2013 West Michigan Whitecaps Season in Review

Jordan John finished the 2013 season at 9-4.

Despite losing some of the team's best talent to promotion midway through the 2013 season, the West Michigan Whitecaps finished their 2013 campaign on a strong note with a winning record of 36-33 in the second half. The success catapulted Larry Parrish to a promotion, as the manager was given another shot with the Toledo Mud Hens starting next season, his fourth stint with the ball club.

Overall, West Michigan finished the 2013 season one game below .500 at 69-70 after a first half in which the ‘Caps struggled to do anything consistently. The overall record was good enough for fourth in the division, leading the Whitecaps to miss the playoffs for the third consecutive year.

Despite the up-and-down season for West Michigan in the win/loss column, the team had more than a few successes with players who spent some portion of the season with the club.

Pitching

Fourteen pitchers made at least one start for the West Michigan Whitecaps this season with varying degrees of success. Arguably, the most successful starter in 2013 was Jordan John. The lefty led the team in wins, posting a 9-4 mark to go along with a 2.92 earned run average. John ended the season on a strong note, winning four of his last five decisions and throwing a 13-strikeout game in his last start of the season against Fort Wayne. 2013 marked John's first full season with the Whitecaps, but look for the lefty to potentially make a debut with Lakeland next season.

Many were interested to see how Jake Thompson would perform this season as the 2012 second round pick is widely considered to be one of Detroit's top pitching prospects. Thompson didn't blow anyone away with his numbers but did show steady improvement, ending the season with a 3-3 record and a 3.13 ERA in 16 starts. Thompson led the team in strikeouts, putting up 91 for the season. He also led the team in hit batters, a stat not surprising for a young, hard-throwing player who's still looking to hone his command.

Calvin Drummond spent a minimal amount of time in the Gulf Coast League before being promoted to West Michigan, where he was also successful. Drummond was Detroit's sixth round pick in this year's MLB draft and has shown good signs of progress so far. The reliever posted a 3-2 record this season with a 2.23 ERA and one save.

Hitting

Devon Travis finished the season with Lakeland but the second baseman first started gaining his 2013 momentum with the Whitecaps. Travis put up a .352 batting average in 77 games and .430 on base percentage over that same span. Despite only playing half of the season in West Michigan, Travis finished fourth on the team in runs batted in and doubles, fifth in total bases and sixth in home runs. Travis went on to find a similar degree of success with Lakeland and is likely poised to move up to Erie at the start of the 2014 season.

One player who was expected to be a cornerstone of the 2013 roster was Austin Schotts. Schotts had a monster year in 2012 but could not find the same rhythm this season. Schotts hit for a .192 average and drove in 17 runs over 59 games before being sent to Connecticut. Success was limited there as well as he finished the season with a .229 average and barely made it over the .300 mark for on base percentage.

Danry Vasquez gained a great deal of momentum in the 2013 season. Vasquez essentially took the reigns as the key offensive player following Travis' promotion and did so successfully. His success caught the eyes of scouts from Houston as the outfielder was sent to the Astros as part of a trade that brought reliever Jose Veras to Detroit.

2014 Outlook

The biggest question mark going into the 2014 season surrounds the replacement for Parrish as manager. It is expected that a decision will be made sometime in October. The organization has been mostly successful in finding strong managers for the Whitecaps, so expect this hiring to be no different. If the new manager meshes well with his 2014 roster, the team should be on pace to have the same success it did this year and maybe even improve slightly.

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