Comparing the Leafs special teams to see if it can be the key to playoff success

After getting absolutely destroyed by Buffalo on Tuesday night, it wouldn’t hurt to feel a little good about something, so it’s time to talk about special teams. Or at least comparing them to the rest of the league to feel better about the Leafs.
Heading into Tuesday night the Leafs were pretty close to 30%, at 29.4% success rate on the powerplay. This is 3% higher than the next closest team. For all our complaints about the powerplay, it’s absolutely been a bright spot for the Leafs, and if there isn’t an erosion of penalties come playoff time (gulp) it’s a great advantage for Toronto to have in the postseason.
As for the penalty kill, it’s a little worse, and comes in at 6th in the league, but you’ll see, it’s actually better than when you factor in a few extra details in a little bit. The Leafs are the best of the Atlantic teams when it comes to the penalty kill, and perhaps this is an argument for Toronto to want a penalty laden first round.
One of the measures for success used around the NHL as a predictor of how good a team really is in the combination of PP+PK to give an overall score, so I t …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

First Look at Potential Blue Jays Farm Rosters: Dobule-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Following up on last week’s look at the potential Buffalo roster, it goes without saying that the nature of such things is that there are fuzzy lines between the rosters, and assumptions about one naturally affects those made about another, but I’m saying it anyway.

The Fisher Cats roster currently carries 17 names, albeit at least three of which I fully expect to end up in Buffalo. Still, there are more in-house options to sift through here than there was last week.
As we start with the rotation, two names command our attention first…
Luis Quinones, who’s 24, has posted really impressive strikeout numbers throughout his career (13.82 K/9 on his career, 12.44 in his 8 AA starts in 2021), and at no point have opponents been able to average more than .190 against him. On the other hand,  his walk rate tempers our excitement (6.75 on his career, 6.44 in AA). IF he came in this spring and showed dramatically better control he’d have a shot at AAA, but otherwise, he’ll come back here and try to figure it out as others have had to in the past. Ultimately he may end up in relief, but not yet.
The other name is Elvis Luciano. Still just 22, injuries limited him to just 12 starts in 2021 and AA was a regressive assignment, his year in the majors notwithstanding, given his previous MiLB work in 2018 was in …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Six turmoil amid PHF management turnover

The Toronto Six travelled to Buffalo, NY to take on the Beauts in the PHF’s 2022 Buffalo Believes Classic outdoor game. Coming into the game, Toronto had won their last eight games, going all the way back to December 11th. Unfortunately, the streak was snapped as Buffalo came out with a surprise victory on the shoulders of goaltender Carly Jackson.
Buffalo had also been relatively strong coming into this contest. They had won 2 of their last 3 games, after having just 1 win over the first 10 games of the season, including a 6-2 win over the Minnesota Whitecaps.
The weekend’s games were slightly overshadowed by the departure of PHF commissioner Ty Tumminia, announced on Saturday during Hockey Night in Canada. Speculation about major changes for the league had to have been on the players’ minds. After Tumminia guided the league through a pandemic-ruined Season 6, and oversaw a major investment into the league by the team owners, the departure is certainly eyebrow-raising. The big question on people’s minds is whether the departure is due to changes that Tumminia refused to be a part of. I have heard that she was not a big proponent of joining the PHF with the PWHPA, but I can’t find that substantiated anywhere.
There’s also been some smoke in the air about more moves in the PHF’s front office, as reported by The Ice Garden’s Melissa Burgess and The Hockey News’ Marisa Ingemi:

Have heard from multiple sources to expect several more high-profile departures from an already-thin #PHF league office at the end of the season — more than just commissioner Ty Tumminia.
— Melissa Burgess (@_MelissaBurgess) February 21, 2022

Have also heard this, along with Ti …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Nate Pearson tosses a clean inning in his first rehab outing (and other minor-league notes)

Nate Pearson is back with the Buffalo Bisons. Let’s dive into his rehab outing a whole bunch of other stuff from the minors…

Buffalo Bisons:
Buffalo lost their game 4-0 bringing their record to 53-33. Let’s dive into specific players.
Nate Pearson:
In a move that shocked me, Nate Pearson was reinstated from the IL. He had a pitch limit between 20-25 pitches, however he only needed 13 pitches to finish his one inning of work. The velocity was there and every pitch was near the zone (except for one).

#Bluejays note: Nate Pearson looked mighty good in a 13-pitch 1-2-3 first inning. Nine strikes. He hit 100 on stadium radar gun *4 times* and 98 on another pitch. A K, a popup, a groundout. Could be interesting 1-2 inning bullpen weapon. #Bisons
— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) August 14, 2021

Nate’s strikeout. All around the plate.#WeAreBlueJays #BlueJays pic.twitter.com/7mUxXS2kvI
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) August 14, 2021

 
This is a promising development, especially if he can come out of the bullpen for the stretch run.
Thomas Hatch:
Hatch continues to impress at the highest level of the minors. While he was saddled with the loss, he had a fantastic game regardless of …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 18: Taking a look around the American League at the one-third mark of the season

The Blue Jays’ return to Buffalo was a success!

The team pulled off a two-game sweep of the Miami Marlins, winning the first game handily on the power of a strong start from Robbie Ray and then winning the second with a dramatic ninth-inning comeback.
There was quite a bit of good to talk about from this mini-series, such as the bullpen returning to form after a difficult few weeks and Lourdes Gurriel finally maaaaaaybe starting to heat up, but we also touched on Alek Manoah’s tough start in the second outing of his big league career and whether there’s any need for concern.
After that, we welcomed Kenny Ducey from Draft Kings to take a look around the American League at the one-third point of the season. He talked about his biggest surprises so far, gave some love to the Blue Jays and Marcus Semien, and discussed who the biggest fraud in the league is right now.
Finally, we finished up by looking at the series coming up against the Houston Astros.
You can listen to the episode here…
 

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Alternate Training Site lives on as Triple-A baseball’s start has been delayed by one month

Bad news if you’re a fan of the Buffalo Bisons — The Alternate Training Site will continue to exist for at least the first month of the 2021 season.

According to a report from ESPN, Major League Baseball has opted to push back the start of the Triple-A level season to early May. It was originally slated to begin on April 6, a few days after the start of the big-league season, but players will instead go to Alternate Training Sites like the ones from last summer for at least one month.
Here’s what MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations’ statement said…
“This is a prudent step to complete the major league and minor league seasons as safely as possible, and we look forward to having fans back in ballparks across the country very soon.”
With COVID-19 vaccinations quickly becoming available in the United States, MLB is ultimately strategizing to have non-big-league players wait around and practice so that they can receive the vaccine before embarking on the minor-league season. Both Double- and Class-A level ball had always been scheduled to begin in May this season.
Minor-league players are obviously in a more susceptible position to contract the virus, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Is Anthony Kay on his way up?

According to the Buffalo Bisons’ official website, pitching prospect Anthony Kay (acquired from the Mets in the Marcus Stroman deal) has been placed on the Temporary Inactive List. This could mean that Kay will be called up to the Blue Jays in the near future.

I mean, he could have been placed on the Temporary Inactive List for a wealth of different reasons, but the Jays have frequently used this option this season when bouncing players up and down from different levels. It allows them to find another pitcher for the Bisons to temporarily replace Kay while also not immediately adding him to the Major League roster, which, of course, would require a player to be sent down.
Kay last pitched for Buffalo on Aug. 27, meaning his next scheduled start on regular rest would be on Sunday, Sept. 1. The Jays have announced that Trent Thornton will start against Houston on Friday and Clay Buchholz will start Saturday but they haven’t yet said who will start the series finale on Sunday. It makes some sense for Kay to either get the start or come in after an opener.

#BlueJays starters this weekend vs. Houston Astros, per Charlie Montoyo.
Friday: Trent …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays recall Jordan Romano

Canadian Content!!! Fresh off winning Buffalo Bisons Player of the Week, Jordan Romano has been called up to the Major Leagues.

Romano was selected by the Chicago White Sox (who flipped him to the Texas Rangers) in the Rule 5 draft but didn’t crack their team out of spring training. The Blue Jays got him back and he’s spent the season with Triple-A Buffalo, posting a 6.10 ERA over the course of 31 innings.
While that doesn’t look overly inspiring, Romano has been lights out for the Bisons in the ‘pen over the past few weeks. In his last eight appearances, Romano has tossed 10 1/3 innings without allowing a run while striking out 15 batters. As I said, that 6.10 ERA is ugly, but his peripherals are solid, as Romano is striking out 12.5 batters per nine innings.
Romano isn’t currently on the Blue Jays 40-man roster, so the team will need to make a corresponding roster move. Clay Buchholz has been on the 10-day Injured List for a while now, so he could be a candidate to get bumped to the 60-day Injured List, which would open up a spot on the 40-man for Romano. It’s anybody’s guess at this …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Socrates Brito era is over, Jonathan Davis has been recalled

Thomas Pannone was sent to Triple-A Buffalo yesterday and it seems we have our corresponding roster move. Jonathan Davis and Javy Guerra are both with the team.

OF Jonathan Davis is here with the #BlueJays.
RHP Javy Guerra has a locker, too.
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) May 10, 2019

Guerra was designated for assignment a couple of weeks ago and cleared through waivers. He seems to be the arm replacing Pannone on the roster.
Davis is a more interesting situation because it means that there’s another move on the way. My guess is that the team is ready to put an end to the Socrates Brito experiment, unless either Teoscar Hernandez or Billy McKinney are being optioned down to Buffalo.
Davis has been killing it in Buffalo, so it’s great to see him get the call. Through 18 games, Davis is slashing a .268/.461/.554 line with four homers. He’s also walked more times (18) than he’s struck out (17), which is always a great sign.

Socrates Brito has been DFA’d – more info shortly on that and Buchholz injury.
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) May 10, 2019

Aaaaaand there it is. Just as I was slamming the publish button, Hazel Mae reported that Brito has been designated …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation