Breaking down the evolution of Kevin Gausman’s elite splitter

After falling short in each of the last two off-seasons, the Toronto Blue Jays finally landed their prized possession earlier this winter when they acquired starter Kevin Gausman, who featured one of the top pitches in the sport during the 2021 campaign.
Coming off the best statistical performance of his career, where he posted career bests in innings pitched (192.0), ERA (2.81), xERA (3.55), FIP (3.00), OPP AVG (.208) and fWAR (4.8), Gausman – who accepted his qualifying offer last winter –  reached free agency and ultimately agreed to a five-year, $110-million contract with the Blue Jays.
Putting his all-star showing into perspective with the rest of the majors, though the 6’2″ hurler finished sixth in voting for the 2021 National League Cy Young Award, he still proved to be one of the top-performing starters amongst the competition. In turn, the 30-year-old’s 4.8 fWAR rating finished eighth highest among all qualified starting pitchers, according to FanGraphs.com.
One of the biggest factors that led to Gausman’s remarkable 2021 season was the success of his mid-80s splitter, which dominated opposing batters on both sides of the dish all year long.
It didn’t matter if a left-hander or right-hander was at the plate, his devasting off-speed offering was extremely effective …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Did losing to Montreal wake up Toronto like getting swept woke up Tampa?

A couple years spent falling short of expectations, an embarrassing first round loss, an abysmal start to the new season, and then suddenly becoming the NHL’s hottest team. It’s a sequence of events both the 2021/2022 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 2019/2020 Tampa Bay Lightning took that got fans excited that this year may be different. For Tampa Bay, that sequence ended with the Lightning winning their second ever Stanley Cup, and then repeating as champions the following season. For Toronto, the end result is still waiting to be seen.
It’s hard not to notice the parallels between the path that these two teams took after one of the most embarrassing first round exits in franchise history. Much like how Toronto entered last season’s matchup against Montreal as heavy favourites, Tampa Bay was expected to walk all over Columbus during the 2019 playoffs. Instead, the Lightning were not only swept by the lowly eight seed but were absolutely dominated in the process, getting outscored 19-8.
The next season, the question on everyone’s mind was how Tampa Bay would redeem themselves after a monumental choke that was only made worse by one of the most mocked social media posts …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 5 positive takeaways from the 2020-21 Season

Toronto Raptors: 5 positive takeaways from the 2020-21 Season

With the Toronto Raptors falling in the conference standings and no turnaround in sight, maybe it’s time to call it quits on what has been a somewhat depressing season of Raptors basketball. Not that there’s anyone at fault here. The bulk of the 2020-21 roster had career-best seasons this year, to go along with another […]
Toronto Raptors: 5 positive takeaways from the 2020-21 Season – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Chris Boucher follows up historic night with awesome quote about his play

Toronto Raptors: Chris Boucher follows up historic night with awesome quote about his play

The Toronto Raptors falling to the Chicago Bulls last night by a 122-113 scoreline was expected, as the Raptors were down to just eight healthy players due to injuries, COVID-19 protocols, and suspensions. The only player who earned his game check last night was big man Chris Boucher, who had the best game of his […]
Toronto Raptors: Chris Boucher follows up historic night with awesome quote about his play – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Latest buzz says Raptors interested in Canadian big Tristan Thompson

Toronto Raptors: Latest buzz says Raptors interested in Canadian big Tristan Thompson

The Toronto Raptors are on the verge of falling completely out of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, leaving it up to Masai Ujiri to improve this team before they completely collapse. Given the need for a big man, Boston Celtics center Tristan Thompson, who spent nearly a decade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, could […]
Toronto Raptors: Latest buzz says Raptors interested in Canadian big Tristan Thompson – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors look for more in Game 2 vs. the Magic: Preview, start time, and more

After falling on their home court, the Raptors look to avoid travelling to Orlando down 0-2 in their first round series of the 2019 NBA Playoffs. On Saturday at around 8pm, I pondered the meaning of life. In the grand scheme of things, does anything truly matter? If everything is predetermined, has Toronto been cursed with ineluctable basketball-related misery? Why must the team I hold so dearly to my heart insist on losing so many game ones? Perhaps my allegiance to the Raptors is dependent on believing in something that, despite major roster changes and regular season success, can never be achieved.
Nearly 48 hours later, I’ve managed to calm down. (Inside tip: deep breaths, meditation, and copious amounts of Smashing Pumpkins can cure even the most severe ailments.) Perhaps against my better judgement, I decided to look on the bright side — I implore you all to do the same. Kyle Lowry isn’t going to go scoreless every game. More than likely, D.J. Augustin isn’t going to score 25 points on 69 percent (not-nice) shooting again. Kawhi Leonard is going to play more than 33 minutes.
Say it with me: we’re going to be okay. That feels oddly therapeutic, if …

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Author: Dylan Litman / Raptors HQ