It might not have been a repeat season for the Whitecaps after they claimed the 2004 Midwest League championship, but it was still a very good season for the Whitecaps. Who led the way? Find out inside.
The Tigers third round pick in 2004, Jeff Frazier was a rather impressive prospect coming out of Rutgers. Unfortunately, the Tigers didn't get a chance to see much of what he could do in his rookie campaign, as a ball off his hand ended his first professional season shortly after it started. It seemed as if he was still reeling from the affects of that injury, as he struggled mightily out of the box. But from June 1st on, Frazier was absolutely dominant, posting a .313/.371/.504 line for West Michigan in the spacious (and not power friendly) Fifth Third Ballpark. Frazier finished the year as the far and away leader in both RBI and doubles, leading the team with 81 and 45, respectively. It will now be up to Frazier to see exactly how fast he can move up the organizational ladder, as being a four year college player, he already has the clock working against him. Luckily, he has the second half of 2005 working for him.
A youngster out of Holland, Jair Jurrjens made a quick impact in the Tigers organization in 2004, making his presence felt both at the rookie level and short season level. At just 19 years of age, Jurrjens was sent directly to full season ball with West Michigan, where he excelled as arguably the team's ace. Besides leading the team with 12 wins for the year, Jurrjens was the only West Michigan pitcher to reach triple digits in strikeouts, achieving that level all the while giving up just 36 walks, leaving him with an impressive 3-to-1 ratio. The challenge for Jurrjens as he moves forward will be to continue to display the ability strike out batters with regularity while at the same time showing control of his fastball and keeping the opposition off balance.