2003 brought the highly touted prospect of the New York Mets, Alex Escobar, to the Bisons after he was traded to the Indians for Roberto Alomar. Escobar would never produce in the Major Leagues but he easily led the team in the power department in 2003, hitting 21 2B, 24 HR, 78 RBI and a .251 batting average. Future All-Star Victor Martinez also came to Buffalo and was impressive in ˝ a season putting up 19 2B, 7 HR and a .328 batting average. Greg LaRocca returned to put up 33 2B, 10 HR, 68 RBI and a .290 average. The most exciting player however was Coco Crisp. He may sound like a cereal but he was in fact a cereal killer! (sorry about that…), as he batted a fantastic .360 with 19 2B and 20 SB. Unfortunately he would be called up to the parent club after only 56 games, well before he could qualify for the all-time batting title of Coca-Cola Field. Lyle Mouton also saw 170 At Bats and hit 10 2B, 10 HR and batted .282.
On the mound, Jason Phillips put up the best win/loss percentage in Bisons history so far going 10-1 with a 2.12 ERA. He would also be promoted to the bigs after only 11 games and before he had a chance to set any permanent records in ERA. That same scenario went for another pitcher who would also pitch in 11 games going 6-1 with a 3.27 ERA. He would be the first superstar pitcher to come from Buffalo since Bartolo Colon. His name was Cliff Lee. Lee would have his best season in 2008 when he went 22-3 with the Cleveland Indians while putting up a 2.54 ERA, earning him the Cy Young Award. Jason Stanford would also put up an impressive record at 10-4, 3.43. This team seemed to have much of the talent needed to make another playoff run… but in fact they didn’t. Despite featuring some of the best pitching talent seen in years, no one stayed long enough to make a major impact on the Bisons, being sent to the big league club before they could truly help the team in the standings. The Bisons finished in 3rd with a 73-70 (.510) record in 3rd place. It would be the first time they didn’t make the playoffs in 4 years.