TigsTown MLN: The Young and the Hitless

The battle for first place in the Mideastern just got a little more interesting. At 33-30, and a two game losing streak, the ‘Caps are losing stride for number one against the Lansing Lugnuts, who are sitting pretty at 37-28— two games up on second place West Michigan.

This past week has been filled with so much drama that the Whitecaps could make a strong case for their own Soap Opera.

Let's tune in to episode one: heavy hitter, outfielder Casper Wells and the plug himself, utility man Joe Tucker were having a killer two weeks. Wells was finding himself batting lead-off for the ‘Caps, and was having a fair amount of success. His big bat and astute baserunning helped the ‘Caps to a three game win streak to start off the month of June. Tucker was hitting .275 (38-for-138) with 15 RBI and 17 runs scored while spending his time in a variety of positions, playing second base, first base, shortstop and the outfield. The two were named to play in the All Star game June 17, in Midland.

Episode two: Wells and Tucker were promoted to the Double-A Erie SeaWolves, June 6. It's no secret why they were promoted. Wells was leading the ‘Caps with 10 home runs and was providing a consistent stick, while Tucker proved to be a solid utility man that any club would be proud of having. With what brings happiness to two hard working ball players brings possible trouble for West Michigan coming up on mid-season.

NOTE: June 6, in his first game as a SeaWolf Capser Wells went 2-for-4 with a double, and in his second game he hit a solo home run off of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats' Scott Richmond in the fifth inning.

Episode three: Where there is a hole to be filled an organization fills it by the three principals of the business side of baseball— trade, sign or promote. The Tigers organization immediately promoted switch hitting shortstop Joaquin Guzman and third baseman Hayden Parrott. Guzman was signed as an non-drafted free agent for the Tigers in 2005. Before the move Guzman was playing for High A Lakeland, but had yet to play a single game for the Flying Tigers.

In 2006 the Tigers drafted Parrot in the 11th round. In 52 games last year for the Gulf Coast League Tigers the West Bloomfield, Michigan born Parrott hit .291 (57-for-196) with two home runs and 21 RBI.

Episode four: After the departure of Wells and Tucker, the rain came and washed out the ‘Caps' next two games, June 6— which was a scheduled doubleheader against Great Lakes. The next day brought even more heartache with a 7-6 loss to the Loons.

Episode five: Bright days were ahead of the ‘Caps. With stellar performances by Kody Kaiser, Audy Ciriaco and Jordan Newton at the plate the ‘Caps steamrolled their way past the Loons and Lugnuts to improve division standings. With the 2-0 loss to Lansing June 11, however, West Michigan is now three games back of Lansing for first, and sit in third place behind Fort Wayne.

On a side note, outfielder Kyle Peter was one of two players selected to replace Wells and Tucker on the 2008 All Star roster.

The ordeals of a minor league player and team never end. For West Michigan, they hope to put the business of baseball behind them and keep winning games, no matter who's on the roster. Tune in next time for a fan favorite episode, the All Star game.

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