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Midwest League 1997

West Michigan Whitecaps


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This page is a profile of the 1997 West Michigan Whitecaps, a Single-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers and a member of the Midwest League. The profile was first published in early April and was revised periodically; this final revision was completed in early September.

All statistics quoted on this page are through the end of the season.


Grand Rapids, Michigan; affiliated with the Detroit Tigers.
Manager: Bruce Fields (#29)
Coaches: Steve McCatty (#54) (Pitching), Skeeter Barnes (#9)

High Attendance: 10,944 (August 31)
Low Attendance: 3,590 (April 15)
Average Attendance: 8,000
1996 Season Average: 7,933


Post-Season Wrapup

This was the best team the Midwest League has seen in a couple decades. While MVP Robert Fick and company provided a fine offensive arsenal, the team won so well because its pitching staff was the League's best. By far. Perhaps ever.

MVP first baseman Robert Fick had a truly remarkable season, though it tailed off a bit at the end. The rest of the team had everything you need to score, and to win: speed, power (depressed a bit by Old Kent Park), average. The team played excellent, heads-up defense, too; another way they could kill you.

And that glorious pitching corps; let me count the ways: Starters Dave Borkowski (15-3, 3.46, 104 Ks); Clay Bruner (15-3, 2.38, 104 Ks); Craig Quintal (11-6, 1.96, 88 Ks); Greg Romo (12-6, 3.54, 124 Ks); Russell Spear (11-6, 2.96, 112 Ks). In middle relief, three pitchers with ERAs between 2.39 and 3.71. And closing the games, Francisco Cordero (0.99, 6-1, 35 Saves, 67 Ks). Simply magnificent!


MWL Fan's Guide

Team Leaders


  • Best Player on the Team: Relief Pitcher Francisco Cordero

  • Pitching: 92-39 (.702), 2.67, 11 CG, 13 Shutouts, 47 saves, 916 Ks
  • Hitting: .273, 698 runs, 86 HR, 168 SB
  • First Half: 46-17 (.730), 1st, ---
  • Second Half: 46-22 (.676), 1st, ---
  • Since August 1: 16-11 (.593)
  • Lost to Fort Wayne in the first playoff round, 2-0 (Eastern Division)

  • Best Starting Pitcher: Clay Bruner (2.38, 15-3, 166 IP, 135 Ks)
  • Bullpen Stopper: Francisco Cordero (0.99, 6-1, 35 saves, 54 IP, 67 Ks)
  • Best Strikeout Pitcher: Francisco Cordero (67 Ks in 54 innings)
  • Best Control Pitcher: Francisco Cordero (67 Ks, 15 BB in 54 innings)
  • Best Hitter: Robert Fick (.341, 100 runs, 50 doubles, 16 homers, 90 RBI, 13 steals)
  • Highest BA: Robert Fick (.341)
  • Home Run Leader: Robert Fick and Jacques Landry (16)
  • Best Baserunner: Scott Sollmann (40 steals)

July Evaluation

I haven't changed my mind: This is a very good team offensively, but the Caps' main strength is its remarkable pitching staff. This is easily the league's best team, because it's got the best pitching this league's ever seen. Dave Borkowski's the most heralded, but reliever Francisco Cordero's having the best season; Clay Bruner, Craig Quintal, Greg Romo, and Russell Spear are all top-flight MWL pitchers. Oh, yes: First baseman Robert Fick's going to be the Midwest League MVP, and he's supported by a cast of dozens. You gotta see these guys.


June Evaluation

The Whitecaps seem to be the best team this league has seen in a couple decades. There's little they do poorly at the plate or on the basepaths, and their pitching staff is awesome. First baseman Robert Fick is the team's big star, but righty starters David Borkowski, Clay Bruner, Craig Quintal, and Greg Romo each might be the league's best starter. To all appearances, though, closer Francisco Cordero is the best pitcher on this squad. Get out and watch when they visit your diamond.


May Evaluation

Great team. I can't wait to see how all this works out. While the Whitecaps have exceptional hitting, the heart and soul of this team is the pitching staff. I can't even say who's the best of the lot....


April Evaluation

The Whitecaps are easily the League's best team through April, with very good hitting (though only mediocre power production) and exceptional pitching. If the Tigers keep this squad intact, they're a threat to many league records.




Where they played last season

The heart of the Whitecaps pitching staff was with Fayetteville last summer, where they pitched quite well; they should do very well in our league, too. The position players were mainly in Jamestown last summer.

Team           League         W/L   Place(Teams)  Hitters Pitchers
Lakeland       Florida State  61-77    13(14)       1       0
Visalia        California     50-90     9(10)       1       0
Fayetteville   South Atlantic 76-63     5(14)       2       5
Jamestown      New York-Penn  39-36     7(14)       6       6
Tigers         Gulf Coast     26-34    12(16)       1       2

A few players are counted on two teams in this table. One Whitecap was not active in professional ball last summer, one spent part of last year in another organization, and one was acquired from another organization during the off-season.


  • Oldest Player:
    • Jacques Landry (IF), born 8-15-73 (23)
  • Youngest Player:
    • Rene Capellan (3B), born 4-24-78 (19)
  • Average Team Age:
    This information is based on early-season rosters.
    • Pitchers: 21.2
    • Position Players: 21.5
    • Team Average: 21.3

  • First Round Draftee:
    • none

  • Baseball America Top 100 Minor League Prospects
    • Francisco Cordero (#41)
  • Hawaiian Winter League Best Prospects
    • Robert Fick (#4)
  • Baseball America Tigers Prospects (Post-Season)
    • Francisco Cordero (#2, best fastball)
    • Dave Borkowski (#7)
    • Clayton Bruner (#14)
    • Robert Fick (best hitter for average)
    • Russell Spear (best breaking ball)
  • 1997 Topps/NAPBL Class A All-Star Team
    • Francisco Cordero (relief pitcher)
    • Robert Fick (first base)
  • Baseball America Minor League All-Star/Top Prospects Teams
    • Whitecaps (Minor League Team of the Year)
    • Francisco Cordero (pitcher, Minor League All-Stars; Class A All-Stars; MWL Prospects #1)
    • Clay Bruner (pitcher, Class A All-Stars)
    • Robert Fick (DH, Class A All-Stars)
    • Dave Borkowski (MWL Prospects #9)
  • Baseball America Organization Wrapups
    • Francisco Cordero (Best pitcher in the system)
  • USA Today Baseball Weekly Minor League All-Star Team
    • Francisco Cordero (closer)
    • Clayton Bruner (pitcher)
    • Robert Fick (first base "worth watching")
    • Craig Quintal (pitcher "worth watching")
  • Howe SportsData Post Season Wrapup
    • Francisco Cordero (relief pitcher, All Teenager Team)
    • Rene Capellan (second base honorable mention, All Teenager Team)
  • 1997 Midwest League All Stars
    • Robert Fick (first base; most valuable player)
    • Dave Borkowski (right handed pitcher)
    • Francisco Cordero (right handed reliever)
    • Bruce Fields (manager)
  • Baseball America Mid-Season Highlights
    • Bruce Fields (best MWL manager)
    • Rene Capellan (best MWL defensive second baseman)
    • Francisco Cordero (best MWL fastball, best MWL reliever, Tiger farmhands' biggest leap forward)
    • Robert Fick (best MWL hitting prospect, best MWL defensive first baseman)
    • Craig Quintal (best MWL control)
  • All-Star Game, June 17, Lansing
    • Clay Bruner (P)
    • Rene Capellan (2B starter)
    • Brian DuBose (DH starter)
    • Robert Fick (1B starter)
    • Craig Quintal (P)
    • Greg Romo (P)
  • Howe SportsData Minor League Player/Pitcher of the Month
    • May: Francisco Cordero (P)
  • Howe SportsData Top Prospect
    • David Borkowski (P)
    • Clay Bruner (P)
    • Francisco Cordero (P)

  • Dave Borkowski
    • April 20: no hitter!
    • June 27: 4 hit shutout; 11 strikeouts
    • August 24: 4 hit complete game win
  • Clay Bruner
    • April 4: 6.0 IP, no runs, no hits
    • April 19: 11 strikeouts
    • May 25: 6 shutout innings, 3 hits
    • June 25: complete game shutout
    • August 13: complete game shutout, 2 hits (G1; 7 innings)
  • Rene Capellan
    • April 15: triple, home run
    • April 30: 4 RBI
    • May 1: 4 for 5
    • June 15: double, triple
  • Jesus Cedeno
    • May 17: 2 doubles
    • June 19: 2 doubles, triple
    • July 13: 4 for 5
  • Brian DuBose
    • April 19: Hit the "Wendy's Million-Dollar Hit" at Kane County; wrong team, though. (Brian did receive $500, and gift certificates.)
    • April 29: 2 home runs
    • May 14: triple, home run, 4 RBI
    • June 30: 2 triples
    • July 13: 4 for 5
    • July 25: double, homer, 4 RBIs
  • Robert Fick
    • April 19: double, homer
    • April 26: double, homer
    • May 4: 2 home runs
    • May 6: double, homer
    • May 11: 4 runs batted in
    • May 15: double, triple
    • June 10: 4 for 5
    • June 29: triple, homer
    • July 20: 5 for 6, 4 runs, 3 doubles, home run, 6 runs batted in
    • August 7: 4 for 5, double, homer
  • Jacques Landry
    • June 4: double, 2 homers
    • August 2: 2 homers
    • August 14: double, homer
  • Chris Lemonis
    • June 23: 5 runs batted in
  • Derek Mitchell
    • June 23: 5 walks
  • Richard Ozarowski
    • July 23: 4 for 5
  • Craig Quintal
    • June 6: 3 hit shutout
    • July 4: 2 hit shutout
    • August 22: 10 shutout innings!, no decision
    • August 27: complete game win
  • Greg Romo
    • May 31: 8.0 shutout innings; 10 strikeouts
    • August 13: 6 shutout innings, 2 hits (G2)
  • Pedro Santana
    • April 26: 4 for 5
    • April 27: 2 triples
    • July 22: 4 runs batted in
    • August 7: 4 for 4, double, triple
    • August 9: 4 for 5
  • Scott Sollmann
    • May 14: 4 for 5
  • Franklin Sosa
    • May 20: 4 runs scored
  • Russell Spear
    • July 29: shutout win, 10 strikeouts
  • Chris Wakeland
    • June 2: double, home run, 5 runs batted in
    • June 11: double, homer
  • Alexis Zapata
    • June 22: 4 for 4


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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.


Copyright © 1996-2010 Joel Dinda
Some Rights Reserved.