Rain or snow outs might have been the order of the weekend if the Eastern League season had gone ahead as scheduled. Nonetheless, it’s time to gaze into the crystal ball to project the lineup New Hampshire Manager Cesar Martin would have fielded.
Truth be told, this was a tough one to project. There are a number of “tweeners” on the position player side of the roster: guys who didn’t really dominate High A, but needed to move up just the same, and players who did not excel at AA, and probably need some more time at that level.
The same could not be said of the Pitcher. The Blue Jays have a plethora of arms at the upper levels, and it will be interesting to see how things shake out on the Buffalo and New Hampshire pitching staffs.
Fisher Cats Projected Opening Day Lineup (2019 club in parentheses)
Chavez Young CF (Dunedin)
Cullen Large 3B (Dunedin/New Hampshire)
Kevin Smith SS (New Hampshire)
Alejandro Kirk C (Lansing/Dunedin)
Ryan Noda LF (Dunedin)
Gaby Guerrero DH (Marlins org)
Christian Williams 1B (Dunedin/New Hampshire)
Logan Warmoth 2B
Demi Orimoloye RF (Dunedin)
Joey Murray P (Lansing/Dunedin/New Hampshire)
Kirk and Smith are the standout names in this group. Kirk impressed in spring training, and will continue to work on his conditioning in AA. Smith had a decent August, but mostly underwhelmed at AA after a breakout 2018. You could easily make an argument for him to be at Buffalo – it would all depend on if the organization views Santiago Espinal as a SS or an utility player. Guerrero, cousin to Vlad, played mostly at AAA in the Miami system last year, and could be ticketed for Buffalo as well. Cullen Large is a sleeper – a guy who has hit when he’s been healthy.
Patrick Murphy would get the nod over Murray if he’s a victim of the numbers game and has to spend at least another few weeks in AA, but Murray was the best starter in the system after Nate Pearson. To be honest, as we compiled this list, it was hard to come up with a lot of position players. The strength of the club will probably be its pitching.