Projecting the Rotations: Buffalo

Unlike the past few seasons, there will be no top pitching prospect starting (or maybe finishing, for that matter) their season in Buffalo. Adam Kloffenstein at AA might be a candidate for a late season promotion to Buffalo, but otherwise we’re looking at minor league veteran/fringe MLBers at this point. There is no Alek Manoah, no Nate Pearson on the horizon.

Anthony Kay, who gets the start in the spring training home opener for the Blue Jays today, likely fronts the Bisons’ rotation, and depending on the situation, might be the first man up in an emergency. Kay should be followed in the rotation by the enigmatic Thomas Hatch (whose injury-impacted 2021 season fell short of expectations), Bowden Francis, and Nick Allgeyer. Kay, Francis, and Hatch are on the 40-man, and would not necessitate a roster move. Allgeyer, who was briefly on it last year, is on the outside looking in from a roster perspective at this point. If he’s healthy, Joey Murray should occupy a spot somewhere in the back half of the rotation, but perhaps not until the northern weather has warmed up. If Murray was able to regain his 2019 form, the Blue Jays would be thrilled, but that may take some time. He’s pitched two-thirds of an inning since that breakout season.

With the trade of Zach Logue to Oakland last week in the Matt Chapman deal, an opening in the Buffalo rotation was created. Unless he’s a candidate for a bullpen conversion (haven’t heard anything yet, and he profiles more as a starter), Maximo Castillo should occupy the sixth slot. Forgotten man Elvis Luciano, and free agent Matt Gage might get a few starts between them.

It would not be a surprise to see a veteran minor league free agent starter sign with the Blue Jays before the season starts. There are still some arms out there.

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