West Michigan Whitecaps
A 3-5 week for the Whitecaps saw the club’s record to slip to 15-11. West Michigan is now tied for second in the Midwest League Eastern division, two and a half games out of first place.
Last week, the big news for the Whitecaps was the return of Matt Manning from the disabled list. Manning made his third start Thursday night, and things did not go so well.
The 20-year old lasted just two innings, allowing five runs on seven hits, with four walks. Even the best pitchers in the world get hit sometimes, but the walks continue to be a concern.
Manning has now walked 12 in nine and two-thirds innings in his three starts for a rate of 11.1/9. That would be a phenomenal strikeout rate (which is even higher at 16.8/9), but it is a problem that needs to be fixed.
The Detroit Tigers 11th round pick from last year was at it again this week, fanning eight in six innings of work. Through four starts, King has 27 strikeouts in 22.1 innings, and owns a 3.22 ERA.
His numbers may be even better if he didn’t have a knack for giving up the long ball. In four starts, King has already surrendered four home runs.
King has been a fly ball pitcher this season, getting nearly two outs in the air for every ground out he’s recorded. Home runs can be a danger of being a fly ball pitcher, but if King keeps piling up the strikeouts the way he has, he should be just fine.
Return of Another High Pick
The next day, Rivera collected two more hits, and launched his first homer of the year. His week slowed down a little after that, ending the week with a .226 average in eight games.
While the average may not be where he or the Detroit Tigers would like it yet, his power is a good sign. Of his seven hits, six went for extra-bases, with a pair of homers and four doubles. A hot and healthy Rivera would be a big boost to a Whitecaps offense that has been scuffling in the season’s first month.
That’s it for week four of the Minor League Report. Make sure to check back each Friday for the latest news and happenings from around the Detroit Tigers system.