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.