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2002 Scouting Report

West Michigan Whitecaps


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18mar02
Changed
31aug10
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10nov02



2002 Teams
Beloit
Burlington
Cedar Rapids
Clinton
Dayton
Fort Wayne
Kane County
Lansing
Michigan
Peoria
Quad City
South Bend
West Michigan
Wisconsin
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Affiliated with the Detroit Tigers.

This page profiles the 2002 West Michigan Whitecaps, a Single-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers and a member of the Midwest League.

  • Manager: Phil Regan.
  • Coaches: A.J. Sager (pitching), Tim Hyers.

End of Season Profile

I underestimated the Whitecaps. This team followed a so-so April with a string of strong months, and finished second to Peoria in the league's win column. Their pitching was pretty good; their hitting was OK. This team excelled on the basepaths but was pretty sloppy in the field. You can't knock the results.

The pitching rotation was fairly strong. Starters Kevin McDowell and Matt Coenen had solid seasons, and Jason Moates and Chad Petty showed well on balance though neither was consistent. Meanwhile, bullpen pitchers Mike Kobow (the closer), John Birtwell, and Jerrod Fuell were consistently excellent.

All season long, the Whitecap offense consisted of first baseman Juan Tejeda and a cast of speedsters who hit--well, decently, actually. Tejeda's an excellent hitter and a surprisingly agile defender. Adding Noochie Varner (acquired by Detroit late in the season) to this mix helped in the playoffs. Right fielder Jason Knoedler, a poor hitter, was very impressive on defense.


The Whitecaps used 23 position players and 19 pitchers during the 2002 season.


Unless otherwise indicated, all statistics on this page are through the end of the season.

MWL Fan's Guide

Season Summary

  • Second Half: 42-28, .600 (1st place, 1.0 ahead)
  • First Half: 41-29, .586 (2nd place, 1.0 behind; playoff qualifier)
  • Pitching: 83-57, 3.43, 39 saves, 1010 strikeouts
  • Hitting: .249, 634 runs, 48 HR, 148 steals (73% success)
  • Defense: 176 errors (1.26 per game); .694 defensive efficiency
  • April: 12-14 (.462)
  • May: 18-10 (.643)
  • June: 14-13 (.519)
  • July: 19-10 (.655)
  • August & September: 20-10 (.667)
  • Playoff Round One: 2-0 (1.000)
  • Playoff Round Two: 1-2 (.333)

Leading Players


  • Best Player on the Team: First Baseman Juan Tejeda

  • Best Starting Pitcher: Matt Coenen (3.38, 14-8, 141 strikeouts) or Kevin McDowell (2.60, 11-6, 123 strikeouts)
  • Bullpen Stopper: Mike Kobow (1.99, 2-2, 31 saves, 50 strikeouts)
  • Strikeout Pitchers: John Birtwell, Trevor Leu
  • Control Pitchers: John Birtwell, Jerrod Fuell

  • Best Hitter: Juan Tejeda (.300, 11 HR, 106 RBI)
  • Home Run Leader: Juan Tejeda (11)
  • High Batting Average: Juan Tejeda (.300)
  • High On Base Percentage: none
  • High Slugging Percentage: Juan Tejeda (.450)
  • Notable Baserunners: Juan Tejeda, Juan Francia, Juan Gonzalez, Jason Knoedler, Mike Rabelo, Ryan Neill, Mike Scott
  • Notable Batting Eye: Don Kelly

July Profile

The Whitecaps are a good team, but their talent's not as good as their record. This team's pitching, runs scored, and defense are all around league-average; they show little power (part of that's a park effect) but run the bases well.

First baseman Juan Tejeda's this team's only proven power source and a very good overall hitter. Shortstop Don Kelly and outfielder David Mattle are good, solid ballplayers who promise to develop well. Second baseman Juan Francia is a fine, fine baserunner but only a marginal hitter.

No West Michigan pitcher is truly overwhelming. Starting pitchers Matt Coenen and Kevin McDowell have been consistent winners this summer; in contrast, Chad Petty alternates brilliant and painful outings. Closer Mike Kobow's having a very strong season, while middle reliever John Birtwell never seems to have a bad outing and may be the best talent on the staff.

The Whitecaps have scored 487 runs; their opponents have scored 451 runs.


June Profile

The 'Caps survived a gruelling race to qualify for the second Eastern Division playoff slot in the first half; since the break, they've not found their footing. The team has a good-but-unexceptional pitching rotation, a mixed bullpen, and a couple very good hitters. The West Michigan defense is poor.

Notable Midseason Losses: none.

Worth Watching: Infielder Gilberto Mejia.


May Profile

The Whitecaps got hot in May and nearly reeled in the division leaders. Phil Regan changed things around a bit; it paid off.

The 'Caps have some strong pitchers, but this is a generally weak pitching staff. The West Michigan hitters are, as always, severely handicapped in this ballyard; this is a decent offense, despite the team's statistical line. The defense makes lots of errors, but is pretty good at stopping the ball once it gets in play.

The pitching staff is not a team strength. The rotation is pretty weak, except for Andy Warren (who's only started four games) and Jason Moates. Closer Mike Kobow's not overpowering, but he's very effective. Most of the middle relievers show some promise.

Shortstop Don Kelly may have a perfect skill set for Detroit's Comerica Park: good speed, power to the gaps, extremely good batting eye. First baseman Juan Tejeda is a strong hitter with some defensive weaknesses. Third baseman Juan Gonzalez and outfielder David Mattle are hurt by the ballpark--Mattle, in particular, looks like a very strong hitter.


April Profile

This summer's Whitecaps are a thoroughly average MWL team. The best players--first baseman Juan Tejeda, outfielder David Mattle; pitchers Jason Moates, Matt Coenen, and Jerrod Fuell--are promising. Phil Regan's bench is pretty thin, and the defense needs lots of work.


Pre-Season Profile

Manager

Phil Regan becomes the first former big league manager to manage in the Midwest League. On the evidence, Regan uses both sacrifice bunts and intentional bases on balls more than most MWL managers. It's worth noting, however, that he's only managed at the upper levels of the player development system; it will be interesting to see how he adapts to the low minors environment.


First Round Draft Selection

  • Andy Yount (1995, 15th selection--by Red Sox)

Team Age Information

  • Average Team Age: 22.0
  • Pitchers: 22.3
  • Hitters: 21.8
  • Oldest Player on the Team: Outfielder Andy Yount (born February 14, 1977)
  • Youngest Player on the Team: Infielder Juan Gonzalez (born February 23, 1982)

The average player in the Midwest League this season is 21.6 years old. Average ages were calculated from the opening day roster; age as of July 1, 2002.

This website has more information about team ages.


Where they played last season

This is a brief portrait of how the team was put together. These summaries are based on the team's opening day roster and will not be revised to reflect roster changes.

This is the team which played at Oneonta in 2001, reinforced slightly from West Michigan and Detroit's GCL team.

Team          League             W/L    Place    Hitters Pitchers
                                       (Teams)
Lakeland      Florida State (A+) 67/69   9(12)      0       0
West Michigan Midwest (A)        65/72   8(14)      2       4
Oneonta       New York-Penn (A-) 37/37   7(14)      8      10
Tigers        Gulf Coast (R)     34/26   5(14)      3       1

Several pitchers played for more than one Tiger farm last summer and are counted twice in this table; one position player also moved during the season. Two of the new Whitecaps apparently did not play professionally last summer.



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The Midwest League plays Single-A, professional baseball in America's agricultural and industrial heartland. 16 teams play a 140 game schedule which begins in early April and ends Labor Day weekend.

Disclaimers:
This website is a private project and has no official relation with or sanction from the Midwest League or Minor League Baseball.
The opinions expressed on this page are mine, and are worth about that.


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