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Former MLB Players Who Are Dominating the LMB

 David Polli - World Baseball Network  |    Jul 2nd, 2024 6:21pm EDT

Here are ten former MLB players who have had unbelievable seasons at the plate in the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol.  

  1. Robinson Cano, 2B, Diablos Rojos del Mexico

The 41-year-old Cano is enjoying one of his best seasons at the tail end of his career. Cano leads the league with a .457 average and is in the top 5 in slugging percentage, RBIs, and on-base percentage. The 8-time MLB all-star for the Yankees and Mariners is leading the charge for a dominant Diablos squad with the best record in the entire league at 51-14.

  1. Jerar Encarnación, OF, Guerreros de Oaxaca

The former Miami Marlin is arguably the best player in the entire league this season. With 19 home runs and a .989 slugging percentage (yes, you heard that right), Encarnacion is mashing. The league leader in OPS is only 26 and has improved his contact skills. Don’t be surprised if you see him back in the major leagues very soon. 

  1. Leonys Martin, OF, Conspiradores de Querétaro

The 9-year MLB veteran excels from the left side of the plate, with 23 bombs, good for second in the league, and a .414 OBP. A two-time member of the 30+ steals club with the Texas Rangers, Martin last saw time in the majors in 2019 with Cleveland. At 36, he is hitting with more power against LMB pitching and will provide a veteran presence for a middling Queretaro team making a playoff push.  

  1. Greg Bird, 1B, Charros de Jalisco

A great Yankee prospect, Bird never panned out in the major leagues due to injuries and inconsistency. However, his left-handed swing has always had pop. Byrd is fourth in the league with 18 home runs and has his OPS career-high in any season, major or minor.  

  1. Jonathan Villar, 3B/SS, Algodoneros de Unión Laguna

I could have sworn that Villar was older than 33 and made at least one all-star team, but I am mistaken on both accounts. The 10-year MLB vet entered the majors with the Astros in 2013 and last played for the Angels and Cubs in 2022. In his prime, Villar was a member of the 20+ homer and 40+ stolen base club with the Orioles and just narrowly missed his second entry into the club with a 62 stolen base season for Milwaukee in 2016. The veteran is showing he’s still got it for a very dangerous 39-25 Laguna club, with a slash line of .364/.444/.465 and 9 stolen bags.  

  1. Lewin Diaz, 1B, Piratas de Campeche

The 27-year-old first baseman has been on a tear for Campeche. He has been the guy for them with 12 jacks, a .361 BA, 47 RBIs, and a 1.046 OPS. Three years with the Miami Marlins at a young age after being a longtime Twins prospect have been put to good use for the lefty slugger.  

  1. Franklin Barreto, OF, Diablos Rojos

Once a top 50 prospect at shortstop in baseball for the Oakland Athletics, Barreto has transitioned to the outfield for the best team in the LMB. He is in the top 15 in BA, OBP, SLG, SB, and OPS, with a slash line of .356/.442/.579, resulting in a 1.021 OPS. Showing his speed and talent, the 28-year-old could be eyeing a comeback after last playing for the A’s and Angels in 2020.  

  1. Yermin Mercedes, 1B/OF, Saraperos de Saltillo

Most known for being benched by Tony LaRussa for hitting a home run in a 3-0 count against a position player up late in a game, Mercedes is second on his team in every major batting category among players with over 150 at-bats. Yermin does not catch anymore, but he plays first base and corner outfield with 9 homers and a .965 OPS in 181 ABs. The former Giant and White Sock adds to the Dominican players making headlines in the Mexican league this season. (Bonus Fact: The player the Yerminator took deep, which caused the spiral of his MLB career. Willians Astudillo is now his teammate on the 32-33 Saltillo squad!) 

  1. Wilfredo Tovar, IF, Rieleros de Aguascalientes

The Venezuelan spent a long time in the New York Mets organization, debuting in 2013, staying up for 2014, being in the minors until he got a shot with the Angels in 2019, and returning to the Mets in 2021. Now Tovar continues to get bat on ball for Aguascalientes, ranking 5th in the league in batting average at .373 and an OPS of .946.  

  1. Vimael Machin, 3B, Charros de Jalisco

Spending three seasons with the Oakland Athletics from 2020-22, the Machine is second in the league in batting average. In addition to possessing 38 walks to only 27 strikeouts, Machin is hitting .408 with six dingers and 44 RBIs. The 30-year-old has spent time at every infield position except first in the past, but this season has been the guy in the hot corner for Jalisco.  

Honorable Mention’s: Yonathan Daza, Sam Travis, Jose Marmelejos, and Magneuris Sierra 

Photo Credit: Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees hits a grand slam home run in the 5th inning against the Oakland Athletics on August 25, 2011. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

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David Polli - World Baseball Network