The Buffalo Bisons today announced their preliminary roster for the start of the 2021 season, the Bisons 136th season of professional baseball. New Herd manager Casey Candaele will have a squad that is set to include seven of the Blue Jays’ top 30 prospects when they take the field on
The Buffalo Bisons today announced their preliminary roster for the start of the 2021 season, the Bisons 136th season of professional baseball. New Herd manager Casey Candaele will have a squad that is set to include seven of the Blue Jays’ top 30 prospects when they take the field on Tuesday, May 4 against the Worcester Red Sox in Trenton, NJ (7:00 p.m.).
The list of top prospects starting with the Bisons is dominated by pitchers, led by the #1 right-handed pitching prospect in the game (10th overall) in RHP Nate Pearson. RHP Alek Manoah (Blue Jays #6 prospect), RHP Joey Murray (#17), RHP T.J. Zeuch (#26) and LHP Nick Allgeyer (#30) are joined by OF Josh Palacios (#27) and INF Kevin Smith (#28) as the top young stars set to open the season with the Bisons.
The roster also includes the return of 2019 Bisons All-Star LHP Kirby Snead, web-gem extraordinaire OF Jonathan Davis, slugging 1B Rowdy Tellez, 2015 World Series hero INF Christian Colon, 2019 MiLBY Top Relief Pitcher award-winner RHP Jackson Rees and 2021 Blue Jays spring camp standout, OF Forrest Wall.
Three of the Blue Jays top prospects will start the season in the Bisons rotation. The flame-throwing RHP Nate Pearson earned his first MLB win last season while pitching for the Blue Jays in Buffalo and impressed in three late season starts with the Bisons in 2019 (1-0, 3.00). RHP Alek Manoah, the 11th overall selection in the 2019 draft, has reached Triple-A after throwing just 17 innings in his first professional season in 2019. RHP T.J. Zeuch was 4-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 13 starts with Buffalo in 2019, including his nine-inning no-hitter on August 19 in Rochester, just the team’s second modern era no-hitter.
Those three will be joined by RHP Jacob Waguespack, who won seven games and struck out 115 in 28 games between Buffalo and Toronto in 2019, and LHP Nick Allgeyer, who was an MiLB.com organizational All-Star in 2019 after going 10-6 with a 3.95 ERA for Dunedin (A).
The pen includes a pair of returning Bisons in 2019 International League All-Star LHP Kirby Snead and RHP Bryan Baker, who posted a 3.68ERA in 18 games with the Herd. RHP Joey Murray led all Blue Jays pitchers with 169 strikeouts in only 137.1 innings of work in 2019 while RHP Jackson Rees posted a 0.73 ERA with 88 strikeouts at Single-A two years ago. RHP Hobie Harris was a member of the 2019 Trenton Thunder where he earned his first Double-A win over a five-game stint in 2019. RHP Jeremy Beasley and RHP Dany Jimenez both made their MLB debuts last season with Arizona and San Francisco respectively. The veteran of the staff, RHP A.J. Cole, posted a 3.09 ERA for Toronto last season and earned the win on August 11 against Miami in the first MLB game played in Buffalo in over 100 years.
Despite no Triple-A experience, OF Josh Palacios has already made a name for himself with his 4-hit, 4-RBI game with the Blue Jays on April 10 against the Angels, becoming just the second player in American League history to have a 4+ hit and 4+ run game in one of his first two career big league games. He also led 2019 New Hampshire (AA) with a .371 on-base percentage. OF Jonathan Davis returns to the Bisons after hitting 10 home runs in 82 games with the Herd in 2019 while also making ESPN Sportscenter’s Top 10 list an amazing five times during the campaign because of a string of amazing defensive plays during the year.
OF Breyvic Valera hit .315 with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2019, prompting his promotion to play for the Yankees. OF Forrest Wall was a 2019 Eastern League All-Star with New Hampshire and hit .323 with five RBI for the Blue Jays this spring. OF Logan Warmoth, a 2017 first round pick of Toronto, rounds out the outfield.
The Bisons infield starts with a pair of hard-hitting first baseman. INF Rowdy Tellez has 26 career Bisons home runs and hit a 459-ft home run out of Sahlen Field while playing for the Blue Jays in 2020. INF Tyler White hit 15 home runs between the Astros and Dodgers in 2018-19 and enters this season a career .305 hitter in the minor leagues. INF Christian Colon, who had the World Series-clinching hit for Kansas City in 2015, and INF Dilson Herrera, who hit 24 home runs for Syracuse in 2019, where both late-spring signees by the Blue Jays. INF Kevin Smith led New Hampshire (AA) with 19 home runs in 2019 while INF Cullen Large had 30 extra-base hits and 40 RBI in 84 games with Dunedin (A) in 2019.
The Bisons sport a pair of veteran catchers to start the 2021 season. C Juan Graterol has played 67 big league games with the Angles and Twins in his career and started the 2017 season with the Bisons (hit .429 in 4 games) before an early-season trade to Los Angeles. C Reese McGuire has hit 12 home runs and driven in 66 in 168 games with the Bisons over the 2018 and 2019 campaigns.