The Toronto Blue Jays’ Double-A affiliate New Hampshire Fisher Cats have had some great news of late in addition to the the fact that they swept the Reading Fightin Phils in two games on Wednesday. You’re going to be seeing a lot more Fisher Cats content here over the next little bit as I’ll be heading down to Manchester, NH tomorrow to take in a few games. I’m making it a point to catch up with all four of the players talked about below, and hopefully you’ll be able to hear the interviews on the podcast in the coming weeks.
The first bit of news comes down as three Fisher Cats were named to the Eastern League’s Eastern Division All-Star team. Shortstop Kevin Nolan, pitcher Sean Nolin and outfielder Brad Glenn have all been named to the All-Star Game in New Britain, Connecticut.
Nolan, a native of Nashua, New Hampshire, is 25 years old and was the 20th round draft pick of the Blue Jays in the 2009 draft. This year, he’s hitting .244/.312/.378 with 6 home runs. He started off the season very strongly, having his best month in May, hitting .297/.356/.505 but has been slumping lately with a .181/.216/.277 line in June. It’s his first year at the AA level and he’s taking in as much information as he can, improving as a baseball player in every way possible and making the adjustment to the higher level successfully so far.
Nolin, 23, was selected by the Blue Jays in the 6th round of the 2010 draft and has risen through the minors very quickly, making his major league debut on May 24 this season. After starting on the disabled list, Nolin made his 2013 New Hampshire debut on May 7 and proceeded to win his first two decisions, giving up two earned runs in three appearances before his promotion to the majors. In total this year, he’s made 8 starts in New Hampshire, going 4-2 with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.128 WHIP with 42 strikeouts in 39 innings. He’s only walked 9 batters for a 2.1 BB/9 ratio to go along with a 9.7 K/9 ratio for an outstanding start to the season.
Glenn, 26, was a 23rd round selection in the 2009 draft by the Blue Jays. Glenn is playing in his second year in New Hampshire and is having a much better season this year. He led the Fisher Cats in home runs in 2012 with 19 and has always had a big power bat through the minors but in the last couple of seasons, his batting averages and on-base percentages were dropping as he rose through the organization. This season, however, Glenn has the highest BA and OBP of his pro career at .280 and .361 to go along with 8 home runs and 19 doubles (second on the team to now promoted Kevin Pillar). While he strikes out over 20% of the time, his K rate is actually down this year and his walk rate is at a career high of 11.2%.
Some more good news was announced as catcher A.J. Jimenez was named to the World Roster for the MiLB All-Star Futures Game which will be played in New York on Sunday, July 14. Jimenez, a 23-year-old catcher from Puerto Rico, has returned from Tommy John surgery with a vengeance, hitting in all 14 games he has played in New Hampshire (after a 9-game stint with the Dunedin Blue Jays) tabulating a .441 batting average. While he doesn’t have any home runs with the Fisher Cats yet, he does have 7 doubles amongst his 26 hits and is on a huge tear. He doesn’t strikeout much, but doesn’t walk much either but he has always been known for his defense. Last season, before his injury, he threw out 55% of potential base-stealers and this year has thrown out three of four (75%).
Congrats to the three Eastern League All-Stars and to A.J. Jimenez for his selection to the Futures Game!