An early look at the position players the Blue Jays lost in free agency, and who they were replaced by

Earlier, we posted an article that compared the new pitchers, Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi, to the pitchers the Jays lost during the off-season, Robbie Ray and Steven Matz.

This article will focus on the position players, but will also feature signings and trades, unlike the last article. First, we’ll start with the infielders.
Matt Chapman compared to Marcus Semien:
This isn’t a direct replacement, as Chapman plays third base, while Semien played second for the team in 2021. It did move Espinal, who’s well on his way to winning his first Gold Glove, to second base. Despite that, this comparison has to stay in this article.
Marcus Semien:
Semien had a fantastic 2019 as he had a slash line of .285/.369/.522 with 33 homers in 747 plate appearances. Moreover, he struck out 13.7% of the time while walking 11.6% of the time, rather impressive numbers. He also had a Defensive Runs Saved of 7 at shortstop, a premium position.
Unfortunately for Oakland, Semien couldn’t repeat  his great season in 2020. The Bay native slashed .233/.305/.374 in 236 plate appearances. He added seven homers in the shortened season, but it was a far cry from his 2019 season. Furthermore, his Defensive Runs Saved slipped to -6 at the position.
It’s safe to say that he needed a new start and as you know, the Blue Jays took a gamble on Marc …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

It may be time to send Cavan Biggio to Triple A to find his game

This is not an article to say I told you so. Players are human beings and I want the best for Cavan Biggio.

With that being said, I was “Cavan-pilled” a while ago. However, I think sending him to the minors to help him find his game would be the best thing for the 27-year-old.
His career up to this point:
Last season was a struggle for the super utility player as he slashed .224/.322/.356 with seven homers in 294 plate appearances. His BB% of 12.6% was solid, but he struggled with striking out, as his K% sat at 26.5%. He also had a Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) of 84, which is below average.
As a super utility, he has experience all over the field. Below is a table featuring positions that he played, innings played at the position and his Defensive Runs Saved and Outs Above Average at those positions.
Position
Innings played
DRS
OAA
Second Base 
40
-1
-1
Third Base 
411.2
0
-3
Left Field
9
0
0
Right Field
117
1
-2
While he had a built in excuse due to numerous injuries in 2021, the same cannot be said for his struggles in 2022.
In 28 plate appearances this season, he’s slashing .043/.214/.043 with a single hit. Furthermore, he has a BB% of 10.71% and a very high K% of 35.71%. Furthermore, his wRC+ now sits at -6 for the season.
 Realistically, the only value that Biggio has provided is that he’s versatile defensively and he bats left-handed. However, the Jays did a fine job of adding some left handed batters. 
They added Zach Collins who has already hit three homers, Bradley Zimmer who is fine defensively, and Ramiel Tapia who makes contact. As for the defensive versatility, the Jays have Gosuke Katoh on the 28 man roster, as well as Otto Lopez and Samad Taylor, two prospects who in my opinion, would offer more than Biggio.
This isn’t to say Biggio doesn’t have potential. When he’s at his best, he has a solid eye at the plate and power against right handed pitching, as he hit 16 homers in his rookie season. Speaking of which, Biggio had a 114 wRC …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

It’s time to stop blaming the umpires: A lesson in pitch framing

You may or may not like this article, but blaming the home plate umpire for a loss is not the way to go.

Don’t get me wrong, some calls are pretty atrocious, but in reality, the Twitter account “Umpire Scorecards” is incredibly misleading. I’ve spoken about it before, but framing is a super important aspect of a catcher’s game.
Why pitch framing:
Remember when everyone was mad at Kirk when a Robbie Ray wild pitch snuck by him with a runner on third? While blocking is easier in the traditional stance for catchers, I’d argue that framing is a lot more important. 
While the traditional stance would have been more useful in this scenario mentioned above, stealing strikes that are actually balls leads to more strikeouts and balls in play. As the game has moved away from the stolen base, we’ve also moved away from the need to throw out runners (which the traditional stance helps).
Every team is looking for a pitcher that strikeouts the batter, and pitch framing helps a lot in this regard.
The first seven games:

Data and visualization via Umpire Scorecards on Twitter. 
Thus far, there have been four different catchers that the opposing pitcher has pitched to. In the first game, it was Mitch Garver of the Rangers. Jonah Heim caught the last two games of that series. In the Yankees series, Kyle Higashioka caught the first three games with Jose Trevino catching the game on Thursday.
We’ll use “Catcher Framing Runs” which essentially converts how many pitches in the “shadow zone” (or just outside the strike zone) were converted for strikes. Last season, Reese McGuire led the Blue Jays with a +4. Danny Jansen, who is an above-average defender, had a +1, while Alejandro Kirk had a -1 CRS.
Garver and Higashioka caught a combined four games and their Catcher Framing Runs both sat at +3, which is well above average. Trevino ca …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Civil Discourse: The Leafs have too many good defencemen. What should they do now that Muzzin is back?

Welcome to Civil Discourse, an article series where two TLN writers discuss a topic of interest rationally without resorting to personal insults. So basically the anti-Twitter.
Mark Norman
I think we can safely say this is a nice problem to have: the Leafs have too many good defencemen. With less than 15 games left to go in the regular season, our playoff opponent still unknown, and the return of Jake Muzzin, it begs the question of what the Leafs should do with their suddenly-crowded blueline. Ryan, what are your thoughts on how things should shape up now that Muzzin is back?
Ryan Hobart
I have been pretty unimpressed with Jake Muzzin this season overall. Of course, him being healthy is the best thing possible, but I’m not sure that him playing is the best thing. We know that his pairing with Justin Holl, previously quite solid, struggled greatly this year. When not with Muzzin, Justin Holl has played well, at least in terms of underlying numbers. My main thought is that if Muzzin is getting in, it shouldn’t be Justin Holl going out. The thing that’s really up in the air is how Ilya Lyubushkin can manage essentially top-pairing minutes with Morgan Rielly. What is your sense of that pairing? Are they too good together to break up?
Mark
I’ve liked Lyubushkin with Rielly: he brings a physical element that the Leafs have missed much of this season with Muzzin out of the lineup, and he frees Morgan up …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Pre-2022 Blue Jays Tp Prospect Countdown – No 2: Orelvis Martinez

The final two prospects in this article will not be a shocker.

Like most prospect sites, Orelvis ranks as my second best Blue Jays prospect. In fact, I’ve been calling him “potentially generational” since last summer and I think people saw why during Spring Training. However, we’ll start with the background.
A background:
Unlike most prospects on this list, except for Manuel Beltre, Orelvis signed for a lot of money. The Dominican born infielder signed for $3.5 million in 2018.
He made his professional debut in 2019 with the Gulf League Blue Jays, where he slashed .275/.352/.901 in 162 plate appearances. Despite being only 17-years-old at the time and -2.5 years younger than the average shortstop in the league, he hit seven homers and added three triples.
Orevlis also walked 8.6% of the time while striking out 17.8% of the time, which is an okay number for a slugger.
Like all other minor leaguers, Orelvis didn’t get a chance to progress in the minor leagues in 2020 as the pandemic cancelled the minor league season. However, Orelvis was promoted to the alternate training site where he’d face big league pitchers.
Orelvis’ 2021:
Speaking with a former teammate, I was told that Orelvis’ goal in 2021 was to hit 30 homers. Unfortunately for him, he fell just short, registering 28 homers between Low A and High A.
Low A:
The then 19-year-old absolutely destroyed this level in 2021, as he registered only 326 plate appearances, but mashed the ball for 19 homers. He also had a solid slash line of .279/.369/.942, mea …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Why Playing Story at Second Base is a bad idea for the Red Sox

In the late article last night, I clowned the New York Yankees for essentially taking on the Twins’ high earner, allowing the team from Minnesota to sign Carlos Correa.

Today, I’ll be clowning the Boston Red Sox for signing Trevor Story.

Trevor Story is in agreement with the Red Sox: 6 years, $140M. There is a player opt out after year 4. Boston can negate by picking up a 7th-yr option. If so the deal is 7-$160M
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) March 20, 2022

In terms of his bat, this is actually a wonderful signing, as it’s a 6 year, $150 million contract with a few opt outs. The issue is the fact that they plan to continue to play Xander Bogarets at shortstop, while moving Trevor Story to second base.
I actually proposed something like this last season when I wrote an article about why the Blue Jays should trade for German Marquez and Trevor Story. In my proposal, the latter would have been playing third base, as it was a problem area for the team. 
However, playing Bogarets at shortstop over Story is a dumb idea.

Trevor Story has agreed to play 2B for Boston. Xander Bogaerts, the longtime Red Sox SS w/2 rings, will remain at SS for Boston for 2022. Bogaerts has an opt out after the season he is sure to exercise, so potentially (if Bogaerts leaves), Story could move back to SS next season.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 20, 2022

Defense is just as important as offense:
I use the advanced stat, Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) quite often in my articles. Basically it’s a fancy way of saying how many runs did a defender save if 0 is the average.
In Story’s 6304.2 innings played at short, he has a total DRS of 69 (nice), with a DRS of 9 last season. His Ultimate Zone Rating, which factors in range …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Pre-2022 Blue Jays Top Prospects Countdown – No. 12: Ricky Tiedemann

Today’s article will be the first time I truly deviate from the tentative Top 20 prospect list I created before starting this series. In fact, I’m dumb for not including Ricky Tiedemann in my list to begin with. 

Background:
Tiedemann was drafted in the third round of the 2021 draft from Golden West College. Prior to his college career, he played for Lakewood High School, where I was able to find both his pitching and batting numbers.
In his sophomore season in 17-18, the 15-year-old pitched 51 innings with a 3.16 ERA. He also had a K/9 of 9.18 with an elevated BB/9 at 4.06. Interestingly enough, high school pitchers usually also bat and Tiedemann was quite successful, as he slashed .297/.459/.837 in his sophomore season.
In his junior year, he pitched 53.2 innings with a 2.61 ERA. His K/9 rose to 11.45 while his BB/9 also increased to 5.2.  He also slashed .338/.446/.973. His senior year in 2020 was shut down due to the global pandemic, meaning that he only pitched in four games.
If you would like to look at his high school stats more in depth, you can do so here.
Per The 562, prior to the pandemic shut down, Ricky was injured. Tiedemann had committed to San Diego State, but Ricky’s goal was to always get to the pros as fast as possible. Playing at the university level would have meant he would have had to stay there for three …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Should the Jays trade for Matt Chapman?

Let’s start this article off with a fun fact, shall we? A portion of this article, as well as the idea, came from another article I’m working on. 
We all know that I want the Blue Jays to trade for Jose Ramirez, but what about Matt Chapman? The 28-year-old is a solid third baseman, with one of the best gloves at that position as well as power in the bat. Well, my dear reader that’s what this article will be about.

He’s very good defensively:
The current Oakland Athletic, Matt Chapman, is arguably one of the best defenders at third base. In his career, he owns a DRS of 78 in his 4955.2 innings played at the hot corner. Since 2017, he leads both these categories, only being challenged by St. Louis Cardinals third baseman, Nolan Arenado, who sits at 71 DRS. The next best third baseman in terms of DRS is Manny Machado at 28 DRS.
He also leads all qualified third basemen in Ultimate Zone Rating since 2017, as that sits at 47.3 during his career. Nolan Arenado ranks second at 37.1 and then another significant drop off after that.
If you’re not into advanced defensive metrics, his fielding percentage of 97% ranks third for qualified third basemen behind Anthony Rendon (97.8%) and you guessed it, Nolan Arenado (97. …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Let’s give some love to Canada’s men’s soccer team

Spoiler Alert: This article focuses on Canada Soccer.

I’ve always had a passion for baseball as I remembered Roy Halladay pitching for the Phillies when I was a child. However, I only started to get into soccer around 2016. While I loved playing when I was younger, I never really watched games or understood the intricacies behind the sport.
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that aside from my duties at Nation Network, I also write for a Canada Soccer Blog Site called Northern Tribune. My professional goal in life is to work both for a baseball team (hopefully the Blue Jays), but I also would like to help develop Canadian soccer talent. In fact, I have already started to work with a local club here in Ottawa named Ottawa South United (they were featured during half-time!)I bought FIFA 2017 and chose Burnley as my favourite team.
The reason is because, at the time, they were the only team with a Canadian, by the name of Scott Arfield. Fast forward nearly five years, and I can see that passion for the sport all over my Twitter timeline.
Times are changing:
I first began to notice it on November 16th, when the Canadian Men’s National team beat Mexico in Edmonton. It was a close game with a huge save by Milan Borjan coming in the dying moments. However, with a 2-0 win against the United States on January 30th, …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Things might feel different about the Maple Leafs this year, but it felt that way last year too

Every now and then you see an article with a headline that requires a spit take, and that was essentially what happened Monday morning when I read “This year feels different for the Toronto Maple Leafs” by Travis Yost. After reading the article, there is undoubtedly solid points made about how the Leafs have continued to improve, and how Sheldon Keefe is getting the best out of his players, but there is very much a Groundhog Day feel to instilling confidence in the Leafs midway through the regular season. Nothing Travis is saying is wrong, and seemingly through the law of averages, eventually it has to be Toronto’s year, right? And why not this year?
I’m certainly not here to shit on anyone’s optimism about the Leafs either. This is a very good hockey team and the season so far has provided a ton of evidence supporting the Leafs being a team that could make Toronto happy.
Unfortunately, we’ve been through this before.
A couple of summers ago the Leafs found themselves in the fortunate position of playing the Columbus Blue Jackets to kick start the return to play. On paper this was a matchup that Leafs fans were rightfully thrilled about. Toronto was getting the opportunity to play in their home rink instead the NHL’s Eastern Conference bubble, and after going through Columbus the path was far less conv …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation