Detroit Tigers Pitching Prospects Lucky to Have Former MLB Player as Coach

By Chris Katje
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

The West Michigan Whitecaps, an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, named a former Tigers player as their pitching coach today. Mike Henneman, who played with the Tigers from 1987 to 1994, was named the team’s new pitching coach, joining a staff led by new head coach and former MLB player Larry Parrish.

Henneman played for the Tigers from 1987-1994, before ending his career with one season stints with the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers. The Tigers took Henneman in the fourth round of the 1984 MLB Draft. During his impressive rookie season, Henneman went 11-3 with seven saves and a 2.98 ERA. The Tigers reliever finished sixth in AL Rookie of the Year voting, an award won by Mark McGwire.

Henneman’s experience will serve the young pitchers in the Tigers organization well. While with the Tigers, Henneman posted a 57-34 record with 154 saves. Henneman’s saves total is the second highest by a Tigers pitcher, after Todd Jones surpassed the mark.

Henneman has been to Fifth Third Ball Park, home of the Whitecaps, on at least one occasion. The former Tiger was part of the organization’s Tiger Fridays, which features former players. Henneman at the time said, “love the setting, the stadium’s great and people were great.”

The former Tiger also has history with several Tigers prospects. Henneman founded the McKinney Marshals Youth Baseball Organization, which is one of the top select baseball programs in the country. Hundreds of college players have gone through this program, including two Tigers prospects. Austin Schotts and Jake Thompson, both 2012 draft picks of the Tigers, went through the organization.

After trading away several talented players from the minor leagues, the Tigers need to boost their prospect pool. In the meantime, the leadership and experience brought in by the Whitecaps through former big leaguers could pay dividends for the Tigers down the road.

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