Image credit: Bo Bichette (Photo by Ed Wolfstein)
The 2018 Eastern League belonged to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The club opened with an indomitable lineup that included the league’s top two prospects—third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and shortstop Bo Bichette—as well as the league’s eventual home run and batting champions in second baseman Cavan Biggio and outfielder Harold Ramirez
That fearsome offense backed up an excellent pitching staff that included righthanders T.J. Zeuch, who finished second on the circuit with a 3.08 ERA, and Jordan Romano, who started the league’s all-star game.
Prospects don’t always translate to wins in the minor leagues, but they certainly did for the Fisher Cats. The club earned a wild-card bid to the playoffs, then swept its way through Trenton and Akron to claim the championship.
The biggest riser in the league was Altoona third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, who improved his stock so significantly that he finished as the league’s No. 4 prospect, behind just Guerrero, Bichette and Hartford shortstop Brendan Rodgers. All season long, Hayes showed outstanding defense at third base and burgeoning power at the plate.
Just behind Hayes was Mets infield prospect Jeff McNeil, who bullied his way out of Binghamton in just 57 games while on his way to the major leagues, where he’s opened plenty of eyes since his debut in mid-July.