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Bisons announce projected Opening Day roster

Bichette and Biggio to make Triple-A debuts in Herd's infield
April 1, 2019

The Buffalo Bisons, Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, today announced their projected Opening Day roster for their 135th season of professional baseball in Buffalo, NY. Manager Bobby Meacham will have a squad that features two of Toronto's top 10 prospects -and four of the top 30- when the

The Buffalo Bisons, Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, today announced their projected Opening Day roster for their 135th season of professional baseball in Buffalo, NY. Manager Bobby Meacham will have a squad that features two of Toronto's top 10 prospects -and four of the top 30- when the Herd opens the season, Thursday, April 4 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (2:05 p.m.). 
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The list includes infielder Bo Bichette, the #11 overall prospect of the Top 100 according to MLB Pipeline. Bichette is rated as Toronto's 2nd overall prospect behind only Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Outfielder Anthony Alford (#11), and catcher Reese McGuire (#24) return to the Herd after spending the majority of 2018 in Buffalo, while infielder Cavan Biggio (#10) is making his Triple-A debut in 2019.


Reese McGuire appeared in 96 games for the Bisons in 2018, pairing with current Blue Jays backstop Danny Jansen as the top catching duo in the organization's Minor League system. This year McGuire will assume the everyday catching duties, with Patrick Cantwell making his Bisons debut this season. Cantwell has spent parts of the last two seasons with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, after being acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers during the 2017 season. Michael De La Cruz rounds out the catching corps for Buffalo to begin the season.


Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio were two of the mainstays in the Fisher Cats lineup in 2018, helping lead the team to an Eastern League championship. This year the prospects will begin the season in Buffalo. Biggio was named the Eastern League Rookie of the Year, as well as Most Valuable Player after racking up 26 home runs, 99 RBI, along with 20 stolen bases during the regular season. Bichette led the league with 154 hits and 32 stolen bases for New Hampshire. Both players are making their Triple-A debuts in their fourth season in the Jays organization. 

Veteran Eric Sogard was added in the offseason and brings nearly 600 games of Major League experience to the Herd in 2019. He spent the previous two years in the Milwaukee Brewers system, after playing in parts of six straight seasons for the Oakland A's. After two years in the Korean Baseball Organization, Andy Burns returns to the Bisons. He last appeared in 111 games for the Herd in the 2016 season before two campaigns with the Lotte Giants of the KBO. Gunnar Heidt completes the infield for Buffalo. Heidt reached Triple-A last season, plying in 18 games for the Bisons in addition to 85 for the Fisher Cats.  


Anthony Alford followed up a successful 2018 Spring Training with 16 games this year in the Grapefruit League where he collected 4 HR and 7 RBI for Toronto. An injury last year prevented the prospect from beginning the year with the Herd, but not makes his first Triple-A Opening Day roster for Buffalo after first debuting with the team at the end of the 2017 season. Alford patrolled the outfield primarily with the Bisons last year, making 105 appearances in the International League. 

Roemon Fields is back for a third straight season with the Bisons as well. The 2017 team MVP played in 100 games last season, leading the team with 25 stolen bases. Including Fields' six-game stint with the team in 2015, he has appeared in more than 200 games for Buffalo, with 70 stolen bases. He ranks second in the team's modern era in career stolen bases.
Andrew Guillotte and Jordan Patterson help round out the Herd's outfield. Guillotte was promoted to Buffalo for the second straight season last year, while Patterson was acquired in a trade last week with the Cincinnati Reds. The veteran made his Major League debut with the Colorado Rockies in 2016. Patterson was originally a 4th round pick by Colorado in the 2013 Draft and spent his entire six-year career in the Rockies organization. 

Pitching staff

The Herd has seven pitchers returning from 2018, including Danny Barnes. The right-handed reliever has spent the majority of the last three seasons in the Blue Jays bullpen, making 119 relief appearances in the big leagues. This will be Barnes fourth straight season making an appearance for Buffalo as well. Jacob Waguespack was acquired on July 31st last season and made an immediate impact, recording 12 strikeouts against Lehigh Valley. That set a modern era record for the most strikeouts in a Bisons' debut, and it was just the third time a pitcher recorded at least 10 in their Herd debut.
Justin Shafer led the team in saves after being promoted from the Fisher Cats in May. He also logged three wins fore the Herd, in addition to earning his first promotion to the Blue Jays this past August. Conor Fisk did not allow a run in eight straight appearances after joining the Bisons last season. The righty finished the season with 34 relief outings for Buffalo, in addition to seven with New Hampshire. Dusty Isaacs also made his Bisons' debut in 2018, logging a win in his first game. He would go on to make six total relief appearances with the team.
Jordan Romano made one start with Buffalo last year, part of a two month stretch where the Markham, Ontario native did not lose between the two levels of the organization. Shawn Morimando was signed as a free agent partway through last season after beginning his professional career in the Cleveland Indians organization. The left-hander pitched in four games in the Gulf Coast League, before joining the Herd and making four starts before the end of the 2018 season. He made his MLB debut for Cleveland on July 2, 2016 against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Zach Jackson spent all of 2018 with the Fisher Cats, helping to lead the bullpen last season with 43 appearances. Over 62 innings pitched, the righty held down a 2.47 ERA in his first season in Double-A. He will reach a milestone with the Herd this season when he makes his first appearance. It will be the 100th relief outing of his professional career since debuting in the organization in 2016. He is joined by a pair of players acquired via trade last summer. Corey Copping and David Paulino will make their Bisons debut in 2019. Copping made 10 appearances with New Hampshire after a deal with the Dodgers. While Paulino made his Blue Jays debut in September. He spent the bulk of his tenure on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain after being acquired from the Houston Astros. He was activated from the DL in September and pitched in seven games for Toronto.
Jason Adam and Danny Young will join the Herd to begin 2019 as well. Adam was added to the organization on March 17th in a trade with the Kansas City Royals. The right-hander made his major league debut last year with the Royals, after beginning the season in Double-A for the organization. Young had two wins for the Fisher Cats last season out of the bullpen. The left-hander logged 56.2 innings pitched over 40 outings, and finds his way to Triple-A after parts of the least two years in the Eastern League.