TigsTown MLN: Fresh Faces in West Michigan

After a somewhat disappointing first half of the season, the Whitecaps received a few new players, and will likely be receiving at least a couple more in the coming weeks as the Tigers get their draft picks signed and into action.

With the second half of the season comes a fresh start for the Whitecaps, and in their case this season, it also comes with some new parts to the bullpen.

The Whitecaps made a three-for-three swap, sending out three right handers and getting three new ones to place in the bullpen.

Out are former closer Collin Mahoney and middle relievers Jay Sborz and Dan Konecny. None of the three had much success, though Mahoney had a strong start before struggling as the season wore on. He had 10 saves for the ‘Caps before his control struggles returned and he was demoted out of the role.

Possibly the biggest disappointment though has been the progress of Jay Sborz. Sborz, a big hard throwing righty selected two years ago in the second round, has been unable to solve his control issues. Sborz pitched two years of rookie ball, before the Tigers decided to try and challenge him by placing him in West Michigan's bullpen. The plan didn't go so well, as he had an ERA near eight (7.90) in 21 appearances. The Tigers have had lots of good news concerning the development of their young arms this year, but Sborz certainly isn't one of them.

All three of the group have moved to Oneonta, where the Tigers hope they can develop against some less experienced hitters.

Meanwhile, taking their place are three new right handers, two of which were just selected in the draft, and all three of which bring reason to be excited about.

P.J. Finigan and Kevin Ardoin are both college right handers that come with plenty of experience. Finigan (7th round) and Ardoin (10th round) will hopefully solidify a bullpen that has struggled at times. Finigan is regarded as more of a higher ceiling project, where as Ardoin is more polished and could move quickly.

The third member was signed as an undrafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic. Freddy Dolsi is a bit on the small side at just 6' 0", 160 pounds, but the Tigers are excited about the 21 year old's potential, especially after seeing him so far in extended spring training.

And while he hasn't been added to the roster yet, third round pick Chris Robinson is likely headed to West Michigan in the near future as well. Robinson, who has been referred to as the Curtis Granderson of catching for his above average skill in every facet of the game, could very well take over the everyday catching duties for West Michigan, with both Dusty Ryan and Andrew Graham struggling mightily through the first half of the season.

Robinson is another player that is regarded as someone that could move quickly through the system, and some believe he could even be ready in time to replace Pudge behind the dish when his contract runs in two and a half years.

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