Results tagged ‘ Brennen Boesch ’

Turner earns first MLB win, helps Tigers sweep ChiSox

Former West Michigan Whitecaps starting pitcher Jacob Turner earned his fist Major League victory last night, in a game that helped Detroit sweep the division rival Chicago White Sox, and putting them 1.5 games ahead in the Central standings. Re-bounding from a rough outing against the Angels last week, Turner pitched well in his 5 1/3 innings of work, giving up 3 runs in the Tigers 6-4 win. He struck-out three batters and never issued a walk. The Tigers have now won five straight and 16 of their last 21 games. Helping out offensively, and also a Whitecaps alum, was Brennan Boesch, who hit a two-run homer in the third inning. This is his second home run in as many games and was 2-3 in the game. Also pitching in was a decent little hitter Miguel Cabrera, who pounded two over the Comerica wall, numbers 299 and 300 respectively. Not bad, maybe we should keep an eye on this guy?

Turner pitched one partial season for the Whitecaps in 2010. He went 2-3 with a 3.67 ERA and 51 strike-outs.

Photo courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps

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Whitecaps and Tigers Extentd Relationship

At least I know that two of my kids will graduate high school while the ‘Caps are still affiliated with the Tigers. Seriously, though, this move makes sence, and it’s good to know we’ll keep seeing future Tigers come through the system. I’ve always wondered if the Tigers had any interest in possibly moving affiliation to the Lansing LugNuts or the Great Lakes (Midland) Loons, but I guess that question has been answered. This move also will help attendance at Fifth Third Ballpark, and bring fans from all over western and northern Michigan. Grand Rapids is a great town, and also hosts the Red Wings top AHL affiliate in the Griffins. The Tigers had already signed on for West Michigan through 2014, but the extention now goes to 2018. The Whitecaps CEO Lew Chamberlain is also happy about the deal, as he stated to the Grand Rapids Press:

“For the people of West Michigan and the fans, it’s really important for them now to know that we will be developing young Tigers for years to come. Because that is the exciting part of it. When you turn on your TV and see guys like Brennan Boesch and Ryan Raburn and Alex Avila. Guys that you watched here just a few years ago, and to know that we are going to continue to do that is what is really fun and exciting for me. This has been a terrific relationship between the two organizations from top to bottom, and now we don’t have to worry about what might happen next year or at the end of 2014. So There is some stability there, and that was important. The Tigers have provided us the great players and great teams, and they understand what we are all about as an organization.”

Spoken like a true business man. At least my favorite baseball teams know how to make a relationship last…

The Whitecaps are still looking for a playoff spot, but trail both Fort Wayne and Great Lakes by two points. After a rough start, they’ve played pretty consistantly in the second half of the season with a 26-24 record (58-61 overall). They have only 20 games left in the season, though, with ten at home. Below are some pics of the ‘Caps recent series with Great Lakes and the Dayton Dragons. 

Photos courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps and Grand Rapids Press

Villarreal for Real

pitcher.jpgA suprise out of this seasons Tigers spring training camp was pitcher Brayan Villarreal. The hard throwing right-hander was thrilled yesterday to find he made Detroits 25-man roster. After hearing the good news, the 23 year old from Venezuela immediately called his parents.

“This is the moment I’ve been waiting for for a long time,” Villarreal stated. “It feels really, really good. I can’t say how good I feel. My mom and dad were just so happy. They said ‘You deserve it; you worked hard. I am proud’.”

Villarreal pitched in five games for the Tigers this spring, earning one save, striking out four, and had a 5.06 ERA. I was able to see him pitch against the Peoria Chiefs back in 2009 while he was with the Whitecaps. In that outing he pitched five scoreless innings and had a measely 1.06 ERA at the time.

Also making the cut on Saturday are outfielders Casper Wells and Brennan Boesch. Niether player made last years team out of spring training, but did well when they were called up.

“This is tremendous,” Wells said. “It’s a stepping stone to what I hope to accomplish. And it’s really nice to break camp with the team. I grew up following the Yankees, and went to games at old Yankee Stadium. This will be my first time at the new Yankee Stadium, and I can’t wait.”

In 36 games last season, Wells batted .323 and manager Jim Leyland stated he had the second best outfield glove on the team behind Austin Jackson. Boesch batted .256 last season, and led all American League rookies with 14 home runs and 67 RBI’s.

Boesch stated, “It’s the first time breaking camp with the team and that’s cool. It’s and honor and everything. But I fully expected to be here. I did a few things last year, but I also know competition is good for the organization, and I never have a problem with competing.”

These players join former Whitecaps Alex Avila, Brandon Inge, Joel Zumaya, Ramon Santiago, Don Kelly, Ryan Raburn, and Will Rhymes (who won out the second base job) on Detroit’s Opening Day roster. That’s a pretty impressive list of former ‘Caps. Good luck to all these guys, as there success should be wins for the Tigers.

Photo property of M.I.B 

Whitecaps in Spring Training

Many alumni of the famed West Michigan Whitecaps are now in spring training with their current team. Some have spots all but wrapped up with their MLB team, other are fighting for a spot, and some are still on the rise through the system. It’s fun to watch the games and see guys in action that I’ve watched or maybe have met at Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids. Here’s some pics of some the former ‘Caps in training. We wish them all the best no matter where they might be.

Alex Avila-C (Tigers)


avila-st.jpgDuane Below-P (Tigers)


below-st.jpgBrennan Boesch-OF (Tigers)


boesch-st.jpgLuke French-P (Mariners)


french-st.jpgBrandon Inge-3B (Tigers)


inge-st.jpgMatt Joyce-OF (Rays)


joyce-st.jpgPhotos courtesy of Getty Images

Whitecaps Update 1/11/11

capslogo.jpgWinter Banquet and HOF: The Whitecaps 2011 Winter Banquet will be held on Wednesday, January 19th this year, and will be headlined by Detroit Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski. Also speaking at the event, is new ‘Caps skipper Ernie Young and alumni Will Rhymes and Brennan Boesch. This event will also feature the 2011 Whitecaps Hall of Fame ceremony which will induct current Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya, catcher Ramon Hernandez, and groundskeeper Heather Nabozny. Heather took good care of Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids before becoming the first female head groundskeeper in the Majors with the Tigers.

Alumni Moves: Former Whitecap center fielder Cameron Maybin was shipped from the Florida Marlins to the San Diego Padres for Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica. Maybin was on the Marlins opening day roster in 2009 and 2010. Maybin was sent to Florida from Detroit in the deal for Miguel Cabrera and was part of West Michigan’s 2006 Midwest League championship team. The Padres look for his range in center to be a great asset playing at Petco Park. Also on the move is pitcher Alfredo Figaro. The Tigers sold his contract to the Orix Buffaloes of the Japanese Pacific League. In eight appearances for the Tigers, he was 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA. Figaro was 10-6 with a 4.14 ERA in 23 starts for the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens in 2010.


IMG_1150.jpgTiger Fridays:
Tigers Fridays are back at Fifth Third Ballpark for this season. Former Tigers Johnny Grubb, Steve Kemp, Frank Lary, Mickey Tettleton, Dick Tracewski, Jason Thompson, and Richie Hebner will be making appearances. The dates are June 3 & 17, July 1, 22, & 29, and August 12 & 26. The team hasn’t released the dates each former Tiger will be attending, though. I hope I have a chance to make it down to meet Tettleton. He’s one of my favorite players of all time.

Non-Roster Invite: Outfielder Avisail Garcia in one of the 18 non-roster players the Tigers have invited to spring training in Lakeland, FL. Garcia has spent the last two seasons with the ‘Caps and is ranked as the Tigers ninth-best prospect by Baseball America. In 2010 he batted .281 with four home runs, 63 doubles, and 20 stolen bases. In 2009 he was a .264 hitter in 81 games in West Michigan. He’ll be at Spring Training with former ‘Caps outfielders Andy Dirks, Ben Guez, Casper Wells, Clete Thomas, and Brennan Boesch.

Fifth Third Burger on TV…Again: Last year the famous West Michigan Whitecaps Fifth Third Burger was featured on Man v. Food. This year, the giant hamburger will be featured on the Food Network’s series ‘Unwrapped’ with host Marc Summers. The show will air at 9:00 p.m. on January 22 in an episode called ‘Game Day Goodies’. I plan on tackling this monsterous burger this season, but I’ll have three hungary kids to help polish it off. In two seasons, the ‘Caps have served 3,253 Fifth Third Burgers to fans, and 761 have attempted the Challenge to eat the whole thing by themselves. A total of 483 people have won the challenge, earning a T-shirt and their pic on the ‘wall of champs’.

A Look Ahead: This should be a fun year for us at the Whitecaps games. I’m trying to get my work schedules manipulated so the kids and I can make it to Opening Day  and hopefully Star Wars day again in July. Brian will be making his debut at Fifth Third Ballpark this season, also. Below is a pic of him sporting his new hat he got for his third birthday on the 11th. I’ve also added a ‘Caps game to my baseball trip, as we’re flying back into Michigan via Grand Rapids. Why not stay and catch one more game?


briancaps.jpgPhotos property of M.I.B.

Whitecaps Update 5/10

capslogo.jpgCellar Dwellers: Yes, ‘Caps fans, it’s true. As of last night West Michigan is in last place of the Midwest League East Division with a record of 20-31. This young team is just way too inconsistant at bat and on the field to get the job done. Manager Joe DePastino better set the ship right, or the ‘Caps will be making a rare absence from the playoffs.

Solid on the Hill: One bright spot for the Whitecaps this season has been the pitching. Trevor Feeney was named the MWL Pitcher of the Week ending 5/17. On the 10th of the month, Feeney hurled a complete game against the South Bend Silver Hawks in route to a 3-1 WM victory. The one run scored was unearned, as he struck out seven and issued only one walk. He only threw 107 pitches in the game and gave up six hits. In his eight starts this season he’s 4-3  with a 3.38 ERA. Also steady on the mound is nineteen-year-old Giovanni Soto. Last week facing the first place Lake County Captains, he struck out two and only walked one batter in a 3-1 victory. This season Soto is 3-3 with a 2.11 ERA, which is in the top ten of the Midwest League.

turner-habitat.jpgPitching In: On May 13, Whitecaps players and staff participed in the second Whitecaps Day of Service with Habitat for Humanity of Kent County. The players and staff painted a large house in Grand Rapids for a single mother of six children. Helping out on the project were Billy Alvino, Mike Gosse, Kenny Faulk, and Jacob Turner(pictured). The Whitecaps players volunteer their time all season long for various engagements such as visinting kids in children hospitals and schools.

Tigers GM in GR: Detroit Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski was in town to visit the Class A Affiliate and check out the prospects. The good news for Whitecaps fans is that it looks like Turner is staying in Grand Rapids for the time being. Dombrowski told the Grand Rapids Press: “There are no immediate plans to move him. I don’t know about later in the year, but at this point, this is a good place for development perposes. Right now, I think our thought process would be to keep him here and let him continue to develop and get the ball every five days. Will things change as the year goes on? Perhaps. But it won’t be in the near future.” The eighteen-year-old Turner is 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA in 26 IP so far this season. Domrowski continued: “We like what we’ver heard and our people like what they’ve seen. We’re very happy with him, and he’s going to be a very good pitcher for us in the future.” He also commented on the young ‘Caps team struggles: “It’s a younger team than in the past, but we like a lot of the players here. I think it’s the type of club that will get better as the year continues because you look for younger players to improve. They have a good work ethic and a good staff.”

wells1.jpgAlumni Up and Downs: Outfielder Brennan Boesch continues to contrubute to the Tigers, who are trying to keep pace the Twins in the AL Central. In 25 games Boesch is batting .340 with 22 RBI’s and a .617 Slugging Pct. He was also named MLB Rookie of the Month for May.  Due to his performance, second baseball Scott Sizemore has been sent back to the Toledo Mud Hens for more conditioning. He’s batting .250 with four doubles and two RBI’s in his seven games of Triple-A ball. Dombrowski also commented on Sizemore: “It’s tough to break into the big league level. Many very good players come up to the big leagues that (struggle) and are optioned out and come back to be real good players. It’s an adjustment up there.” Also making his Major League debut with the Tigers this month was Casper Wells. In four games he’s hitting .222 with one double and a pair of RBI’s. Wells was a MWL Mid-Season All-Star with the Whitecaps in 2008 before being promoted to Double-A Erie. He set a Midwest League recond on May 2 of that year by getting hit by a pitch four times by Quad Cities. He’s a native of Grand Rapids, MI, and it’s a proven fact that great men are born in GR.  

 

sedon1.jpgRoster Moves: Memorial Day weekend will be kicking off with a new look roster for the Whitecaps. With there current record, some knew changes would be coming, with four players joining the team and five being removed. Joining the team from extended Spring Training are second baseman Chris Sedon and shortstop Jimmy Gulliver, both 2009 draft picks. Sedon played college ball for Pitt and was named to four different All-American teams, including the Louisville Slugger First Team and Baseball America Second Team. Gulliver is a product of Eastern Michigan, was born in Detroit, and grew up in Allen Park, MI. His father Glenn was drafted by the Tigers in 1976. Also Joining the team are pitchers Jared Wesson and Zach Samuels. Both were signed by the Tiges after going undrafted last summer. The lefty Wesson made a solid impact in his first outing over the weekend. He threw six shut-out innings and gave up only three hits in a 7-4 victory over the Dayton Dragons. Wesson told the Grand Rapids Press how excited he was: “Playing in front of a crowd was great and they were really energetic. I like the home fans, and I’m just trying to help the ball club as much as I can.” He played college ball for Mississippi State and underwent Tommy John surgery in 2005. Leaving the ‘Caps for extended Spring Training are infielders Luis Plalacios and Elvin Soto, and pitchers Melvin Mercedes and Luis Sanz. Mike Gosse was given his release from the Tigers organizantion.

wesson1.jpgPhotos courtesy of the Grand Rapids Press

Whitecaps Update 4/10

capslogo.jpg‘Caps in Second(to last): With a record of 7-14 so far this young season, obviously West Michigan’s young roster is having some struggles. The Whitecaps finally broke out of thier offensive slump yesterday, though, beating the Lansing Lugnuts 7-2 on the back of 12 hits. They had scored just three runs in their previous five games. The losing streak even prompted manager Joe DePastino to call their hitting struggles ‘ugly’ earlier this week. Instead of having someone throw batting practice, he had the team use the pitching machine with some speed in order to get the team to shorten their strides and hit line drives up the middle. It seemed to have worked.

The bright spot so far in 2010 is the young pitching staff. This year’s rotation is sporting a solid 3.15 ERA with the bullben being 2-2  with a 2.83 ERA in the past 15 games. Starter Trevor Feeney leads the way with 24 strikeouts and a 3.25 ERA in 27.2 innings pitched. Also throwing well are Jacob Turner (0-0, 1.00) and Giovani Soto (1-1, 2.63). Turner unfortunately was place on the DL Monday for stiffness in his right arm. He had only allowed one run and seven hits in his two starts.

ingebobble.jpg Inge Bobblehead: If you happen to be in the Grand Rapids area on May 7, stop into Fifth Third Ballpark for your free Brandon Inge bobblehead. The bobbling likeness of the former Whitecap and current Detroit Tiger will be given away to the first 1,000 fans through the gate.

Boesch MLB Debut: Outfielder Brennan Boesch recently made his Major League debut for the Tigers after Carlos Guillen was placed on the DL. In five game with the Tigers he is batting .278 with five hits, including three doubles and three RBI’s. He was a 3rd round pick of Detroit in the 2006 draft. Playing for the Whitecaps in 2007, he hit .267 with 19 doubles and 10 home runs. This kid definately has some power. He’ll need to cut down on the strikeouts and work on his fielding a bit to stay up at this level.

boesch2.jpgThis will be my last post for at least another week or so, as I’m leaving for my baseball trip to Iowa later today. Wish me a safe journey with no rainouts.

Inge photo courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps

Boesch photo courtesy of the Midwest League

Jacob gets his Turn in West Michigan

turner1.jpgThe Detroit Tigers announced on Thursday that they will be assigning Jacob Turner,  thier first round pick of the 2009 draft (9th overall), to the West Michigan Whitecaps (Low A). The 18-year-old pitched for the Westminster Christian Academy High School in St. Louis last season. Whitecaps CEO and managing partner Lew Chamberlin told the Grand Rapids Press, “Turner represents the future of the Tigers, and I hope people would want to come out here and see him.” He has had an impressive spring training, and can hopefully keep it up at this level. I hope to get a chance to see him pitch before he’s moved up to Lakeland(high A) or even Erie(AA), which is a possibility.

Also, some former Whitecaps have been on the move this weekend as well. Optioned to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens were outfielders Casper Wells, Brennan Boesch, and Ryan Strieby, as well as right handed pitcher Alfredo Figaro. Infielder Audy Ciriaco was been assigned to Double-A Erie Sea Wolves, while short-stop Gustavo Nunez has been sent to Minor League camp and has not been assigned yet.

Good luck this season to Turner and the West Michigan alumi in the Tigers organization. Looks like it will be an exciting year, especially seeing how Scott Sizemore does at the MLB level in Detroit.

IMG_1150.jpg Top photo courtesy of Westminster Christian Academy

Bottom photo property of MIB

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