Tomás Solís of Leones de Yucatán delivers a pitch during a game between Leones de Yucatan and Guerreros de Oaxaca in 2017. (Photo by Eduardo Gonzalez/LatinContent via Getty Images)
By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network
The Liga Mexicana de Beisbol season will kick off on Friday, April 17, 2023 marks the Mexican summer league’s 98th season since it was founded in 1925.
There are nine organizations in Liga Mexicana de Besibol’s Sur Division. Each team will play a 114 game schedule in 2023, followed by a five-team postseason tournament within the division. The championship is titled the Serie del Rey, and features the Zona Norte and Zona Sur division champions. The two teams play a best-of-seven series to determine the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol champion.
Before the 2023 season gets underway, let’s take a brief look at each of the nine Zona Sur organizations, players, and team history.
Bravos de Leon (1983-91; 2017-Present)
The Bravos de Leon finished the 2022 season with a win-loss record of 29-61 and did not make the postseason. Utility player Joey Terdoslavich led the team with 21 home runs and 76 runs batted in. Starting pitcher Jonathan Vargas led the staff with six wins, despite recording a 5.27 ERA. The team is managed by Luis Mauricio Suarez. The Bravos de Leon have won one Serie del Rey, in 1990.
Diablos Rojos del México (1940-Present)
Diablos Rojos del México finished the 2022 season with a regular season record of 50-34. They lost to Leones de Yucatan in the Zona Sur division championship series. First baseman Japhet Amador should play a big role for Diablos Rojos del Mexico again this year after batting .315 and hitting 17 home runs in 2022. Former major leaguer Juan Gabriel Castro manages the team. Diablos Rojos del México has won the Serie del Rey 16 times, a LMB record.
El Águila de Veracruz (1903-Present)
El Aguila de Veracruz finished the 2022 season with a regular season win-loss record of 41-48 in the Zona Sur. They lost to Diablos Rojos del Mexico in the first round of the postseason. Former MLB veteran Alexi Amarista led all position players with 106 hits. Relief pitcher Yapson Gomez recorded a 1.96 ERA in 41.1 innings. The team is managed by Matias Carrillo, and has won the Serie del Rey six times, most recently in 2012.
Guerreros de Oaxaca (1996-Present)
Guerreros de Oaxaca finished the 2022 season with a win-loss record of 34-53, and did not qualify for the postseason. Outfielder Jose Urena led the team in home runs and runs batted in, with 21 and 74 respectively. The pitching staff will look to lower the team ERA in 2023 after recording a 7.29 ERA last season. A major reason for the high ERA was the amount of hits they gave up, allowing 12.1 per nine innings. The team is managed by Geronimo Gil, and has won the Serie del Rey one time in 1998.
Leones de Yucatán (1954-Present)
Leones de Yucatan finished the 2022 regular season with a win-loss record of 46-43, and were crowned the eventual champions. They defeated Sultanes de Monterrey four games to three in the best-of-seven Serie del Rey. The team had a plethora of former MLB hitters on the roster, including Starlin Castro, Brian Goodwin, and Jose Martinez. Former Houston Astro Mike Fiers started eight games for Leones de Yucatan last and fared well, going 3-2 in his eight starts with a 2.84 ERA in 44.1 innings. Leones de Yucatan is managed by Luis Matos and has won the Serie del Rey six times.
Olmecas de Tabasco (1975-Present)
The Olmecas de Tabasco finished the 2022 regular season with a win-loss record of 47-37. They would go on to lose in the first round, four games to one against the Tigres de Quintana Roo. Catcher Jose Felix struck out just 12 times over 213 plate appearances, and third baseman Ramon Hernandez provided the power with 17 home runs.Cuba’s World Baseball Classic left fielder Roel Santos enters his fourth year with the organization.The team is managed by Pedro Mere, and won the Serie del Rey in 1993.
Pericos de Puebla (1942-Present)
The Pericos de Puebla finished the 2022 regular season with a win-loss record of 48-39. They matched up with eventual champion Leones de Yucatan in the first round of the postseason, and lost the best-of-seven series four games to two. Outfielder Peter O’Brien will be back on the team in 2023 after blasting 32 home runs in 2022. Former New York Mets product Gabriel Ynoa is looking for a bounce back season in 2023 for Pericos de Puebla after giving up 51 earned runs in 86 innings last year. Pericos de Pubela is managed by Willie Romero and has won the Serie del Rey four times, most recently in 2016.
Piratas de Campeche (1980-Present)
Piratas de Campeche finished the 2022 regular season with a win-loss record of 29-58, and did not qualify for the postseason. Outfielder Ramon Ramirez will be back with the team in 2023, after batting .265 in 2022 with six home runs.The Piratas de Campeche pitching staff gave up a staggering 526 earned runs in 703.2 innings pitched in 2022, good for a 6.73 team ERA. The Piratas de Campeche manager is Francisco Campos, and the organization has won the Serie del Rey twice, most recently in 2004.
Tigres de Quintana Roo (1955-Present)
The Tigres de Quintana Roo finished the 2022 regular season with a win-loss record of 44-46, and lost in the second round of the zone series to the eventual champion Leones de Yucatan four games to one. Catcher Alexis Wilson was a huge part of the 2022 lineup and should be again in 2023. Wilson hit .247 at the plate, and sent nine home runs over the wall. Raul Carrillo started 15 games last season for Tigres de Quintana Roo, and struck out 57 hitters in 76 innings pitched. The Tigres de Quintana Roo are managed by Luis Rodriguez and have won the Serie del Rey 12 times, most recently in 2015.