2011 TigsTown Awards: West Michigan Whitecaps

The time has come to hand out the hardware for those players that excelled in 2011 at each minor league stop. Next up on the TigsTown Awards, the players that excelled the most in the lowest level of full season ball for the West Michigan Whitecaps.

West Michigan Whitecaps Player of the Year: C Rob Brantly















The Tigers third round pick in the 2010 draft, Brantly was pushed to West Michigan right out of the gate and held his own with a .274/.324/.400 line in his first taste of pro ball. He trumped that during the first half of 2011 as he ripped Midwest League pitching to notch a robust .303/.366/.440 mark that later earned him a promotion to High-A Lakeland. Brantly slugged 16 doubles and seven home runs in the pitcher-friendly MWL and also worked 24 walks against just 39 strikeouts in 75 games. Once in Lakeland, Brantly struggled to post the same type of numbers, but scouts still saw positive signs from him at the higher level. Those scouts that caught him in West Michigan were very impressed. "I really liked him," noted an NL scout. "He has the best combination of offense and defense of any catcher in [the] system. He has a chance to be a quality big leaguer."

West Michigan Whitecaps Pitcher of the Year: LHP Alex Burgos















Burgos didn't start the year in West Michigan, instead being held back to overcome a minor injury and build strength in his arm and overall in his body. That delay in officially starting his season didn't slow him down one bit. The 20-year old south paw was absolutely spectacular in 16 starts for the Whitecaps. He posted a 6-5 record on the heels of a dazzling 2.16 ERA. Not known for having overpowering stuff, Burgos managed to fan 89 hitters in 94 2/3 innings while allowing 33 walks and an outstanding 63 hits. His 1.01 WHIP ranked 12th among all league pitchers and sixth among those that were primarily starters. When asked about his full-season debut, Burgos commented "I was kind of nervous. The people, the lights, that's a big step up. After the initial shock, I got comfortable and just went about my business." It has been said many times, baseball is all about the numbers. The numbers Burgos posted this year were spectacular, and even he noticed it. "I knew I was having success," said Burgos in closing. "When I looked at the numbers though, I was very proud of what I had accomplished."

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