TLN Prospect #4: Roni Hirvonen makes life difficult for his opponents

Roni Hirvonen is just 20 years old, he’s currently starring for Team Finland at the World Juniors, and yet he already has three seasons of professional hockey under his belt. Maturity has been the name of the game for Hirvonen since his draft year and is a major reason why he became a Liiga regular at just 17 years old.
Coming into the 2021-22 season, Hirvonen was looking to take the next step as a player. While he showed flashes in his DY+1 campaign, particularly at the 2021 World Juniors, he failed to take a notable step offensively and had somewhat stagnated in the Ässät system.
A move to HIFK and a full-time shift to the left wing was just what Roni Hirvonen needed to spark that uptick in performance, bumping him up two spots on the TLN Prospect Rankings and reinforcing the middle-six potential that made him a second-round pick in 2020.
Roni Hirvonen
LW | HIFK (Liiga) | Age: 20 | 5-foot-9 | 172 lbs | Shoots: LAcquired: 2020 Draft, 59th Overall | 2021 Ranking: #6
While beginning his Liiga career with Ässät was a benefit given the ice-time and opportunity to play at the professional level, it showed its negatives in Roni Hirvonen’s DY+1 season. Playing on a team that finished fourth from the bottom of the Liiga standing …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Max Castillo deserves extended opportunity in Blue Jays’ starting rotation

The Toronto Blue Jays are currently enduring their worst stretch of the 2022 season as they’ve lost nine of their previous 10 games, dropping into a tie with the Seattle Mariners for the final wild-card seed.
Things certainly aren’t going their way as of late.
Amid this miserable stretch, there’s been one constant theme: poor starting pitching. Unlike earlier this season, the current state of the club’s starting rotation is in shambles due to Kevin Gausman’s ankle injury and Yusei Kikuchi underperforming and requiring some time off to manage a quote-unquote neck strain.
That’s left two massive voids to fill within Toronto’s pitching staff. Since there isn’t much immediate depth in the minors, the team has been forced to call upon Thomas Hatch and Casey Lawrence to make emergency starts, however, neither pitcher has been effective thus far.
Max Castillo is another hurler that’s received an opportunity in the majors, but surprisingly, he’s displayed some very encouraging signs recently. Granted, the 23-year-old was roughed up in his MLB debut as he allowed a pair of home runs in one inning against the New York Yankees – who nearly signed him out of Venezuela in 2015 before an issue involving his physical blew up the deal.
The right-hander, who ultimate …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation