PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Better baseball is headed to West Michigan.
After 27 years as a low-A minor league affiliate, the West Michigan Whitecaps have been promoted to the High-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.
The Whitecaps held a press conference on Thursday morning addressing the local media about the switch.
“This is an exciting day for our organization, and it’s an exciting day for West Michigan too,” Whitecaps CEO Joe Chamberlin told News 8.
The switch to High-A means there are now just two levels above the Whitecaps in the Tigers farm system before reaching the MLB. The move will mean most of the organization’s top prospects will spend time with the Whitecaps instead of skipping over them.
“We’ve known for a while that Grand Rapids and West Michigan is one of the best minor league sports markets out there. It’s a signal of the work we have put in over 27 years, our track record of fantastic attendance and fan interest, and so it’s a really exciting reward,” said Chamberlin.
As Whitecaps General Manager Jim Jarecki pointed out Thursday, this also means top prospects from other teams will be making visits to Fifth Third Ballpark.
“It’s big from the standpoint that we know we can promote a player because if they get a year or two under their belt, fans are going to know about them. But we are also equally as excited about on the other side of the field and that dugout. We’re going to have some of the visiting teams’ best prospects,” Jarecki explained.
While the coronavirus pandemic is hard to predict, the Whitecaps believe we are on track to see Whitecaps baseball in 2021 after having their 2020 season canceled.
“I think we are going to get on that upswing with the vaccine and obviously the social gatherings guidelines, but there will be some sort of baseball out here in 2021,” Jarecki explained.
“After today’s announcement, you can count on it. There’s going to be Whitecaps baseball here in 2021,” Chamberlin echoed.