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