games pitched last June, but most Petros pitchers were of the “duck-and-cover” variety.

At least Meza’s players won’t dare sleepwalk through games. In Minatitlan, that’s progress.
-Copyright 2011

Sunday, March 6, 2011

MEXICO CITY DIABLOS ROJOS (2010 record: 64-40)

The Diablos had another great regular season, finishing with the best record in the LMB North, but lost in the first playoff round to Saltillo after leading 3 games to 0. Owner Alfredo Harp Helu expects Liga pennants to fly at Foro Sol. Thus, pressure is on manager Mako Oliveras in 2011 to cop a title.

Oliveras’ team seems to have the talent. Most players are back from a team that led the league in hitting (.322), homers (110) and RBIs (617) last summer. 1Bs Japhet Amador and Mario Valdez combined to hit .365 with 23 homers and 102 ribbies, OFs Mario Valenzuela, newcomer Leo Heras and Ivan Terrazas each hit over .326, and Geronimo Gil (.330) gives Mexico City one of the best vet catchers in the LMB. The Diablos have eight .300+ hitters in their lineup.

Mexico City led the Liga with 11 shutouts, but their pitching needed improvement. Esteban Yan (12-3/3.77) and Javier Martinez (11-2/3.31) were solid, while Elmer Dessens returns from MLB. Francisley Bueno (4-2/4.36) and Marco Quevedo (3-5/5.79) had good winters for Obregon’s Caribbean Series champs, but they’ll need to step things up. Former CS MVP Francisco Butto (1-0/2.81/8 saves) will be the closer.

Much is expected of the Diablos every year in Mexico City, and nothing will be different in 2011.

-Copyright 2011

Saturday, March 5, 2011

LAGUNA VAQUEROS (2010 record: 45-62)

New manager Juan Francisco “Chico” Rodriguez understands how patience works, and he’ll need a lot of it. This isn’t a strong enough team to battle LMB North powers Saltillo, Mexico City, Puebla and Monterrey.

After a traumatic offseason in which he was involved in a fatal car accident in the Dominican Republic, RF Alexis Gomez (.352/16/82 and an LMB-best 37 steals) is hoping for a repeat of his spectacular 2010 campaign with Laguna. LF Ivan Araujo (.329/8/65) is competent while 20-year-old CF Ramon Ramirez (.294) will likely round out the trio. 1B Daniel Fornes (.264/12/56) had an off-year, but DH Emmanuel Valdez (.331/16/88) was solid. 2B-SS Christian Herrera (.300/5/41) will start somewhere and C Luis Nieblas (.312/7/34) hit .329 in 67 games for the Vaqueros after being sent to Torreon from Minatitlan.
Laguna’s pitching was horrible in 2010 with a 6.55 team ERA. Jorge Ibarra (7-8/7.68) led the team in wins, late-arriving Randy Keisler (3-3/3.98) was solid and underrated Juan Delgadillo (5-1/4.77) did fine, but the mound was an ugly place for Vaqueros pitchers. Dario Veras (2-4/4.91) somehow had 22 saves.
Rodriguez managed the Chihuahua Dorados to a playoff berth last year and was hired by Laguna after the Dorados shut down for 2011. He’ll have a tough time winning in a very competitive division.
-Copyright 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

CAMPECHE PIRATAS (2010 record: 52-50)

A monster season from Ruben Rivera and a solid starting staff led by Francisco Campos and Hector Velazquez weren’t enough for Campeche to gain a playoff berth in 2010 despite a winning record and a second-half Mexican League Southern Zone title.

Rivera hit .360 with 21 homers and 73 RBIs in CF and was a legitimate MVP candidate. LF Nelson Teilon, who can play infield or outfield, joined the Piratas from Saltillo a month into the season and finished .313/14/72. They’ll be joined by RF Roberto Valencia (.333). 1B Pedro Diaz (.303/7/43 for Monclova in 2010) and vet 3B Roque Sanchez (.330) will man the corners while former Detroit Tigers Rookie of the Year 2B Jose Macias (.312/9/46) and ageless SS Javier Robles (.274/8/35) cover the middle. Catching will be split by Jesus Vega (.242) and Rogelio Del Campo (.223).

The venerable Campos (7-6/3.94) and Rookie of the Year Velazquez (6-4/2.93) anchor a rotation that includes lefty Alejandro Armenta, who was solid third starter (6-8/3.32). Ex-MLBer Francis Beltran (3-1/2.08) had 4 saves and could emerge as a closer in Campeche.

The Piratas could reach the playoffs, but lack the batting to go far in the postseason.

-Copyright 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

BBM 2011 MEXICAN LEAGUE Preview Schedule

Friday, March 4 - Campeche Piratas
Saturday, March 5 - Laguna Vaqueros
Sunday, March 6 - Mexico City Diablos Rojos
Monday, March 7 - Minatitlan Petroleros
Tuesday, March 8 - Monclova Acereros
Wednesday, March 9 - Monterrey Sultanes
Thursday, March 10 - Oaxaca Guerreros
Friday, March 11 - Puebla Pericos
Saturday, March 12 - Quintana Roo Tigres
Sunday, March 13 - Reynosa Broncos
Monday, March 14 - Saltillo Saraperos
Tuesday, March 15 - Tabasco Olmecas
Wednesday, March 16 - Veracruz Aguilas
Thursday, March 17 - Yucatan Leones

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

BBM MEXICAN LEAGUE TEAM PREVIEWS TO BEGIN FRIDAY

Baseball Mexico will begin a 14-part series of team-by-team previews of the upcoming Mexican League season Friday, March 4 with a look at the Campeche Piratas. The series will conclude Thursday, March 17 with a preview of the Yucatan Leones.

All Liga teams are busy in their respective training camps getting in shape while determining which players will be on their Opening Day rosters when the defending champions Saltillo Saraperos host the inaugural game of the 2011 season at Estadio Francisco I. Madero against the visiting Monclova Acereros in the only game scheduled on the circuit. Everyone will be in action one night later as teams open the 106-game campaign with home-and-away series with their closest rivals.