The coronavirus was the big winner when it came to baseball for the West Michigan Whitecaps in 2020. The entire season was cancelled. The team is gearing up for the 2021 season, in hopes that they will be able to hit the field this spring.

The Detroit Tigers and West Michigan Whitecaps have announced their 2021 Whitecaps Coaching Staff.

Managing the team will be Brayan Peña. He previously played in Major League Baseball with the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals. He signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Tigers and was the backup for Alex Avila during the 2013 season. In November 2019, Peña was named manager of the West Michigan Whitecaps for the 2020 season, which unfortunately never happened.

.Others on the West Michigan Whitecaps coaching staff for 2021 include:

Pitching Coach Willie Blair: Blair has pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers (1997, 1999–2001), Arizona Diamondbacks, and New York Mets. Blair was the starting pitcher for the final Opening Day in Tiger Stadium history. He joined the Whitecaps as pitching coach in December 2018.

Hitting Coach Bill Springman: Springman played three seasons in the California Angels organization from 1978 to 1980. He was scheduled to be hitting coach for the Lakeland Flying Tigers in 2020 before the season was cancelled due to Covid-19.

Rounding out the coaching staff are:

  • Developmental Coach Kevin Guthrie
  • ATC Cody Derby
  • Strength Coach Ryan Maedel

Jim Jarecki, Vice President & General Manager for the Whitecaps remarked. “We’re thrilled to have Brayan Pena leading the way. Whitecaps fans will enjoy his brand of leadership and his passion for the game. And having Willie Blair and Bill Springman back means veteran experience and presence for the players.”

In other West Michigan Whitecaps news, back in December of 2020, the Detroit Tigers announced that the West Michigan Whitecaps would become the club’s Advanced A affiliate beginning in 2021, after spending 24 seasons as their Low A designee. The move comes as part of Major League Baseball’s restructuring of the Minor League Baseball player development system.

For additional information, check out the official website for the West Michigan Whitecaps.


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