As summer nears, Matt Chapman’s power should soon re-emerge

This season, offence is alarming down across Major League Baseball and unfortunately, third baseman Matt Chapman has been affected like so many others. But as the warmer months arrive, there’s hope he’ll enjoy improved success down the road.
Since arriving to the Toronto Blue Jays this past spring, though, everyone’s been waiting patiently for Chapman’s offence to showcase itself, but that’s yet to happen early on. He’s provided excellent defence at the hot corner, which was to be expected, although his bat hasn’t caught up to his glove thus far.
In 36 games, the 29-year-old is hitting .185/.266/.371 along with six home runs and 16 RBIs through 139 plate appearances. These certainly aren’t the offensive results Toronto’s front office had envisioned when they acquired the 2019 All-Star from the Oakland Athletics back in March.
What’s worse is that Chapman’s slugging has been essentially non-existent up to this point. After finishing with career-worsts in slugging percentage (.403) and isolated power (.193) last season, he’s currently carrying a problematic .371 SLG and a .185 ISO in 2022.
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY SportsDuring his tenure in Oakland, however, the right-hander was widely known for his power and served as a prominent threat within the middle of his former club’s batting order. Despite struggling to do so in his final season with the organization, he had been one of the top slugging third basemen in the sport from 2018-2020.
In that span, Chapman recorded the fifth-highest ISO (.251) and wRC+ score (130), the seventh-highest SLG (.510) and the seventh-most home runs (70) among all qualified third basemen, according to FanGraphs.com. Paired with his award-winning defence, this placed him as one of the elite performers in the majors at the time.
Since then, the former first-round selection has struggled mightily to replicate those stellar results. Or at least, that’s what his traditional results are showing. In actuality, some of his underlying metrics suggest he should be performing much better than he is.
While Chapman’s SL …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

The top ten Leafs players Instagram accounts, and the absolute worst one

This is going to be fun.
As we slow down to the dog days of the regular season, content becomes scarce. So, for today, we’re going to look through ten Maple Leafs players Instagram accounts and see who’s got the best-looking IG feed.
I will judge each account by aesthetic look, meaning that their Instagram feed has to look sharp for them to place lower in the standings. Whether it’s family photos, hockey photos, landscape, friends, or animal photos, all of it will be seriously judged.
If it ain’t looking good, then you will be crowned as the “absolute worst one”, courtesy of our Managing Editor, Jon Steitzer.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Disclaimer: This is all in good fun and I’m not taking any real jabs at any of the players. Think of it as satire.
10. Ilya Mikheyev

Mikheyev’s Instagram feed is top notch when you look at the dog in his second-most recent photo. His ad game is also quite strong with the Campbell’s Soup ad further below.
I think he would be much lower on the list if he had smiled in his third picture with his dog and wife. It was on Valentine’s Day, Ilya, you gotta smile.
Other than that, though, a very good feed and one that made me smile (because of his dog).
9. Pierre Engvall

Engvall’s Instagram feed offers a variety of pictures, including one of him cooking further down.
The Swede’s mixture of hockey, friends and family, style, and muscle photos makes for a pretty good feed. If he had a dog, it would make for a much nicer account.
His Calder Cup photo with Carl Grundstrum and Dmytro Timashov puts his feed over the top and allows him to make the top-10.
8. Jack Campbell

I would like to apologize to everyone for placing Campbell outside of the top-five. TLN’s Managing Editor Jon Steitzer actually thought this was the best feed all because of the birthday cat photo.
If I was more of a cat person than dog person, I would’ve liked it too.
His family photo at the All-Star Game in Las Vegas is a nice touch. I believe the downfall to his feed is him shaking a man’s hand in the middle of the second row. It’s a car ad, but I wou …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

It’s time we Start Appreciating Reese McGuire

It’s time we sit down and talk about Reese McGuire

I’ve written a few articles about Reese McGuire, one about him and Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP), as well as one about the catching situation and Reese’s heater after being recalled. However, I’ve never gone into detail about how valuable McGuire could be to this team.
Just a side note, I won’t be making any jokes about the incident that happened pre-pandemic. They aren’t funny. 
Before becoming a Jay
McGuire was drafted in the first round, with the 14th overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Drafted out of high school, the potential was evident in the Washington born catcher.
According to his pre-draft bio, defense was always Reese’s speciality, as he excelled at calling games, receiving and blocking. Not just that, but he also had fantastic arm strength, which we can see to this date.
The one question surrounding the young player was his hitting. Here is the ending to his bio on Baseball America.
“Even if [McGuire] doesn’t reach his offensive ceiling, McGuire’s defense will allow him to be a big league back, but if he hits he has all-star potential.”
Prior to the trade to the Jays, Reese was highly regarded as a prospect by both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America. Here is a table that shows his ranking between 2014-2016.
Year
MLB Pipeline
Baseball America
2014
7
8
2015
5
5
2016
5
6
On August 1st, 2016, the Blue Jays traded the struggling Drew Hutchison for McGuire, Francisco Liriano and fellow prospect, Harold Ramirez.
Reese’s bat:
Despite Reese’s bat being hot at certain points, he isn’t known for being a hitter. It’s important to realize that catchers aren’t expected to produce, even if the Jays have Kirk an …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Timberwolves Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Feb. 16

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Timberwolves Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Feb. 16

The Toronto Raptors have crashed back down to earth in alarming fashion, as their eight-game winning streak was followed by a tough loss against the Nuggets and an embarrassing 30-point blowout at the hands of the Pelicans. The latest Raptors odds suggest that a third straight loss might be in order. Nick Nurse has a […]
Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Timberwolves Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Feb. 16 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Sandin’s injury provides Holl one last chance to show he belongs on the Leafs’ blueline

When I sat down to write about the underwhelming year from Justin Holl on Sunday afternoon, I certainly didn’t anticipate that we could very well be looking at the end of Rasmus Sandin for the season. That certainly fell into the less than ideal category and one that runs counter to the premise of this post which about the need to move on from Justin Holl. Luckily for the purpose of not completely trashing the post and more importantly Rasmus Sandin’s health, it looks like it will only be a two to three week window that Sandin will be out. This new scenario really fits with a lot of the recent articles that about the Holl trade speculation that caution against giving up defensive depth. While the situation has changed, Holl’s performance still leaves a lot to be desired, so while I might have initially been calling for it being time to move on from Holl, instead this seems like chance to turn things around.
A few years back the Leafs took a chance on a former second round pick whose career had sent him on a path to the ECHL.
Things went well on the Marlies, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs five-game winning streak comes to an end as they lose to the Wild in a shootout

After displaying a beat down on the scoreboard against the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs were back on the road to begin a mini road trip in Minnesota to take on the Wild and finish it off tomorrow night in Winnipeg to play the Jets.  Before puck drop, news dropped that Morgan Rielly and Ondrej Kase, who were both game-time decisions, were out for warmups and will indeed play against Minneosta. However, Mitch Marner, who was also a game-time decision, was not out for warmups and he did not end up playing in tonight’s game. Joey Anderson slotted into the lineup for Marner and played on the fourth line, while Wayne Simmonds got promoted to the first line.
The first period started pretty slow for the Maple Leafs with the Wild generating the majority of the scoring chances through the first 10 minutes of play. They didn’t end up getting their first shot on goal until almost halfway through the period with a sharp-angle shot from Pierre Engvall. As the period went on the pace started to pick up a bit as both teams exchanged chances and then Simmonds and Foligno dropped the gloves right in …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Leafs place Kirill Semyonov on unconditional waivers for buyout

After bouncing up and down from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies, it looks like Kirill Semyonov’s time with the organization is finished.

Kirill Semyonov is on unconditional waivers for the purpose of contract termination. https://t.co/qCteTNtORe
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) December 1, 2021

The 27-year-old came to the NHL for the first time after spending his entire career in Russia. During his time in North America, he played three games with the Leafs where he didn’t register a point. Semyonov played in nine games with the Marlies, where he had nine points.

According to @MatchTV Kirill Semyonov is coming back to @hcavangardomsk in #KHL. https://t.co/JRGLWE3ulO
— KHL TALK (@vorkywh24) December 1, 2021

It’s not known yet as to why this move was made, but it looks like he’s headed back to Russia.

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Grizzlies Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Nov. 24

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Grizzlies Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Nov. 24

The Toronto Raptors continue to slide down the standings of late, as they have cooled off significantly following a hot start. After getting dismantled by the Warriors, the most recent Raptors odds suggest that they will be in for another difficult game against a young team down in Tennessee. Toronto will have to lock horns […]
Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Grizzlies Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Nov. 24 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Report from the Rink: My first night as a hockey reporter

My heart was pounding the entire drive down the Conception Bay Highway. I was so wracked with nervous energy that I thought I was going to be sick. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think I was on my way to play a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals, or my first ever NHL game, that’s how anxious I was.
But I wasn’t driving 23 kilometres down a countryside highway to play an important hockey game. In fact, the stakes of the day were so low that I felt kind of foolish afterwards for being such a mess at the outset. I was on my way to CBS Arena, just outside of St. John’s, Newfoundland, to cover the Newfoundland Growlers home opener, my first time in the press box as a credentialed hockey reporter. A moment that was over two-and-a-half years in the making, ever since hockey saved my life.
This is the story of how that happened.
Full disclosure here, I was extremely drunk the first time I ever thought about reporting on hockey as a career. It was a Saturday night in February 2019, I was 25 years old and even though the Leafs were …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 1 stud and 1 dud from loss against Mavericks

Toronto Raptors: 1 stud and 1 dud from loss against Mavericks

If the Toronto Raptors were going to take down Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night, they needed stars like Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby to carry the load on offense and bench players like Goran Dragic and Chris Boucher to supplement them in spurts. Unfortunately, Toronto’s 16-2 run to start the game […]
Toronto Raptors: 1 stud and 1 dud from loss against Mavericks – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ