Bobby Meacham managed the Toronto Blue Jays’ double-A affiliate in New Hampshire for the past three seasons
The Toronto Blue Jays have promoted Bobby Meacham to the manager of the triple-A Buffalo Bisons, Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Meacham will replace Gary Allenson, who led the Bisons from 2014 to 2016. Now 56, Meacham has coached at a variety of levels through the major and minor leagues since his final professional season in 1990. He has served as an MLB base coach for the Marlins, Yankees, Astros, and Padres over the last decade.
This change gives the Bisons their 20th manager in the modern era and Meacham is the first African-American manager in the club’s 133-year history.
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Originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the 1981 draft out of San Diego State University, Meacham played in 457 MLB games with the New York Yankees. He holds a career MLB batting average of .236.
Meacham led the double-A Fisher Cats to a 69-73 record in 2016, putting them fourth out of six teams in the Eastern League’s Eastern division. He’ll be taking over a Bisons team that finished 66-78 last season, which left them fifth out of six teams in the International League’s North division.
With Toronto’s prospect talent slowly rising from the lower levels (single-A Lansing and advanced-A Dunedin) to the higher levels, the organization’s coaches and player development staff will be more important than ever.
Meacham’s time with the Fisher Cats will give him a valuable level of familiarity with a number of Blue Jays’ players that could soon be making the jump to triple-A. This list includes top first-base prospect Rowdy Tellez, who is a dark-horse candidate to crack the MLB roster but will likely open the year with Buffalo.
Outfielder Harold Ramirez and catcher Reese McGuire could also push for time with Buffalo this season. Both players came over along with Francisco Liriano at the 2016 deadline and were placed in double-A.
One of Meacham’s more unique assignments could come early in the season with recent free agent signing Lourdes Gurriel Jr. The young Cuban star has a shot to open the year with Buffalo as he adjusts to playing professionally in North America.