West Mich MLN: Stars Can't Out Shine Struggle

The Midwest League All Star Game is nearly a week away, and while the 'Caps have two of their starting pitchers heading down to Ft. Wayne in the form of LHP Giovanni Soto (4-4, 2.37) and potential ace RHP Jacob Turner (1-3, 3.72), the team has looked pretty abysmal as a whole, as they are currently riding a six game losing streak.

After a promising home stretch that gave the impression of new life for West Michigan, the team took a six game road trip that included getting swept by Quad Cities and Cedar Rapids. While each of the previously mentioned teams have two of the best records in their division, the 'Caps losing streak can mostly be attributed to a poor effort at the plate.

While West Michigan is starting to see more power at the plate from RF Michael Rockett and 3B Wade Gaynor, who is the 35th best Tigers prospect according to TigsTown, each have five home runs on the season, the team has yet to seeing any consistent hitting, as only one hitter, CF Jamie Johnson, has an average at or above .300. The team continues to be in the bottom two in the Midwest League in nearly every major batting category, most notably, RBI and runs scored.

While pitching has been a mainstay for the 'Caps all season, it hasn't really shown much in the past week, as the team has given up at least four runs in five of their last six games. In the one game that the pitching staff managed to give up only two runs, the hitters couldn't answer, and the team lost 2-1 in the series finale against Quad Cities.

Despite this, the team's staff still looks pretty good statistically. The team leads the Midwest League in complete games with three, thanks mostly to RHP Trevor Feeney (6-4, 3.34) who is also towards the top of the league in wins.

Soto, who has quickly developed into a young star in the Midwest League, has one of the best ERA's in the league at 2.37. Unfortunately, as has been the case all season, the talent on the mound has not translated into wins, as the team is only 23-40 on the season, and hold last place in the eastern division of the Midwest League, 17 games behind league-leading Lake County.

Soto and Turner, who are not only two of the youngest Whitecaps on the team, but also two of the team's best players, join an eastern division team that is heavily dominated by players from the Lake County Loons. Other notable All Stars from the eastern division include Great Lakes 1B Jerry Sands, who leads the league in home runs with 17, Loons LF Bo Greenwell, and South Bend RHP Charles Brewer (4-4, 1.45) who currently holds the lowest ERA in the Midwest League.

The 'Caps have six games to help improve upon their record before the All Star break, including a three game home series against league-leading Lake County before hitting the road for a three game series against Bowling Green.

The All Star Game festivities start in Ft. Wayne on Monday, June 21 with the Home Run Derby and the Skills Challenge, starting at 7:05 pm. The All Star Game itself takes place the following day.

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