MANCHESTER, N.H. - The Toronto Blue Jays have announced the team's 25-man roster for the American League Division Series, which includes a talented group of players that made their way to the majors through New Hampshire. 11 former Fisher Cats players and coaches are on Toronto's ALDS roster, with three other players chasing World Series rings with different MLB teams.
Former Fisher Cat Marcus Stroman held the high-powered Baltimore Orioles offense to two runs on four hits over six innings in Tuesday's Wild Card Game, leading to Edwin Encarnacion's walk-off home run in the 11th inning. Stroman is scheduled to pitch Game 4 of the ALDS (if necessary) on Monday in Toronto.
Aaron Sanchez, who spent most of the 2014 season pitching at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, will start Game 3 in Toronto on Sunday night. In his first year of eligibility, Sanchez won the American League ERA title (3.00), narrowly edging Justin Verlander (3.04) and Masahiro Tanaka (3.07).
In the bullpen, 2012 Fisher Cats Aaron Loup and Brett Cecil will be asked to get some big outs in the late innings, especially with their success as left-handed specialists. Ryan Tepera looks to build on a successful 2016 season (2.95 ERA in 20 appearances) out of the bullpen as well.
Kevin Pillar has emerged as one of the premier defensive outfielders in baseball, and added a base hit and diving catch in Tuesday's Wild Card win.
Third base coach Luis Rivera (N.H. manager in 2010) and pitching coach Pete Walker (N.H. pitching coach in 2011) have both been in Toronto since 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Only two former Fisher Cats have ever won a World Series title - relievers Marc Rzepczynski with St. Louis in 2011 and Jean Machi with San Francisco in 2014.
In addition to the Blue Jays, several teams in this year's postseason have Fisher Cats playing for a world championship. Texas Rangers reliever Sam Dyson will face the Blue Jays for a second straight ALDS, while 2004 Fisher Cat Aaron Hill adds depth to the Boston Red Sox playoff roster. New York Mets catcher and former Eastern League MVP Travis d'Arnaud was eliminated in Wednesday night's NL Wild Card loss to San Francisco, while Cleveland Indians backstop Yan Gomes was added to Cleveland's playoff roster in time to face Boston.
Below is the full list of Fisher Cats players and coaches suiting up for the MLB postseason, including the years they were in New Hampshire (in parentheses; * indicates played for N.H. on MLB rehab assignment):
RHP Marcus Stroman (2013-14)
RHP Aaron Sanchez (2014)
LHP Brett Cecil (2008, 12)
LHP Aaron Loup (2012)
CF Kevin Pillar (2013)
RHP Ryan Tepera (2012-13)
*RF Jose Bautista
*DH Edwin Encarnacion
*2B Devon Travis
Third base coach Luis Rivera (2010)
Pitching coach Pete Walker (2011)
Other MLB Teams
RHP Sam Dyson, Texas Rangers (2012)
C Yan Gomes, Cleveland Indians (2011)
IF Aaron Hill, Boston Red Sox (2004)
The ALDS begins Thursday at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, with first pitch scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.48 ERA) will face Cole Hamels (15-5, 3.32) to begin the best-of-five set.
Fisher Cats Opening Day 2017 is on Thursday, April 6 against the Binghamton Mets, Double-A affiliate of the New York Mets. Fisher Cats full and half-season tickets are available now and feature a wide variety of benefits, including reserved seating for the 2017 Northeast Delta Dental Eastern League All-Star Classic, up to $100 in Fisher Cash, access to exclusive events like on-field batting practice, team autograph signings and more. Click here for more information.