Results tagged ‘ Ryan Raburn ’

Formers on the 40-man

It’s that time of year again, and no, not Thanksgiving or Black Friday. It’s about that time the Major League teams needed to get their 40-man roster in order. The Detroit Tigers used this time to release former West Michigan Whitecap utility guy Ryan Raburn. This move was probably celebrated by most Tiger fans, who viewed Raburn as a player favored by manager Jim Leyland, and probably got too many second chances to prove himself over younger more deserving players. Though never one of my favorites, Raburn did show up every day and try his best, so I wish him the best of luck. The positive news is that the Tigers added three more Whitecaps alumni in pitchers Bruce Rondon and Melvin Mercedes, and shortstop Dixon Machado. Rondon played in West Michigan in 2011, going 2-2 with 19 saves. He boasted a 2.03 ERA and 61 strike-outs. He also played in the Futures Game in KC this past summer, impressing fans with his 102 mph fastball. Management has been vocal about giving him a chance to compete for the closing job next season.

Mercedes has been up and down the organizational latter, and has played for the Whitecaps in each of the last four seasons. In 2009, he went 0-1 in just three games played. 2010 saw him go 1-2 with a 5.03 ERA. He played only two games for the ‘Caps in 2011, with no decisions. This past season, he was 0-3 with six saves, and a 2.80 ERA. He’s shown some improvement, but needs to be more consistent to be considered to make the opening day roster. He needs to play either Double or Triple-A, and have a solid year.

Machado also played for the Whitecaps in 2011. He hit .235 with 101 hits, 28 RBI, and 25 stolen bases. He had a rough season this past summer in Lakeland, but hopefully can get his bat going and move up the ladder. The Tigers are in need of a young short-stop in the near future, and he could be the guy to replace Peralta, or whomever Detroit decides to put up the middle at Comerica. I like his speed, though, and the Tigers sure could use solid defense and speed on the base path. It will be fun to track these guys in 2013, and hopefully they might see some action in the big leagues.

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

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