Fisher Cats Journal: Logue shines in strong effort
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats finished their 2018 campaign with an Eastern League title, but what will 2019 bring? Here’s some highlights from their opening week and a half.
Almost Perfect …
Complete games are become rarer things in professional baseball, particularly in the minors where pitch counts on developing arms are even more regulated at times than what might be found in the majors. Still, it’s easy to wonder what might have been over the weekend if things continued the way they did.
On Saturday, Zach Logue made his Double-A debut by retiring the first 15 batters he faced, allowing just two hits before he left after the sixth inning. A day later, Yennsy Diaz faced the minimum number of batters in his six-inning appearance, with Binghamton’s Barrett Barnes quickly picked off after he recorded the only hit Diaz allowed.
“You hear some of the pitching coaches in the organization talk about Zach Logue and they really like him and you can see why. He attacks the strike zone, mixes up his pitches and isn’t afraid to go after the hitters,” said Fisher Cats Manager Mike Mordecai. “And Yennsy, we know he has a good fastball and breaking stuff. He’s getting more and more confidence each time he goes out there.”
While the Fisher Cats rotation struggled earlier against Binghamton, for the most part New Hampshire’s pitchers did well over the first week, if not reaching the rarified air of Diaz and Logue.
Conversely, the Fisher Cats have struggled offensively for the most part, a reversal of last season’s world-beating lineup.
After ten games, New Hampshire is hitting a collective .225 with just four total home runs.
Mordecai believes the batting will improve as the weather gets warmer and his hitters begin to learn how to build a plan of attack at the plate.
“We’ve had conversations with (the batters) about being more aggressive, and I’m anxious to see how that starts playing out,” said Mordecai. “Guys start feeling their way early in the season, some guys start pressing when they’re not getting hits, so they start waiting for the perfect pitch.”
One of the few bright spots offensively is the Fisher Cats speed on the basepaths, as of the end of their series in Hartford, they are leading the league in steals with 14.
April (Snow) Showers
The general rule of thumb for most teams at the Double-A level is that they’re still getting into their groove until the end of April. By that point, hopefully the weather will feel more appropriate for baseball.
Mordecai believes that in this weather, pitchers generally have an advantage, but all players struggle to cope with the temperatures they might have become accustomed to.
“Most of the team early in the season, you’re developing that identity and as a manger you take a look at that and help them tweak things,” said Mordecai. “I’m not real concerned about them right now, we’re letting them get their feet on the ground. You come out of Florida and it’s 70 or 80 degrees and here it’s 30s or 40s, a lot of the time they’re just in survival mode.”
The postponement on Tuesday, April 9 due to snow was the first snow postponement at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium since 2007.