Blue Jays: Fisher Cats win EL championship without 2018’s best player
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats are champions of the Eastern League this year, winning the Double-A title, and doing it without their best player from the 2018 season.
If you want some proof that the future should be bright for the Toronto Blue Jays organization, have a look at their minor league system.
Perhaps the strongest example would be the boatload of talent the Blue Jays boast in Double-A New Hampshire, so won the Eastern League title on Friday night, and did so without the player who lead them through most of the 2018 season.
It didn’t matter that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was promoted to Triple-A Buffalo a couple months ago, the Fisher Cats just kept on rolling. While they were unstoppable with Vlad Jr on the roster, they obviously more than held their own without him in the regular season and into the playoffs.
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The roster featured offensive stars like Bo Bichette, Harold Ramirez, and league MVP Cavan Biggio, and has strong pitching prospects like Jordan Romano and T.J. Zeuch, among others.
There was a time earlier in the season when the roster featured both Vladimir Guerrero Jr, and even a brief stint from Lourdes Gurriel as well, and one has to wonder how easily the team could have cruised to a championship with those two still on the roster. Guerrero Jr famously slashed .402/.449/.671 while in New Hampshire, and Gurriel Jr. put up an impressive line of .322/.354/508 in 14 contests.
Their absence didn’t matter to the Cats though, as they defeated the Akron RubberDucks (Cleveland’s Double-A affiliate) by a score of 8-5, clinching their first championship since 2011, and finishing the playoffs with a perfect 6-0 record.
Fittingly, Biggio homered in the series clinching victory, and Ramirez was named the playoff MVP after an exceptionally strong performance this season. Romano received a no-decision in starting the series sweeping game, and the victory was picked up by Danny Young out of the bullpen.
A lot of the players that made up this team were part of the 2017 Co-champion Dunedin Blue Jays as well, so some of these young men are starting to rack up the hardware in the minor league system. Hopefully as they continue to progress through the system and make their way to the big leagues, they’ll be able to bring that winning culture with them.
With the third ranked minor league system in baseball and minor league championships like these to build on, Blue Jays fans shouldn’t lament where things are too much, even if it’s been an incredibly difficult year to be a fan of the team. If all goes according to plan, the next generation should be a force to be reckoned with, and they announced that loud and clear with their playoff sweep of the Eastern League.