Pericos de Puebla signed 1B/2B/3B-R José Sermo to an unknown contract
A few weeks back I had a write-up for Keon Barnum to the Pericos all ready to be published. Hours before it was scheduled to go live Barnum signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals. That was a pretty big loss for the Pericos as Barnum was meant to provide high-level offense and take them one step closer to a Serie del Rey title. Left without a big offensive acquisition the Pericos turned to Puerto Rico and signed Sermo instead. There’s a distinct possibility the Pericos aren’t just matching Barnum with Sermo but getting a better ballplayer altogether.
Last year was a dominant year for Sermo. The Bayamon native went from a role player to a standout with the American Association’s Sioux City Explorers and Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente’s Atenienses de Manatí and Cangrejeros de Santurce. In Serie del Caribe, with the Cengrejeros, against some of the best competition in the world, Sermo had 3 hits in 8 plate appearances, including 2 doubles, before going down with an injury. The results no doubt would have been better had Sermo not hurt his oblique, but because of the way the LBPRC and CWS operate Sermo was good enough with the Atenienses in the regular season that the dominant Cangrejeros added him to their playoff and CWS roster. That says something about the quality of play Sermo put forward last season.
Sermo carried over a .260/.374/.448 slash line with the Explorers to the Atenienses where he improved his slash to .317/.397/.545 with 5 home runs and 8 doubles in 116 plate appearances. He helped guide the Explorers to an eventual defeat in the AA Championship Series and his LBPRC tenure was so excellent that he took home Most Valuable Player honors. It was made clear last season that Sermo can handle the bat, while he also helped his cause with a 75.9% stolen base success rate that can improve as he gets more selective with his opportunities.
The main reason that Sermo may end up being a better acquisition than Barnum is the multi-faceted approach he brings to the diamond. Barnum is really good, but he’s mainly a slugger. He’s not fast and he’s average at best in the field while being limited to only first base. Sermo has speed and he offers the Pericos a lot of positional flexibility. During the 2019-2020 campaign, he flashed above-average glovework at second base, third base, and first base. It’s not likely that Sermo sees much time at first base for the Pericos, but he should field third, short, and the outfield on a rotating basis. That sort of flexibility in an above-average bat isn’t easy to come by and it instantly upgrades a Pericos squad that was already quite good.
With time spent in a pair of comparable leagues last season there’s no reason to believe Sermo won’t excel in Liga Mexicana de Béisbol this upcoming season. Don’t be at all surprised if Sermo takes the LMB by storm and helps guide the Pericos deep into the playoffs. Some players take a little bit to blossom, but it is clear that Sermo has realized his potential and the Pericos are about to benefit from how good the former roleplayer has become.
Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – Unknown