Fisher Cats could have offense to replace Guerrero Jr.
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats are well ensconced atop the Eastern League’s Eastern Division and seem primed for a playoff run this September if their recent play is any indication.
Here’s a look back at some Fisher Cats news of note from the past few days.
Vlad leaves, but it’s okay
The main focus of this season’s narrative has been the whirlwind around Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and now that whirlwind is finally moving west.
On Friday, the Blue Jays organization announced that he will be joining their Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons, after attending the Baseball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony of his father over the weekend.
During his 61 games for the Fisher Cats, Guerrero recorded a .402/.449/.671 slashline, contributing 14 home runs, 60 RBIs and 48 runs scored. Those stats would likely have been even better if not for an early June leg injury that kept him out of action for several weeks.
Clearly, the loss of Guerrero will impact New Hampshire’s offensive prowess, but the impact of his loss in June was largely negated by the various other offensive weapons in the Fisher Cat lineup.
Cavan Biggio has continually either held the Eastern League home run and RBI lead or stood just outside the lead, with Bo Bichette doing the same for stolen bases, runs, total bases, hits and doubles.
But Biggio and Bichette have not been alone, with the Fisher Cats getting a new offensive hero almost every night.
This week in particular, Harold Ramirez has been on a tear, going 8 for 24 with four RBIs during the recent Reading and Hartford
The trade deadline
Another offensive asset for the Fisher Cats arrived in the form of Forrest Wall, the biggest piece of Toronto’s recent trade that sent reliever Seunghwan Oh to Colorado.
In addition to Wall, Toronto also received first baseman Chad Spanberger, a sixth-round pick in last year’s draft sent to Class-A Lansing.
Wall made his Fisher Cats debut on Thursday against his former comrades in Hartford and made an immediate impact, grabbing his seventh home run of the year.
In a possible attempt to recapture his 20 stolen base season last year with the Class-A Advanced Lancaster Jet Hawks, Schneider has placed him near the top of the lineup, in what appears to be a platoon with Bichette for the leadoff role held earlier in the season by the promoted Jonathan Davis.
Rumors also continue to swirl around Josh Donaldson, former AL MVP and Toronto’s current third baseman. Donaldson’s health has been a factor this year and his contract expires at the end of the season. With Guerrero’s movement up the Blue Jay ladder, the brass at Rogers Centre may decide to accelerate Guerrero’s ascent to the majors and move Donaldson in exchange for more prospects.
If Guerrero does head to Toronto sooner rather than later, the likely replacement for him in Buffalo would be Jon Berti. Reacquired from the Cleveland organization earlier this year, Berti struggled in Buffalo but has rebounded in New Hampshire with a .274/.380/.404 line since arriving in the Eastern League last month.
Already better than last year
In 2017, the Fisher Cats ended with just 59 wins, a mark they have now equaled with five weeks left in the 2018 regular season.
That’s not the only way this year’s squad has improved. Richard Urena led the 2017 Fisher Cats with 60 RBI, Biggio and Guerrero have already surpassed that and Bichette will likely surpass that this week. Gunnar Heidt’s 13 home runs in 2017 is likely to be eclipsed by half a dozen players and Bichette has nearly surpassed 2017’s top two base stealers combined on his own.
On the mound, Sean Reid-Foley’s 10 wins has already been duplicated by Jordan Romano, Tim Mayza’s seven saves has already been equaled Andrew Case and will likely be overshadowed soon by new closer Travis Bergen, currently at six.