What to expect from Ilya Mikheyev this summer

No Leafs free agency signing has better captured the imagination of the fan base than Ilya Mikheyev. The KHL forward instantly made splashes on Leafs twitter and blogs with his unconditional love for soup, and further cemented his popularity with his speed and gritty play on the ice. For the Leafs, the addition of Mikheyev last summer was a nice depth signing in a year where the lineup was in constant flux due to injuries on both the left and right wing. Unfortunately, Mikheyev suffered his own quite scary injury when his wrist was slashed by Jesper Bratt in late December – in classic Mikheyev fashion, he battled through shortly after the incident to start a breakout amidst a Devil’s forecheck before rushing to the bench.
This has left more questions than answers for the Leafs, who need to constantly make careful decisions about resigning players, and didn’t benefit from the smaller sample size of games for Mikheyev. This post will attempt to asses Mikheyev’s value based on his production, suggest some potential routes forward for the Leafs, and go into additional detail on the series against Columbus.
By the numbers
As mentioned above, …

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Author: mackinawstats / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays select Austin Martin with the fifth-overall pick

Well, that went better than expected! With the fifth-overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft, the Blue Jays selected Austin Martin, a multi-position player from Vanderbilt.

According to Keith Law, Martin is the best player available in the draft, so this is a massive win for the Jays to snag him at number five. After Spencer Torkelson went to Detroit with the first pick, both Baltimore and Miami went off the board, leaving the Jays with Martin.

Law says he hears the Jays will take Martin. “An enormous home run. Blue Jays fans should be over the moon. I think they get the best player in the draft.”
— Andrew Stoeten (@AndrewStoeten) June 10, 2020

Martin slashed a .377/.507/.660 line for Vanderbilt this year over the course of 16 games before the season was killed due to COVID-19. Perhaps most impressive, Martin struck out only twice in 69 plate appearances. Very nice.
Coming into the draft, Martin was ranked No. 2 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 200 list, so, again, it’s incredible the Jays were able to snag him where they were drafting.
The best pure hitter in the 2020 Draft, Martin has tremendous feel for the barrel and makes consistent hard contact with a short, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: VanVleet has been good, but he can be much better

VanVleet has definitely gotten better with the Toronto Raptors over the years, but there is still one area of his game that needs a lot of work. Fred VanVleet does a lot of things right. He can shoot, pass, play defense, and can be plugged into any situation. He played a big part in the […]
Toronto Raptors: VanVleet has been good, but he can be much better – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

Is it too late for the Toronto Raptors to pick up a center?

While possessing two of the NBA’s better centers, the Toronto Raptors lack depth in that area. Is it too late for them to pick up a center? Love it or loathe it, centers are a dying breed in the NBA. Positionless basketball is the present and likely future, so the big men that roam the […]
Is it too late for the Toronto Raptors to pick up a center? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Thomas Valentine / Raptors HQ

Hell yes, Larry Walker is a finally a Hall of Famer

Better late than never. On his 10th and final time on the Hall of Fame ballot, Canadian legend Larry Walker has been voted into Cooperstown with 76.6 percent of votes.

In doing so, Walker became the second Canadian ever to be inducted to baseball’s Hall of Fame, joining Fergie Jenkins who was voted in back in 1991. Walker is undoubtedly the best Canadian baseball player of all-time and it’s a huge win for Canadian baseball to finally see him get enshrined in Cooperstown.

STAND UP, CANADA!
MAPLE RIDGE, BC NATIVE LARRY WALKER IS HEADED TO COOPERSTOWN!
CONGRATS @Cdnmooselips33! #HOF2020 pic.twitter.com/8UYBJ7SIYi
— Baseball Canada (@baseballcanada) January 21, 2020

Hall of Famer Larry Walker wearing a Hall of Fame shirt. pic.twitter.com/yiik3GQzkH
— Sam Dykstra (@SamDykstraMiLB) January 21, 2020

This was Walker’s final go-around on the Hall of Fame ballot. If he didn’t get voted in this year, there was a decent chance he never would, unless the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee got him in. This is a pretty monumental shift for Walker, as he managed just 34.1 percent in 2018 was nearly voted off the ballot with 10.2 percent in 2014.
Walker was …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Travis Shaw and taking the fly ball revolution too far

Travis Shaw was one of the better players in baseball from 2017-18. He put up 7.1 fWAR which made him the 39th most valuable position player over those two seasons, sandwiched between George Springer, Michael Conforto and Buster Posey and Mitch Haniger. His 119 wRC+ again placed him among the top 45 hitters in the game. He was a big part of the Brewers resurgence into a playoff team and was very valuable for them in 2018. He played primarily third base in both seasons, but he logged significant time at second base and saw some action at first as well. Players like this don’t become available too often and if they do they usually come at a significant price. Something had to of gone significantly wrong for Shaw to land on the Blue Jays for just a 1-year $4M deal. By now I am sure you know the story. Shaw’s offense fell apart last season. His wRC+ dropped to 47 and his WAR bottomed out at -0.8.
When looking at what happened to Shaw last season, his struggles were entirely with the bat. Nothing changed on the defensive end; he wasn’t taking his at bats out to the …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: The bench has gone from good to bad

Being one of the better teams in the NBA has come from many different places for the Toronto Raptors. Their bench has been a big part of that, however, that wasn’t always the case. After starting the season 6-2, the only real question surrounding the Toronto Raptors was their bench unit. It’s not that they […]
Toronto Raptors: The bench has gone from good to bad – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Hunter Surphlis / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: What is Pascal Siakam’s ceiling?

Pascal Siakam just keeps getting better every game for the Toronto Raptors. He does not appear to be finished developing, so just how high is the ceiling on his talent? Pascal Siakam has been a pleasant revelation for the Toronto Raptors and appears to have a high ceiling on his potential. The one remaining Raptors’ […]
Toronto Raptors: What is Pascal Siakam’s ceiling? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

A brief Collection of Players with More Games Played as a Leaf than Eric Lindros who your Uncle didn’t get mad at

You all need to find a better way to spend your summer. Seriously. This isn’t healthy.
Bright and early on Monday morning, William Nylander decided to shatter the hockey world forever with news that he would be changing his jersey number from #29 to #88 for this coming season. Soon after, cities burned. Civil society descended into chaos. Genetically enhanced apes waged their centuries-long war against the human race.
Or none of that happened, actually. Instead, a faction of Greater Toronto Area Uncles – whose Twitter bios feature more hashtags than followers and whose dinner-table conversations consist solely of “if Coach had just put me in back in ’86, we would’ve totally won State” – decided to throw a little hissy fit.
Which, frankly, is a completely natural response coming from this particular group. I mean, we’re talking about a bunch of guys who view pulling parking lot doughnuts in their 2001 Chevy Silverados as the healthiest outlet for processing emotion. What more did you expect?
Monday was a rough day for the Uncles. Going purely off their collection of barely-legible rage tweets, these fellas (and make no mistake, they are ALL fellas) were flabbergasted the most Nylander’s blatant disrespect decision for …

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Author: Mike Stephens / The Leafs Nation