As summer nears, Matt Chapman’s power should soon re-emerge

This season, offence is alarming down across Major League Baseball and unfortunately, third baseman Matt Chapman has been affected like so many others. But as the warmer months arrive, there’s hope he’ll enjoy improved success down the road.
Since arriving to the Toronto Blue Jays this past spring, though, everyone’s been waiting patiently for Chapman’s offence to showcase itself, but that’s yet to happen early on. He’s provided excellent defence at the hot corner, which was to be expected, although his bat hasn’t caught up to his glove thus far.
In 36 games, the 29-year-old is hitting .185/.266/.371 along with six home runs and 16 RBIs through 139 plate appearances. These certainly aren’t the offensive results Toronto’s front office had envisioned when they acquired the 2019 All-Star from the Oakland Athletics back in March.
What’s worse is that Chapman’s slugging has been essentially non-existent up to this point. After finishing with career-worsts in slugging percentage (.403) and isolated power (.193) last season, he’s currently carrying a problematic .371 SLG and a .185 ISO in 2022.
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY SportsDuring his tenure in Oakland, however, the right-hander was widely known for his power and served as a prominent threat within the middle of his former club’s batting order. Despite struggling to do so in his final season with the organization, he had been one of the top slugging third basemen in the sport from 2018-2020.
In that span, Chapman recorded the fifth-highest ISO (.251) and wRC+ score (130), the seventh-highest SLG (.510) and the seventh-most home runs (70) among all qualified third basemen, according to Paired with his award-winning defence, this placed him as one of the elite performers in the majors at the time.
Since then, the former first-round selection has struggled mightily to replicate those stellar results. Or at least, that’s what his traditional results are showing. In actuality, some of his underlying metrics suggest he should be performing much better than he is.
While Chapman’s SL …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Game #2: The Leafs and Lightning set for the next battle

Game 2 is upon us and the question all across Leafs Nation is pretty simple: can the Maple Leafs put up another performance like the first game?
Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper gave the Leafs zero respect for the 5-0 rout in Game 1 of the series, going as far to say “we gave them a freebie” and “I’m not sure the Maple Leafs had to play particularly well to beat us tonight.”
To use a well-worn cliche, those quotes right there? That’s bulletin board material.

Message from Tampa side is that they made it easy on Leafs in Game 1 and mistakes were self-inflicted.
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) May 3, 2022

So it’s on the Leafs to use that as motivation and come out to play an even stronger game to take all of the oxygen out of this narrative that the Lightning (and certain members of the media) are perpetuating. It won’t be easy, no doubt that Tampa will come out like they’ve been shot out of that dumb cannon the Columbus Blue Jackets fire off, but if the Leafs can weather the initial storm, they’ll have made quite a statement.
Line Combinations
One change to the Leafs’ lineup that is all but guaranteed is the return of Jason Spezza, who will draw back into the lineup as Kyle Clifford serves a one-game suspension.

Clifford will be unavailable to the #leafs for Game 2.
— David Alter (@dalter) May 3, 2022

( Michael Bunting may also be an option for the Leafs, he skated during prac …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Luis Castillo is someone worth going all-in on via trade

As the off-season begins, so does the rumour mill across the major leagues, which may suggest a potential blockbuster trade between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds could be on the horizon in the coming months.

Starting with the Reds, who finished third in the National League Central Division this past season, they’re facing financial restrictions this winter and will be looking to significantly reduce their payroll prior to the 2022 campaign. Wasting no time addressing this difficult situation, their franchise has already parted ways with expendable pieces such as Wade Miley and Tucker Barnhart, freeing up $17.75 million.
Unfortunately for their fanbase, this recent purge will likely extend beyond those two players and could ultimately include some of the club’s talented starting pitchers, most notably, Luis Castillo. While the 28-year-old has reportedly been made available in previous off-seasons, this might finally be the one where he’s dealt to a playoff contender.

Trade market news: #Reds RHP Luis Castillo, who had a 2.73 ERA from June 1 onward, already is drawing interest from teams across @MLB. The Reds are willing to engage in talks on the 28-year-old, who will be eligible for free agency after ‘23. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 8, 2021

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs fans Abruzz over Leafs prospect Nick Abruzzese winning ECAC Rookie of the Year

Wow! Was this the news you were expecting to see come across your feed today?

Maybe if you follow NCAA hockey more closely than I!
2019 Leafs fourth-round pick Nick Abruzzese (no known correct pronunciations) had a heck of a rookie campaign at Harvard University, leading both the team and the entire ECAC with 44 points in his 31 games. On Thursday, he was named the ECAC Rookie of the Year, despite Harvard saying he won the Rookie fo the Year.

No rookie at Harvard has ever had more points (44) since Ted Donato was named head coach in 2004. It was a special year for Nick Abruzzese! #GoCrimson
: Abruzzese Named ECAC Hockey Rookie fo the Year
— Harvard Men’s Hockey (@HarvardMHockey) March 19, 2020

Leading any 12-team conference in scoring is impressive, especially one that’s filled with Ivy League kids. We don’t pretend to know anything more about this kid than what we found on Google, but  there are far worse D+1 performances to have come out of the fourth round for the Leafs. Or the first round, for that matter. Another win for Dubas!
Here’s a video Harvard …

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Author: Adam Laskaris / The Leafs Nation

Rewriting The Script

Here we go again.
The exasperated sighs rang out across Leafs Nation yesterday afternoon, as the Leafs ultimately fell 4-2 to the Boston Bruins, in a game that saw them squander an early lead to a miserable penalty kill that allowed the Bruins to score twice on their first two attempts in the game.
With Game 7 scheduled for tomorrow night at 7pm in Boston, the team will have one final shot to rewrite the script, and put the Bruins away.
One chance to rewrite the script everything – Game 7 and all – isn’t that appropriate?
What Doesn’t Need Rewriting
Before getting into what needs to change, let’s set a few things straight.

Some of y’all are reacting like the Leafs just got swept 4-0 rather than being tied in a close series between two of the league’s top teams.
— Draglikepull (@draglikepull) April 21, 2019
The Leafs have been good in this series at playing their game. Through six games, the Leafs have outscored Boston 11-8 at 5v5, and – unlike last year – have allowed their speed and skill to dictate the course of most games. The Leafs have come ready to play in four of their six games in this …

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Author: ThatsKappy / The Leafs Nation