West Mich MLN: Changes Dominate 2nd Half

Recapping the All-Star game, Brandon Douglas looked back on his first appearance.

"I knew I would be coming in later in the game and knew I wouldn't get many at-bats, but on the first one, I got a fast ball and drove it into the corner for extra bases, something I haven't had a lot of this season."

His last words about summed up the time in Clinton. But it didn't seem long at all before the ‘Caps were back on the field following the all-star game. However, they took the field without two teammates, Mauricio Robles and Jared Gayhart.

June 22, Robles was promoted to High A Lakeland. Robles was 4-4 on the year with a 4.63 ERA and 71 strikeouts in the 56.1 innings he pitched. He also was selected to the East All-Star team, but could not attend, however. West Michigan will surely miss the southpaw. It's hard to say if the promotion is just a short stint or long term. In his first start as a Flying Tiger, Robles pitched 2.2 innings, giving up nine hits and five runs in the 10-2 loss. Not the best outing for the former Whitecap.

June 24, Gayhart was promoted to Lakeland as well. Gayhart was 5-3 with a 1.97 ERA, three saves and 49 strikeouts. He was also selected to the East All-Star team.

His replacement is right-handed pitcher Nick Cassavechia, a 37th round selection by the Tigers in 2008. Cassavechia played for Oneonta and the GCL Tigers this season.

The ‘Caps turned the other cheek since losing their two pitchers and ended up winning their first game (4-0) to start the second half.

And then there was Ronnie. Yes, that's right. On June 25, Ronnie Bourquin was promoted Erie, not Lakeland.

Douglas will miss his teammate. Now that Bourquin is gone, Douglas will have to step up even more so than before.

"It was also pretty special watching Ronnie hit that homerun." Douglas recalled on Bourquin's three-run shot in the all-star game.

Bourquin leaves West Michigan with a .304 average, two home runs and 47 RBI. It was a matter of time before he left. Early on, scouts said Bourquin only returned to West Michigan so he could polish up his play. By getting an all-star nod and delivering near the top of the lineup, Bourquin worked hard to get his call up. It also might be the first time a player's performance in an all-star game earned him a promotion.

So now West Michigan's roster has only 23 active players. What's happening? Is the coaching that good? Are Whitecaps players developing more so than in the past? Or is it the curse of Dave Bergman, who will make a special appearance today? He was a first baseman like Mr. Bill Buckner, and does strike the same resemblance… Probably not. If anything, it's quite the honor to have your teams' players be promoted. That means the Detroit Tigers are seeing some good play from their prospects that might benefit their own club one day. Remember Alfredo Figaro recently anyone? Enough said.

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