Toronto Raptors free agent profile: Clippers C/F Isaiah Hartenstein

Toronto Raptors free agent profile: Clippers C/F Isaiah Hartenstein

Even after their selection of Christian Koloko with the No. 33 pick in last week’s NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors will no doubt scour the free agent market for budget big men with the type of potential the Raps development staff is so good at tapping into. Enter Los Angeles Clippers youngster Isaiah Hartenstein. After signing […]
Toronto Raptors free agent profile: Clippers C/F Isaiah Hartenstein – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Tyler Hedmann / Raptors HQ

Big bats and a strong start from Ross Stripling help the Blue Jays avoid a sweep to the White Sox

Here we are again, feeling good after avoiding a sweep.

The Blue Jays pulled off a massive comeback on Sunday to save themselves from a sweep by the New York Yankees and they carried that momentum into back-to-back infuriating losses on Monday and Tuesday night in Chicago.
Tuesday night’s 13-inning game forced Charlie Montoyo to go deep into the team’s bullpen, but Ross Stripling stepped up on Wednesday afternoon and delivered a much-needed six innings with only one run earned. The bats also did their part as a homer from Alejandro Kirk, a grand slam from Bo Bichette, and a two-run bomb from Teoscar Hernandez resulted in nine runs scored.
That was important because Adam Cimber made things a little stressful in the bottom of the eighth inning. The final score was 9-5.
Guillermo Martinez needs to get tossed before every game!

Here’s hitting Coach Guillermo Martínez delivering the lineup card and immediately getting thrown out of the game, like a boss pic.twitter.com/yz5CEUgdyc
— Blue Jays Nation (@thejaysnation) June 22, 2022

While losing two out of three isn’t ideal and the pitching made this a frustrating series, it’s certainly encouraging to see the bats do what they did against a team that can pitch well. They scored 22 runs across the three games against Chicago, and 32 over four games if you include the comeback against New York.
Next up, the Blue Jays will be off on Thursday and then they’ll play three in Milwaukee before they return home for a crucial stretch of games against American League East opponents.
The Boston Red Sox are on fire lately and are now only a half game back of the Blue Jays in the standings while the Tampa Bay Rays sit one game behind Toronto. It’ll be Boston coming to town for three and then Tampa playing a rare five-game series that features a Saturday doubleheader to help make up fo …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Final 2022 NBA Mock Draft: What will happen on Draft Night?

Final 2022 NBA Mock Draft: What will happen on Draft Night?

After months of speculation and intrigue, the 2022 NBA Draft is finally upon us. While fringe contenders like the Toronto Raptors will try to sneak into that elite tier by knocking it out of the park on draft day, plenty of rebuilding teams will try to nab their next great star. While the top names […]
Final 2022 NBA Mock Draft: What will happen on Draft Night? – 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 skid continues as the bullpen struggles yet again in marathon loss to the White Sox

Nearly four and a half hours after the opening pitch, Josh Harrison hit a single up the middle to score Jose Abreu from second and walk off the Blue Jays 7-6 in twelve innings.

The Blue Jays battled back after an excellent start from Dylan Cease left them hitless until the sixth. They had leads in the eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh but the White Sox wouldn’t go away.
A pair of nice catches by Adam Engel and Luis Robert held the Blue Jays scoreless in the twelfth and set up the home side to walk it off in the bottom half.
The Blue Jays have now lost five of their last six games to fall to 38-30 on the season. Ross Stripling will take the mound this afternoon in an attempt to avoid the sweep.
Things Worth Mentioning…
It was a tale of two halves on Tuesday night. White Sox starter Dylan Cease was lights out from the first pitch. He struck out five straight to begin the game while making Blue Jays batters look clueless.
Kevin Gausman wasn’t quite as sharp early on, giving up a run on two hits in the first, but he settled down and pitched six innings of two-run ball.
Cease’s slider was unhittable and he proved why he leads the American League in K’s/9 last night.

Dylan Cea …

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Author: Scott Ony / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman out Thursday after wrist flareup

Matt Chapman is out of the Jays lineup Thursday after his wrist flared up again.

Chapman had dealt with some soreness in his left wrist last week and missed three games because of it. He drew back in Tuesday when he went 2-for-4 with a home run and 2 RBI.
He also played on Wednesday hitting a two-run homer in the Jays’ 7-6 win.
While Chapman has looked great by the eye this year often showing off his cannon of an arm to break up plays at first base, his numbers are all below his league average.
It’s no major surprise for a player to have some woes in their first season with a new team and Chapman is one of them. He’s slashing .223/.307/.401 with a .708 OPS, down from his average with the A’s of .243/.330/.478 and a .808 OPS, so there’s some room for improvement for sure.
It’s also worth noting he’s posted -1 outs above average at this point of the season down significantly from his time in Oakland. While it’s too soon to be in massive uproars of panic, these are no doubt things to keep in mind when it comes to his game.
But back to today’s game.

Let’s WIN the series! #NextLevel pic.twitter.com/WzIvcc2bCH
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) June 16, 2022

Santiago Espinal …

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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

What can we expect from Nate Pearson this season?

After a bout of mononucleosis, Nate Pearson has reached Buffalo once again in his odyssey to become a full-time contributor for the Toronto Blue Jays.

His story may not be a Greek classic, but he has racked up more minor league stops than many would have expected when he debuted against Max Scherzer in 2020. He may have been placed on the 60-day injured list last week, but that was merely a paper transaction that does not really change his availability beyond needing a 40-man roster spot when he earns a call-up. If Nate Pearson can put together a couple more quality appearances in Buffalo, we may see him in the Blue Jays bullpen quite soon. His arrival in the big leagues in 2022 could also put together the Blue Jays’ pitching staff that is in a bit of flux.
Originally, Pearson was envisioned as the beginning of the process of surrounding Hyun-Jin Ryu at the top of the team’s starting rotation when he made his major league debut back in 2020. Things have certainly changed since then, As the ascent of Alek Manoah and the additions of Jose Berrios and Kevin Gausman have surpassed both Pearson and Ryu in quick succession. Arguably the offseason addition of Yusei Kikuc …

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Author: Noah Vande / Blue Jays Nation

Breaking down the Toronto Maple Leafs organizational depth chart heading into the offseason

After a few weeks with little of note going on in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, we’re nearly at the busiest part of the hockey calendar. In about three weeks, we’ll have qualifying offer deadlines, the entry draft, and free agency in quick succession to fill our appetite for Leafs news.
For now, though, we remain in a waiting period as the Stanley Cup Finals approach with not much to say regarding the Maple Leafs in terms of news. That means it’s the perfect time to get everyone up to date on where the organizational depth chart stands heading into the 2022 offseason, what areas still need to be addressed, and what to expect to come down over the next month and a half.

For starters, all unrestricted free agents have been already removed from the depth chart to give a proper view as to where things stand and what needs to be accomplished.
Beginning at the NHL level, there is a lineup that can be produced with in-house options already that would be NHL quality for the opening of the 2022-23 season. That being said, we can fully expect some pieces to shift around and additions to be made. While restricted free agents Pierre Engvall and Ondrej Kase are useful pieces that I’m sure the Maple Leafs would like to keep around, both are arbitration-eligible and could cause some hurdles depending on what they are asking for. Engvall is very likely to stick around, but Kase’s combination of injuries with his arbitration case could result in the Leafs looking to non-tender him as we near the qualifying offer deadline.
Elsewhere at forward, Pontus Holmberg temporarily fills in at 4C with a lack of other options currently under contract, but this is an area that will almost certainly be addressed. Holmberg is an intriguing prospect coming off of a strong year in Sweden but could use time in the AHL to adjust to North America prior to filling in a fourth-line role in the NHL.
On defence, the Leafs have a strong group already compiled. The Leafs have five NHL quality defencemen under contract, plus Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren who are RFAs. Though we could still see movement here if someone such as Justin Holl is traded, defence is the aspect of the roster where there is likely to be the least amount of change.
That brings us to the goaltending situation. Petr Mrazek remains on the depth chart for now, but with his poor play and injury troubles l …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

The arrival of Gabriel Moreno and the case for rostering three catchers

After visa issues caused Gabriel Moreno to arrive late for spring training he got off to a slow start in AAA. However, Moreno went on to hit .380/.433/.479 in 18 games in May and put himself on the precipice of the majors. Despite lingering concerns about his overall stat-line, .324/.380/.404 with a 115 wRC+, being buoyed by a .391 BABIP and only having one home run he has been called up by the Blue Jays.

In reality that stat-line may be a reasonable picture of what he is. Not a BABIP mirage, but a hitter who uses his elite bat-to-ball skills to get on base, accesses extra-base power if not HR power in-game, and plays strong defence behind the plate with a strong arm. His Double-A power may have been inflated and made him appear as more of a power hitter than he is.
But a projected 60 future value or all-star level catcher who can make contact at a spectacular level and further contribute as an above-average runner and fielder behind the plate is tantalizing. Moreno still holds the potential for above-average power as he matures and fine-tunes his approach. Even if the power never gets there, the complete package holds some variance around the all-star projections, with some areas still in need to development holding. Those factors hold the key to that all-star package. An environment that can foster those developments may be the first reason why the decision was taken now to call up Moreno.
When Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was called up in 2019 as one of the top prospects in baseball it felt like people had a …

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Author: Noah Vande / Blue Jays Nation

Round four (finals) recap: Who scored the goal of the year for Toronto?

After 15 matchups stretching from round one to round four (the finals), we now have ourselves a winner for this bracket that determined the goal of the season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. As many of you probably already know, about two and a half weeks ago, I made a bracket that consisted of 16 of the best Maple Leaf goals from this past season. What I wanted to accomplish with this bracket was pretty simple. I would post a matchup daily on our Twitter account (@TLNdc) and give you, the followers, the chance to vote on the goal that you thought deserved to advance to the next round.
After receiving many votes on each matchup, we eventually got our second-round, third-round, and ultimately, our finals matchup that just came to an end yesterday afternoon with the voting. The finals for this bracket consisted of two of the best players in the league, Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews. The goals that were in the finals though you may ask? Marner vs Vegas in November of 2021, and Matthews vs Dallas in April of 2022.
After 24 hours of voting, the numbers were final and it was determined you, the followers voted on Mitch Marner’s goal vs …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Jazz would be wise to hire top Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin

Jazz would be wise to hire top Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin

After losing multiple top assistants in Jama Mahlalela and Chris Finch, the Toronto Raptors appeared to have escaped the 2022 head coach hiring cycle without losing one of Nick Nurse’s best deputies in Adrian Griffin. Just when it looked like the staff would stay intact, a contender out west created an opening. The Utah Jazz […]
Jazz would be wise to hire top Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ