We continue to move up the Detroit Tigers organizational ladder as we try to project the 2022 West Michigan Whitecaps’ bullpen.
Earlier today, I projected what the Lakeland Flying Tigers bullpen would look like on Opening Day so now we turn our attention to the Detroit Tigers High-A affiliate, the West Michigan Whitecaps, as their projected bullpen looks to be as good as the starting rotation.
Almost the same set of circumstances that took place for the Whitecaps starting rotation occurred for their bullpen as Yaya Chentouf, Chavez Fernander, Ruben Garcia (now with Houston) went to Erie a few weeks after the season started.
But manager Brayan Peña was able to get good performances from Bryce Tassin, Angel Reyes, lefty Jared Tobey and the Lakeland reforcements that included Chris Mauloni and Xavier Javier. For their first season in High-A to finish 58-62 with a starting rotation that far exceeded what could’ve been expected is impressive. While granted, the Whitecaps’ offense was often the center of attention and rightfully so, the pitching staff held their own. But I digress.
One arm that we will not see back in West Michigan in the bullpen is Zack Hess, who will be out the entire season because of Tommy John surgery. This year’s bullpen will feature a lot of new faces based on how they preformed in Lakeland. What stands out is how several of these pitchers have one or two pitches with a ton of movement, have deception in their delivery, or have high spin rates.
Here is my projected 2022 West Michigan Whitecaps bullpen on Opening Day:
RHP Nick Davila
LHP Gabe Sequeira
RHP Tanner Kohlhepp
LHP Andrew Magno
RHP Chris Mauloni
RHP Dario Gardea
RHP Carlos Guzman
Sequeira and Magno would give the Whitecaps an interesting left-handed combo as Magno’s delivery is more over the top as Sequiera throws sidearm.
Everyone we talked to in the off-season loved the Detroit Tigers pick of Tanner Kohlhepp in the 2021 draft. From Geoff Pontes of Baseball America to Kevin Goldstein of FanGraphs, they thought the Tigers got a steal in the fifth round.
There was a lot of attention to the hitters last season at LMCU Ballpark, but this year, the entire pitching staff is one to take notice.