The West Michigan Whitecaps get ready to defend their 2006 Midwest League title on April 9, when they take on the Lansing Lugnuts at 5/3 Park in Grand Rapids. With Matt Walbeck moving up to AA Erie, former Detroit Tiger and World Champion Tom Brookens takes the 'Caps helm this season. Brookens has spent the last two seasons managing the Oneonta Tigers of the New York-Penn league. He served as hitting coach for the 'Caps last season on an interim basis as well. Although the final roster is yet to be set, the 'Caps will be lead on the mound by Tiger's draft pick Jonah Nickerson. Nickerson led Oregon State to the College World Series title and played for Team USA. He also threw 13 innings in Oneonta-fanning 12 and holding the oposition to a .190 batting average. Outfielder Brennan Boesch will try to fill the void left by Cameron Maybin. He had a solid pro debut last season hitting .291 and had a combined 81 rbi/runs scored. He made six errors in Oneonta, but his strong arm makes him effective in both center or right. Infielder Scott Sizemore finished second in the New York-Penn league with a .327 average. Despite being a natural second baseman, he was put at short-stop because they had no one else to fill the position. He'll get help this year by SS Audy Ciriaco who spent the last two seasons in the Gulf Coast League hitting .232 despite the fact that he won't turn 20 until June. Also from the GCL Tigers comes relief pitcher Brett Jensen. He was 1-0 with 31 strike-out after finishing his collegiate career at Nebraska.
The Whitecaps will be giving out championship hats for the home opener on the 9th, and Cameron Maybin bobbleheads on April 13.