Results tagged ‘ Jim Negrych ’

IL Preview: Buffalo Bisons

The Buffalo Bisons, Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, finished the 2013 campaign with 74-70 record and third place finish in the North Division. After a promising 20-10 start to begin the season, the Bisons fell off and ended right above .500.

Buffalo was led by International League All-Stars Jim Negrych and Mauro Gomez in 2013. Negrych has moved on to play for fellow North Division rival, Lehigh Valley, while Gomez signed an International contract with the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball.

Without two former all-stars in the fold, the Bisons will have a lot of work to do to compete for a North Division crown.

Pitching: Sean Nolin will anchor the staff. The 6-foot, 5-inch, Nolin had an impressive showing in 2013, making 17 starts for Double-A New Hampshire, three for Triple-A Buffalo and one for Toronto. His spot start at the big league level didn’t pan out, as he was roughed up for six runs on seven hits in 1.0 IP. However, he rebounded well, going 8-3 with a 3.01 ERA in Double- A and 1-1 with a 1.53 ERA with Buffalo. Nolin has four pitches that he uses on both sides of the plate. He works his 2-seam fastball along with his curve, slider and changeup, to keep batters off balance.

He may be joined by teammate Marcus Stroman. The first round pick out of Duke University in 2012, has emerged as the No. 2 prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays organization according to Baseball America. Stroman dazzled at the Double-A level, going 9-5 with a 3.30 ERA. He struck out 129 batters in 122.0 IP. Stroman’s ability to pound the plate is his strongest asset, as he has walked 36 hitters in 131 minor league innings. Featuring a mid-90’s fastball with late sink and a hard slider, Stroman gives the opposition fits.

Infield: The Bisons lost two all-stars in Negrych and Gomez, so they will have to rely on Triple-A veterans like Steve Tolleson, Chris Getz, Dan Johnson, Andy Laroche, Mike McDade and Erik Kratz. Tolleson had a solid season for Charlotte in 2013, hitting .288 (113-for-382) with 28 doubles, eight homers and 53 RBIs. Johnson, “The Great Pumpkin,” has played parts of seven seasons in the Major Leagues, tallying a .236 batting average, 53 homers and 194 RBIs in his career. He will have to work his way back to major league roster by starting the season with Buffalo. I

Outfield: The Bisons will have three jackrabbits in the outfield in Anthony Gose, Kenny Wilson and Kevin Pillar. Gose split the season between Triple-A Buffalo and Toronto in 2013, hitting a combined .244 (132-for-540) with 26 stolen bases. While, Gose was bouncing from Triple-A to the Majors, Pillar was making his unprecedented climb to the MLB. The former 32nd rounder out of Dominguez Hills University (Ca.) signed for $1,000 in 2011 and has become an asset for the Blue Jays’ organization. In three minor league seasons, he has accumulated a .321 (398-for-1240) batting average with 84 doubles, 15 triples, 22 homers, 185 RBIs and 82 stolen bases. He made his Major League debut in 2013, playing in 36 games for the Blue Jays. Wilson doesn’t have the accolades of Gose and Pillar, but he might be the best athlete of the three. In five seasons, he has swiped 194 bases and is a career .229 hitter.

Schedule: The Bisons will meet up with the G-Braves on May 5-8 at Coolray Field, while the G-Braves travel to New York on May 13-16.

Projected Depth Chart:

(Depth chart is not official, based on projections.)

(Depth chart is not official, based on projections.)

-JD-

IL Preview: Lehigh Valley IronPigs

The IL preview series continues with the Lehigh High IronPigs of the North Division. The Philadelphia Phillies’ affiliate finished the 2013 campaign with a 72-72 mark and a fourth place finish in the North.

The IronPigs were led by All-Stars infielders Cody Asche and Cesar Hernandez. Asche hit .295 (119-for-404) with 24 doubles, five triples, 15 homers and 68 RBIs, while Hernandez batted .309 (121-for-391) 12 doubles, nine triples, two homers and 34 RBIs. Hernandez finished third in the league in BA and first in triples.

The IronPigs will have to rely on its offense, again, in 2013, as they will be pretty thin in the pitching department.

Pitching: The IronPigs will be led by the Phillies top pitching prospect, Jesse Biddle. The No.2 prospect in the Philadelphia Phillies organization according to Baseball America will have to improve from his 5-14 mark from 2013 in Reading to help Lehigh Valley. Despite losing 14 games, Biddle ranked third in the Eastern League in strikeouts (154), first among starters in opponent average (.210) and appeared in the XM Futures All-Star Game in New York. The former first rounder in the 2010 draft has an impressive array of pitches, featuring a low-90’s fastball, a 12-6 curveball, hard slider and a changeup. Biddle has strikeout stuff, fanning 479 batters in 458 minor league innings, but has some control issues. In 2013, he walked a career high 82 batters, leading the Eastern League. He will likely be joined by Austin Wright, David Buchanan and Sean O’Sullivan in the rotation.

Infield:  The group around the horn may be one of the best in all the IL. Maikel Franco, who hit .320 (173-for-541) with 31 home runs and 103 RBIs between High-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading, leads the group. The No.1 prospect in the Phillies organization according to Baseball America was a Florida State League All-Star and appeared in his second Futures All-Star Game in July. He was named the Phillies Minor League Player of the Year at the end of the season.

In addition to Franco will be former IL All-Stars Hernandez and Jim Negrych. Hernandez made the Triple-A All-Star team as a reserve, while Negrych was the starter. As a member of the Buffalo Bisons in 2013, Negrych hit .285 (109-for-382) with 27 doubles, one triple, three home runs and 44 RBIs. Hernandez may work in the outfield, as he continues to add versatility to his game. Another player that may have to move around will be Cody Overbeck. Overbeck led the IronPigs with 19 homers in 2013, but may have to work in the outfield to get time on the field as Franco will likely spend a lot of time at first base.

Outfield: The outfield will have some speedsters patrolling the gaps with Clete Thomas and Tyson Gillies manning two of the three spots. In 63 games with the Iron Pigs, Gillies hit .220 (47-for-217) with 31 runs and 13 stolen bases. He is an instant threat on the base paths, having swiped 108 bases in his minor league career. Alongside, Thomas and Gillies will be Kevin Frandsen, who was outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh High over the weekend. Frandsen has spent the majority of the last two seasons with the big club, slugging seven homers and driving in 40 runs as a part-time player for the Phillies.

Schedule: Lehigh Valley will come to Coolray Field from May 1-4 and the G-Braves will travel to Allentown, PA from May 9-12.

Projected Depth Chart:

(Depth chart is not official, based on projections.)

(Depth chart is not official, based on projections.)

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