The Toronto Blue Jays will send some of their most exciting talent to New Hampshire in 2018
The Toronto Blue Jays have a rather exciting future. We saw first hand what could be when Vladimir Guerrero Jr returned home to Montreal and walked off the final game of Spring Training with a rather emphatic home run. Olympic Stadium went crazy, but so did the fanbase. “Call him up!” “Move Donaldson to shortstop!”. So many people got caught up in the hype of the talent that is waiting to make its way to Toronto.
The organization, not prone to fits of fancy or impulsive promotions, will certainly take their time withe the youth movement. And, that is a good thing for fans in New Hampshire. The FisherCats will feature some of the most exciting talent the Toronto Blue Jays have to offer.
Speculation. Anticipation. Palpitation.
— NH Fisher Cats (@FisherCats) April 2, 2018
It is often said that prospects who are to be put to the test should play in AA before any real decision can be made as to their future promotions. The talent in AA is likely to provide more of a challenge than say AAA, which is filled with many players on the wrong trajectory of their careers. If you consider whether someone is ready for a big league call up, you have to consider their success in AA. For Guerrero Jr and Bo Bichette, we haven’t seen them play an inning at that level. So 2018 will be an interesting one for the development of these studs.
The FisherCats will welcome 22 yr old lefty bat, Cavan Biggio who played the bulk of his short pro career at second base. 2017 saw him show an interesting blend of power and on base ability. He also brings some speed to the table.
It feels like we’ve been hearing Max Pentecost‘s name forever. The oft injured catcher also saw 22 games at first base last season in an effort to keep him healthy and explore whether expanding his defensive options are in order. It would appear that he ended the 2017 in good shape since he appeared in the Arizona Fall League, hitting a home run in 45 plate appearances. Once touted as the catcher of the future, 24 year old Pentecost will have to work hard to stay relevant in that conversation, so a promotion to AA could help him a lot.
Lourdes Gurriel will return to New Hampshire where he saw an OPS of .657 in 46 games. His 2017 season did not do much to move him closer to the big leagues, but he had a great time in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .291 with an OPS of .802. He hit three home runs in 21 games. 2017 saw him bounce between both middle infield positions. Even though he has some experience in the outfield, he didn’t see action there with his new organization. His value as a utility player looks to be in the infield, which is suddenly crowded with nice talent.
While there is reason to get excited about the FisherCats roster, it is no secret that all eyes will be on Vlad Jr and Bichette. Bichette had himself quite the season in 2017 as a 19 yr old.
The combination of hitting for average and power is very intriguing. The extra base ability at such a young age, combined with an advanced approach at the plate makes him very dangerous in the batter’s box. Fans were able to see all of this first hand as Bichette made the most of his Spring Training opportunities. His bat is likely what will carry him forward, but his glove should not be overlooked. He made 21 errors in 2017, most of which came at short. He saw time at second base, but only 124 innings. The error totals make his glove sound worse than it is. Time will tell if the Blue Jays feel his future is at short. Perhaps, they could simply figure out the quickest way to get his bat to Toronto.
Anyone watching Vlad Jr swing the bat comes away with one of two observations: 1) his swing looks similar to his father’s or 2) his swing has so much power and bat speed in it for such a young man. Either way, his bat is going to make a major impact on whatever team he plays for. Though, he has surprised with his glove at the hot corner. Just about every prospect ranking system out there has glowing reports about this 19 year old. It wouldn’t be out of the question to see him in the big leagues sooner than later. How he fares in AA will go a long way to deciding.
Fans in New Hampshire are going to be quite happy with their ticket purchases this year. They’ll have the opportunity to witness some of the brightest talent the Toronto Blue Jays have sent through there in a long time. Fans had better get the tickets while they can as there will be a surge in sales. And, if things go according to projections, the window for seeing this talent all in one place might not be as wide open as we think.
*Featured Image Credit: Joel Dinda UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0 – cropped from original
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.