Previewing the Buffalo Bisons: The Blue Jays have plenty of highly-touted position player prospects in Triple-A

Photo credit:Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 year ago
Minor league baseball is back, baby.
As you may know, I live for minor league baseball. A part of my job is clipping highlights of minor leaguers and posting it on Twitter. Well, on Friday afternoon, Triple-A begins.
Toronto’s Triple-A team, the Buffalo Bisons, looks pretty darn good for the level. In fact, you could probably replace the Oakland Athletics with them, and they’d probably have a better season.
In three different articles today, we’ll look at their position players (this article), as well as their pitching staff. Let’s dig in.

The position players on Buffalo Bisons’ opening day roster:

This will be split into three categories, catchers, infielders, and outfields. Keep in mind that many of the infielders also play in the outfield. However, for simplicity’s sake, I’ll be going off Buffalo’s roster page, which you can read here. 

Buffalo Bisons’ catchers:

Stevie Berman is the only returning catcher for the team, and he slashed .215/.344/.397 for a 100 wRC+ last season. He can take a walk (14 BB%), and he’s a solid game-caller.  
Rob Brantly is their only catcher with MLB experience, as he has a career .225/.287/.326 slash line in the major leagues. Last season with the Yankees Triple-A team, he slashed .269/.333/.352 in 201 plate appearances.
Jamie Ritchie is their third catcher, but he will likely see more action as their designated hitter. Last season with Pittsburgh’s Triple-A team, he slashed .242/.375/.283 for a 91 wRC+ in 120 plate appearances. However, he isn’t too far removed from putting up a spectacular .317/.417/.430 slash line with Arizona’s Triple-A team in 2021. There he had a 120 wRC+, as well as a 12.8 BB% and a 15.5 K%.

Buffalo Bisons’ infielders:

As for the infield, it’s comprised mainly of prospects with one MLB-experienced player.
Addison Barger (Blue Jays Nation’s second-best prospect) is the standout, as he slashed .308/.378/.555 with 26 home runs in 526 plate appearances last season. With the Bisons, he had 36 plate appearances, slashing .355/.444/.677 with three homers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a prospect adapt as well as Barger.
Spencer Horwitz (Blue Jays Nation’s sixth-best prospect) will repeat the level after being added to the Jays 40-man roster. He excelled in Double-A last season, slashing .297/.413/.517 in 281 plate appearances, when he also hit 10 homers for a 154 wRC+. His tenure in Buffalo wasn’t as good, as he slashed .246/.361/.363 with two homers in 202 plate appearances. However, it’s possible he was battling an injury. Expect him to have a big season, as he has one of the best hit tools in the organization.
Otto López is the only prospect in my opinion that has a similar hit tool to Horwitz as he’s Blue Jays Nation’s 12th-best prospect. Last season, López slashed .297/.378/.415 in 391 plate appearances with the Bisons, which is even more impressive considering his slow start. The 24-year-old was one of the last cuts during camp, as he was incredibly impressive in spring training. However, it’s more important for the second baseman/centre fielder to get at bats, rather than ride pine in Toronto.
Davis Schneider was Addison Barger-lite in 2022. Between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A, the then 23-year-old slashed .253/.366/.457 in 454 p[late appearances with 16 homers. His combined 127 wRC+ tied him for 10th in the organization with 200+ plate appearances. Schneider’s 14.3 BB% was the sixth highest in the organization as well, which earned him the number 22 spot in Blue Jays Nation’s Top 50 prospects during the 2023 pre-season.
Tanner Morris had the highest BB% in the organization (minimum 200 plate appearances) in 2022. Between Double-A and Triple-A, he had a 17.6 BB% (and K%) in 312 plate appearances. The then 24-year-old slashed .258/.399/.353 with five home runs between the two levels, but most of the good came in New Hampshire, while he hit a rut in Buffalo. However, he spent significant time on the injured list, and can do much better than what he showed with Buffalo in 2022. He ranked as Blue Jays Nation’s 24th-best prospect.
LJ Talley spent time between Double-A and Triple-A in 2022 (surprise!). The 25-year-old utility player slashed .264/.338/.419 with 12 homers in 444 plate appearances. Interestingly, he struggled in Double-A, but slashed .285/.350/.437 in 343 plate appearances with the Bisons to finish out the season. He also had a successful spring training, slashing .286/.474/.714 with two homers in 19 plate appearances with the Jays. Keep an eye on Talley this season, as he may earn himself a spot on the midseason top prospect list.
Ernie Clement is the only listed infielder with major league experience. Playing with the Cleveland Guardians and the Oakland Athletics, he has slashed .204/.261/.264 with three home runs in 312 career plate appearances. With Cleveland’s Triple-A team in 2021, he slashed .250/.294/.387 with a homer and a 79 wRC+. He also hit four homers in 87 plate appearances in Triple-A last season.


Rafael Lantigua is another prospect that spent time between Double-A and Triple-A in 2022. He slashed .274/.346/.393 between the two levels, hitting seven home runs in the process. The 24-year-old is the definition of a utility player, as he played second base, shortstop, third base, centre field, and left field in 2022, as well as some right field in 2021. Not just that, but he plays a mean shortstop, and can easily stick at the position. He ranked as Blue Jays Nations’ 48th-best prospect in the preseason.
Vinny Capra remained with the Blue Jays’ spring training camp until the final cut. Last season, the infielder/outfielder slashed .283/.378/.403 with five homers in 222 plate appearances with the Buffalo Bisons, while also owning a 13.1 BB% and K%. Capra has some power in his game, as he had 10 homers in just 282 plate appearances as recently as 2021. Hopefully, he can find that power stroke once again.
Cam Eden spent the majority of the 2022 season with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats. With the Cats, he slashed .215/.292/.376 with ten homers in 305 plate appearances. Overall, he slashed .233/.310/.408 with 12 homers in 365 plate appearances. Eden was invited to spring training camp, where he slashed .348/.400/.478 with a homer in 25 plate appearances.
Wynton Bernard is one of only three position players with big league experience on the Buffalo Bisons roster. The 32-year-old finally got a call up with the Colorado Rockies in 2022, where he slashed .286/.286/.310 in 42 plate appearances. This was well earned after a fantastic Triple-A season, where he slashed .333/.387/.590 in 475 plate appearances, which saw him hit 21 homers. In spring training, he slashed .206/.237/.294/ with six RBIs in 38 plate appearances.

What’s next:

Later on Friday , I’ll be writing an article on the Buffalo Bisons starting rotation. Before the game starts on Friday afternoon, there’ll be an article on their bullpen as well. If you thought their position players were good, just wait until you see how deep their bullpen is.
Buffalo’s first game of the season is at 4:10 PM on Friday afternoon!
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D. All clips will be posted to my Twitter account, so it’s a must-follow!


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