Steven Matz was an ace, the bats fall asleep in the nightcap, Blue Jays split double header

That was quite a long day of baseball and we’re back to where we started!

Things worth mentioning…

Steven Matz continues to be extremely good, which was the big thing to draw from today. Matz made his third start of the season in the first game of the double-dip and flirted with a, abbreviated no-hitter, holding the Royals to fuck all until the sixth inning when Nicky Lopez hit a Royals-esque bloop single. Matz would end up going six innings, allowing one earned run on two hits while striking out five. His ERA is 1.47 and the Mets look stupid for giving him to the Blue Jays in exchange for a bag of magic beans.
The Blue Jays put up five runs on Mike Minor and the Royals, led by a Lourdes Gurriel first-inning double, Jonathan Davis’ first dinger (and hit) of the season, which was as big as Lake Ontario, and a bomb from Vlad.

Welcome to the Vladimir Guer-air-show #PLAKATA pic.twitter.com/MK8i9s6qTf
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 17, 2021

The second game was a bit limp-dick after the first, to be honest. Tommy Milone got the start and allowed a couple of runs over two-and-one-third …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Undefeated in 2021, baby

Holy hell, baseball is most certainly back. The Blue Jays picked up a 3-2 win over the Yankees in an extra-innings nail-biter. That’s absolutely what you love to see.

Things worth mentioning…

Hyun Jin Ryu got the ball for the Blue Jays and went toe-to-toe with the second-best free-agent pitching addition from the 2019 off-season, Gerrit Cole. Ryu spun five-and-one-third innings in which his only blemish was a two-run home run to Gary Sanchez in the second inning. All told, Ryu allowed four hits and one walk while striking out five. He had the Yanks looking confused and off-balance, vintage Ryu.
The Blue Jays’ bullpen locked things down after that, though there were some stressful moments. Tyler Chatwood got the final two outs of the sixth after Ryu was pulled, David Phelps navigated a couple of hits and a walk, Rafael Dolis allowed a walk but had an otherwise clean inning, and then Jordan Romano worked around two walks with help from Cavan Biggio, who made a great play to nab what would have been the game-winning run at home.

Let’s Tauch about @doinitBIGgio23 at the hot corner pic.twitter.com/iAuyaY3tj4
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 1, 2021

There wasn’ …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

5 Random Leafs thoughts to close out March

It’s the end of March. The weather is getting nicer, baseball is back, and in a normal year we’d be in the final days of the regular season and gearing up for the playoffs right now. Instead here we are still trapped in the pre trade deadline world, where my LeafsPR twitter notifications are keeping me on top of Scott Sabourin’s movements more than providing me with much in the way of trade news. C’est la vie. At this point we can probably assume that something will happen, and there are less than two weeks left for that to happen. The Leafs play tonight, as far as we know there haven’t been any mysterious scratches from the lineup, so we’ll wait another day for a trade. Here are a few stray thoughts to consider heading into April.
1. Would a powerplay point shot change things for the Leafs?
It’s no secret the Leafs powerplay has suffered of late, and to the credit of Sheldon Keefe, after Leafs fans calling for it all year, he’s finally getting around to loading up the first unit and putting Nylander, Marner, Matthews, and Tavares on the ice …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Grapefruit Notes: The Blue Jays are undefeated in 2021

Baseball! It’s back!

Hopefully you were able to catch the fever of YOUR Toronto Blue Jays on this lovely Sunday afternoon because they won’t be on television again for two weeks.
Baseball! It’s sort of back!
Things worth mentioning…

The Toronto Blue Jays are undefeated in 2021, while the New York Yankees remain winless. Does this make the Blue Jays World Series favourites? I mean, you certainly have to ask the question.
Anthony Kay got the start for the Blue Jays and looked very good. Remember, when it comes to Spring Training, when a guy is doing well, it means that they’re going to have a breakout season, but when they’re doing poorly, it doesn’t mean anything. Those are the rules. Anyway, Kay was excellent over two innings of work, but, unfortunately Charlie Montoyo didn’t allow him to go the distance to pitch a perfect game. The interesting thing with Kay on Sunday afternoon was the extra zip on his pitches. He was hitting as high as 97 miles-per-hour, which is well above the 96.3 mph fastball he averaged last year. All aboard the Anthony Kay for Cy Young train!

2 perfect innings for @TonyBuckets18?
What a …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Daily Duce: MLBPA rejects pushing back the season, getting in on the Rockies blow-up, Edwin Encarnacion’s pursuit of 500 homers, and more!

Daily?!?!?!

Good news if you’re really jonesing for baseball to come back as quickly as possible — the MLB Players’ Association has rejected the league’s offer to push the start of the season back by a few weeks. Though we don’t know everything MLB included in this offer, we know that it featured a 154-game season with full salaries and it very likely also featured an expanded post-season and a universal designated hitter.
Why would the players be against this? They’re hanging onto their bargaining chips for later on because there’s one hell of a storm brewing.
As we know, the current Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire on Dec. 1, 2021 and there’s going to be a long, tough battle between the players and the owners over a wealth of hot-button issues, such as service time manipulation, free agency, collusion in free agency, and so on.
The players are cognizant of the fact an expanded post-season is going to make the owners a fuck-load of cash, so that’s one thing they aren’t going to fork over unless they’re getting something worthwhile back in return. And no, the universal DH, which advantageous to …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Baseball Savant’s Spin Mirroring Tool and the Blue Jays’ pitchers

Baseball Savant unveiled a new tool last week, spin mirroring. With Hawk-Eye cameras installed they are able to measure the direction of pitch spin. With this information we are able to see how pitches play off of each other or “mirror.” Mike Petriello at MLB.com wrote an introductory piece on this, explaining what this is and how it works. I would highly recommended reading that if you haven’t already.
With this tool, I took a look at few Blue Jays pitchers who jumped out to me.
Who needs Velocity?
Hyun-Jin Ryu’s first season with the Blue Jays went about as well as anyone could have hoped. He made 12 starts, had a 2.69 ERA, finished third in the AL Cy Young Voting and helped the team reach the postseason for the first time since 2016. Ryu keeps hitters off balance with a five different pitches, which he can throw anytime in any count. With spin mirroring we can further see how those pitches move and why they are so difficult for hitters to pick up.

On the left we have the spin-based movement by pitch type, which is the spin of the ball coming out of the pitchers hand. It’ …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

The Vancouver Canadians will become the Blue Jays’ High-A affiliate

Blue Jays affiliated baseball on the West Coast lives on.

According to an official statement released by the team today, the Blue Jays’ four minor-league affiliated under MLB’s new player development structure will be the Buffalo Bisons, New Hampshire Fishers Cats, Dunedin Blue Jays, and Vancouver Canadians.

#BlueJays Extend Invites To Minor League Affiliates: pic.twitter.com/syYKWZVfZy
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) December 9, 2020

Buffalo and New Hampshire will remain as the team’s Triple-A and Double-A affiliates while Dunedin will shift to becoming a Low-A affiliate along with the entire Florida State League. The Jays ultimately had a choice to roll with either the Lansing Lugnuts or Vancouver Canadians as their High-A affiliate, and they chose the latter.
It probably would have made more logistic sense for the Blue Jays to keep Lansing over Vancouver because it would have put all four of their affiliates fairly close together, but it’s great to see the organization prioritizing keeping an affiliation in Canada. Having baby Blue Jays play for the Canadians is key in ensuring that Canadians on the West Coast become fans of the Blue Jays rather than fans of the Seattle Mariners.
Meanwhile, Lansing will become the High-A …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Thomas Pannone and Forrest Wall among Blue Jays’ minor-leaguers who became free agents

Major League Baseball free agency officially began yesterday.

While the big names like Trevor Bauer and George Springer and Marcus Stroman and so on will dominate people’s attention, there are also 422 minor-league players who also hit the open market yesterday. The Blue Jays had 18 players become free agents.
Here are they are, courtesy of Baseball America…
Deiferson Barreto, Andrew Burns, Patrick Cantwell, Ryan Dull, James Dykstra, Conor Fisk, Gabriel Guerrero, Mac James, Jesus Lopez, Mike Nittoli, Juan Nunez, Norberto Obeso, Willy Ortiz, Connor Overton, Tom Pannone, Luis Silva, Mitchell Walding, Forrest Wall.
A good chunk of these names are just organizational depth types who were signed to minor-league deals, like Andy Burns, Ryan Dull, and Patrick Cantwell. But there are also a couple of prospects worth noting here.
Thomas Pannone was acquired as part of the Joe Smith to Cleveland trade a few years ago. At one point, he looked like he had a future as a starting pitcher but never panned out. Pannone was designated for assignment in August and cleared waivers. He didn’t pitch for the Blue Jays in 2020 after pitching 116 innings for the club between 2018 and 2019.
And then there’s Forrest Wall, one of the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Thoughts on last night’s fittingly bizarre World Series conclusion

The weirdest baseball season of our lives fittingly had a very bizarre ending.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, far and away the best team in baseball this season with their 43-17 record, beat the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 2-1, winning the World Series four games to two, earning their first championship since 1988.
On paper, it seems like L.A. winning the whole thing was the most predictable outcome — but last night’s conclusion was far from predictable.
Where to begin? I guess I’ll just go chronologically.
It started off when Randy Arozarena clubbed a solo dinger off of Tony Gonsolin to give Tampa Bay an early 1-0 lead. The homer was Arozarena’s 10th of this post-season, which is two more than he has over the course of his regular-season career in 42 games played. Hilariously enough, Arozarena is still eligible for Rookie of the Year in 2021. He’ll look great as an Expo.
It looked like the Rays were going to kick the door in early. Gonsolin looked pretty shook. He allowed a single to Austin Meadows and walked Brandon Lowe but got Manuel Margot and Joey Wendle to work out of the threat. In the second, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

This year’s Gold Glove finalists are really weird

Major League Baseball announced the Gold Glove Award finalists for the 2020 season and, in 2020 fashion, they’re, uh, pretty weird.

Lourdes Gurriel is the Blue Jays’ lone Gold Glove nominee which sorta kinda gives you an indication of how strange some of the selections were.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, Gurriel is a solid fielder. He makes some highlight reel snags in the outfield and he has a cannon for an arm that he used on multiple occasions to gun guys out at home.

How did @yunitogurriel earn his FIRST Gold Glove nomination?
Two words: Piña Power pic.twitter.com/dtF5WHgJD5
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) October 22, 2020

But he’s not exactly your prototypical Gold Glove guy. Gurriel just switched to left field mid-way through the 2019 season and still looks pretty green at the position at times. He often runs the wrong way off the hop and that’s why he ends up making TV grabs. FanGraphs had him at -3 defensive runs saved in 2020, but defensive metrics are always a bit tricky, so take them with a grain of salt.
Elsewhere, there are some other puzzling choices, like… the White Sox having two catchers as finalists, Clint …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation