Whitecaps Open 2017 with Strong Rotation

As the West Michigan Whitecaps prepare to open their 2017 season on Friday, the 2015 Midwest League champions do so with a deep pitching rotation.

Over the past few seasons, the Whitecaps have boasted one of the better pitching staffs in the Class A Midwest League, and 2017 figures to continue the trend.

"We’ve got six fresh arms, young arms, that’s why we’re going with six starters, giving them that extra day in the six-man rotation,” first-year manager Mike Rabelo said. “These are some good arms. Good power arms, and they’ll be on a, I believe, a 75-to-80 pitch count this first week, and it’ll be exciting."

West Michigan’s pitching staff has a number of high Detroit Tigers draft picks from the 2016 draft that will be toeing the rubber this year, including 2016 fourth-round pick Kyle Funkhouser.

"This team is, it seems like they’re always stacked with pitching,” Funkhouser said. “Like I said, it’s a great honor, obviously we have six great starters, that any one of us could’ve pitched opening day, but it just kind of worked out where I, you know, got the call."

The Whitecaps are scheduled to open their season Friday at Fifth Third Ballpark with a doubleheader against the South Bend Cubs.