BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Opening Day in baseball is upon us.

As players and staff from teams across the nation get ready to kick off the season, professional baseball players hailing from Western New York will get another opportunity to shine. Here are some local names to keep an eye on throughout the 2023 season.

There are only two WNY natives that are on Opening Day MLB rosters, one of which is Jonah Heim, who is expected to be the Texas Rangers’ top option at catcher this season. The Amherst High School graduate posted a .227 batting average last season to go with 16 home runs.

Jesse Winker, who was born in Buffalo before moving to Florida when he was 7, was acquired by the Milwaukee Brewers in a trade this past offseason. The 29-year-old outfielder had a down season with the Mariners in 2022 after being named an All-Star in 2021 as a member of the Reds. He’s totaled 80 home runs in his career.

If his Buffalo roots aren’t noteworthy enough, Winker is also an outspoken member of Bills Mafia.

There are two players from local colleges that have made Opening Day rosters, and both play for the Seattle Mariners. Tom Murphy, a former UB Bull, will be among the catcher rotation in Seattle after spending the past three seasons as a Mariner. The 32-year-old played in just 14 games last season but did post a .303 batting average in 42 plate appearances.

Former Niagara Purple Eagle Matt Brash will look to build off his rookie season as he continues to come out of the bullpen for Seattle in 2023. The 24-year-old posted a 4.44 ERA in 50.2 innings of work last season along with 62 strikeouts. Brash became more of a well-known name around the league after videos of some of his pitches went viral on Twitter.

There are a few players with Buffalo connections floating around the echelons of the minor leagues, including Wynton Bernard, who played at Niagara in the early 2010s and had his first MLB call-up to the Colorado Rockies last season after 10 years in the minors. A video showing the emotional moment Bernard told his mother about the call-up went viral last year.

Fans of Buffalo baseball won’t have to travel far to watch Bernard this season, as the 32-year-old signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays and will be a member of the Bisons.

Another Buffalo-related name to keep an eye out for in the minor leagues is St. Francis High School graduate Matt Minnick, a pitcher in the New York Yankees system currently with their AA affiliate.

Shawn Dubin, an Allegany, New York native and former UB Bull, will start the season pitching for the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, the AAA affiliate for the Houston Astros.

Others currently playing in the minors include Charles Mack (Minnesota Twins) and Joe Mack (Miami Marlins), both Williamsville East graduates playing High-A and Single-A ball, respectively, for their clubs. Joe made headlines in 2021 when he became the first WNY native taken in the first round of the MLB Draft since 1978.

Pitcher Alex Johnson, a graduate of McKinley and the first MLB draftee from a Buffalo Public School in 47 years, will suit up for the Daytona Tortugas this season, the Single-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.

There are also a number of former St. Bonaventure Bonnies that are either playing in the minor leagues or listed as free agents. Among them, Connor Grey, a Frewsburg, New York native, is listed as an active pitcher for the Syracuse Mets, the AAA affiliate of the New York Mets.

Ryan Boyer, a former Canisius Golden Griffin, will be pitching for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats this season, the AA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Two former Niagara Purple Eagles are also expected to play in the minors this year, with outfielder Tanner Kirwer suiting up for the Arkansas Travelers, the AA affiliate of the Mariners, and infielder Greg Cullen playing for the Orioles’ AAA affiliate, the Norfolk Tides.

Additionally, dozens of players suiting up across the league are former Buffalo Bisons, with some of the more noteworthy names including Toronto Blue Jays stars Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Alek Manoah.

The Bisons revealed their preliminary roster for the 2023 season on Tuesday.

There are some MLB coaching ties to Buffalo as well, one of which recently made history. Sarah Edwards became the first female coach in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies organization this year. The 26-year-old, who played softball at UB, will be the hitting development coach for the Phillies’ Rookie Level affiliate in the Florida Complex League.

Additionally, Jason Kanzler, a native of Penfield, New York who played baseball at UB in the early 2010s, is on the Houston Astros staff as a hitting coach.

Did we miss anyone? Email ReportIt@wivb.com with info if there’s someone we should add.

Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.