Blue Jays Announce Minor League Signings Including UTL Rafael Lantigua
BUFFALO, NY -Today the Toronto Blue Jays have announced the signing of several Minor League free agents, including 2023 Buffalo Bisons UTL Rafael Lantigua. The team also announced OF Steward Berroa and C Max McDowell were signed to Minor League contracts, with invitations to Major League Spring Training.
Lantigua spent the entire 2023 season with the Bisons, leading the team in several offensive categories from wire-to-wire. He appeared in 129 games last year, second most on the team, making at least one start at six different positions that included all three outfield positions.
The 25-year-old led the team with 142 hits in 2023, in addition to his 52 extra-base hits and 85 runs batted in. Along with a .305 batting average, his .452 on-base percentage ranked eighth among all qualified batters in Triple-A and fourth best in the International League.
He was named the team's Joe De Sa Most Inspirational Player, The utilityman was a fixture at all team events, helping him connect with fans at Sahlen Field, earning him the 'Fremo' Vallone Community Service Award for his work on and off the field in Western New York.
Lantigua recorded 98 walks which were second most in the IL and was one of three Bisons batters with 70 or more walks on the year. He also led the team with 101 runs scored for the season. The native of the Dominican Republic used power at the plate as well as speed on the base paths to help the Herd's offense last year.
He belted 12 home runs, second on the team, as well as 28 stolen bases. His straight steal of home plate on May 24 at Lehigh Valley marked the second straight season that a Bisons player stole home successfully.
Lantigua debuted with the Bisons in 2022, appearing in 42 total games with the team that year. He improved in all offensive categories in his second Triple-A season, including a slash line of .425/.469/.894.
Berroa joined the Herd in late August and played in 22 games for Buffalo. Two of his eight RBIs with the team came in his first two games with the team, recording RBI doubles in back-to-back games. He finished the season with a three-hit game against Norfolk, including an extra-base hit.
The outfielder appeared in 125 total games between New Hampshire and the Bisons, stealing 43 bases for the Fisher Cats. He combined for seven home runs and 43 RBIs, in addition to 47 total stolen bases across two levels of the Minor Leagues.
McDowell was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in September and joined the Herd for the final week of the 2023 season. The veteran catcher appeared in three games and finished the year with a multi-hit game against Norfolk, adding three RBIs for Buffalo.
He has played across parts of each of the last three seasons in Triple-A, making his debut with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in 2021.
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