West Michigan’s Kyle Ryan has been named the Midwest League’s Pitcher of the Week for his efforts against the Lansing Lugnuts last Thursday. In the first game of a double-header, he threw six hitless innings, struck out three, and walked three. He even picked off a baserunner and retired 17 of the 20 batters he faced off against. Ryan never allowed a runner to reach scoring position and came three outs from the Whitecaps first no-hitter in just over a decade. He was pulled after the sixth innings after his pitch count reached 80.
Ryan was a 12th round pick of the Detroit Tigers in 2010 out of Auburndale High School in Florida. So far this season, he is 4-8 with a 3.46 ERA and has a team high nineteen starts. He leads the Whitecaps in quality starts with 13, and has allowed only 122 hits, has struck out 69, and only walked 26 in his 109.1 innings of work. The quality pitching of hurlers like Ryan, Alex Burgos, and Kevin Eichhorn are instrumental in the ‘Caps moving up from 5th place in the MWL Eastern Division. The team is only five games back, so there is still hopes for the playoffs.
In Eichhorn’s last outing, he threw a complete game, and had his own no-hit bid going until the sixth inning in a game against the Bowling Green Hot Rods. He ended up only allowing four hits by the Hot Rods, gave up one earned run, while striking out two and walking one hitter. Sixteen of his outs were ground balls. At one point in the game, he retired fifteen batters in a row. Eichhorn increased his record to 8-3, but is 5-0 in his last ten starts. His ERA is 3.47, but was only 2.69 in those last ten outings. His eight wins leads the team.
Following up Eichhorn’s complete game, Burgos struck out a career high ten batters in the Whitecaps victory over the Dayton Dragons. He retired 17 of the first 19 hitters he faced off against, and took a one-hit shutout into the seventh inning. The left-handed Burgos is now 6-2 on the season. A fifth-round draft pick in 2010, he missed the first two months of the season after developing bicep tendonitis during spring training in his throwing are.
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