Case, Guerrero, Panas, Romano to begin season with double-A Fisher Cats
By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away
New Hampshire was the first Toronto Blue Jays' affiliate to release their roster. In some ways, the 2018 New Hampshire Fisher Cats roster is similar to last year's roster with several players having played for the Fisher Cats in 2017.
Jordan Romano (Markham, Ont.) will take the ball every fifth day while Sean Reid-Foley is going to return along with former first-round draft pick Jon Harris and Francisco Rios. Nick Tepesch is also expected to start. A notable omission is T.J. Zeuch, who I thought, after an impressive second half and stint in the Arizona Fall League, would jump to double-A. He looked very commanding in spring training when I saw him and could make the jump quickly if he's dominating in Dunedin.
A couple of Canadians join Jordan Romano on the roster and they include Ladner, B.C., native Tom Robson (who will likely start the year on the DL as he is rumoured to be having a second Tommy John surgery. H/T to @futurebluejays on Twitter) and Andrew Case (Saint John, N.B.). I expected Case to start the year in Buffalo but it's tough for a home-grown player to make the Bisons out of spring training, mainly because of the number of free agents and 40-man roster players who wind up there after they're unable to secure a spot on the Opening Day 40-man roster.
Another surprise to see on the roster is Craig Breslow, who was released by the Blue Jays towards the end of camp. He may well have re-signed.
Returning in the bullpen are Jose Fernandez, Dusty Isaacs, Justin Shafer and Danny Young while Zach Jackson and Conor Fisk both earn promotions from Dunedin last year.
A notable omission is Jackson McClelland, who I had expected to jump to double-A to open the year. Another very notable omission is veteran minor league lefty, and Canadian, Shane Dawson. We'll have to see where he ends up.
Robson starts on the DL along with Rule 5 minor league selectee Drew Muren.
There are three catchers listed on the Fisher Cats roster and none are really a surprise. Max Pentecost and Patrick Cantwell are going to split duties. Alex Monsalve starts the season on the DL. I thought we might see Michael De La Cruz on the roster but it's likely he'll start further down the system.
The buzz for the Fisher Cats is focused on the group of infielders that begin the season here. Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero (Montreal, Que.) will anchor the left side while Cavan Biggio is going to play a lot of second base and Juan Kelly will play first most of the time. Lourdes Gurriel is going to be on the roster, returning to double-A in his second year in North America, while Gunnar Heidt is going to be a back up.
Any surprises? Where's Emilio Guerrero? Where's J.C. Cardenas. We'll find out soon!
My prediction here was that Andrew Guillotte, Harold Ramirez, Jonathan Davis and Connor Panas (Toronto, Ont.) would start 2018 with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and they are. That said, the "bubble" guys that I thought would join them, D.J. Davis and Jake Thomas, aren't on the roster.
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The 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Visit the Handbook page for more information!