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LMB: A Preview of the 2023 Zona Norte Playoffs

 Leif Skodnick  |    Aug 9th, 2023 10:11am EDT

Danry Vasquez of the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos ducks out of the way of a pitch during a game against the Saraperos de Saltillo on July 29, 2023. (Photo: Leif Skodnick/World Baseball Network)

By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network

The 2023 Liga Mexicana de Beisbol regular season concluded on August 6, and the postseason began on Tuesday, August 8.

Leones de Yucatan defeated Sultanes de Monterrey four games to three in the best-of-seven 2022 Serie del Rey. Who will be crowned champion in 2023? Will it be a team from Zona Norte? 

The first round of the playoffs from both divisions will run from August 8-17. 

The Series de Zona will run from August 18-27, followed by the Series de Campeonato from August 28-September 6. The LMB final, known as the Serie del Rey, will be played September 8-16. 

All Liga Mexicana de Beisbol playoff games will be streamed on https://www.jonron.tv/ with a paid subscription. 

Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos – 50-36, First Place
Manager – Felix Fermin
Serie del Rey Championships (5) – 1953, 1954, 1958, 1977, 1989

The Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos finished the regular season with the best record in the Zona Norte. Third baseman Luis Jimenez and outfielder Danry Vasquez tied for the team lead in home runs with 11, and Vasquez was first on Tecolotes with 60 RBI. Relief pitcher Brandon Brennan recorded a 3.69 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 97.2 innings out of the bullpen. Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos will play the No. 6 seed, the Acereros de Monclova, in the first round. 

Sultanes de Monterrey – 50-38, Second Place
Manager – Roberto Kelly
Serie del Rey Championships (10) – 1943, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1962, 1991, 1995, 1996, 2007, 2018 

The Sultanes de Monterrey finished the regular season with the second-best record in Zona Norte. Outfielder Victor Mendoza had a tremendous season at the plate, hitting .344 with 73 RBI. Starting pitcher Nivaldo Rodriguez had a 2.76 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 94.2 innings. Sultanes de Monterrey is looking to advance to the Serie del Rey in back-to-back seasons. They will play No. 5 seed Algodoneros de Union Laguna in the Primer Playoff round. Roberto Kelly is the manager of Sultanes de Monterrey. 

Toros de Tijuana – 50-40, Third Place
Manager – Homar Rojas
Serie del Rey Championships (2) – 2017, 2021 

The Toros de Tijuana finished the regular season with the third-best record in Zona Norte after collapsing in the final two weeks of the regular season. One of their best offensive players is shortstop Jack Mayfield, who previously played four seasons in MLB with the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, and Seattle Mariners. Mayfield had a .848 OPS and 11 home runs in the regular season. Neftali Feliz, a former lockdown reliever with the Texas Rangers, had 50 strikeouts in 42.2 innings as the team’s primary closer. Toros de Tijuana will play the No. 4 seed Saraperos de Saltillo in the Primer Playoff round.

Saraperos de Saltillo – 49-40, Fourth Place
Manager – Carmelo Martinez
Serie del Rey Championships (3) – 1980, 2009, 2010 

The Saraperos de Saltillo finished the regular season with the fourth-best record in Zona Norte. Catcher Sergio Burruel had a .314 batting average and a .800 OPS in 53 games this season. Former MLB pitcher David Huff started 13 games for Saraperos de Saltillo and recorded a 5-4 win-loss record and 4.50 ERA in 74 innings. Saraperos de Saltillo will play No. 3 seed Toros de Tijuana in the Primer Playoff round. Carmelo Martinez replaced Mark Weidemaier as team manager during the regular season. 

Algodoneros de Unión Laguna – 49-40, Fifth Place
Manager – Ramon Orantes
Serie del Rey Championships (2) – 1942, 1950 

The Algodoneros finished the regular season with the same record as the No. 4 seed Saraperos de Saltillo, but they are the No. 5 seed in the Zona Norte postseason because they lost the season series to Saraperos de Saltillo. Former MLB infielder Jonathan Villar hit 11 home runs and had 72 RBI in 85 games. Thomas Mcllraith was their standout pitcher of the season, with 14 saves and 46 strikeouts in 36.1 innings. The Algodoneros de Unión Laguna will play No. 2 seed Sultanes de Monterrey in the Primer Playoff round.

Acereros de Monclova – 46-43, Sixth Place
Manager – Jorge Luis Laredo
Serie del Rey Championships (1) – 2019  

The Acereros de Monclova finished the regular season with the sixth-best record in Zona Norte. Former MLB infielder and 2015 World Series champion Alcides Escobar had a .890 OPS and 17 RBI in 26 regular season games. Relief pitcher Vidal Nuno III recorded a minuscule 0.86 ERA in 28 games out of the bullpen. Nuno made his MLB debut in 2013 with the New York Yankees. Acereros de Monclova will play No. 1 seed Tecolotes de Los Dos Laredos in the Primer Playoff round. Jorge Luis Laredo is the manager of Acereros de Monclova. 

Liga Mexicana de Beisbol Postseason Schedule
Primer Playoff (First Playoff Round) – August 8-17 
Series de Zona (Division Series) –  August 18-27
Series de Campeonato (Division Championship Series) – August 28-September 6 
Serie Del Rey (King Series) – September 9-16