Whitecaps alumni update: Neto blossoms, Weaver emerges and more

The 2024 Major League Baseball season is more than halfway over and the All-Star break is just weeks away. As the Whitecaps push forward in their Cape League season, so are many of their alumni in the pros.

Here’s our second alumni update of the summer, highlighting five former Whitecaps shining on the professional level.

Zach Neto - Los Angeles Angels

After an impressive rookie campaign in 2023, Neto has emerged as a top performer for the Angels this season. It was just three summers ago when Neto, a Campbell University product, led Brewster to the 2021 Cape League Championship. That season, Neto appeared in just 16 games due to injury but was terrific with a .304 batting average and 1.026 OPS.

Neto’s impressive stint in Brewster along with a three-year career with the Camels helped him be selected in the early first round of the 2022 MLB Draft, going 13th overall and the first college shortstop off the board.

As an everyday shortstop, Neto is impressing at baseball’s highest level. Defensively, he ranks third in the American League with a 1.3 defensive WAR according to Baseball Reference. On offense, he’s homered 11 times while driving in 38 runs. Both totals have already surpassed his first-year numbers, making his sophomore MLB season a breakout campaign.

Luke Weaver - New York Yankees

In the summer of 2012, just after his freshman season at Florida State, Weaver appeared in 23 2/3 innings for the Whitecaps. He struck out 23 batters that summer, starring on a team that included Aaron Judge and Jeff McNeil.

12 summers and nine MLB seasons later, Weaver is having his best year of his Major League career. In 47 2/3 innings, Weaver has helped to fortify the Yankees bullpen, recording a 2.64 ERA and a 0.797 WHIP. He’s struck out 50 batters while walking just 10, helping New York to be a top threat in the American League.

Weaver was selected 27th overall in the 2014 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals and since then has jumped around six different organizations. However, his recent success is helping him build a strong market for a long-term contract when he hits the open market this offseason.

LaMonte Wade Jr. - San Francisco Giants

Following two seasons at Maryland, Wade elevated his game in the 2014 summer in Brewster. Wade walked 17 times that season, building his plate discipline to an advanced level.

Wade was selected the following summer in the ninth round of the MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins. Now, in his sixth MLB season, he is excelling defensively while presenting an admirable slash line.

He currently has a 0.2 dWAR, the best of his career. At the plate, Wade has a .324 batting average across 142 at-bats, along with an .895 OPS and 165 OPS+. He’s missed some of the season with a hamstring injury, but in his time playing he’s shown defensive flexibility and has been a key piece to the Giants' team.

Michael Massey - Kansas City Royals

Massey spent the summer after his sophomore season at Illinois in Brewster, appearing in 23 games for the Whitecaps in 2018. Across those games, Massey recorded 30 total bases while striking out just six times in 92 plate appearances.

After being selected in the fourth round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals, Massey debuted in the Major Leagues in 2022. He missed a month with a back injury this season but is working his way back into a fortified role. He recently returned to the lineup on June 24 and is playing primarily second base and designated hitter.

In total in 2024, Massey is hitting .283 while driving in 24 runs. He’s accumulated a 1.1 WAR through 35 games played and will be a key piece down the stretch to a Kansas City team that is teetering along the edge of the final American League wild-card spot.

Spencer Jones - New York Yankees (Double-A)

Jones is yet to make his MLB debut. Though in his limited amateur career, he’s been imposing in the Yankees' minor league system, including two home runs and seven RBI on Sunday.

In the 2021 summer, after two seasons at Vanderbilt, Jones joined the Whitecaps for 25 games, driving in 18 runs while posting a .904 OPS. New York selected the 6-foot-6 left-hander with the 25th pick of the 2022 MLB Draft and since then he’s skyrocketed through its farm system.

In 66 games on the Somerset Patriots (Double-A) this season, Jones has 10 home runs with 46 RBI. The No. 2 prospect in the Yankees organization could one day play a key role in the organization’s success and join another former Whitecaps slugger (Judge) in the New York outfield.

Photo credit: Julianne Shivers