Ryan Hissey is one of three Lansing players with an OPS above 1.000 so far in 2017.

cs_alumni_updateThe Toronto Blue Jays have some talented catchers in their system with Reese McGuire in New Hampshire, Danny Jansen and 2014 first-round pick and former Vancouver Canadian Max Pentecost vying for time behind the plate in Dunedin and defensive whiz Javier Hernandez (currently on the disabled list with Lansing) among others.  Someone else to keep an eye on is 2015 Canadians catcher Ryan Hissey, who is off to a great start with the Lansing Lugnuts this season.

The 14th round pick from the College of William & Mary by the Toronto Blue Jays two years ago is hitting .348/.464/.565 with two doubles, a home run and seven runs batted in. The 23 year-old left-handed hitter is showing a good eye at the plate so far by drawing five walks against two strikeouts in 28 plate appearances. This is Hissey’s second season with Lansing after splitting 2015 with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays and the Vancouver Canadians. Hissey was named the C’s MVP after hitting .269/.363/.372 with a home run and 16 RBI, overcoming a sprained MCL in his knee.

Hissey continues to work on the finer points of the game behind the pentagon. He has thrown out just two of 10 basestealers this season but he has been able to avoid any errors or passed balls so far. He received consideration for the Johnny Bench Award as the top NCAA catcher as a two-time nominee. John Schneider, his manager in Vancouver, noted Hissey’s progress as a defender in the linked article above.

“He recognizes hitters swings, recognizes what pitchers are doing well, what they’re not doing well and it makes a big difference over the course of the game..(Needs to work on) just the overall presentation of the baseball, working with pitchers on pitch selection … trying to be a little more prone to establishing a fastball as opposed to being breaking-ball happy”

There are six other position players with Vancouver connections on the Lansing roster and here is how they are doing so far.

  • J.B. Woodman – .267/.292/.287, 2B, RBI
  • Michael De La Cruz – .250/.321/.333, 2 2B, 5 RBI
  • Josh Palacios – .250/.400/.250, 2 RBI
  • Christian Williams – .250/.318/.275, 2B, 3 RBI
  • Nick Sinay – .222/.391/.389, HR, 2 RBI, 3 SB (7-day Disabled List)
  • Nash Knight – .182/.357/.182, RBI
  • Yeltsin Gudino – .103/.235/.103, 3 RBI

Other C’s on the disabled list right now are Carl Wise and the aforementioned Hernandez.

As a team, Lansing leads the Midwest League with a .267 batting average and a .363 on-base mark. Their .405 slugging percentage places them third.


Jackson McClelland has converted both of his save opportunities with Lansing this season.

Jackson McClelland is getting another shot at closing with the Lugnuts this season. He struggled trying to fill that role in Vancouver last year, going 1-for-5 in save opportunites, but the former Pepperdine Wave has slammed the door shut by going 2-for-2 with Lansing. He has issued just one hit and two walks with a 6-2 K/BB total in 4-2/3 scoreless frames. The 22 year-old from Cherry Valley, California spent the last two years in Vancouver. He pitched just 5-1/3 innings in 2015 after being selected in the 15th round of the 2015 draft by the Blue Jays before posting a 2-4 record with a 3.26 ERA, striking out 25 batters and walking 10 in 30-2/3 innings. Standing at 6-foot-5 and throwing a fastball that touches in the mid-90s, McClelland is trying to prove he can be a useful piece in the Blue Jays bullpen someday. I also have a soft spot for a player who used Phil CollinsIn The Air Tonight as his entrance music last year.

Here are how the other former Vancouver pitchers are doing with Lansing.

  • Geno Encina – 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 9.2 IP, 11-3 K/BB
  • Griffin Glaude – 3.52 ERA, 7.2 IP, 8-3 K/BB
  • Dan Lietz – 3.60 ERA, 5.0 IP, 4-4 K/BB
  • Tayler Saucedo – 4.05 ERA, 6.2 IP, 9-1 K/BB
  • Patrick Murphy – 1-0, 4.91 ERA, 11.0 IP, 6-4 K/BB
  • Zach Jackson 1-0, 7.20 ERA, 5.0 IP, 8-2 K/BB
  • Justin Maese 1-2, 7.47 ERA, 15.2 IP, 11-8 K/BB
  • Mike Ellenbest 0-1, 8.00 ERA, 9.0 IP, 7-3 K/BB
  • Andy Ravel 1-0, 10.13 ERA, 5.1 IP, 4-1 K/BB

Former C’s lefty Travis Bergen and righty Nick Hartman are on the disabled list and have yet to pitch this season.

The Lugnts are dead last in the 16-team Midwest League in team ERA with a mark of 5.66. Their team WHIP is also last at 1.49 and are second-last in strikeouts with 89 and fourth-last in walks with 45. Still, the Lugnuts have won seven out of 12 so far and are one game back at Dayton for first place in the Eastern Division. Lansing has a chance to make up that deficit against the Dragons in Ohio this evening as Mike Ellenbest will go on the bump for the Luggies.


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