Congratulations, Fisher Cats fans. As of right now, your team is currently the worst Minor League Baseball team in America. As of May 19, 2017, here’s the state of things on the path 400 miles to Toronto and beyond.
When it comes to the pitching staff, this week’s award goes to Dusty Isaacs, the only Fisher Cats pitcher with a win during the Altoona and Trenton series.
During his two appearances in those series, Isaacs had four scoreless innings under his belt, allowing just two hits and a walk with four strikeouts.
It isn’t his first streak this season, he went seven scoreless innings over a five appearance stretch in April.
At the plate, the recent leaders have been Anthony Alford, Ryan McBroom and Gunnar Heidt.
Alford has regained his early season form after a minor injury at the beginning of May, with a pair of two-hit games against Altoona and a four-hit game against Trenton.
On Friday afternoon, Alford got a call up to the big leagues, the first direct call up to Toronto from Manchester since 2013.
McBroom hasn’t had as many hits, but his have been going farther than Alford’s, recording three home runs during the Altoona and Trenton series. That gives him the team lead with seven, good for fourth in the Eastern League.
Heidt’s contributions have come from consistency, getting on-base during five of the seven games in those two series, as well as the ability to play a variety of positions during recent weeks.
According to Fisher Cats manager Gary Allenson though, Heidt still has a way to go before he reaches his potential.
“If you ask Gunnar, he’s not swinging the bat the way he’s capable of swinging the bat,” says Allenson. “He’s not really comfortable out there yet, which is important.”
In Allenson’s perspective, Heidt’s pinballing around the field comes primarily as a way to strengthen his stock for moving up the ladder in the professional baseball world.
“He’s best suited to be a utility guy where he plays a number of positions,” says Allenson. “A lot of teams are moving guys around. That’s the guy you’re looking for as a manager.”
Most of the pitching staff could fit into this category, but no one more so than Jon Harris and Shane Dawson.
Harris’ (1-4) ERA stands at 6.75 following his May 18 loss against Trenton, and he would have been handed a loss on May 13 against Altoona if not for some late heroics on offense.
In those two appearances, he allowed 19 hits and 11 runs in just over 10 innings of work.
Dawson (1-5) didn’t have a start against Trenton, but his loss against Altoona on May 14 was not a day to remember, giving up five runs in five innings of work.
Comings and Goings
May 18 held the debut for two new Fisher Cats: Danny DeLaCruz and Andrew Case.
DeLaCruz seems to have rebounded nicely from his stint on the 7-Day Disabled List late last month. The former Lansing Lugnut went 3-for-4 against Trenton, his third multi-hit game of the season.
Case, a Dunedin call-up, recorded four outs and allowed a hit in his appearance against the Thunder.
One thing to keep an eye on is a potential Manchester rehab appearance for Troy Tulowitzki. The five-time MLB All-Star is currently working back from an injury in Dunedin. As of this afternoon, CBS Sports reports a timeline for his return to Toronto his expected in the next few days.
The Fisher Cats now head to Reading for a three-game set against the Fightin’ Phils.
They’ll return to Manchester for a seven-day homestand, with four games against Portland and three against Reading once again.
Allenson doesn’t have any specific philosophies when it comes to beating the two clubs. Rather, he stresses the need for his squad to finally put forth a good effort in all aspects of the game.
“Regardless of whether at home, on the road, playing well is a combination of pitching, hitting and defense,” says Allenson. “What better time to do it than in Reading?”