Checking in on Blue Jays players playing in the Dominican Winter League

The great thing about baseball is that it’s a year round sport, even if Major League Baseball ends in a week.

The Dominican Winter League (LIDOM) and Mexican Pacific Winter League are in full swing now, so how are Jays players doing for their respective teams? Let’s look at a former top 100 prospect to begin.
Nate Pearson:
After pitching in the big leagues in 2020 and 2021, Nate Pearson missed all of the 2022 season. First by contracting mononucleosis, then suffering a lat strain in a rehab game. The story of his career thus far has been injuries, but unlucky injuries. No better example of this than getting hit with a comebacker at the start of the 2018 minor league season, which broke his ulna (forearm).
To get innings, Pearson headed to the Dominican Republic to play for the Tigres de Licey. In his five innings, he hasn’t allowed an earned run, while owning a 25 K% and a 6.25 BB%. Pearson has been used mainly as a high-leverage reliever which is a good sign.
I think as the years go by, his ceiling leans more toward a high-leverage reliever, rather than a starter or a bulk reliever. Although some may argue that Pearson becoming a reliever may “lessen” his value, having a guy throwing 100 mph out of the bullpen is super important.
It will be interesting to see the organization’s plan for the 26-year-old righty heading into his eighth season with the team.
Rainer Nunez:
Rainer Nunez is the only other Blue …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays celebrate playoff clinch with 9-0 pounding of the Red Sox

While it was great that the Blue Jays clinched a playoff spot, it certainly didn’t feel like it considering that their “clinching game” was in the hands of the Baltimore Orioles on an off day for Toronto. The only move that would’ve made it better is if they opened up their series with the Red Sox on Friday night with a dominant win.

With Alek Manoah on the mound and three home runs from Blue Jays batters, Toronto smoked the Red Sox 9-0. Manoah threw six shutout innings and only allowed two hits – one being an infield single, and the other a broken bat single. With that outing, Manoah’s ERA is down to 2.24, fourth amongst all qualified MLB pitchers.

It might be time for everyone to put some more respect on the name Alek Manoah pic.twitter.com/GsadOvrUwS
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) October 1, 2022

The Blue Jays, who announced before the game that they would have their clinching celebration tonight, had lined Manoah up to pitch the final game of the season if that game had implications on the possibility of hosting their Wild Card series. With tonight’s win, the odds of Toronto hosting that series got even better, so it’d be nice if they could simply rest Manoah until Game 1, and maybe use Yusei Kikuchi to start Game 162.
Speaking of Kikuchi, he earned his first career save, pitching the final three innings of tonight’s game. He recorded five strikeouts versus only one walk and one hit in what was his best relief outing as a Blue Jay. Amidst the season he has had, it was just a good feeling watching him cruise through the Red Sox order.
Now for the offense. All nine starters recorded a hit, including Raimel Tapia and Whit Merrifield posting mu …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

Could past chemistry yield current success on the Leafs 4th line?

Could past chemistry yield current success on the Leafs 4th line?

What makes a great forward line? Regardless of which line it is, chemistry is imperative. Understanding strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies will certainly lead to a higher chance of successfully contributing.
It’s difficult to learn these things in training camp, with multiple line combinations being assessed, and players being thrown into different groups, on different wings, and in different scenarios.
Perhaps familiarity is where a coaching staff should start. It’s why we shall see Bunting-Matthews-Marner to start the year. Below them, there are question marks. John Tavares will miss the Leafs opener, which leaves only Nylander as an obvious 2nd liner. Engvall will also miss the opener, leaving yet another hole up front.
Looking at the rest of the forward group, there doesn’t appear to be much familiarity. Kampf is a lock at centre, and the remaining wingers haven’t spent much time, if any, on his line. Dig a little deeper, however, and you might find a couple of new Leafs that have in fact played together.
Zach Aston Reese (ZAR), who is currently on a PTO, went undrafted before attending Northeastern University and played 4 years for the Huskies. During his time in the NCAA, he made the Hockey East All-Star team twice (one 1st Team, and one 2nd Team). He was a Hobey Baker nominee (the most outstanding NCAA Division 1 player), and was voted Hockey East Player of the Year in his senior season.
That same season, Adam Gaudette made the Hockey East All-Star 3rd team and was beginning to forge his own path in the NCAA a …

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Author: Bennett Jull / The Leafs Nation

3 biggest worries Raptors fans might have in 2022-23 season

3 biggest worries Raptors fans might have in 2022-23 season

The vibes around the Toronto Raptors are generally great at this point in time. The team basically brought back the entire rotation after winning 48 games last season. All-Star point guard Fred VanVleet promises to form another unstoppable tandem with All-NBA forward Pascal Siakam. The Raptors have built themselves into one of the most difficult […]
3 biggest worries Raptors fans might have in 2022-23 season – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Blue Jays are now seven games up on Baltimore after another 6-3 win over the O’s

The Orioles have been a great story this year, and they’ve been a pain in the side of the Blue Jays, who are looking to establish themselves down the stretch in the playoff race. Now, it looks like Toronto has found their stride against their AL East rival, as they have now won six of their last seven games against Baltimore.

Raimel Tapia and George Springer combined for a pair of big hits leading the Blue Jays to a 6-3 win over the Orioles on Saturday afternoon. Jose Berrios earned his 11th win of the season, as well as his third straight quality start for the month of September.
The day started off with a bang, as Tapia made a leaping catch against the left field wall to rob Cedric Mullins of an extra-base hit to lead off the game. Tapia, who has logged more innings in the outfield due to the injury of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., even gave a Dikembe Mutombo-esque finger wag after the catch, as if to say “Don’t hit it this way.”

Raimel Tapia…
Wearing red Climbing walls Made a web gem
Spider-Man? pic.twitter.com/ue44w7xwmR
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 17, 2022

For the second consecutive game, Matt Chapman got the Blue Jays on the board first. Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. each singled to start the bottom of the 1st. Bo Bichette grounded into a fielder’s choice to advance Springer to third, with Bichette hustling to first to stay out of a double play. Chapman followed by hitting a sac fly to center field, scoring Springer. The Blue Jays’ lack of ability to score runs with runners in scoring position has been a frustrating thing for fans to watch all season, so it was good to see the Blue Jays get baserunners into scoring position and get them home.
Santiago Espinal and Cavan Biggio led off the second inning with single each, opening the door for Springer to drive them both in with a 2-run double.
Berrios let the Orioles back into the …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation