Monday, April 29, 2019

TIJUANA, OAXACA CONTINUE TO LEAD LIGA DIVISIONS

Three weeks into the 2019 Mexican League season, both Tijuana and Oaxaca have led their respective divisions most of the way in the early going and while perennial power Yucatan is still dead last in the LMB South, the Leones are beginning to stir to life.

Tijuana's Ricky Alvarez looking to crush one
The Toros swept a three-game weekend series against Union Laguna in Torreon to run their record to 16-5, giving the border team a one-game lead over second-place Monterrey.  Tijuana was held scoreless for four innings Sunday by Algodoneros starter Frank Garces before Logan Watkins cracked a solo homer in the top of the fifth to give the visitors a 1-0 lead they built to 5-0 in the seventh before Laguna scored three times in the bottom of the frame to make it a two-run game.  Ricky Alvarez hit his second homer of the game in the top of the eighth to give TJ a little breathing room and another solo blast by Xorge Carrillo two batters later added to the cushion as the Toros went on to a 12-3 victory.


Tijuana starter James Russell was sharp, shutting out the Cottoneers on four hits and a walk over the first six innings to go to 2-1 for the year.  Alvarez finished the contest with a 3-for-5 day at the plate with two homers and a double, driving in five runs and scoring three times. Niuman Romero had three of Laguna's nine hits but the Algodoneros were unable to hold back Tijuana's potent offense after Watkins went deep.

Monterrey kept pace by scoring four late runs to pull away from Saltillo, 10-6, Sunday at home as 16,408 looked on at Estadio Monterrey.  The game was knotted up at 6-6 before Ramiro Pena swatted a three-run homer off reliever Jorge Ibarra in the bottom of the seventh to break the contest open.  Felipe Gonzalez was credited with the win for the Sultanes and closer Wirfin Obispo pitched a scoreless ninth as the defending champions wrapped up their fifth consecutive win to bring their ledger to 15-6 for 2019.  Monclova also won Sunday, 10-4, at Durango to raise their mark to 14-7 and maintain a solid early hold on third place in the LMB North.

Oaxaca lefty Alex Delgado shuts down Tabasco
Meanwhile, Oaxaca parlayed a good pitching performance from Alex Delgado into a 6-3 road triumph over Tabasco in Villahermosa Sunday.  Delgado took a 6-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning en route to his first win of the year in five starts. The lefty from Mexicali finished the game with three runs allowed in 7.1 innings of work, scattering seven hits and a walk along the way.  Omar Meza, who took over second base for the Guerreros after Jaime Brena retired earlier in the month, singled twice and walked to drive in three runs from his ninth position in the batting order, helping Oaxaca lift their record to 14-7, two games up on Mexico City and Puebla, who are both 12-9 in the LMB South.

At the other end of the South standings, Yucatan is uncustomarily in last place at 7-14 after dropping a 6-2 decision to Puebla Sunday in Merida at Parque Kukulcan.  Pericos starter Mauricio Lara picked up his first win against three losses by tossing six innings of one-hit, one-run ball. Luis Juarez' solo homer in the fifth was the only blemish on the scoreboard for the Hermosillo product, who celebrated his 40th birthday in early April.  Antonio Lamas had three singles for Puebla, scoring one run and driving in another.

It's hard to put a finger on Yucatan's slow start.  Their pitching has been less than its usual strong self with a team ERA of 5.02, but that figure ranks fifth in the Liga (which has been more hitter-friendly than usual with the new Franklin ball being used this year).  The Leones rank 12th in the LMB with a .292 team batting average and their 19 homers are 14th in the 16-team circuit. It's hard to imagine Yucatan remaining in the cellar, but the nature of Mexican baseball is such that improvement will need to come soon or new manager Luis Rivera may become an ex-manager.


ACEREROS' LOWEY, SULTANES' GONZALEZ BOTH GO TO 4-0

Josh Lowey of Monclova and Edgar Gonzalez of Monterrey are considered two of the top pitchers in the Mexican League, so it should come as little surprise that both hurlers have won their fourth game of the young season to tie for the LMB lead in that category.

Monclova's dominant righty Josh Lowey
In particular, Lowey has been arguably the best pitcher in Mexico over the past four summers.  After a decent 2014 debut with the Acereros in which he went 7-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 19 starts, the right-handed Floridian has gone 52-19 since 2015 while winning Pitcher of the Year honors in 2015 and 2018 while being selected to three All-Star Games; it likely would've been four had he not left Monclova for Korea just prior to the 2016 showcase event.  He was 13-3 at the time and still won the league strikeout title.

Now 34, Lowey has been getting plenty of rest between starts, all four of which have been wins including an 11-8 triumph at Aguascalientes last Thursday.  Despite the high score, Lowey pitched reasonably well in allowing three runs on eight hits in five innings while striking out eight Rieleros. Against an Aguascalientes team that has batted well so far this year, that's not a bad outing and it was good enough for Lowey to go to 4-0 with a 3.75 ERA (also not a bad number given the rapacious hitting LMB pitchers have faced this season).  His next start will likely be this Wednesday at home against Tabasco.

Edgar Gonzalez' 2003 rookie card
Monclova's (and Lowey's) top rival the last few years has perhaps been Monterrey, where last year the Sultanes won a Liga pennant that has thus far eluded the Acereros in their 44-year history, a fact that grates Steelers' owner Gerardo Benavides.  Monterrey is off to another good start in 2019 and pitcher Edgar Gonzalez has been both a reason and beneficiary for that 15-6 record. A righty, like Lowey, the 36-year-old Gonzalez is in his fifth year pitching for his hometown team after spending all or part of ten seasons in MLB between 2003 and 2012, going 17-27 with a 5.92 ERA in 121 appearances (including 47 starts).

After a rocky 2015 campaign for Monterrey, with just a 4-12 and 4.90 ERA, Gonzalez has gone 29-8 for the Sultanes, including his 4-0 mark thus far in 2019.  His most recent start came last Friday at home against Saltillo, when he beat the Saraperos by a 9-1 count while tossing six innings of four-hit ball for manager Roberto Kelly and lowering his ERA to 3.74 (.01 better than Lowey's).  Gonzalez' next start is likely to come this Thursday in Torreon against Union Laguna.


CUARTO BAT WRITER'S TOP 6 MEXICAN BALLPARKS (PART 1)

A writer for Mexican baseball website Cuarto Bat, Yasser Trujillo, wrote earlier this month about his picks for the top six ballparks in the Mexican and Mexican Pacific leagues.  Here is the first part of a series we'll use to bring you a loosely translated version. Sadly, the CuartoBat.com site has apparently been suspended, according to a Google search, but the hope here is that it resurfaces soon.  Similar in format to Puro Beisbol and Hitazo, Cuarto Bat had quickly become a favorite site here at BBM.

After almost half a year of waiting, the 2019 season of the Mexican Baseball League has begun. And with it, a new tenant has arrived: the Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium, the brand new new home of the Red Devils of Mexico. After its inauguration, the AHH has unleashed many conflicting opinions. But it has also awakened the eternal debate about which is the best stadium in Mexican baseball.

It should be noted that I have not visited all the Mexican baseball properties (they are so many that I think it would never end). However, I have been in all new and modern. Based on this experience as an fan, I have put together a short list in this category to find the best Mexican baseball stadium.

I have looked for the balance between facilities, environment, food offer, amenities, comfort, technology. But also a very important point that is rarely taken into account: the treatment of the visitor.

It should be noted that although several of these parks are approved by Major League Baseball in the initial MLB contract to bring official games to our country, only cities with airport, hotel, tourist and infrastructure capacity were considered to host a huge amount of visitors. So, for the time being, and in the first years of this contract, only Monterrey, Mexico City and maybe Guadalajara are candidates. A pity, because we have awesome scenarios!

So, without further ado, let's start looking for the best Mexican baseball stadium.

6. Estadio Monterrey (Sultan Palace)

The honorable mention of the ranking is for the largest baseball stadium in Mexico, the Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey. It is also the protagonist of one of the most spectacular and ambitious renovations in the sports venues of this country. Built at the end of the 80s, this building is the only stadium in Mexican territory that has hosted official major league series.

Despite the remodeling, the Sultans of Monterrey have an old stadium in their fortress. Its old structure can no longer compete with new places. And it lacks external design; it's just a large mass of concrete. There is no internal corridor, since you must leave the stands to go to the food or bathroom area. And also the tour is not free.

However, despite the above, its spectacular giant screens, the new seats that were placed in its entirety and its outfield area make it look better than ever. It is an iconic enclosure, a classic park which for the next generations could be a simile in Mexico of Wrigley Field or Fenway Park for its mysticism and classic design. Ahead of its time, for a couple of decades, the Sultan Palace was the best stadium in Mexican baseball.

Monday, April 15, 2019

WING OFF TO FLYING START FOR AGUASCALIENTES

Former Los Angeles Angels minor leaguer Michael Wing was not one of the most publicized of Mexican League players during his first two seasons south of the border, but the California-bred third baseman has certainly caught the attention of Liga pitchers during that stretch.  If Wing is hoping to remain in relative anonymity toiling for the Aguascalientes Rieleros this season, he'll have to do less than bat .500 with 7 homers and 21 RBIs over his first eight games with the Railroaders in 2019, leading the LMB in both longballs and ribbies through the first three series of the campaign.

Aguascalientes 3B Michael Wing
Wing posted a trio of two-homer games for Aguascalientes last week, including a pair of longballs (one a grand slam) in a 7-RBI night during a 10-6 home win over defending champion Monterrey on Friday. A 26th round draft pick from Upland (CA) High School in 2007, the 6'1" right-handed batter spent five seasons in the Angels systems and one more in the Padres organization before embarking on a three-year independent ball sojourn in the Frontier League and American Association before it appeared his professional career was over at age 26 following the 2015 season.  He missed the 2016 campaign before receiving a phone call from the Rieleros the next year.

After debuting with Aguascalientes on June 4, 2017, Wing hit a sizzling .432 with five homers in 26 games for the Rieleros the rest of the season.  He returned to play both 2018 seasons, hitting .341 in the Spring and .403 in the Fall with a combined 18 homers and 76 RBIs in 83 contests.  Now 30, Wing has come out the gate smoking for Aguascalientes this year and while there's no way he'll be able to maintain his torrid pace for a full season, the team is hoping he can stay healthy for the whole season and head a Rieleros offense that includes veterans Saul Soto, Carlos Rodriguez, Jose Vargas and ex-Cub Tony Campana to augment a pitching staff that includes 2017 Mexican League Pitcher of the Year Nestor Molina and three-time MLB All-Star Jose Valverde. 

New manager Joe Alvarez, who has had past success (however abbreviated) in both the Liga and Mexican Pacific League, is known as an old-school disciplinarian and while his pitching staff in Aguascalientes may struggle, the Rieleros will be expected to fight towards what they hope will be a return to the playoffs this season after missing the postseason last fall.  The Rieleros are presently tied with Saltillo for fifth place in the LMB North at 4-5 apiece, trailing co-leaders Monterrey and Dos Laredos at 7-2 and two games behind Monclova and Tijuana, both at 6-3.  Durango (3-6) and Union Laguna (2-7) round out the division standings.

In the LMB South, manager Sergio Gastelum's Oaxaca Guerreros are trying to prove last Fall's appearance in the Serie del Rey was not a fluke.  So far, so good as the Warriors top the standings with a 7-2 record following an 8-5 triumph at Yucatan Sunday night as catcher Orlando Pina singled and doubled, scoring two runs and driving in two more.  Jose Medina took a shutout into the fourth inning en route to a five-inning outing in which he gave up three runs to the Leones, who fell to the cellar at 2-7.  Mexico City and Puebla won their weekend closeouts over Quintana Roo and Campeche, respectively to go into Monday's travel day tied for second at 6-3.  Leon has a 4-5 mark for fourth place, leading 3-6 Campeche, Tabasco and Quintana Roo by a game.

Michael Wing photo courtesty of Bob Broughton from CourtesyRunner.com


HEIMLICH AT 0-1, 6.75 AFTER TWO STARTS FOR TECOLOTES

Dos Laredos Tecolotes P Luke Heimlich
After an agonizing 10-month wait to start his first professional baseball game, 2018 NCAA Pitcher of the Year Luke Heimlich finally made his debut last Tuesday night in Torreon.  The former Oregon State ace tossed five innings for the Dos Laredos Tecolotes in a 5-4 loss to the hometown Union Laguna Algodoneros as 7,527 fans looked on at Estadio Revolucion.

Heimlich had a creditable outing for the Tecos, giving up two runs on five hits (including solo homers in the second by Michael Crouse and Luis Perez) with five strikeouts and two walks while facing 21 Laguna batters.  The game ended in the bottom of the tenth when Crouse grounded a bases-loaded walkoff single to Domonic Brown in right to bring in Francisco Ferreiro with the winning tally.

Heimlich had a rougher outing Sunday night in Saltillo, allowing six runs (five earned) on six hits and two walks before being relieved by Antonio Guzman with one out in the fifth as the Saraperos went on to win in a 15-6 rout of the Owls.  Dos Laredos spotted Heimlich a 1-0 lead with Balbino Fuenmayor's leadoff homer against Saltillo starter Jonathan Sanchez, but the Saraperos came back with three runs in the bottom of the third on Juan Perez' third homer of the season, scored again in the fourth after Josuan Rodriguez scored from third when Tecos catcher Luis Flores' throw to nail Alvaro Gonzalez on an attempted steal sailed into center field instead.  Heimlich was pulled by manager Felix Fermin after giving up a leadoff single to Christian Zazueta and a one-out walk to Perez and tagged with the loss to drop to 0-1 for the season while raising his ERA to 6.75.  He did strike out another five batsmen but it was not an epic follow-up performance.

However, Heimlich might be forgiven for being a little rusty after not tossing a pitch in anger since last June's College World Series in Omaha. He finished 15-1 for the Beavers with a 2.42 ERA while earning both national and Pac-12 POY awards (his second consecutive conference honor).  Even so, a 2017 revelation of a sexual charge involving a six-year-old niece when he was 15 made him radioactive when it came time for last year's MLB draft, slipping through the entire event without being picked.  Subsequent attempts at free agent contracts with the Kansas City Royals and a team in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League were unsuccessful and Heimlich saw no further action in 2018.

He remained luckless this year until reaching an agreement with Dos Laredos last month.  Mexican League president Javier Salinas convened an internal investigation shortly after the signing but subsequently okayed the contract on April 6, three days before his first start for the Tecos.  Heimlich's next start is slated for Friday night in Nuevo Laredo against the struggling Yucatan Leones.  The Tecos moved their Mexican home games to the aging Parque La Junta after the club failed to draw fans to the more modern but remote Estadio Nuevo Laredo.


MEX PAC DRAWS 3.1 MILLION FANS FOR 2018-19 SEASON

The Mexican Pacific League set a season attendance record for their 2018-19 schedule by drawing 3,157,535 fans to both regular season and playoff games for the eight-team circuit.  The Mex Pac averaged 9.925 spectators during the season, including a boost of turnstile clicks to 12,912 per opening for the January postseason.

Culiacan led the LMP with a total of 507,002 admissions for the season for an average of 14,912 per game.  Both Hermosillo and Mexicali topped the 400 thousand mark, with the Naranjeros having the higher overall attendance (408,513 to 400,988) but the Aguilas showing the higher average (12,151 to 12,015 per game).  Mazatlan benefitted from a renovation of Estadio Teodoro Mariscal, pulling in 344,872 aficionados at 10,143 per game, an increase of 48.8 percent over the 2017-18 campaign, to finish third in the box office standings.

Jalisco had a strong year at the gate, bringing in 9,794 to Guadalajara's Estadio Charros for a total of 333,005 while Obregon was sixth in attendance at 271,227, an average of 8,219 per outing.  Like Mazatlan, Los Mochis benefitted from a ballpark renovation and saw a 22.3 percent hike to 242,368 fans for the season (averaging 7,128) while Navojoa brought up the rear with an average of 5,053 and a total of 171,815.  The addition of both Monterrey and returning Guasave next winter all but assures a new attendance record with the LMP becoming a ten-team loop.

According to a league press release, the Mexican Pacific League had the fourth-highest attendance in professional baseball leagues around the world over the past year, trailing only Major League Baseball, Nippon Professional Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization.  The MexPac also easily outdistanced their competitors in the Mexican League and all minor leagues (affiliated and independent) at the gate.

Monday, April 8, 2019

RUDY AMADOR SIZZLES, MONCLOVA SWEEPS SALTILLO

Rodolfo Amador's BP extended to Saltillo pitchers
The Mexican League opened their 2019 season over the weekend with a full slate of games among its 16 teams.  As usually happens in baseball, some hitters have been red-hot coming out the gate but it would be hard to find an LMB batter who's off to a more torrid start than Monclova third baseman Rodolfo Amador.

Although the Loreto, Baja California native may be the least famous of three Amadors performing in the Liga this year (behind Mexico City slugger Japhet and new teammate Jose, a perennial .300 hitter who the Acereros signed as a free agent last Wednesday), Rodolfo has already earned a reputation as one of the best hot-corner gloves in Mexico over eight seasons in the LMB.  However, even though he is a career .302 batter who represented Mexico during last month's Samurai Series in Japan, Rudy has been regarded more as pesky hitter but not one of the Steelers' big guns.

The 26-year-old Amador took a big step toward altering those impressions during Monclova's three-game sweep at home of Saltillo over the weekend by going 7-for-11 (.636) with a homer and six RBIs over the series.  He was not flawless in the field, however, committing two errors in eleven chances and while he did start one double play against the Saraperos, Amador's fielding percentage stands at an uncharacteristic .818.  It's certain that his batting average will decline and his fielding percentage will rise in short order as more games are played but if last weekend was any indication, he may be one more Amador who pitchers will not be able to look past in the order.

Monclova was one of four teams to win all three games in their respective weekend opening series, along with Monterrey and Dos Laredos in the LMB North and Oaxaca in the South (each copping sweeps in their own ballpark).  The Sultanes may have been the most impressive in their broom job over Spring 2018 champion Yucatan, including a six-run outburst in the eighth inning of Friday's 7-1 triumph over the Leones as 20,533 watched in Estadio Monterrey.  The Fall 2018 kingpin Sultanes sent all nine batsmen to the plate, with Agustin Murillo capping the scoring with a two-run homer off Yucatan reliever Maikel Cleto.

Dos Laredos made short work of Union Laguna with three big wins at Nuevo Laredo's venerable Parque La Junta.  The Tecolotes are one of the more interesting teams in the LMB this year.  After a Spring 2018 debut season (after moving to the Texas border from Veracruz) in which they finished last in the LMB North under then-manager Eddie Castro with a 22-35 record, the Owls turned things around under new skipper Felix Fermin in the Fall campaign with a 30-26 mark and qualified for the playoffs.  This year's edition of the Tecos has a mix of players like former Phillies All-Star outfielder Domonic Brown, speedster Johnny Davis (a former Brewers farmhand), versatile vet Balbino Fuenmayor, powerful ex-Diamondbacks minor leaguer Rudy Flores, one-time MLB pitcher Sergio Mitre, ex-phenom Luis Heredia (back in Mexico after a record 2012 $igning with the Pirates) and fellow hurler Jose Oyervidez, one of Mexico's better pitchers over the past few years when healthy.

Added to the starting rotation will be former Oregon State star Luke Heimlich, the 2018 College Pitcher of the Year who has not pitched an inning of pro ball after word of a sexual misconduct conviction at age 15 surfaced and in effect made Heimlich globally radioactive.  The Mexican League office conducted their own investigation after he was signed by Dos Laredos last month and recently okayed to play.  Heimlich is expected to start Tuesday night in the Tecos' return-series opener against Laguna in Torreon.

Jaime Brena retired after 20 years as Oaxaca 2B
Meanwhile, the Oaxaca Guerreros won all three of their opening contests against Tabasco over the weekend to be the only LMB South team to go unbeaten in their opening series.  Granted, the Olmecas have not exactly been juggernauts in recent history (although the franchise is showing some signs of life under new owner Juan Carlos Manzur), Oaxaca batted .358 with eight homers during their trio of trouncings in which they outscored the visitors, 29-18.

Former big leaguer Eury Perez patrols the Guerreros outfield with Alonzo Harris and Alan Sanchez while longtimers Erick Rodriguez and Iker Franco share the catching chores for manager Sergio Gastelum.  Jaime Brena stroked an RBI single in Sunday's game during which he subsequently turned second base over to 22-year-old Omar Meza after patrolling the Oaxaca middle infield for 20 years. Despite possessing little power or speed afoot, Brena kept rallies going by topping the .300 mark nine years and walking over 600 times while dispaying a proficient glove in the field en route to five All-Star Game selections. His number 10 was retired by the Guerreros  A good comparison might be made with former Cubs All-Star Glenn Beckert.

Among pitchers, the best start over opening weekend might've belonged to Puebla's Travis Barnwart, a former Wichita State standout and seven-year A's minor leaguer who comes to Mexico after three years in Korea, a season in the Cleveland system and an 8-4 record with Wichita in the indy American Association last year.  Barnwart scattered six hits over five innings against Campeche on Saturday night in a 13-5 bopping of a Piratas team with some decent hitters like C.J. Retherford, Olmo Rosario, Paul Leon and 2018-19 LMP Rookie of the Year Jasson Atondo.

Attendance was solid in most of the eight cities hosting opening weekend series.  As expected, Mexico City did the best with an average of 19,387 fans clicking the turnstiles at the futuristic Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu.  Tijuana fans came out to the tune of 16,191 per opening to see their Toros while Monterrey had a decent opening series at the gate with Yucatan, drawing just under 15,000 per night.  At the other end of the spectrum, just over 10,000 spectators in Oaxaca attended the entire set against Campeche, a disappointing turnout after the Guerreros were surprise entries last autumn's Serie del Rey with eventual flag-winners Monterrey.


GUEST GAME REPORT: RIELEROS AT BRAVOS (SUNDAY) IN LEON

Written submissions about baseball in Mexico from BBM readers are welcome.  One of those folks, Bob Broughton, is a Vancouver, Canada native who now lives in Guanajuato and has become a devoted Leon Bravos fan.  He posted the following report and photos from Sunday's Leon-Aguascalientes game at Estadio Domingo Santana on his CourtesyRunner.com website, which intersperses stories on Mexican baseball with outstanding coverage of NAIA college baseball and is well worth a look-see:
Leon outfielder Felix Pie
The Rieleros (Railroaders) de Aguascalientes (2-1) defeated the Bravos de León (1-2) 15-9 at Estadio Domingo Santana in León on April 7. After an excellent start by RHP Yasutomo Kubo in the season opener, the Bravos have given up 37 runs in their last two games.
The Bravos led this game 6-4 going into the seventh inning, but the Rieleros put up ten runs in the top of the seventh. The inning started with RHP Normand Mendoza on the mound. He gave up a three-run home run by DH Saul Soto. He was replaced by LHP Marco Ramirez, who walked the only batter he faced. The next pitcher was RHP Tony Amezcua, and he was greeted with a two-run home run by 3B Jose Vargas. Amezcua walked the next two batters, then a run scored on a single by RF Edson Garcia. That chased Amezcua, and he was replaced by RHP Fredy Quintero. Quintero struck out the first batter he faced (he had an ERA of infinity coming into the game), but the next batter, SS Richy Pedroza, hit a two-RBI single. He was followed by 2B Michael Wing, who hit a two-run home run, his second hit of the inning, and second home run of the game. Quintero gave up another home run, by Vargas, in the eighth inning.
The Bravos trailed 15-6 going into the bottom of the eighth, but they nearly got back into it. The got a three-run home run by LF Felix Pie (his second home run of the game). The Bravos loaded the bases on a walk, a single by 2B Brandon Macias, and another walk. However, pinch-hitter Luis Medina struck out to end the inning and the scoring.
The Rieleros opened the scoring with an RBI single by Soto in the top of the first inning. The Rieleros answered with a solo home run by Pie in the bottom of the second. A two-run home run by Wing gave the Rieleros a 3-1 lead after 2 ½ innings. The Bravos took a 5-3 lead with a two-run home run by CF Cedric Hunter and a two-RBI single by C Isidro Pina. They made it 6-3 when 1B Eduardo Arredondo scored on a ground out by Pie in the bottom of the fourth. Wing hit an RBI double in the top of the fifth (Hunter lost it in the sun) to make it 6-4. Hunter hit a triple with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, and two walks loaded the bases, but the inning ended with a strikeout by DH Matt Clark.
Aguascalientes 3B Michael Wing
Wing finished 4-for-4 with two home runs, a double, five RBI, and four runs scored. Saul Soto went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI. Hunter went 3-for-4 with a home run, a triple, and two RBI for the Bravos. The Bravos left 14 runners on base.
Hector Silvestre, who pitched the sixth inning, got the win. Mendoza got the loss.
During the past off-season, the Mexican League decided to shut down both of these teams.However, intervention by the President of Mexico kept them alive. The Bravos added a new ownership partner, Grupo Multimedios.
Vargas (Ventura, CA) was in the White Sox organization 2008-10. Pedroza (Covina, CA) played college ball for Cal State Fullerton, was in the Cardinals organization 2013-15. Wing (Upland, CA) was in the Angels and Padres organizations 2007-13. Silvestre (San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic) was in the Nationals organization 2011-17.

Amezcua (Bellflower, CA) was drafted by the Reds in the seventh round in 2010; he was in the Reds organization through 2014. Clark (West Covina, CA) played college ball at LSU, was drafted in the 12
th round by the Padres in 2008. He was also in the Mets, Brewers, and Cubs organizations. Pie (La Romana, Dominican Republic) played six seasons in the Major Leagues with the Cubs, Orioles, and Pirates. His career average was .246, and he hit 17 home runs.  Hunter (Decatur, GA) was drafted in the third round of the 2006 draft by the Padres. He played a total of 19 games for the Padres and Phillies. Macias (Flagstaff, AZ) played college ball at Kansas, spent six seasons in the Brewers organization.

RANGERS PURCHASE TIJUANA PITCHING PROSPECT SERRANO
Florencio Serrano signs with Rangers
The Texas Rangers have bought the contract of 19-year-old pitcher Florencio Serrano, a product of the Tijuana Toros Academy.  According to the Hitazo website, the March 14 deal between the two franchises marks the first between Major League Baseball and a Mexican League franchise after MLB lifted a ban on signing Mexican prospects until a new agreement was hammered out earlier this year between the two organizations.

While he goes to the Rangers organization via an Mexican League club, the transaction marks a homecoming of sorts for the 6'1" right-hander, who was born in Corpus Christi and played high school ball in Texas as a freshman prior to his 2016 arrival at the Tijuana academy at 16.  The LonestarBall site reports that Serrano agreed to a deal with the Chicago Cubs one year later for a $1.2 million signing bonus (with the Toros getting $900,000 of that), but MLB later voided the contract after learning that Serrano received more than the stated amount and violating international pool money rules.  He's said to have been rated as Baseball America's 29th best prospect that year.
This time, the contract with the Rangers is reportedly worth $850,000.  As per the new pact between MLB and the LMB, Serrano will receive 100 percent of the purchase price directly from the Rangers, while the Toros will get 35 percent of that as a commission.  Serrano, whose fastball touches 95 miles per hour, is expected to be assigned to one of Texas' lower minor league affiliates pending his passing a physical exam, perhaps the Rangers' Arizona Rookie League team but more likely their Class A Northwest League affiliate in Spokane.


Monday, April 1, 2019

MEXICAN LEAGUE 2019 SEASON DIRECTORY

Mexican League
Mexico City, D.F., Mexico
Phone: 5 557 1007
Email: atencionalaficionadalmb@gmail.com
Website: www.lmb.com.mx
Facebook: #LigaMexicanadeBeisbol
President: Javier Salinas
Direction of Administration:  Oscar Neri Salazar
Academy Manager: Joel Navarro
Umpire Coordinator: Luis Alberto Ramirez


CAMPECHE PIRATAS
Phone: +52 981 827 4759
Email: contacto@piratasdecampeche.mx
Website: www.piratasdecampeche.mx
Facebook: @CampechePiratas
President: Jorge Carlos Hurtado Montero
GM: Gabriel Lozano Berron
Manager: Tim Johnson
Ballpark: Estadio Nelson Barrera Romellon (6,000)



DURANGO GENERALES
Phone: 52 618 196 4267
Email: rrssgenerales@gmail.com
Website: www.generales.mx
Facebook: @generalesdDgo
President: Fernando Espinosa del Campo
GM: Francisco Lizarraga
Manager: Lorenzo Bundy
Ballpark: Estadio Francisco Villa (4,983)


DOS LAREDOS TECOLOTES
Phone: +52 867 251 5594
Email: contacto@tecolotes2laredos.com
Website: www.tecolotes2laredos.com
Facebook: @TecolotesNvoLdo
President: Jose Antonio Mansur
GM: Grimaldo Martinez
Manager: Felix Fermin
Ballparks: LAR Uni-Trade Stadium (6,000), NLR Parque La Junta (6,000)


MEXICO CITY DIABLOS ROJOS
Phone: +52 55 5639 8722
Email: contacto@diablos-rojos.com
Website: www.diablos.com.mx
Facebook: @DiablosRojosMX
President: Othon Diaz
GM: Francisco Minjares
Manager: Victor Bojorquez
Ballpark: Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu (20,000)

MONCLOVA ACEREROS
Phone: +52 866 636 2650
Email: acereros2014@live.com
Website: www.acereros.com.mx
Facebook: @AcererosOficial
President: Gerardo Benavides
GM: Mario Valenzuela
Manager: Pedro Mere
Ballpark: Estadio Monclova (11,000)

MONTERREY SULTANES
Phone: +52 81 8351 8022
Email: sultanesoficial@gmail.com
Website: www.sultanes.com.mx
Facebook: @SultanesOficial
President: Guillermo “Willie” Gonzalez
GM: Miguel Flores
Manager: Roberto Kelly
Ballpark: Estadio Monterrey (22,061)


OAXACA GUERREROS
Phone: +52 951 515 5522
Email: contacto@guerreros.mx
Website: www.guerreros.mx
Facebook: @GuerrerosdeOaxaca
President: Lorenzo Peon Escalante
GM: Guillermo Rodriguez
Manager: Sergio Gastelum
Ballpark: Estadio Eduardo Vasconcelos (7,200)


QUINTANA ROO TIGRES
Phone: +52 998 887 3108
Email: medios@tigreqroo.com
Website: www.tigresqr.com
Facebook: @TigresdeQuintanaRoo
President: Fernando Valenzuela
GM: Fernando Valenzuela, Jr.
Manager: Jesus Sommers
Ballpark: Estadio Beto Avila (9,500)


SALTILLO SARAPEROS
Phone: +52 844 416 9455
Email: contacto@saraperos.com.mx
Website: www.saraperos.com.mx
Facebook: @OficialSaraperos
President: Cesar Cantu
GM: Roberto Magdaleno
Manager: Roberto Vizcarra
Ballpark: Estadio Francisco I. Madero (16,000)



TABASCO OLMECAS
Phone: +52 993 352 2787
Email: club@olmecastabasco.com
Website: www.olmecastabasco.net
Facebook: @OlmecasTab
President: Angel Solis Carballo
GM: Felix Zulueta
Manager: Ramon Orantes
Ballpark: Parque Centenario 27 de Febrero (10,500)


TIJUANA TOROS
Phone: +52 664 635 5600
Email: contacto@torosdetijuana.com
Website: www.torosdetijuana.com
Facebook: @TorosdeTijuana
President: Alberto Uribe Maytorena
GM: Oscar Romero
Manager: Oscar Robles
Ballpark: Estadio Gasmart (16,811)
YUCATAN LEONES
Phone: +52 999 926 3022
Email: contacto@leones.mx
Website: www.leones.mx
Facebook: @leonesdeyucatan
President: Erick Arellano
GM: David Cardenas
Manager: Luis Carlos Rivera
Ballpark: Parque Kukulcan (16,000)