West Mich MLN: Consistently Inconsistent

Over the past week, the West Michigan Whitecaps have been—for lack of a better term—consistently inconsistent. The team has followed every loss with a win, and vice-versa. In their series against Lake County, The 'Caps went 3-3, with only one game ending with either team winning by more than three runs.

That lone game was on Monday in which West Michigan beat Lake County 5-0 after pitcher Josue Carreno (2-6, 6.54) spun a three-hit shutout.

While the 'Caps are still in the cellar of the division—sitting at a not-so-stellar 21-30—the division as a whole is not insurmountable by any means. Lansing, who's the current division leader, is only sitting at 29-20.

One bright spot for the organization, though, has to be the development of third baseman Nick Castellanos. Though he is still adjusting to his new position, he has managed to keep his error count fairly low, with ten; furthermore, he's been one of the best run-producers on the team, driving it twenty-one while batting a fairly-impressive .259.

Shortstop Hernan Perez continues to show that his early-season success wasn't a fluke. His .337 batting average is a team-best, and is good for fourth-best in the Midwest League. Perez also leads the team in hits, runs, and doubles, and is towards the top in every other batting category.

First baseman James Robbins has provided something that the 'Caps didn't have all of last season: a consistent home run hitter. In 2010, the Whitecaps were led in home runs by third baseman Wade Gaynor, who was only able to muster up ten home runs for the entire season. Robbins, on the other hand, has already hit nine home runs since being sent to West Michigan, good for second place in the league. Combine that with his twenty-nine RBI, and Robbins is proving to be the linch pin in the Whitecaps lineup this year.

Three Whitecaps hitters—Perez, catcher Rob Brantly and center field Luis Castillo—are in the top ten in the league in batting average; furthermore, there is at least one West Michigan hitter in the top ten of every major hitting category, something that the Detroit Tigers organization has to be pleased with going forward.

On the mound, West Michigan's bullpen is proving to be quite the commodity this season. Led by reliever Ramon Lebron (1-0, 0.98) and his impressively-low earned run average, the bullpen for West Michigan has been the one of the best in the Midwest League. Closer Bruce Rondon (2-0, 1.50, 7 SV) has proven to be one of the best closers in the league. His seven saves put him at sixth-best in the Midwest League.

Starter Kyle Ryan (3-4, 3.74) has been the proverbial workhorse for the team, though it hasn't seemed that way lately necessarily. Pitchers Kevin Eichhorn (3-3, 4.53), Carreno, and Brennan Smith (1-2, 2.93) have all thrown complete games this season. Last season's Whitecaps only saw four complete games throughout the season.

The West Michigan Whitecaps head back to Comstock Park to start a home stand against Quad Cities, followed by a three game series against Cedar Rapids. Tonight's game starts at 6:35 p.m.


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