Prospects paving the way for their Mexican Winter League teams

New York Yankees prospect Jared Serna (photo) has been a presence of offensive consistency in a Charros de Jalisco team that has had a rough season. Although they have begun the second half of the season with a record of 8-6, a tough first half of 21-28 has made this a challenging overall season for Charros. One of the offensive standouts of the team has been Serna, who has hit a slash line of .304/.368/.453 with an OPS of .821 in 143 at-bats this season. For players with at least 140 at-bats, he is second in the league in batting average. His on-base percentage is good for 12th for players with at least 160 plate appearances in the league. The 21-year-old has shown vast improvement from his performance in the Mexico Winter League (LMP) last year, where he produced a .381 OPS in limited action, having only taken 31 At-bats. Serna spent 2023 in the New York Yankees Minor League system, splitting his time between A and A+ clubs in Tampa and Hudson Valley, respectively. Overall, Serna had a slash line of .284/.350/.463 for an OPS of .813, hit 19 HR, and had 79 runs batted in and 28 doubles in 563 combined plate appearances.  

Valente Bellozo and Victor Morales are two pitching prospects who have been making great strides in LMP toward their development as pitchers. Bellozo has spent the last four seasons in the Houston Astros minor league organizations, where he pitched 269 innings from Class A to Double-A. In those innings, he has an ERA of 3.45, a WHIP of 1.100, and a K/9 rate of 9.1. This year in LMP, Bellozo has pitched 21.0 innings, has an ERA of 2.16, and has a K/9 rate of 11.1. His K/9 rate is second for players who have thrown at least 20 innings. His performance in LMP had dramatically improved from last year when he had an ERA of over 10.00 in only nine innings pitched. Morales is a 21-year-old who has spent the last two seasons pitching for Diablos Rojos in the Independent Mexican League. This year in LMP, he has blossomed, posting an ERA of 1.08 and a WHIP of 1.020 in 16.2 innings of work in the winter league. He also has a K/9 Rate of 10.8. Morales’ ERA is fifth in the league for players with over 16 innings pitched, and his K/9 rate is fourth among players with the same number of innings pitched.

Although these players’ teams in the LMP are not currently strong playoff contenders, their performances could earn them consideration as reinforcements for teams in the playoffs, and whichever team wins the right to represent LMP in the Caribbean Series in Miami from February 1-9. Their performances are also significant signs for their MLB organizations as prospects’ performances in the winter leagues are scrutinized more often as tools to measure a player’s development.

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