Aaron Judge wins the American League Most Valuable Player award, Bo Bichette, Alek Manoah and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got votes

As mostly everyone expected, Aaron Judge is the 2022 American League Most Valuable Player.

It really isn’t a shock, and even though it wasn’t unanimous (Shohei Ohtani got two first-place votes), everyone and their mother knew he was going to win. And yeah, he had an incredible season, slashing .311/.425.686 with an American League record 62 home runs. He had a career-best 11.4 fWAR, and a 207 wRC+.
Not just that, but the 30-year-old dragged the Yankees to the American League Championship Series, despite having next to no protection around him.
Judge is currently a free agent and is set to make HUGE money after one of the best seasons in history. As a Jays fan, I do hope he leaves the American League, but I’d say there’s a fairly good chance he sticks with the Yankees for the rest of his career.
Los Angeles Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani finished second, but he had an absolutely historic season like never before. The 28-year-old slashed .273/.356/.519 with 34 homers in 666 plate appearances. This obviously wouldn’t be enough under normal circumstances, but unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know why he was a finalist.
Ohtani has a 2.33 ERA and 2.40 FIP in 166 innings pitched as well. This included a 33.2 K% and 6.7 BB%. He also finished in fourth place in the American League Cy Young voting.
Yordan Alvarez finished third in the voting, as he slashed .30 …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Houston Astros have won the 2022 World Series, bring on the transactions!

The Houston Astros have won the 2022 World Series.

This is the second World Series in their 51 years of existence. Their first one came back in 2017, but there’s a huge asterisk next to that one due to the trash bin banging scandal which came to light in 2019.

“THIS TIME THEY FINISH THE JOB!”
SOAK IT IN, HOUSTON! @astros pic.twitter.com/RaONvzDRx5
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) November 6, 2022

It was well deserved for the good team in Texas, as they dominated the American League with a 106-56 record, the second-best record in Major League Baseball.
To get to the position, they swept the Seattle Mariners in three games in the American League Divisional Series All three games were relatively close, including an 18-inning marathon game that saw the Astros win 1-0 to clinch the sweep.  In my opinion, even if the Blue Jays beat the Mariners in the Wild Card Series, they weren’t getting by the Astros.
They also swept the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series, a lot less close than the ALDS, but still funny as hell.
The Philadelphia Phillies were the first to beat the Astros, winning games one and three. However, the experience of the Astros was too much for the Phillies to overcome, as they fell in six games in Houston. Yordan Alvarez gave the Astros a 3-1 lead, and they never looked back.

YORDADDY TO THE MOON. pic.twitter.com/4BiiPpjcTM
— Houston Astros (@astros) November 6, 2022

This snaps a trend of a different National League East team beating up on the Phillies, as the Washington Nationals won in 2019, and the team from Atlanta won in 2021. The plague season doesn’t count.
Had the Phillies won, current Blue Jays 5th outfielder Bradley Zimmer would’ve been entitled to a ring, as he spent a few weeks with the Phillies before being re-claimed off waivers by the Jays. However, former Blue Jays Aledmys Diaz has won his first ring.
The Astros winning the World Series is also notable because 73-year-old Dusty B …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Winners and Losers from Toronto Raptors 2022 preseason

Winners and Losers from Toronto Raptors 2022 preseason

The Toronto Raptors have closed the 2022 preseason on a strong note, beating the rival Boston Celtics in overtime for the second time in as many weeks. A 3-2 record is nothing to shake a stick at, considering how deep they had to dive on the bench for minutes. The roster has been finalized, and […]
Winners and Losers from Toronto Raptors 2022 preseason – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Blue Jays, Position by Position: A three-man catching tandem? Or a trade?

Although the 2022 season is ongoing, unfortunately, it’s not for the Toronto Blue Jays. That means we have to look at the past season in retrospect, as well as look ahead to the future. 

This is a new series, which will focus on the current roster, position by position. As you can presume by the title, we’ll be looking at catchers and how they did in 2022, who’s pushing the issue in the minors, and what may happen to the position in the off season.
How did the Blue Jays catchers do in 2022:
It’s not unfair to say that the Jays had two of the best catchers in the MLB, as well as one of the best catching (and overall) prospects coming into 2022. Let’s see how each of them did.
Alejandro Kirk:
I think it’s fair to say that Alejandro Kirk was the best all-around catcher in the majors this season. Prior to the start of the season, I had said he was “average” defensively, but Kirk proved me and everyone wrong by posting some of the best defensive numbers behind the plate.
In my opinion, the best all-around defensive catching metric is Baseball Prospectus’ Catching Defensive Adjustment (CDA). This tool measures three of the most important defensive actions a catcher can do, framing, blocking, and throwing.
In 2022, Kirk had a 12.1 CDA, which ranked third in the league and second in the American League (next to Jose Trevino …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 114: Thoughts on the Mariners, wild-card weekend predictions, and more!

After the long, winding road that was the 2022 season, here we are.

Toronto will host playoff baseball for the first time since 2016 when the Seattle Mariners come to town to play the Blue Jays in a three-game wild-card series.
We talked about the head-to-head between the Blue Jays and Mariners this season and how the two teams stack up in terms of offence and pitching. After that, we talked about who’s primed for a big moment in these playoffs and we made predictions for the entirety of wild-card weekend.
You can listen to the episode here… 
POINTSBET IS LIVE IN ONTARIO

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

How one second base dilemma evolved into another one: How the Blue Jays preach versatility

It’s March 2022, and the Blue Jays are pushing hard for Jose Ramirez to play second base, despite him being a third baseman.

The Jays had just traded a package of prospects for former Platinum Glove winner Matt Chapman to solidify their troubles at third base. However, Marcus Semien signed with the Texas Rangers before the lockout began, meaning that a new hole emerged at second base.
As the season got closer and closer, it became clearer that the Toronto Blue Jays wouldn’t be trading for Jose Ramirez, and that they would roll into the season with the Cavan Biggio and Santiago Espinal platoon that they had used at third base in the season prior.
Side note: That trade would have devastated the farm, but more importantly, it likely would have involved Alejandro Kirk. I made a whole Twitter thread on that last night, which you can read here. 
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really optimistic about the platoon. While Espinal featured great defense at third, I believed his offensive numbers were aided by the small sample size. 
As for Biggio, he was good in 2019 and 2020, but 2021 was a rough year for Biggio. He slashed .224/.322/.356 in 294 plate appearances and had a 12.6 BB% and 26.5 K% with only seven homers. Not great. Not to mention he had a -3 Outs Above Average (OAA) at third base, where he played most of the time.
So with one guy being awful the season prior, and another guy who provided solid defense, but at best, an average bat, how have we moved into a better dilemma?
Santiago Espinal:
It was easy to presume that Espinal would flourish defensivel …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

TLN Prospect #9: Leafs betting on Nick Moldenhauer to be the latest steal out of Chicago

Selected in the third round of the 2022 NHL Draft out of Chicago in the USHL, Nick Moldenhauer is a player who Toronto’s front office was plenty familiar with even before they drafted him. The Leafs’ connection to the Chicago Steel has been well documented; they drafted Nick Abruzzese out of that program in 2019, 2020 sixth-rounder Joe Miller has spent the last two seasons with the club, former Leafs scout Noelle Needham is now an associate GM for the Steel, and Toronto’s assistant GM Ryan Hardy honed his craft as Chicago’s general manager for three seasons before joining the Leafs.
That familiarity likely played a big part in the organization’s comfort level in selecting a player who had a productive but difficult season. Moldenhauer missed the beginning of the season with a “mono-like” virus that forced him to spend time in the hospital, leading to significant weight loss. Already behind the eight ball following his recovery from that illness, the Mississauga native was dealt another devastating and nearly life altering blow. On his first shift of the season, he was clipped up high with a skate blade and suffered a gash that ran from his chin to his ear. He underwent surge …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

3 2023 NBA Draft prospects Raptors should start scouting

3 2023 NBA Draft prospects Raptors should start scouting

The Toronto Raptors came out of the 2022 NBA Draft with another role player added to the roster in Arizona center Christian Koloko. Adding someone with his defensive prowess despite lacking a first-round draft pick is something only an executive like Masai Ujiri could pull off. The Raptors have possession of their 2023 first-round pick, […]
3 2023 NBA Draft prospects Raptors should start scouting – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

2022 TLN Prospect Rankings: The No Vote Club

The 2022 TLN prospect rankings officially began yesterday, as Jon Steitzer opened the festivities by looking at the players who graduated from last summer’s rankings. We aren’t at the top 20 just quite yet, though, as first, we need to take a brief look at each of the players who did not receive a single top 20 vote this year.
First, a reminder of the criteria to be eligible for this year’s rankings. To be considered a prospect in the TLN rankings, the player must be under the age of 24 and has to have played 41 or fewer games (no more than the equivalent of half a regular season.) It should also be clear the player has to be on the Maple Leafs reserve list. No players that are on AHL or ECHL deals are included in the rankings. We’ve also excluded goaltenders from the rankings. Both prospects on AHL/ECHL contracts as well as the goaltenders in the pipeline will be discussed throughout the next month, just not as part of the actual rankings themselves.
John Fusco
RD | 5’11 | 181 lbs | Shoots: R | Harvard (ECAC) | Acquired: 2020 7th Round, 189th Overall
Despite being 21 years old and entering his DY+4 season in 2022-23, John Fusco has played a minimal amount of hockey at a high level.
When he was drafted as an overage prospect in 2020, Fusco was still playing in the United States High School Prep system with Dexte …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

3 adjustments the Toronto Raptors need to make in 2022-23

3 adjustments the Toronto Raptors need to make in 2022-23

2022 was successful for the Toronto Raptors, as they just drafted a lottery pick in Scottie Barnes and immediately returned to the playoffs after a one-year hiatus. Not bad for a team projected to be in the middle of a rebuild. On top of Barnes proving his quality on such an extreme scale, Toronto saw […]
3 adjustments the Toronto Raptors need to make in 2022-23 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ