Detroit Tigers: Projecting the 2022 West Michigan Whitecaps lineup

Infielder Wenceel Perez warms up for practice during Detroit Tigers spring training.
Infielder Wenceel Perez warms up for practice during Detroit Tigers spring training. /
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Continuing our roster-projection for the Detroit Tigers full-season affiliates.

For the past few weeks we’ve been projecting the rosters for each of the Detroit Tigers’ four full-season minor-league affiliates. Rogelio has been handling the pitching, while I’ve been projecting the lineups. Today we turn our attention the West Michigan Whitecaps, Detroit’s High-A affiliate.

Last year the Whitecaps began the season with 13 position players, so we’ll use that as our goal for today. Once again we’ll split the list into three groups — Catcher, Infield, and Outfield — and then offer some background information on each player.

Detroit Tigers: West Michigan Catcher Projections (3)

Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers catching prospect Eliezer Alfonzo. /
  • Eliezer Alfonzo – We have Alfonzo returning to West Michigan after two different stints with the Whitecaps last year. He doesn’t show much power, and his defense remains a work in progress, but has one of the better pure hit tools in the system, with a strong eye and great bat-to-ball skills.
  • Cooper Johnson – Cooper Johnson is probably the best defensive catcher in Detroit’s system, with outstanding agility behind the plate, soft hands, and a strong arm. He has shown patience and a little bit of pop as a hitter, but he owns a career .199 batting average in pro ball. His defensive skills should keep him employed for quite a while, though, and he’s the perfect backstop to handle what will likely be a prospect-laden Whitecaps rotation.
  • Mike Rothenberg – The first newcomer to West Michigan, Mike Rothenberg was one of the two catchers Detroit drafted in 2021. He’s a bit older, and had slightly more success than Josh Crouch, so we’ve pushed him to High-A. He possesses interesting arm strength and power potential from both sides of the plate, but he’s not the most fluid defender, and we’re projecting him to play a decent amount of first base this year.