One last Fisher Cat update for 2019

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It’s September 3, and it’s time for one final look at what’s been happening on the path 400 miles to Toronto.

400 Miles to Toronto: New Hampsire Fisher Cats Column

Last Week’s Games

Monday, Aug. 26 – Trenton 5, New Hampshire 1 (home)

Tuesday, Aug. 27 – Trenton 2, New Hampshire 0 (home)

Wednesday, Aug. 28 – Trenton/New Hampshire cancelled (home)

Thursday, Aug. 29 – New Hampshire 8, Trenton 2 (home)

Friday, Aug. 30 – Portland 5, New Hampshire 4 (away)

Saturday, Aug. 31 – Portland 2, New Hampshire 0 (away)

Sunday, Sept. 1 – New Hampshire 7, Portland 1 (away)

Sunday, Sept. 2 – New Hampshire 8, Portland 7 (away – 10 inn.)

 

A Disappointing Season

Perhaps any season would be disappointing after the Fisher Cats’ magical 2018 pennant-winning season, but just looking at the standings alone in isolation, the 2019 New Hampshire Fisher Cats were disappointing on their own merits.

New Hampshire finished one game ahead of Portland to avoid last place in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division and finished four games ahead of the franchise worst 2017 edition of the Fisher Cats. Of course, in the minors, wins and losses are only part of what determines what makes determines whether a season is successful.

Beyond the pennant, the key point validating New Hampshire’s 2018 team is the fact that it helped cultivate what is now the core of Toronto’s infield and lineup: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette.

The Fisher Cats began the year with two more pedigreed prospects: Kacy Clemens and Brandon Grudzielanek, both of which fizzled in Double-A after just a few games.

Other members of the lineup showed flashes of brilliance throughout the season, but were far too inconsistent to provide the Fisher Cats with reliable answers on the nights where their pitching couldn’t pick up the slack.

“There were times when it seemed like we were in position to win some ballgames, and the pitching let us down, but for the most part the pitching did its job,” said Fisher Cats Manager Mike Mordecai. “Then there were times when we had many, many opportunities to score runs and we didn’t.”

This September and Next Season

The Fisher Cats will have a new manager in 2020 after Mordecai announced he will be returning to Alabama to coach at a private high school.

It remains unclear what members of the 2019 squad will return, but the offense will likely have reinforcements from an Advanced-A Dunedin squad that led the Florida State League in walks, doubles and on-base percentage and was in the upper half of the league in every single offensive category.

Outfielders Cal Stevenson and Ryan Noda made it onto the 2019 Florida State League End of Season All-Star Team, but perhaps the most exciting player will be shortstop Kevin Vicuña, who now already has three Triple-A games under his belt after a brief call-up earlier this season.

On the mound, 20-year-old Maximo Castillo gave the D-Jays with a 2.69 ERA and 11-5 record.

Yennsy Diaz was named to Toronto’s 40-man-roster in early August, joining Patrick Murphy as the only two current Fisher Cats optioned to the Blue Jays extended squad, but September callups look unlikely with former Fisher Cats like Jonathan Davis, Anthony Alford, Sean Reid-Foley and Richard Urena getting the call for more major league time if the need arises.

The Fisher Cats return to action on April 9, 2020 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading and play their first home game on Thursday, April 16 against Hartford.