Jays From the Couch takes a look at some key players from the 2018 New Hampshire Fisher Cats season
The Double-A Eastern League Champion New Hampshire Fisher Cats finished 76-62, 2.0 games back of Trenton. The Fisher Cats had a chance to nail down the Division but went 5-5 over their final 10 games while the Thunder went 9-1.
It was an exciting season for Fisher Cat and Blue Jay fans. NH was home to many of Toronto’s ‘Top Prospects’. Vladimir Guerrero Jr was everything the fans were hoping he’d be, Bo Bichette had his ups and downs but showed off tremendous skill and grit. Harold Ramirez may have put himself back on the Blue Jays radar with a career season. Cavan Biggio, well you either already know or you figure it out by looking at his numbers below.
The playoffs were amazing to watch. This team refused to lose. The Fisher Cats swept Trenton Thunder in the first round of the playoffs, then rolled over Akron RubberDuck with a banner winning sweep.
All-Stars and Awards
Zeuch posted a record of 6-3 with a 3.21 ERA in 12 starts before the mid-summer classic. T.J. owned a 2.02 GO/AO while holding a 1.26 WHIP.
Biggio hit 19 HR with 67 RBI and 14 doubles while batting .267. Cavan owned a .403 OBP and .949 OPS in 84 games.
VG Jr. played 54 games pre all-star break. He batted .410 with 11 HR, 18 doubles, and 55 RBI. He owned a 1.128 OPS while walking 20 times and striking out 21. He missed time a month with a knee sprain (June 7th to July 13th).
Bo Bichette batted .264 with 22 doubles, 5 triples, 8 HR, 46 RBI, and 26 stolen bases in 85 games.
In 78 games JD batted .302 with 68 runs, 22 doubles, 3 triples, 5 HR, 33-RBI, and 19 SB.
Markham’s Romano picked up 8 wins and 4 losses in 16 pre-all-star starts. He struck out 83 batters and walked 34 over 91.2 innings. He owned a 1.11 WHIP and held opponents to a .206 batting average.
The following Fisher Cats were named to the postseason or end of season all-star squad: Biggio, Guerrero Jr., Bichette, Romano, Harold Ramirez, and JD. I’m not listing their 2nd half stats because you’ll get an idea why they made the team in the individual stats section.
C Max Pentecost took his game to the next level in the final month of the season to earn player of the month in August. Max batted .375 with 4 doubles, 6 HR, and 22 RBI. Despite these strong numbers, Pentecost still only walked one time in 80 at-bats….one walk in an entire month while striking out 18 times.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. won player of the week on April 15th and May 6th. He also won player of the month in May when he batted .438 with 10 doubles, 9 HR, 28 RBI, 3 SB, and a 9/11 BB/K in 112 at-bats.
T.J. Zeuch (June 17th) and Jordan Romano (July 22) both earned pitcher of the week honors.
Cavan Biggio won the Eastern League MVP and Rookie of the Year while Harold Ramirez took home the most valuable player in the playoffs. Manager John Schneider won manager of the year.
The Fisher Cats offense was out of this world. The club finished with the best team batting average (.272), OPS (.772), SLG% (.427), OBP (.345). They stole the most bases (153), collected the most bases (1985), RBI (650), doubles (270) and hits (1263). No other EL team crossed the plate more than the Fisher Cats (706 runs)
The Fisher Cats hit 37 triples (2nd), 126 HR (3rd), and walked 475 times (6th).
The pitching staff had some good performances; ultimately, they fell short of expectations. NH finished near the bottom of every category. They allowed the 7th most hits (1163), the 8th most/worse ERA(4.12), shutouts (8), runs allowed (630), WHIP (1.38). New Hampshire allowed 127 home runs (9th most), 485 walks (11th), and only 1035 K (10th).
Cavan Biggio lead the league with a .887 OPS, .499 SLG%, and runs scored (80). His league-best 100 walks were a Fisher Cats record and league-leading 26 home runs fell a little short of another club record. Biggio finished 2nd with 99 RBI and 148 strikeouts while collecting the 3rd most triples (5) and posting the 3rd best OBP (.388). The Fisher Cats infielder also stole 20 bases (7th), collected 224 total bases (4th), and 23 doubles (10th).
Bo Bichette collected more hits (154), doubles (43), triples (7), runs (95), and total bases (244) than any other player in the Eastern League. His .286 batting average and 48 walks squeaked in as the 10th best. Bo also stole 32 bases (2nd) and collected 74 RBI (5th).
Harold Ramirez surprised everyone in 2018, becoming the EL batting champ with a .320 BA (NH record). He also posted an impressive .836 OPS (4th), .471 SLG% (6th), and .365 OBP (9th). Ramirez collected 218 total bases (5th), 70 RBI (7th), 37 doubles (2nd), and 148 hits (2nd).
Jon Berti finished 6th with 21 stolen bases and tie with Bo Bichette for the lead with 7 triples.
Jordan Romano won 11 games (t-3). He allowed 15 home runs (8th) over 137.1 IP (10th). Romano started 25 games and finished with a 1.19 WHIP.
Jon Harris finished with 12 wins (2nd) and 21 home runs allowed (3rd) over 25 starts. T.J. Zeuch won 9 games (t-5) posting a .308 ERA in 21 starts. Sean Ried-Foley only made 8 starts but posted a 2.03 ERA and 1.06 WHIP which were tops for the Fisher Cats rotation.
Zach Jackson struggled with his control for the entire season, walking 51 batters (8th) across 43 appearances. Travis Bergen lead all NH bullpen arms with a 0.50 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. Bergen tied Andrew Case for the team lead with 7 saves. Danny Young finished with 7 holds and Case finished 31 games.
There were a few Fisher Cats, had they spent the entire season with the team, would have finished in the top 10 in many categories, most notably Valdimir Guerrero Jr., Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Jonathan Davis, and Sean Reid-Foley. Fortunately, for these players, they were given the opportunity to advance to Triple-A and beyond.
Santiago Espinal looked good in his 42 games, batting .286 and .748 OPS. We can assume he’ll be the Fisher Cats Opening Day second baseman. Patrick Cantwell had another injury-plagued season but he was productive when he was healthy (.276 BA and .819 OPS in 40 GP).
Next season’s roster will have some big shoes to fill. The 2019 edition of the Fisher Cats won’t have a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. super-prospect among them, the roster will have its fair share of top rated prospects.
Feature photo credit: Ryan Mueller
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