Top pitching prospect Ricky Tiedemann promoted to High A Vancouver

According to Shi Davidi, 24-year-old right-handed pitcher Yosver Zulueta and 19-year-old left handed pitcher Ricky Tiedemann are being called up to High A Vancouver.

Rumblings are that Blue Jays prospects Yosver Zulueta and Ricky Tiedemann are being promoted to high-A Vancouver from low-A Dunedin after latest dominant outings.
Zulueta K’d 10 in 4.2 innings Thursday while Tiedemann K’d 10 in 5 innings last night.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) May 14, 2022

Yosver Zulueta:
Zulueta was an international free agent who signed in 2019, this is the 24-year-olds first full season. In June 2019, he underwent Tommy John surgery, missing the rest of that season as well as 2020.
After just three pitches in 2021, he tore his ACL, missing the entirety of his age 23 season. Which leads us to 2022.
The sample size is small, but he’s looked fantastic in his 12 innings pitched. He has a 3.00 ERA, but a much better FIP of 1.32. His BB/9 sits at 2.25, while his K/9 sits at an incredible 17.25. Interestingly, he had also balked four times and has hit four batters, while only walking three batters.

I don’t reckon he’ll be in Low A for long lol.
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) April 28, 2022

Now, the domination is to be expected as it’s a man against boys, as Class A players tend to be teenagers. However, he has a 70 grade fastball according to both MLB Pipeline and Fangraphs, as it touches 100 mph with movement.

Men against boys out there. Zulu’s slider paired with his high 90s/low 100s fastball is DANGEROUS.
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) April 28, 2022

MLB Pipeline also notes “It’s not out of the question that he sky …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays are reportedly signing Cuban RHP Rafael Sanchez

According to Francys Romero, the Blue Jays have signed Rafael Sanchez, a right-handed pitcher out of Cuba, to a deal with a $350,000 signing bonus.

Source: Cuban RHP Rafael Sanchez (22) will sign with the Toronto Blue Jays, pending physical. Sanchez was a Cuba National U-18 team. Fastball in 93-97 mph. Above average sinker/slider.
Bonus deal was set at $350,000.
— Francys Romero (@francysromeroFR) April 20, 2022

Born in Cuba, Romero is a writer for and CiberCuba and recently released a book called “El Sueño y La Realidad: Historias de la Emigracion del Beisbol Cubano 1960-2018,” which is about Fidel Castro closing Cuba to professional baseball and the subsequent migration of Cuban players to Major League Baseball.
Romero reported back in December that Sanchez was one of three “high-profile” Cubans who left the country in order to sign with a big-league team.
In the case of Rafael Sánchez from Holguin, he is best known for reaching the National Series. He joined the Cuba team to the U-18 World Cup in Canada in 2017 where he exhibited an ERA of 0.87 in 10.1 innings, 11 strikeouts and a .143 opponent average.
Sánchez has a fastball longer than 90 miles and was among the 34 players released by the Cuban Federation at the time of the agreement between Cuba and MLB. In 4 National Series with Holguín, Sánchez averaged a 5.12 ERA with a record of 8-8 in 103.2 innings.
Outside of that aforementioned article from Romero, there isn’t much out there on Sanchez. An article on Ahora! from a couple of years ago speaks about Sanchez as a highly-touted 19-year-old who more than likely would wind up signing with a Major League team.
That article also features a quote from Sanchez about his pitching style, saying that his fastball is his best pitch but that he also relies on a slider and a changeup.
This right-handed pitcher throws has reached up to 94 miles, but assures he relies on the strength of his arm to achieve even faster throws. “The straight is the most precious thing I have, but I dominate the slider and the change,” he said.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays have called up Kevin Smith. Who’s coming off the 40-man roster?

According to Jamie Campbell, Kevin Smith will be joining the Blue Jays in Washington on Wednesday. Presumably, he’ll be on the team and active for the second of the team’s two-game series with the Nationals.

Source: Kevin Smith to join #BlueJays in Washington on Wednesday.
— Jamie Campbell (@SNETCampbell) August 18, 2021

Smith has put together a huge season for the Triple-A Bisons in 2021, ultimately earning him “CALL HIM UP” status for a good chunk of the year.
Originally a fourth-round pick from the 2017 draft, Smith quickly put himself on the map as a prospect in 2018 by dominating Low-A and then getting called up and doing well in High-A. He came into the 2019 season as a Top-100 prospect, ranked No. 91 by Baseball America, and totally fell off a cliff playing in Double-A, slashing just a .209/.263/.402 line.
The reason for his struggles had to do with a change he made to his swing ahead of the 2019 season. In 2020, when the minor leagues were on hiatus due to COVID, Smith did work at the Blue Jays’ Alternate Training Site to reverse his swing to where it was before he made the change, and the results have been excellent.
In 82 games for the Thunder-Bisons …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Jon Morosi doesn’t think the Blue Jays will land one of this winter’s top free agents

According to Jon Morosi, we might have to temper our expectations for this winter’s big splash.

Morosi appeared on Tim and Sid on Tuesday evening and offered Blue Jays fans some sobering thoughts. The whole talk can be heard here (Morosi joins the show at 1:11:00 and starts talking about the Jays at 1:20:00) and I’ve transcribed a couple of key passages below…
The Jays, their interest in the key players here — the big free agents: [Trevor] Bauer, Liam Hendriks — it’s all sincere and it’s all legitimate. I think the question now is, in the midst of — as we just talked about with the [US-Canada] border and the considerations of the world — how do you get that player to buy in and do you have to overpay to bring him in under the current circumstances?

They’re involved, they’re talking to everybody, but I think it might be more of a Liam Hendriks plus a Taijuan Walker, or maybe they even go the route of a Masahiro Tanaka. But if I had to guess right now I’d say [George] Springer more likely goes to the Mets and [DJ] LeMahieu more likely goes to the Yankees right …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Training Camps Not Likely To Open Until January 10th or Later

Training Camps Not Likely To Open Until January 10th or Later

According to Brian Burke, the NHLPA has dug in their heels on being able to spend Christmas/holidays with their families. As a result, they would not be available to cross borders or begin quarantining in hub cities until December 26th or 27th. With a 14 day quarantine necessary, that means camps would not be be able to begin until January 10th or later.
Keep in mind this is but one of a number of sticking points between the league and the players, so there is still much to determine before final decisions are made.

Brian Burke @Burkie2020 just said on radio the players “have dug in on Christmas, they’re not giving up Christmas with their families.” If true (and I believe it) border corssing/quarantining can’t begin till Dec. 26, or 27th, camps would open 14 days later.
— Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) December 2, 2020

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Jumbo Joe is a Toronto Maple Leaf

Joe Thornton is a Toronto Maple Leaf, at least, according to the Leafs.

We’ve got a JUMBO announcement
Joe Thornton has signed a one-year contract! #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) October 16, 2020

According to Chris Johnston, he has taken the Jason Spezza route and signed for league minimum.

Joe Thornton’s contract with the #leafs includes no 35-plus performance bonuses. He signed just for the league minimum salary: $700,000.
Big help for Toronto’s cap situation.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 16, 2020

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

The Real Reason the Toronto Raptors Lost the Series

Things didn’t go according to the plan for the Toronto Raptors as they were eliminated too soon. There’s one guilty party that should take all the blame. The Toronto Raptors went the distance with the Boston Celtics but in the end, they weren’t able to deliver a knock out blow. Instead of finishing the season […]
The Real Reason the Toronto Raptors Lost the Series – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jeff Borsuk / Raptors HQ

New York, Phoenix and Detroit expected to be potential suitors for Fred VanVleet outside of the Toronto Raptors

According to Shams Charania; the New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, and Detroit Pistons are expected to be potential suitors for Fred VanVleet outside of the Toronto Raptors in the upcoming free agency period. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise, but Toronto Raptors‘ guard, Fred VanVleet, is going to be a hot commodity this offseason. […]
New York, Phoenix and Detroit expected to be potential suitors for Fred VanVleet outside of the Toronto Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jack Long / Raptors HQ

It looks like Sam Gaviglio has been optioned to the Blue Jays’ Alternate Training Site

According to the team’s official website, the Blue Jays optioned pitcher Sam Gaviglio to the Alternate Training Site on Friday.

According to the Blue Jays transactions page, Sam Gaviglio was optioned to the Alternate Training Site today.
— Minor Leaguer (@Minor_Leaguer) August 1, 2020

Gaviglio has had a rough start to the 2020 season. Due to not wanting to overwork other late-inning relievers, Charlie Montoyo has opted to use Gaviglio in a couple of different high-leverage situations, which has pretty clearly left the veteran long-inning guy out of his depth. Through two outings, Gaviglio has recorded three outs while surrendering three earned runs on three hits and three walks.
I had originally figured that this could mean that Chase Anderson, who suffered an oblique injury back during the team’s Summer Camp, could be ready to return, but that isn’t the case, as he’s scheduled to throw a simulated game on Wednesday.
It also won’t be Ken Giles returning, as he was placed on the 10-day Injured List back on Monday. The Blue Jays are optimistic that Giles won’t miss a significant amount of time, as …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Which Leafs will play in the 2022 Olympics?

According to Pierre LeBrun, the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement features NHL participation in the 2022 and 2026 Olympics, barring negotiations with the International Olympic Committee.

Of course, the NHL and the IOC have a tricky relationship, so the league stating an intent to play in the Olympics doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a guarantee, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
If NHL players do go to Beijing in 2022, the Leafs will certainly be well represented. It’ll be our first chance to see Toronto’s young core participate in international hockey’s largest stage, which is something incredibly exciting to look forward to.
Team USA
Auston Matthews will have his first chance to represent the United States at the Olympics in 2022. It’ll be an interesting group for the USA, as a new generation of American star players like Jack Eichel, Zach Werenski, Matt Tkachuk, and Quinn Hughes will be forming the team’s core.
I can’t see any other Leafs other than Matthews representing the United States come 2022. Justin Holl isn’t going to crack the blueline and Jack Campbell could feasibly be in the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation