Wells Having Storybook Season

At one time Casper Wells was just another player in the Tigers organization but this season he is really beginning to develop into a real prospect. Wells was drafted in the 14th round of the 2005 amateur entry draft and joined the Gulf Coast Tigers.

He spent the past two seasons predominantly at Oneonta with a couple of brief appearances in Lakeland and he began this season at West Michigan before being called up on June 6. He was only hitting .240 at West Michigan but he had 10 home runs and 26 RBI in 149 at-bats, helping him earn the promotion.

Casper Wells did not adjust as quickly as some other players do immediately after being drafted. He completed his college career in 2005 and was named Colonial Athletic Conference Player of the Year after hitting .362 with 18 home runs and 66 RBI. He was drafted by the Tigers in the 14th round and went to play for the Gulf Coast Tigers after signing. Casper struggled in rookie ball hitting only .220 with five home runs and 20 RBI in 49 games. "It seems like that after you get drafted you feel like you've reached the ultimate goal but there is another goal and if you make it to the big leagues there is another goal there as well, trying to make the all-star game and other stuff. You just need to keep going and keep competing" Wells said.

In addition to battling opposing pitchers, Wells has had battles with maturity and confidence throughout his professional career. He didn't have an opportunity to be an everyday player early in his career and as a young man he found that difficult to deal with. "I was off the radar a lot and last year I was probably close to being released and I wasn't sure that baseball with the Tigers was in my future" he said. He often questioned his own ability and wondered when he would become the same player he was in college.

"I was young and wasn't sure then and I didn't make the best of the situation that year. I just wasn't playing up to my potential and I wasn't just mature enough. I was just taking everything in stride, I wouldn't say that I wasn't trying but I wasn't running everything out".

After a disappointing season in 2006 Wells found himself back in Oneonta for a second season and he started to see his career turn around. He hit .265 with nine home runs and 47 RBI but more importantly he started to play with confidence. "I was assigned to Oneonta and that helped. I was able to play everyday and that was an adjustment" Wells said. He added " Last year in Oneonta really got me to be confident, just playing outfield playing everyday. I was someone that the guys look up to, I was kind of a veteran on Oneonta. It was nice to just kind of get used to that and it was definitely a big stepping stone in advancing".

Wells earned a promotion to West Michigan after a successful season at Oneonta in 2007 and he was hoping to put up big numbers to advance through the system. Wells enjoyed some success at West Michigan hitting 10 home runs with 26 RBI but never expected to be playing in Erie. "To be honest I didn't think I would play here this year. I've already been to Lakeland three times for short spurts but no I didn't think I'd be here. When I was told that I was being promoted to Erie I was pretty surprised to hear that, but I'm glad I'm here" the outfielder said.

Wells has taken advantage of his opportunity in Erie this season. He has become a key member of the team and is now getting people to take notice of him. "He's a guy that is starting to come into his own, he's been in the organization for at least three years and he hasn't had an opportunity to play a whole lot" SeaWolves manager Tom Brookens said, adding "At one point he was just a guy, a player with a good young arm and a lot of speed but now he's learning how to hit". "He's a young guy that people will start to look at now as potentially a big league ball player".

Wells credits his turnaround with gaining confidence but he also has been working on his batting stance. Toby Harrah, the Detroit Tigers roving hitting instructor, was in town working with Casper recently and he has seen an increase in power since then.

"I changed my stance a little bit at the advise of Toby Harrah (Tigers roving hitting instructor), Glenn Adams (SeaWolves hitting coach) and Tom Brookens (SeaWolves Manager). They said I needed to get my legs more involved, I'm standing up a little bit taller now and I'm able to use my legs a little more to generate power".

Wells has accomplished things that many ball players will never accomplish in their entire career. He hit a grand slam and and he hit for the cycle in two separate road trips to Akron this season. "It's pretty exciting, it's kind of surreal to me. The park in Akron is pretty big and even during batting practice it's tough to get balls out" he said referring to hitting for the cycle . That wasn't the end of his storybook season because on Tuesday August 5 he hit three home runs including a towering shot on to the roof of the neighboring Tullio Arena.

Casper is well aware of the opportunity that he has playing in Erie and he has been making the most of it. It's good to get the experience here because when you are in Double-A you are really close to being in the show. Double-A for a lot of guys is just one phone call away from being up there and that is my goal and I'm one step closer to being up there (Detroit)" the slugger said. It will be difficult for Casper to keep up his current pace but if he continues to develop the sky is the limit.


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