Tonawanda News

Buffalo Bisons

April 3, 2014

Bisons Preview: Team has tools to contend for postseason

Tonawanda News — What will Year Two of the Blue Jays-Bisons connection bring? If all goes well, it should result in the Herd’s first trip to the post season since 2005.

“We have a good bunch of guys,” said new manager Gary Allenson. “They play the game the right way. They’re into the game. They get along with each other. They have fun. Let’s face it, when you’re at it for six months with spring training...it becomes a little bit of a grind where it’s almost like you’re punching a clock. If you can go out there and have fun doing it, it makes it a lot easier.”

Pitching

Opening the season with two of the Blue Jays top 10 prospects is a great indicator of where the pitching will be. RHP Marcus Strohman was ranked by Baseball America as the No.2 prospect in the Jays’ system, while lefty Sean Nolin holds down the No.10 spot. Strohman, who will get the nod on Opening Day, fanned 129 batters in 111.2 innings with Double-A New Hampshire last season.

“I had no idea. It was a shock to me,” said Strohman. “I knew I was going to be in Triple-A and in the rotation at some point. I didn’t know I was going to have Opening Day. But it’s definitely exciting.”

Strohman, the Jays No.1 pick in 2012, went 9-5 with a 3.30 ERA in 20 games with the Fishercats last year.

“He’s pretty calm, cool and collected even when things aren’t going well for him,” said Allenson, who managed New Hampshire last season. “He doesn’t ride that mental roller coaster. He let’s it roll right off him.”

RHP Kyle Drabek, LHP Ricky Romero and RHP Liam Hendricks round out the rotation.

The bullpen will feature RHP Mickey Storey (70 strikeouts last season) and RHP Neil Wagner who had an 0.70 ERA and was a perfect 16-for-16 in save opportunities during the first two months of 2013 before being called up to Toronto.

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