ESPN’s Buster Olney believes the Blue Jays are an ideal destination for Josh Bell

Who cares if the calendar just turned May, we want rumours, and we want it now.

Total speculation at this point, but this would be a nice trade match later this season between a team rebuilding and a team trying to win (and desperately in need of more lineup balance): the Nats’ Josh Bell to the Blue Jays.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 5, 2022

Well, this is actually speculation, but Buster Olney believes that first baseman, Josh Bell, would make a perfect fit for the Blue Jays. That begs the question, would it?
According to Sporttrac, the 29-year-old Josh Bell will be a free agent at the end of the season, meaning that the Nationals have no control over where he goes. This cheapens his value when it comes to the trade deadline.
What about his bat though, is it worth it?
Bell is a switch hitter, and has a career slash line of .265/.352/.471 with 116 homers in 2858 plate appearances with a career wRC+ of 117. This season, he’s slashing .366/.464/.549 with three homers in 99 plate appearances.
Moreover, he has a career 11.9% BB% with a rather low K% of 18.5%. This season, his BB% is an astounding 14.1% with a K% of 12.1%.
Like Olney points out, the Jays do need balance in their lineup, and throughout his career, Bell has been better from the left side of the plate. As a lefty, he has a .274/.358/.487 slash line with 86 homers. He has a K% of 18.4% and a BB% of 12.8% from the left side of the plate. 
Compare this to him batting righty, and we can see his .239/.333/.424 slash line doesn’t compare. Furthermore, he has a K% of around 19% and a BB% of 12.6%, which is around the same.
If the Jays were to do this, they would be trading for a lef …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Nick Abruzzese debuts, Nick Robertson injury scare, European playoffs update

It remains an incredibly busy stretch of the hockey calendar with the NHL and AHL entering the final month of their regular seasons, the NCAA preparing for the Frozen Four later this week, and European leagues in the thick of their playoffs already.
Before diving into this week’s updates, I would be remiss if I didn’t begin with Elliotte Friedman’s positive report on Rodion Amirov’s status from Saturday night. Amirov, one of Toronto’s top prospects, was diagnosed with a brain tumour and has been undergoing chemotherapy in Germany. According to Friedman, Amirov has completed his six weeks of chemotherapy and is scheduled to begin his next round in a month’s time.
In the meantime, Amirov has continued skating on a rink the Leafs have been renting out for him in Germany. It’s great to hear good news regarding Amirov’s status, as always our thoughts are with Amirov and we send him our best wishes as he prepares for his next round of chemotherapy.
Nick Abruzzese | LW | Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
One week after signing his entry-level contract, Nicholas Abruzzese made his NHL debut on Saturday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Abruzzese clocked in at 9:05 time on ice, about what you would anticipate for a player making their professional debut on the fourth line, but saw a fair bit of action in those limited minutes. He was on the ice for a Leafs goal in the form of Wayne Simmonds’ breakaway marker but was also on f …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Tired or Inspired: The Leafs could still build off their strong start to the trade deadline

Trade deadline day. A much-hyped but consistently underwhelming day on the NHL calendar. I spare you the comparisons to pretty much every other sport that sees star players (in their prime) change teams in multiple team deals, and the end result is a radically overhauled league with new championship favourites determined or existing favourites solidified. To the NHL’s credit, it seems like they’ve been trying this year. Claude Giroux, Mark Giordano, and Hampus Lindholm aren’t exactly scrubs. A couple of them might be on the older side, but there have been impact moves and there are still 9 hours left.
The Leafs for their part had a very busy day yesterday (summarized here), and it’s easy to feel good about the Giordano/Blackwell deal. That being said, there are still questions lingering around a second-line winger and possible goaltending help. There’s no money, and with that comes many problems. The Leafs could certainly go the unconventional route, but at least when it comes to goaltending, the 2 pm waivers deadline will determine if their decision to look to the KHL to address their problems in net will pay off.
Looking just at what the Leafs have done, it’s easy to appreciate the trades they’ve made, includin …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs hopefuls for the World Juniors

With the hockey calendar creeping through November, the 2022 World Junior Championships are drawing closer. The annual holiday tournament provides a stage for the game’s brightest up and comers to put their skills on display and allows fans to get a sneak peek at some of their team’s top prospects.
The Maple Leafs were well represented at last year’s event and while they may not send as many players this time around, there are still a few Leafs prospects in the running to suit up for their respective countries when the puck drops on Boxing Day.
Topi Niemelä | RHD | Finland
Niemelä earned the award for Best Defenseman at last year’s tournament and he is a lock to return as a key member of the Finnish squad this year. The 2021 WJC was a coming-out party for the young blueliner as he showed that he could be an impactful offensive player from the backend, finishing the event with two goals and six assists in just seven games. He was one of the top players at the recent World Junior Summer Showcase as well, tying for the scoring lead among defensemen with a pair of goals and four assists through …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Camp standouts, NCAA and CHL begin, Holmberg heating up

As we enter October, the hockey calendar continues to ramp up. Since our last prospect roundup, the Toronto Maple Leafs roster has been cut down to 27 players, the Toronto Marlies began their own training camp, NCAA and CHL teams began their 2021/22 seasons, and another Champions Hockey League gameday was played.
Before we dive into numerous prospects today, be sure to follow TLN’s own Nick Barden for updates throughout Marlies camp and their season. The Marlies are shaping up to be among the AHL’s top teams and will feature prospects in vital roles, so be sure to follow Nick to keep up to date on everything Marlies this season.
Let’s begin this week’s prospect roundup with a look at the prospects that had notable performances at Leafs main camp.
Rasmus Sandin (LD), Timothy Liljegren (RD) | Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
Following the latest round of cuts, Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren are the lone prospects that remain on the Leafs roster.
Really, this isn’t much of a surprise. For Sandin, he was pencilled into a third pairing position heading into camp and it would’ve been a massive surprise to see him cut at this point. After …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

What to expect from Nic Petan this summer

It has now been over a calendar year since Nic Petan was acquired by the Leafs in a trade that saw them move Par Lindholm to the Jets, and the former has yet to fully realize his potential. He is nearly halfway through a two-year deal and has played in 21 NHL games with the Blue and White in that span.
So is Petan this quality AHL scorer who makes infrequent appearances in the NHL, or is he a player that could provide secondary scoring in the big leagues? Given that he was a late addition to the Leafs Phase 3 roster, it would appear that even the team doesn’t yet know what to make of Petan’s place in the organization.
By The Numbers
© Micah Blake McCurdy 2020
Petan split this past season between the Leafs and Marlies, with two different outcomes coming from both teams.
On the big club, he registered just three assists in 16 games as he was limited to primarily fourth line duties and was a frequent healthy scratch. By the time Sheldon Keefe was promoted to head coach, his appearances were more sporadic before being sent to the Marlies for good by December.
Speaking …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Last chance to sign for a couple of Leafs prospects

June 1st is a significant date on the hockey calendar for prospects and General Managers. It’s the date that junior hockey players selected in the 2018 draft need to be signed by. Exciting, I know, but still a somewhat relevant date on the calendar when we’ve basically been sitting around rehashing classic games and debating what the return of the 2019-20 season will look like.
For the Leafs part of this equation, Toronto has two players who are unsigned, and would therefore be eligible to re-enter the draft in 2020. Riley Stotts, and Zachary Bouthillier.
The cases for and against them were made previously in this hockey hiatus…
Riley Stotts: 
Stotts has had a steady upward trajectory in his production, but lacks the ridiculous numbers you’d expect in post draft seasons. This may speak to him not having the talent to dominate offensively against much younger competition, but it also speaks to the state of the Hitmen organization over Stotts’ time there. I don’t think anyone is making the case for Stotts as a top six player at either the AHL or the NHL level, but the lack of dominance might …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Predicting the Toronto Raptors All-Star weekend participants

The All-Star weekend is one of the most anticipated dates on the NBA calendar. Are there any members of the Toronto Raptors roster who could feature at the event? This season, the All-Star weekend will be hosted in Chicago, Illinois. Home of the Chicago Bulls, the Windy City will surely provide an excellent backdrop for […]
Predicting the Toronto Raptors All-Star weekend participants – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Thomas Valentine / Raptors HQ

Hot Takes From the Farm: Week One

Well, the first full calendar week but you know what I mean, right? Technically the MiLB season is 11 days old but anyway, moving along.
Last time the lead story was a lot of very nice pitching performances in the Opening Weekend, but it turns out most of those were not followed up the second time through the order. Let’s take it team by team, starting with Lansing this time, and see what’s in need of some spotlight.
Lansing
The biggest story here is still the three-headed offensive monster leading the Lugnuts. Infielder Otto Lopez is hitting .333 with a .911 OBP and two teammates are doing better than he is. Rising star catcher Alejadro Kirk is at 1.147 and last year’s first rounder Jordan Groshans sits at 1.029, and what’s more two out of the three have more walks than strikeouts so far. Of course it’s early but if you’re watching the Nuts you make sure not to be off to the restroom when these guys are up. Also worthy of a hat-tip are unheralded relievers Jackson Rees and Connor Law. In 7 IP, and 6 respectively, each has a single walk and double figure K’s.
Dunedin
You can’ …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation