“Play Ball!” Our Hometown Bisons Are Back!
Bisons Announce 2014 Opening Day Roster
Manager Gary Allenson has deep pitching staff,
and Experienced Lineup to open 2014 campaign
March 31, 2014 –The Buffalo Bisons, Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, today announced their 2014 Opening Day Roster. Led by new manager Gary Allenson, the Herd will begin the 2014 season on Opening Day, Thursday, April 3 at Coca-Cola Field against the Rochester Red Wings (2:05 p.m.).
The 25-man squad will feature 17 players who have already played at the Major League level, including 16 that reached ‘The Bigs’ a season ago. The club will also feature four of the top young players in the Blue Jays minor league system.
The Bisons pitching staff fits that ideal formula of having exciting top prospects and established veterans. The rotation will include RHP MARCUS STROMAN and LHP SEAN NOLIN, who are rated the #2 and #10 top prospects in the Blue Jays system respectively, according to Baseball America.Stroman struck out 129 batters in only 111.2 innings last season for New Hampshire (AA), while Nolin enters his fifth year as a pro with a career ..676 winning percentage (24-11). RHP KYLE DRABEK was the Blue Jays #1 prospect a few seasons ago and is healthy now after 2012 ‘Tommy John’ surgery. LHP RICKY ROMERO tossed 81 strikeouts for the Bisons last year and was an American League All-Star in 2011. RHP LIAM HENDRIKSwon 17 International League games as a starter with Rochester, 2011-2013.
In the bullpen, RHP NEIL WAGNER returns as the Bisons closer. The righty was arguably the best pitcher in the International League for the first two months of 2013, posting a 0.76 ERA and going 16-for-16 in save changes before receiving a promotion to Toronto. Returning as set up men, RHPJOSH STILSON (#21 rated prospect) led Bisons relievers with six wins last year while RHP MICKEY STOREY topped all Bisons relievers with 36 appearances and 70 strikeouts. RHP CHAD JENKINS posted a 2.70 ERA in 10 games with Toronto last season while workhorse RHP MARCUS WALDEN posted a solid 3.71 ERA while leading all Eastern League pitchers with 162.1 innings pitched in 2013 for New Hampshire. LHP ROB RASMUSSEN was a Florida State League All-Star with Jupiter in 2012 while RHP RYAN TEPERA led New Hampshire with 10 wins last year.
The Bisons outfield will also feature two of the Blue Jays brightest stars. OF KEVIN PILLAR (#20 rated prospect) was given the Blue Jays’ 2013 ‘Webster Award’ as the club’s top minor league player. Pillar rocketed up the chain last year to make his big league debut after hitting .299 with 27 extra-base hits in only 52 games with the Bisons. Five-tool OF ANTHONY GOSE led the Bisons with 64 runs and five triples last year while finishing 2nd in the entire International League with 15 outfield assists. Versatile veteran OF MATT TUIASOSOPO re-joins the Herd after hitting 12 homers and driving in 57 for Buffalo in 2012. OF BRETT CARROLL clubbed 13 home runs for Indianapolis last year and OF RICARDO NANITA went hitless in back-to-back games only once in 36 contests with the Herd in 2013.
On the infield, INF DAN JOHNSON is set to make his Bisons debut. Arguably the most consistent power hitter over the last five years in the International League, Johnson was an IL MVP in 2010 and his 20 or more home runs fourth times in the league. INF ANDY LaROCHE returns to the Bisons after hitting 12 homers and driving in 51 a season ago. INF JARED GOEDERT ranked 3rd in the International League with 32 double in 2013 while playing for Indianapolis. INF JONATHAN DIAZ is one of the league’s top defenders and made just five errors in 785.2 combined innings at second base, third base and shortstop for the IL North division champion Pawtucket Red Sox last year. Eight-time Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star, INF MUNENORI KAWASAKI brings his fun-loving approach to the game back to Buffalo in 2014 and INF CHRIS GETZ picked up 16 of his career 87 MLB stolen bases with the Kansas City Royals last season.
Behind the dish, C MIKE NICKEAS will tie OF Jason Cooper’s modern era club record by playing for the club in six straight seasons. Last year, Nickeas was voted by his Bisons teammates as the club’s Most Inspirational Player. C JACK MUPRHY made his Triple-A debut at the end of the Herd’s season last year after hitting 11 doubles and driving in 22 in 56 games with New Hampshire (AA).