Blue Jays: Projecting the Buffalo Bisons 2022 Roster

Evan Gignac
Jun 1, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; A general view of Sahlen Field before a game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Miami Marlins. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 1, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; A general view of Sahlen Field before a game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Miami Marlins. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /
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Blue Jays
Jul 21, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; A general view of Sahlen Field during the seventh inning of a game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

If you are an avid reader of Jays Journal and are keeping up to date with Major League Baseball, it’s no secret that the lockout is still ongoing. Opening Day has been delayed and the cancelled games will, allegedly, not be made up. While the lockout puts a hold on the MLB season, the AAA MiLB season is set to get underway on April 5th. The AAA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Buffalo Bisons, will be taking on the Iowa Cubs at Sahlen Field to kick off the year.

The 2022 Bisons are set to feature a handful of both former major leaguers and promising minor league talents. Of course, there is some fine print prohibiting certain players taking part in this season.

Any player on the 40-man roster who was likely set to being in AAA, will not be able to. This most notably includes top prospect, Gabriel Moreno. However, this benefits a player like David Phelps. Phelps is a major league calibre arm, but due to his injury concern both the Blue Jays and Phelps came to a minor league agreement with an invite to Spring Training. Phelps will be able to begin 2022 relatively on time and take place in competitive games.

What follows is my interpretation of what Buffalo’s may look at, come April.

Rotation: Jose De Leon, Nick Allgeyer, Joey Murray, Elvis Luciano, Casey Lawrence

All but one of these starters have pitched in MLB. Lawrence, Luciano, and Allgeyer have all thrown innings for the Blue Jays, and seemingly should all be options for the big league club down the line. De Leon is a former top prospect and has spent time in the Rays, Dodgers, and Reds organization. The most interesting arm to keep an eye on however might be Elvis Luciano. The young right-hander was a curious case back in 2019, as he was selected in the Rule-5 Draft at just 19 years of age.

For a refresher on the Rule-5 rules, a player selected must remain on the big league club for the entire season, or else they’ll be returned to their former organization. If the players last the season in their new organization, then they can be optioned to the minors again. Luciano lasted 2019, and has since been pitching through various levels in the organization, with a considerable amount of success. This past season Luciano made 12 starts in AA New Hampshire, posting a 3.16 ERA. Now at 21 years old, he should get a chance to start in AAA and develop as a starting pitcher.

Joey Murray is another name in the mix. Known for throwing the infamous ‘invisiball’, Murray dealt with an injury plagued season last year. Murray’s invisiball comes from throwing a low 90’s fastball with a high spin rate, making it more difficult for hitters to follow. Given the chance to throw a full and healthy season, expect Murray to climb some prospect leader-boards and possibly contribute in the bigs at some point in 2022 if he is not selected in a potential Rule 5 Draft once the lockout is over.

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