Tonawanda News — RHP Marcus Walden (3.71 ERA) and led all Eastern League pitchers with 162.1 innings pitched. John Stilson, the Jays No.21 prospect, led all Bison relievers with six wins in 2013.
The Bisons lineup has already taken its first big hit when shortstop Jonathan Diaz was called up to Toronto after Jose Reyes re-injured his hamstring and landed on the DL again. An excellent fielder, Diaz was projected to be the rock of the Bisons defense. Now the pressure falls on Chris Getz (2B) and the very popular Munenori Kawasaki (SS) in the middle infield.
Dan Johnson (1B) is looking to rebound from what he admits was a disappointing 2013. He and Andy LaRoche (3B) should give the Bisons some pop in the batting order.
Veteran Mike Nickeas and Jack Murphy will start the season in Buffalo after getting a taste of Triple-A with a late call up last year. Murphy had 11 doubles in 56 games with New Hampshire last season.
“I love our young starting pitchers,” said Nickeas. “I think our starting staff is going to be very good. Our bullpen has some depth as well.”
Kevin Pillar, Brad Glenn and Anthony Gose will get the start on most nights. Glenn went deep in his first at-bat for the Herd last season. Pillar, the Jays 20th best prospect also turned heads with his unexpected surge of power as he won the “Webster Award” as the top minor league player in the Jays system. Pillar earned a call up to Toronto after hitting .299 in 52 games with Buffalo. But he struggled at the plate with the Jays, as he pressed too much in an effort to become a power hitter. Pillar said he is focused on getting back to being a contact hitter who can spray the ball to all parts of the field.