Results tagged ‘ Matt Joyce ’
The West Michigan Whitecaps are competing in their 20th season in the Midwest League. To celebrate this event, the team is having the fans vote on the best players they’ve seen in each position for the last two decades. Even three managers are up for the vote, in Bruce Fields, Matt Walbeck, and Tom Brookens. All three won the Midwest League Championship in West Michigan. Catchers such as Brandon Inge, current Tiger Alex Avila, and Miami Marlin Rob Brantley are all up for the best behind the plate. At first base, I think that Robert Fick has the inside edge. He was voted into the first Whitecaps Hall of Fame, and has the honor of hitting the last home run in Tiger Stadium. That’s just my vote, though. Second base is my favorite position, so I’ve followed the players there pretty closely. It will be tough for me to choose only one of my favorites such as Scott Sizemore, Justin Henry, and Brandon Douglas. At short stop, in my opinion, the vote might come down to current Tiger Ramon Santiago, or last’s years MiLB Gold Glove winner Eugenio Suarez, which is a tough call. At the hot corner, top prospect Nick Castellanos may be the favorite despite being moved to the outfield last season with Lakeland and Erie. He may get a push from guys like Wade Gaynor and Wilkin Ramirez, though. Fans are allowed three choices for outfielders, and there are plenty. While players like Matt Joyce, Cameron Maybin, Cody Ross, and Brent Clevlen have all seen action at the MLB level, Gorkys Hernandez had a great season in West Michigan in 2007. He was also named the Tigers Minor League Player of the Year that year. Fans are also allowed to vote for three pitchers. Players like Andy Van Hekken, Casey Crosby, Duane Below, and Joel Zumaya all found success on the hill in West Michigan. Rounding out the relief pitchers, fans can vote for two, including Michael Torrealba and Anthony Claggett. This is another great way the Whitecaps are celebrating so much success the last 20 years. VOTE NOW!
Photo courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps
Ok, I’ve been slacking a bit on my Whitecaps coverage, but at least I’ve been to more games this season that the last few years, so that more fun that’s just reading the stats. The Whitecaps are off to a solid second half, so here’s hoping they can stay hot and continue their playoff streak. Inserted are photos from the ‘Caps recent series with the Fort Wayne TinCaps from the Grand Rapids Press. Happy 4th of July everyone….
First Half: The Whitecaps really struggled early this season, with such a young roster, but were able to battle back a bit. They ended the first half 32-37, which was good for 6th in the eight team division. What’s impressive, is that they went through a rough 12 game losing streak early in the season, so being able to recover from that is a positive sign.
Second Half: West Michigan is off to a solid start in the second half of the season, going 7-4, which is good enough for second place in the East one game behind the Dayton Dragons. Outfielder Jeff Rowland is off to a great start in this second stint. He’s batting .400 with four doubles, six walks, and a .600 OBP. The pitching staff is also getting the job done for the Whitecaps. Their starters have had seven quality starts in the first 10 games and are 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA. The team has gone 17-8 since June 3 and are almost at .500 for the entire season.
Team Leaders: Rookie sensation Nick Castellanos is emerging as a team leader, despite having a slow start to his first full pro season. He’s leading the ‘Caps in batting average with .306, RBI’s with 48, and SLG% with .441. James Robbins is leading the team in home runs with 10, and Luis Castillo is tops with a .369 OBP. On the mound, Kevin Eichhorn leads the team in three categories of his own: wins with 6, SO with 68, and a 1.17 WHIP. Antonio Cruz has the best ERA with 3.29, and Bruce Rondon is tops with 15 saves.
All Stars: Representing the Whitecaps in this year Midwest League All-Star game were Bruce Rondon, Rob Brantly, and Hernan Perez. Rondon pitched a scoreless 0.2 of an inning with one strikeout. Brantly went 0-3, while Perez went 0-2 in the East’s 8-3 loss to the West. In this season’s MLB All-Star game, catcher Alex Avila of the Tigers has been voted in as the starter. He’ll be joined on the American League roster by Matt Joyce (TB) and may face the National League’s Jair Jurrjens (ATL) on the mound.Photos courtesy of the Grand Rapids Press
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who excercise your right not to vote, now might be a good time for a change. Voting can undo some major injustices, and if Detroit Tigers catcher (and former West Michigan Whitecap) Alex Avia does not start the 2011 MLB All-Star Game, that would be an injustice. At this time, Avila is trailing Yankees catcher Russell Martin by a fairly significant amount (2,226,797 to 1,730,511 as of 6/21). If you compare the two, however, you’d have to agree that Avila is simply the better choice. The Tigers back-stop is hitting .304, with 15 doubles, 10 homers, and 45 RBI. Compare this to Martin, who is batting a whopping .230, though his nine home runs and 30 RBI’s aren’t bad. Defensively, Martin has caught only 12 base-stealers, while 34 have made it safely to second while he was behind the plate, for a CS% of .261. Avila, however has a CS% of .400, nailing 20 out of 50 at second. I’m not saying that Martin is a bad player, or a bad person, or anything like that. The simple facts of baseball at this point, however, state that Avila is the better catcher at this time and should be the starter come July 12. I also understand how the system works for the All-Star game, and Martin being a Yankee has a huge advantage. Even Jeter is leading the race to start at short stop, and we all know that he’s battling injury, and did not play like his legendary self this season. The power is in our hands, we can vote on who actually deserves to be there, or let the All-Star game become more pointless that it has already become.
Other Whitecaps alumni who should be in the starting line-up on July 12 at Matt Joyce (TB) and Jair Jurrjens (ATL). Joyce is batting .313 with 10 home runs and 38 RBI for the Rays. Jurrjens has been one of the best pitchers in the National League all season with the Braves, sporting an ERA of 2.07 and a record of 10-3. He has struck out 55 batters to boot. Representing the Tigers in the Futures Game for Team USA is former ‘Cap Jacob Turner. Turner is 2-2, with an ERA of 3.01 with 72 strike-outs for the Erie SeaWolves of the Eastern League.
Illustration courtesy of Samara Pearlstein
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)
Duane Below-P (Tigers)
Brennan Boesch-OF (Tigers)
Luke French-P (Mariners)
Brandon Inge-3B (Tigers)
Matt Joyce-OF (Rays)
Photos courtesy of Getty Images