Will the West Michigan Whitecaps Win the Midwest League?
The July trades of JD Martinez, Justin Wilson and Alex Avila marks the beginning of the Detroit Tigers rebuilding process.
For all the talk of the Tigers having among the league’s worst farm system, the West Michigan Whitecaps (Full Season A) are working hard to rebut that claim. The Grand Rapids area team has dominated the Midwest League for the entirety of the 2017 season, ending the First-half with a 45-22 record and clinching a playoff berth. The Whitecaps had six representatives in the Midwest League All-Star Game in June: 1B Blaise Salter, OF Jake Robson, 3B Josh Lester, along with Starters Austin Sodders and Greg Soto and Reliever Jason Foley.
While all have since been moved up to Lakeland, the Whitecaps continue to dominate the Midwest League in the Second-half with a 34-12 record. And they are doing it with pitching. The Whitecaps lead the league in team ERA (2.79) and WHIP (1.11) On August 7, the Whitecaps recorded their 23rd shutout, tying the league record, held by the 1974 Quad Cities River Bandits. Starters Anthony Castro (9-4, 2.70 ERA) and Eudis Idrogo (6-4, 3.07) rank among the league’s best.
Recently, the Whitecaps have elevated the Tigers #1 Prospect, RHP Matt Manning, from short season Connecticut. Though he struggled in his debut, scouting reports are very high on Manning’s potential. Newly acquired Isaac Paredes (Cubs trade) has been on fire since his arrival, racking up 4 HR, 13 RBIs and hitting .378 in just 12 games.
With 23 games remaining in the regular season, the Whitecaps sit overall at 79-34, the closest team (Quad Cities) is 68-47. Having already clinched a playoff berth, they are slated to play the Division Series against Dayton Dragons starting on September 7. Should the Whitecaps win the Midwest League Championship this season, it will be their third in the last decade and their seventh in the last 21 years (1996, 1998, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2015). West Michigan has built a winning tradition of which Tigers fans should be proud.