Blue Jays MiLB season standouts – New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Nov 7, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Toronto Blue Jays infielder Rowdy Tellez during the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars game at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 7, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Toronto Blue Jays infielder Rowdy Tellez during the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars game at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

This four-part series looks at the Toronto Blue Jays Minor League levels from Single-A and up.  We will highlight players that had great performances at each level (while they were at the level being discussed)

Previous Level Standouts
Single A – Lansing Lugnuts
Single A+ – Dunedin Blue Jays

Double A – Full Season – Eastern League – New Hampshire Fisher Cats

The Fisher Cats had a rough start to the year as they struggled out of the gate.  How quickly things changed, though, as the Cats had an influx of new talent that led them to a fun second half.  The Fisher Cats finished the year with a 69-73 record.

New Hampshire became a breeding ground of young talent this season.  The gathering of Blue Jays top prospects led to a 22-13 record after August 1st.  The team also got some top prospects from the Pirates that came over in the Drew Hutchison and Francisco Liriano trade.  Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez were welcomed additions to the team.

The Regulars – Hitters (over 70 games with New Hampshire)
Rowdy Tellez

Rowdy Tellez went from having a slow start to being in the MVP conversation for the Eastern League.  The former 30th round draft pick is looking like the Jays slugger of tomorrow.

Tellez ended the year with a .297 batting average and mashed the ball to the tune of a .537 slugging percentage.  Tellez’s plethora of pop makes him stand out as he cracked 23 home runs in this past season.  The heavy hitting Tellez used this power to drive in 83 runs in 124 games for the Fisher Cats.  All of this production came after a slow start in which he hit just .164 in April.  As the weather warmed so did Tellez and he became a major run producer for the Cats this season.  Look for Tellez to continue improving his approach at the plate and hopefully continue to become more patient and avoid another 92 strikeout season.  His hitting abilities make him a very attractive prospect for the Jays.

Dwight Smith Jr.

Dwight Smith Jr. also got off to a slow start and turned on the jets to have a nice season.  Smith drove in 74 RBIs this season on his way to a .265 batting average.  He also hit 24 doubles, five triples, and 15 home runs.  He was able to score 56 runs and stole 12 bases as well.  The athletic Smith Jr. appears to be fitting well into a full time baseball role thus far.  There were some stretches this season that the opposition just could not get him out.  During the month of May he played in 26 games and batted .333.  If Smith can find some consistency and string some of these bursts together he is going to be a force within the Jays organization.

Christian Lopes

More from Toronto Blue Jays Prospects

Lopes put up solid numbers for the Cats this season and found some consistency at the plate during his 108 games with the club.  Lopes would go on to have a .295 batting average and found ways to produce in what became a potent lineup.  Lopes collected 119 hits and 30 of them were doubles.  The extra bases led him to a .401 slugging percentage despite his lack of raw power.  Lopes also hit two triples and three home runs on his way to driving in 46 runs.  Lopes showed some speed by stealing nine bases and his ability to get on base led to 56 runs scored.  Look for Lopes to take this year as a possible launching pad as he appears to have things figured out at the plate.

The Regulars – Pitchers (over 75 innings pitched)

The pitching struggled in New Hampshire this year and the main pitchers all had a rough time.  Jeremy Gabryszwski led the team in innings with 146.1 innings pitched but had a 5.23 ERA.  He did have some bursts where he played great but then would get hit hard for a few outings.  Gabryszwski led the team in strikeouts, too.  Out of the regular starters Shane Dawson had the most wins with 10 buts he also led the team in walks.  This translated into a 4.22 ERA over 134.1 innings which was one of the lower ERAs by the starting staff.

Key Contributors – Hitters
Jason Leblebijian

Leblebijian had a solid hitting season and produced a .293 batting average.  He had 79 hits in 75 games.  Leblebijian contributed 40 runs scored and 37 RBIs over the season.   His consistent stroke kept things going and extended a great lineup for the Fisher Cats.  Leblebijian was able to also hit 19 doubles and seven home runs.  He will look to build off of the great season he turned in this year.

Emilio Guerrero

Guerrero got into 43 games with the Cats this year after playing 43 in Dunedin.  He continued his Single A success and posted nearly identical numbers at the Double A level.  He posted an impressive .282 batting average on his way to driving in 20 RBIs.  While with the club he also scored 22 runs and hit the ball hard.  Guerrero was able to rake in eight doubles, two triples, and five homers during his first stint with the Cats.  Guerrero should be creeping onto peoples radar as he continues to hone his skills and become a well rounded baseball player.

Key Contributors – Pitchers
Murphy Smith

Smith was the work horse of the Cats pen.  Smith got into 42 games and pitched 72.0 innings.  He was nearly untouchable as he posted a 1.50 ERA and a .202 opposing batting average.  His next-to-nothing WHIP only helps those numbers stand out.  Smith did have some issues with the long ball as he allowed five of them while just allowing 12 runs during the season.  He also walked 25 batters while striking out 68.

Wil Browning

Browning also had an excellent showing out of the bullpen this season as he posted a 1.94 ERA over 51.0 innings.  Browning had the ability to miss bats down this season as he struck out 61 batters and allowed just a 1.08 WHIP.  He also had just a .215 opposition batting average.  Browning also rarely hurt himself as he walked just 14 batters through hits 51 innings of work.  Browning earned a brief shot with the Triple A Buffalo Bisons but allowed a run in the 1.1 innings he threw.

Next: Has Dickey thrown his last meaningful innings?

Exciting future players – New Hampshire debuts
Richard Urena

After putting on a show with the D-Jays, the organization gave Urena a chance to get a look at Double A.  Urena hit the league and started out on fire.  He cooled down and came down to earth but still put on a show for the Fisher Cat faithfuls.

Urena closed out the season with a .266 batting average.  When looking further into the numbers it looks like Urena is only getting started.  Urena raked up a pile of extra base hits in those 30 games which included six doubles and five triples.  He also drove in 18 and scored 14 runs during a scintillating debut.