Monday, December 14, 2015

MAYOS SWEEP ROAD TWINBILL, LEAD MEXPAC BY 3 GAMES

After sweeping a Sunday doubleheader over the Jalisco Charros in Guadalajara, the Navojoa Mayos ended the weekend with a 15-6 record and a three-game lead in the Mexican Pacific League's second-half standings.  Obregon is second at 12-9 and Los Mochis is third with an 11-10 mark.  

Let's take a look at how all eight LMP teams are faring with two weeks left in the regular season schedule:

NAVOJOA (15-6) has livened up considerably under new manager Enrique "Che" Reyes. Orioles farmhand OF Quincy Latimore, an Eastern League All-Star last summer, leads Mayos starters in all Triple Crown categories (.307/8/38) and 3B Jesus Castillo is hitting .292 with 7 homers, but 18-year minor league veteran 1B John Lindsey is only batting .143 with one homer and 4 RBI's after swatting a dozen roundtrippers for the Mayos last winter.  Pitcher Eddie Gamboa is 4-1 and third in the league with a 2.76 ERA and both Hector Velazquez and Jose Oyervides each have 5 wins.  Velazquez has a 3.11 ERA.  

OBREGON (12-9) is getting a standout winter from 3B Christian Villanueva, who is third on the LMP table with a .337 average, tied for fourth with 9 homers, trails only Mazatlan's Jeremias Pineads with 35 runs scored and is tied for ninth with 31 RBI's.  His on-base percentage of .444 tops the loop.  OF Reynaldo Rodriguez is second in the LMP with 10 homers (tied with Mexicali's Yuniesky Betancourt).   Rolando Valdez is having a good winter for the Yaquis, with a 5-4 record and a 3.03 ERA that stands third in the LMP. David Reyes (5-2/4.40) has had his moments and middleman Victor Arano (4-0/0.75) has been superlative in 23 appearances.

LOS MOCHIS (11-10) has been steady if unspectacular.  Caneros 3B Emmanuel Avila is fifth in the MexPac batting race with a .321 average while OF D'Arby Myers' .338 average would rank higher with more plate appearances. Mexican League All-Star Saul Soto is only batting .232, but the 37-year-old 1B leads the Caneros with 9 HRs and is tied for fourth in the LMP with 35 RBI's. Ageless 1B Ramon Orantes is batting .321 as a part-timer.  P Derrick Miramontes is 5-4 and leads the MexPac with a 2.31 ERA but the real story has been closer Andres Avila, whose 21 saves is two away from the LMP record set by Obregon's Mark Zappelli in 1990-91.

HERMOSILLO (10-10) needs just one more win to match their first-half total with 14 games to play as Lorenzo Bundy has steadied the ship since replacing Jose Luis Sandoval three weeks ago.  Former White Sox OF Jerry Owens lead Naranjeros batters with a .318 average over 38 games and 3B Jose Amador is having a solid all-around season with .296/9/36 numbers.  Hermosillo isn't breaking even by virtue of batting, as their .238 team average is a distant last.  An LMP-best 3.41 ERA is more responsible, led by Nate Reed (3-3/2.52), 2009 LMB Rookie of the Year Juan Pablo Oramos (3-3/3.39) and ex-MLBer Edgar Gonzalez (2-4/3.88).

MEXICALI (9-11) has been so-so after winning the first half title but the Aguilas probably have a lot of people nervous as the playoffs loom.  OF Welington Dotel is batting .333, fourth in the LMP but nothing like the .379 average he had going into December. 2B Ramon Urias has raised his own average to .351, which would lead the league if he had more at-bats.  SS Walter Ibarra (.321), 3B C.J. Retherford (.309/8/33) and vet OF Chris Roberson (.304) have all helped Mexicali to a team .297 BA. P Javier Solano (7-2/3.57) still leads the circuit in wins, but pitching coach Jose Silva's bullpen has fared much better overall than his starting rotation.

JALISCO (9-12) has the only offense to rival Mexicali's, as the Charros hot .288 as a team and plates 4.79 runs per game.  2B Amadeo Zazueta went 14-for-35 for his past ten games to take over the LMP batting leadership at .348 while OF Jesus Valdez is now second at .339.  3B Alex Liddi continues to rake with .314/6/32 numbers and 1B Japhet Amador has raised his BA to .289 and still leads the MexPac with 14 homers and 46 RBI's.  Jalisco's pitching has been mostly adequate, although (like Mexicali) the starters are not as good as the bullpen, where ex-Cards P Brian Broderick (1-2/2.33) has saved 14 games, third-best in the LMP. 

CULIACAN (9-12) has been packing the stands at their new ballpark, with an average crowd of 16,815 over 28 home games, but the picture is less rosy on the playing field.  The Tomateros ARE third in the league with a .267 batting average (3B Oscar Robles leads regulars with a .316 average), but with little power, and manager Benji Gil still hasn't settled on a starting lineup.  And Culiacan's mound staff has been a "pitch-and-duck" proposition all winter, with an LMP-worst 4.97 ERA. Hector Daniel Rodriquez (4-3/3.45) is eighth in ERA among MexPac hurlers and 2015 PCL All-Star Ryan Buchter (3-0/0.72) has 10 saves, but that's pretty much it.

MAZATLAN (8-13) has even less power than Culiacan but at least they've got pitching.  Alejandro Soto (3-4/2.79) is fourth in ERA in the LMP and Amilcar Gaxiola (4-3/2.70) has been as good, closer Steven Hensley (1-1/2.05) is second with 16 saves and Walter Silva (5-4/4.31), who turns 39 next months, just keeps rolling along like Old Man River.  SS Esteban Quiroz lead Mazatlan hitters with a .316 average (seventh in the league), OF Jeremias Pinedas has a .300 average and 22 steals and 1B Cyle Hankard, a former D-Backs minor leaguer, is hitting .298 with 6 homers.  The Venados should reach the postseason, but will not be favorites going in.