We move on to the relief pitchers for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, looking at pitchers who made most of their appearances out of the bullpen.
We begin with the pitchers who made the most appearances and work our way downwards from there. If a player played for more than one team over the course of the season, he’ll be grouped according to the club he played the most with.
23-year-old Zach Jackson led the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in appearances with 43 while having a strong season at his highest level yet. Jackson, a curveball specialist who has always had control issues, threw 62 innings with a 2.90 ERA and 1.29 ERA and proved that he was tough to hit, allowing only 29 hits but walked 19.4% of the batters he faced, a career high. He also maintained his history of striking out a lot of batters, striking out 28.5% of batters. Jackson induced a lot of weak contact, getting an inordinate number of infield fly balls (31.4% of fly balls) and allowed just two home runs all season. Jackson is currently in the Arizona Fall League and will likely start 2019 back in New Hampshire, particularly if he has the same amount of trouble throwing strikes.
Lefty Danny Young, 24, spent the entire season with New Hampshire after splitting 2017 between Dunedin and New Hampshire. He threw 56 2/3 innings with a 4.13 ERA and 1.45 WHIP, striking out 19.4% of batters and walking 7.7%, both numbers are improvements on his 2017 half season with the Fisher Cats. Young got a ton of ground balls, getting 64.3% of his balls in play on the ground and he should be ready for Buffalo next year if there’s room on the roster.
Canadian righty Andrew Case had an up and down season, literally. The 25-year-old did make one appearance with the Buffalo Bisons at the end of the year, pitching three innings and giving up a run on two hits with one strikeout but other wise spent the year in New Hampshire seeing stretches of excellent pitching and other times he was hit hard. Case, in 46 innings, had a 5.09 ERA with a 1.57 WHIP and 16.1% strikeout rate and 7.1% walk rate and had a ground ball to fly ball rate of exactly 1.00. Look for Case to return to New Hampshire next year.
At 27, Dusty Isaacs was one of the older pitchers on the New Hampshire staff and he threw a lot, tossing 50 innings for the Fisher Cats with a 4.86 ERA and 1.44 WHIP, striking out a healthy 25.3% of his batters but his walk rate bloated to 14.5%, his highest of his career. Isaacs also added 10 innings in Buffalo, allowing eight runs (seven earned) on 15 hits and five walks with eight strikeouts. Look for Isaacs to be either in New Hampshire or Buffalo next year.
Lefty Kirby Snead started his season with the Dunedin Blue Jays and, in April, he was outstanding, posting a 1.08 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, striking out 12 and walking six in 8 1/3 innings. Promoted to New Hampshire, the now-24-year-old tossed 42 2/3 innings with a 4.43 ERA and 1.64 WHIP, striking out 19.0% of batters and walking 12.2%, seeing a fairly typical regression from the results he was getting in Advanced-A Dunedin. Snead will likely return to New Hampshire next year.
While Kirby Snead had some trouble in Double-A after his promotion, another lefty, Travis Bergen, was dominant both in Dunedin and in New Hampshire. Bergen, 25, has completed his recovery and finally got a full season of pitching in after three years in the Jays’ system and he rewarded the club for their patience. Spending the first two months in Dunedin, Bergen had a 1.71 ERA in 21 innings, posting a 1.05 WHIP while striking out 36.9% of batters and walking 7.1%. If that wasn’t good enough, he threw 35 2/3 innings in New Hampshire after his promotion and had a 0.50 ERA and 0.98 WHIP, striking out 29.3% and walking 6.1%. Interestingly enough, Bergen had reverse splits, allowing righties to post a .497 OPS against him while lefties had a .621 OPS. Look for Bergen to be in New Hampshire or Buffalo next year.
Making 23 appearances with the Fisher Cats was lefty Jose Fernandez. The hard-throwing Dominican finally put things together, rising from Double-A (in his second stint with the Fisher Cats) to Buffalo and then to the major leagues. Fernandez spent half the season in New Hampshire, throwing 31 1/3 innings with a 3.45 ERA and 1.47 WHIP, striking out 24.1% of batters and walking a whopping 16.8%. He cut down the walks in Buffalo, walking only 6.7% with a 26.7% strikeout rate and 1.06 WHIP, lowering his ERA to 2.45. Promoted the majors in September, Fernandez struggled a bit, giving up seven runs in 10 1/3 innings with a 1.35 WHIP, striking out only 13.3% and walking 8.9%. He’ll likely start 2019 in Buffalo.
The Blue Jays acquired 24-year-old righty Corey Copping from the Los Angeles Dodgers for John Axford at the trade deadline. Sent to Double-A, Copping had already spent much of his season in Double-A int he Texas League with the Dodgers’ affiliate in Tulsa. There, Copping had a 2.53 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 46 1/3 innings with the Drillers, striking out 55 and walking 24. He moved up to Triple-A and threw 7 1/3 innings with Oklahoma City, allowing two runs on nine hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Copping found his strikeout magic again with the Fisher Cats, fanning 32.8% of batters (20 strikeouts in 14 innings) with a 14.8% walk rate (his highest rate of the season), with a 1.93 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Look for Copping back in New Hampshire next year although he’ll get a serious look for Buffalo’s roster if there’s room.
Righty Drew Muren spent much of his season injured, making one appearances on May 27, giving up just a hit in one innings against the Hartford Yard Goats. He went back on the DL after that appearances and was ultimately released on August 7.
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