Thursday, February 17, 2011

BBM Winter Awards LMP PLAYOFF MVP: Iker Franco, Obregon Yaquis

Some players might look back on a regular season after hitting .273 with 9 homers and 44 RBIs in 66 games and call it good, but for Obregon Yaquis veteran catcher Iker Franco, it was just a warmup.

Franco, a 29-year-old native of Ensenada who kicked around the Rays and Braves systems in between scattered stints in the Mexican League with the Tigres before settling in Quintana Roo for 2008 and turning in three straight All-Star Game appearances since then, turned on the burners for the Yaquis in the Mexican Pacific League playoffs last month.

He hit .340 in 15 LMP postseason contests to lead Obregon batters and seemed to have a knack for coming up with clutch hits along the way for the Yaquis: There was that two-run double in the Yaquis opening 2-1 first round win over Mexicali. Then that three-hit night with two doubles and two runs in a 7-4 win over Guasave. It didn’t stop in the Caribbean Series, where Franco’s two-out RBI single won Obregon’s 15-inning tilt with Este, 4-3, in the CS opener. Franco went on to be selected to the tournament’s All-Star Team with a .316 average over six games.

While it was a Jorge Vazquez homer that keyed Obregon’s CS-clinching win, the Yaquis couldn’t have made it that far without their 6’2” 240-pound catcher along the way.