This four-part series will look at some past and present information on the Toronto Blue Jays’ minor-league affiliates. Earlier this week we talked about the Blue Jays Spring home the Dunedin Blue Jays. Prior to that we discussed a proud team in the Midwest League the Lansing Lugnuts. Now lets move onto the doiuble-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats are a young club that debuted in 1993 with the Colorado Rockies. They were quickly infused with talent and helped the Rockies to a Wild Card berth in 1995. The team was founded as the New Haven Ravens and went on win the League title in 2000.
In the year 2003 the team settled into new surroundings in Manchester and was renamed to the Fisher Cats. The team has since been part of the Toronto Blue Jays organization and has been a force in the Eastern League.
New Hampshire won two more League titles after joining the Blue Jays organization in 2004 and 2011. In the past few years the Fisher Cats have also been a competitive place where MLB-ready talent has been brewing.
Prior to the Blue Jays going all-in for the 2015 playoff run the team was ripe with talent. The organization was only able to get stars like David Price and Troy Tulowitzki because of the talent this team had been pumping out. Jeff Hoffman was a great pitching prospect in the organization and who plucked from the Fisher Cats and sent over to the Rockies for Tulo. Daniel Norris was the Blue Jays top prospect at the time of the David Price deal and played in New Hampshire the season prior to the trade.
As of the end of the 2016 campaign the Fisher Cats had a thunderous lineup that featured some breakout stars within the Jays system. Rowdy Tellez had a monster season in which his power was on full display. The hard-hitting first basemen batted a solid .297 with 29 doubles, 23 homers, and 81 RBI. After a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates the Fisher Cats got to see Harold Ramirez and Reese McGuire come into the fold. Ramirez batted .311 with 50 RBI before having some injury trouble to end the season. McGuire struggled the last 15 games of the season after coming to the Cats but he is rated as the Jays 4th best prospect according to MLB.com.
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Going into this coming season the Fisher Cats are looking forward to seeing more of the Jays top prospects. They can expect to see Richard Urena who received a 30-game audition near the end of last season. Urena raked with the Dunedin Blue Jays and got off to an incredible start with the Fisher Cats. He fell back to earth and finished his debut with a .266 average, 6 doubles, and an eye-popping 5 triples in 30 games. The Cats may get to see Sean Reid-Foley and Jon Harris in their rotation this season as well. The pitching pair dominated the Florida State League and is up for a new challenge. This team could be built around a solid pitching staff that could find some decent offence from some other top prospects and take another run at the league title.
Another prospect that could call New Hampshire his home next season is Ryan McBroom. Rowdy Tellez will more than likely be moving up the Jays system ranks which leaves a hole at first base. McBroom had a wonderful season for the Dunedin Blue Jays in 2016, hitting a solid .272 through 119 games. This writer has been calling him “McBOOM!’ all season while following the D-Jays as McBroom muscled his way to 26 doubles, 21 home runs, and 83 RBI. He did get a nine-game shot with the Fisher Cats where he hit a home run and drove in a pair. Look for him to get a chance to play every day in New Hampshire this year.
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats have had many players make it to the big leagues in their short history. They have also been a solid rehab spot for players to get back into playing shape post injuries. Below is a list of players who have played with the Fisher Cats and made it to the show
J.P. Arencibia, Matt Boyd, Jesse Carlson, Brett Cecil, Gustavo Chacin, Travis d’Arnaud, Sam Dyson, Ryan Goins, Yan Gomes, Anthony Gose, Kendall Gravemen, Adeiny Hechavarria, Aaron Hill, Casey Janssen, Brandon League, Adam Lind, Jesse Litsch, Aaron Loup, Jake Marisnick, Dustin McGowan, Daniel Norris, Kevin Pillar, Rickey Romero, Marc Rzepczynski, Aaron Sanchez, Travis Snider, and Marcus Stroman
The Fisher Cats have become a staple within the Blue Jays organization. They have been helping to refine young raw talents into Major League ready players. The team may be watching some of their more recent break out players move up this past season. Tellez and Connor Greene might be ready for their next levels. While this happens, there is a new crop of talent coming into New Hampshire to assemble a solid team coming this season. Things are looking great for the coming season.