Whitecaps set to embark on 20th season - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Whitecaps set to embark on 20th season

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The West Michigan Whitecaps will begin their 20th season on Thursday at Fifth Third Park agaisnt Dayton.

The Single-A Affiliate of the Detroit Tigers have several top prospects joining them for the 2013 campaign.

The roster is headlined by outfielder Austin Schotts.  Schotts is the fifth-ranked prospect in the Tigers' organization according to Baseball America. The speedy and athletic center fielder hit .310 in 40 games for the GCL Tigers last summer, swiping 15 bases and scoring 31 runs in 40 games to help his club to the best record in the GCL before a brief late-season promootion to high Class-A Lakeland.

Danry Vasquez, the sixth-ranked prospect in the Tigers' farm system, was signed by Detroit in 2010 for $1.2 million and began the 2012 season with the 'Caps as the youngest player in the Midwest League. Vasquez struggled in 29 games with West Michigan last season batting .162. 

Schotts and Vasquez are two of five West Michigan players highlighted by Baseball America in their annual organizational prospect rankings, joined by right-handed pitching prospects Montreal Robertson (No. 18), Endrys Briceno (No. 22) and Edgar De La Rosa (No. 29). All three hurlers spent last season with Connecticut and are expected to be members of the Whitecaps' starting rotation.

The Whitecaps open the 2013 season - the 20th in franchise history - on Thursday, April 4, with a 6:35 first pitch against the Dayton Dragons at Fifth Third Ballpark.