The New Centerpiece of the 'Caps

West Michigan born, New York raised. Casper Wells has Yankee blood, but Tiger heart. At 6'2 210 pounds He roams the outfield with a certain country boy-esque swagger. His shoulders are as broad as an Iowa grown farm boy bailing hay in the brisk morning hours of a fresh dew.

Batting the 3-5 positions, Wells has found himself in the power of the lineup since opening day.

With solid numbers batting .288, tied for first in RBIs for the team with 11, 17 hits and three stolen bases Wells' game seems to be improving every time he steps in the box.

"I'm keeping a good approach, I'm feeling comfortable at the plate. Wells said. "I'm hitting the ball for the most part. Even on the road trip(s) I'm hitting the ball."

Last year with the Oneonta Tigers Wells played in 67 games and knocked in 49 and had 69 hits in 260 at-bats. He was a proven player at the low A level and with that the organization decided to pull him to the ‘Caps for the 2008 season.

Graduating from Towson University in Maryland, a city just outside of Baltimore, Wells was a good player for the college team. He pitched a bit, 2005 being his best season with a 6-0 record and a 4.97 ERA. But it was his hitting that caught the eye of major league scouts. 2005 was his best season in college. He hit .362, had 66 RBIs and went yard 18 times. It wasn't long before the Detroit Tigers came knocking on his door. In the 2005 amateur entry draft the Tigers selected Wells in the 14th round (420th overall).

Wells made a splash in the New York-Penn League and in 2007 was selected to the midseason All-Star squad. He led the league in triples at that season with 11 and had 38 extra-base hits. He finished third with a .523 slugging percentage and tied for fifth with nine home runs.

So in 2008, after three seasons in the club's farm system, Wells came to West Michigan, a place that his parents are familiar with, but he is not.

"I was born in East Grand Rapids. I was only here for like a year. My dad had business here from '81 to'85, then we moved to New York after that, closer to family, and he had a job back there."

Wells is a hard worker in the off-season and works out with his friend, Triple ‘A' pitcher for the Mud Hens Matt Rusch. Rusch is a hard throwing righty who has pitched in four games for the ‘Hens this season.

Before the ‘Caps' spring training, Rusch and Wells arrived in West Michigan early to workout together. Building arm strength was an essential part of this regime. In fact it has helped Wells out quite a bit in Fifth Third's right field.

"Matt and I perform various workouts in the off-season." Wells said. "We started with legs and worked our way up to arms. He's a pitcher and I'm a fielder, so we did some individual type regimes as well." "It was good to get up here early to get a feel for the place." Wells added.

This season, Wells got a taste of big league play when Detroit's Curtis Granderson came to town, in a rehab stint, to patrol the outfield with him. Granderson helped the team in the standings as they are now tied for first in their division with the Lansing Lugnuts.

"Curtis is great, man." Wells said. "He's so professional and when he came in the locker room for the first time he shook all of our hands and introduced himself."

Wells made it clear that Granderson fit into the team very well having only played in three games with the club.

"It's funny because it's like he's been our teammate all season." Wells said. "He fits in here. It's quite an experience. I just wish he could play with us the rest of the season."

Granderson left the team April 23. Once again the team looks to leaders like Wells to provide the power at the plate and the play in the field to lead their team to another Midwest LeaAs Wells seems to have become comfortable with the Whitecaps, the fans surely know who he is and are watching him grow as a ball player.

In the last few games Wells has broke out and has seemed to turn it up a notch. April 22 he was named player of the game. He went 3-3 with two RBIs and a stolen base.

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