West Michigan Whitecaps Player of the Year: 2B Justin Henry
Henry made up for a rough start to the season by hitting .327/.370/.399 from the first of June through the end of the season. That type of late season surge pushed him to sixth in the league in average (.295), while his ability to draw walks to supplement his hitting, ranked him eleventh in the circuit in on-base percentage. Henry also managed to dot the league leader board by finishing ninth in runs scored (74), seventh in hits (140), and in the top twenty-five in doubles, total bases, and stolen bases. Henry's defense on the year was also a positive, and he is believed to be capable of above-average defense going forward. Henry's never going to light up the power categories, but he should continue to get on base at a regular clip, play solid defense, and cause some havoc on the base paths.
West Michigan Whitecaps Pitcher of the Year: LHP Jon Kibler
Kibler received strong consideration for TigsTown's Organizational Pitcher of the Year award, but ended up falling just short of the honor. His resume for the 2008 season was certainly impressive, including leading the Midwest League in wins (14), ERA (1.75), and WHIP (0.87), while also tying for fifteenth in games started (23), tying for second in complete games (2), and finishing ninth in strikeouts (126). Kibler's strong season has Tiger prospect watchers buzzing about his future as he moves up the ladder. Having competed at Michigan State as a collegian, Kibler was at home performing for local Tiger fans, and he may have established a loyal following hoping to see him in Detroit. Keep an eye on Jon as he rises up the ladder in 2009, to see if his solid arsenal can continue getting outs against the game's best prospects.