Opening Day is magical no matter what league you’re playing in. The Major Leagues got have their Opening Day all to themselves a week ago, but today, the four full-season minor leagues get underway! At Blue Jays from Away, it’s a day we’ve been waiting for since last September!
In a conversation yesterday with our good friend from Future Blue Jays (go follow him on Twitter and read his stuff) I mused about the four starters for the Blue Jays minor league games and I think I nailed it but I don’t think we’re going to find out who is actually starting Dunedin’s game until the lineups are in.
My predictions were:
Buffalo Bisons: Jacob Waguespack
Start time 2:05pm
Opponent: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders (NYY)
Had the Blue Jays not called up Sean Reid-Foley to start last week, I would have thought that the Opening Day start would have gone to SRF or maybe Trent Thornton, but with the roster moves, despite Reid-Foley being back in Buffalo to start the season (which was just made official today), it’s not his day to start, so look for him to go Saturday.
As of this writing, the lineup is already out so here it is:
Bo Bichette – SS
Eric Sogard – 3B
Anthony Alford – CF
Cavan Biggio – 2B
Jordan Patterson – 1B
Andy Burns – DH
Reese McGuire – C
Andrew Guillotte – RF
Roemon Fields – LF
It’s interesting to note that Alford is in center rather than Fields which could be an indication that the Jays are looking groom Alford to take over the CF role in Toronto later this year. In the past, Alford has played a lot of the corner outfield spots in favour of Fields and Jonathan Davis in center.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats: Patrick Murphy
Start time: 6:35pm
Opponent: Binghamton Rumble Ponies (NYM)
Murphy is the clear starter for the Fisher Cats as the Florida State League Pitcher of the Year last year and the guy who’s got the most helium going into the season. Look for a starting lineup to include:
Alberto Mineo (C)
Kacy Clemens (1B/DH)
Chad Spanberger (1B/DH)
Kevin Smith (SS/3B)
Santiago Espinal (2B/SS)
Vinny Capra (SS/2B)
Brock Lundquist (OF)
Josh Palacios (OF)
Forrest Wall (OF)
In other Fisher Cat news, the word is out that catcher Max Pentecost has retired although this hasn’t been confirmed by an official transaction.
Dunedin Blue Jays: Nate Pearson (best guess)
Start time: 6:30 pm
Opponent: Clearwater Threshers (PHI)
If we’re going with the strongest Opening Day starter, I’d send out Big Nate to the mound. There are other guys who could start, but I’d definitely go with him.
In Dunedin news, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has been added to the Dunedin roster and is going to start working his way up to the major leagues with a few games in Dunedin. Your likely starters:
Lansing Lugnuts: Josh Winckowski
Start time: 7:05 pm
Opponent: Fort Wayne Tin Caps (SD)
Winckowski is the no-brainer to start the game for Lansing. With only four real starters with the club on the Opening Day roster (I’m still expected Juan De Paula to join the Lugnuts before long), Wincky was also the Northwest League Pitcher of the Year last year.
The Lugnuts are also keeping three catchers on the roster, so you might see Hagen Danner either behind the plate (with Kirk as the DH) or as the DH himself.
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