Friday, April 06, 2007

West Michigan Whitecaps Preview

The West Michigan Whitecaps opened their season with a 3-2 loss to Dayton last night. Chris Cody pitched shutout ball for 5 innings allowing 6 hits and 2 walks and striking out 5 for the Whitecaps. Ryan Strieby hit a solo home run and Deik Scram had two hits in the losing effort.

Two of the most interesting Whitecaps this year are Gorkys Hernandez and Scott Sizemeore. The 19 year old Hernandez had an eye opening debut batting .327/.356/.463 in 205 at bats for the GCL Tigers last year. Hernandez is very raw and has a long way to go before we start talking about the majors but he probably has the biggest upside of any Tiger prospect other than Cameron Maybin. He is very fast, runs the bases well and covers a lot of ground in center field. He also has the potential to develop some decent power. Like most 19 year olds, he needs to work on his plate discipline.

Sizemore batted .327/.394/.435 as a shortstop for Oneonta last year. He is playing second base for the Whitecaps this season and that will likely be his permanent position. He has good contact and on base skills and hits for some gap power. He projects as a good offensive middle infielder with the question being his defense. By most accounts, he has only average defensive tools but played fairly well at shortstop last year.

Some of the other players to watch at West Michigan this year are outfielder Brennan Boesch, first baseman Ryan Strieby and pitcher Jonah Nickerson. The complete roster has been extracted from an article by Brian Vanochten of the Grand Rapids press and is listed below. For more news and discussion of the Flying Tigers check out and Mike Cassidy's Tigers Minor League Blog.

Starting Line-up

LF Deik Scram
2B Scott Sizemore
RF Brennan Boesch
1B Ryan Strieby
DH Michael Bertram
3B Santo De Leon
C James Skelton
CF Gorkys Hernandez
SS Audy Ciriaco

C Jeff Kunkel
OF Jeramy Laster
INF Louis Ott
OF Brandon Timm

Starting pitchers
LHP Chris Cody
RHP Lauren Gagnier
LHP Duane Below
RHP Angel Castro
RHP Jonah Nickerson

RHP Randor Bierd
LHP Ed Clelland
RHP Casey Fien
RHP Jeff Gerbe
RHP Brett Jensen
RHP Phil Napolitan
RHP Josh Rainwater

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