Detroit Tigers minor league report: Colt Keith cruising

Whitecaps infielder Colt Keith swings his bat during the home opener against Lansing Tuesday, April 12, 2022, at LMCU Ballpark.Whitecaps Season Opener 11
Whitecaps infielder Colt Keith swings his bat during the home opener against Lansing Tuesday, April 12, 2022, at LMCU Ballpark.Whitecaps Season Opener 11 /
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West Michigan Whitecaps (7-9) – T3rd in Midwest League East

Detroit Tigers
Whitecaps outfielder Bryant Packard rounds the corner into thrid during a game against Lansing Tuesday, April 12, 2022, at LMCU Ballpark. /

The West Michigan Whitecaps own the most exciting roster in the Detroit Tigers system, even after the promotion of Parker Meadows, and they had some outstanding individual performances last week. But they ran into a bit of a buzzsaw and went just 1-5 to tumble out of first place. The Whitecaps boast a trio of exciting young arms, all of whom performed well last week, beginning with Wilmer Flores (3IP, 2H, 0BB, 7K) who nearly duplicated his electric Whitecaps debut.

Unfortunately, Dayton Dragons starter Joe Boyle was somehow even better (4IP, 0H, BB, 10K) and West Michigan managed just one hit all game. They almost pulled out the victory in the 9th thanks to some sloppy Dayton relief, but ended up falling 3-2. The Caps’ bats woke up on Wednesday, but Carlos Guzman (3IP, 6H, 5ER, BB, 2K) had a rough outing and West Michigan fell 7-3.

Dylan Smith (4IP, 2H, ER, 0BB, 7K) was outstanding on Thursday but took a tough-luck loss because the West Michigan bats produced just four hits on the game. Ty Madden (5IP, 2H, ER, 0BB, 5K) did get plenty of run support on Friday though, thanks in part to a four-hit, four-RBI performance from Colt Keith, and as a result Madden picked up his first win as a pro.

Saturday’s contest was a barn-burner, with Wenceel Perez blasting two home runs in the first three innings, Bryant Packard finishing a single short of the cycle, and Keith hitting a monster home run in the 9th to put West Michigan up 9-7. But Dayton scored three times in the bottom of the inning to pull out a stunning 10-9 victory.

Sunday saw another outstanding performance from Flores (4IP, 2H, ER, BB, 6K), but the Whitecaps were already down 7-1 when he entered the game, and yet again he was overshadowed by a spectacular outing from a Dayton pitcher. And it wasn’t rehabbing Luis Castillo, who started the game, but Andrew Abbott (6IP, 3H, ER, 2BB, 11K). The only run Abbott allowed came on an inside-the-park homer from Wenceel Perez that required a pair of defensive miscues.

The Whitecaps return home this week to take on the Great Lakes Loons for the second time in the young season.