We’ve arrived at the final installment of the projected rosters series, this time looking at the position players for the Buffalo Bisons. I have to admit that the additional depth that the Blue Jays have recently added at catcher, the middle infield and the outfield has given the Buffalo Bisons a pretty decent offensive outlook for 2016.
A note for the Buffalo Bisons rosters. For these projections, I’m being fairly optimistic about the Blue Jays keeping guys in the system. I’m speculating that the out-of-options players will not be traded or lost on waivers, although the likelihood that at least one of them is not in the Jays’ organization on Opening Day is fairly high.
** – On 40-man roster, out of options
There are a ton of catchers in the high minors for the Blue Jays and so the big question will be who will get playing time. Will A.J. Jimenez get through waivers (assuming he isn’t traded)? Will Quintero be more than a backup? Will Tony Sanchez split time with Jimenez if they’re both on the team?
Other questions like whether Robinzon Diaz and Wilkin Castillo will be on the Fisher Cats or Bisons abound. If Jimenez gets lost or traded, I believe that Castillo would be the man to take his roster spot.
At this point, I think that Kotchman is the only true first baseman to grace the Bisons. With a hot start, K.C. Hobson could arrive a little later in the year but for now, Kotchman is the guy.
This is the “ABC” of second base for the Buffalo Bisons. None of these three are on the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster but, of the three, Burns has the best shot of making the club after an impressive spring training. He’ll still be in the minors for most of the season though. Playing time at second is going to be hard to come by, however, as the veterans Adams and Casilla will likely duke it out to man the keystone position with the more versatile Burns getting playing time all over the field.
*=on 40-man roster
Dominguez will get the full season in Buffalo, using his final option year, for one reason only: insurance against anything happening to the AL MVP, Josh Donaldson. Dominguez has played everyday in the big leagues and while he’s never developed into the kind of hitter scouts had hoped, he is a polished defensive third baseman. Burns will also soak up some playing time here and there at third base, spelling Dominguez (or allowing him to DH).
Mier will probably get a chance to play everyday with the Bisons at short but Casilla’s experience at the position will probably enable manager Gary Allenson to be a little more flexible at the position. Yes, Andy Burns can play shortstop too.
Other Possible Infielders
Both of these guys are probably headed for New Hampshire but could see time in Buffalo this year. I really think that the Bisons will have enough infielders with both Burns and Casilla able to play multiple positions but Berti, like Burns, could be a valuable utility man, replacing what Ryan Schimpf was able to do last year.
*=on 40-man roster
Yes, I’m kind of hedging my bets here. I had Melky Mesa on New Hampshire and, while he’s technically listed on the Buffalo roster right now, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll stay there. However, if the Blue Jays keep two extra outfielders on the big league squad, they’re going to need him around (unless Jon Berti makes the roster). Why? Because even if the Blue Jays try to get Junior Lake and/or Ezequiel Carrera through waivers, they won’t be eligible to play until they’ve cleared, so the Bisons could, potentially, start the season shorthanded in the outfield.
Ceciliani would be the obvious choice to be sent down, mainly because he has options remaining. His play in spring training has been excellent but I have a feeling that it won’t be quite enough, particularly considering how well Carrera played in the major league lineup last year. If another outfielder stays on the Blue Jays, it may well be Lake, at least until the Blue Jays try to get him through waivers.
We all know that Pompey has already been optioned to the minors and will get everyday reps in the outfield in Buffalo.
Needless to say that while there are a lot of certainties to the Bisons’ Opening Day roster, there are also a lot of moving parts in the weeks before the season opens.
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