Another bullpen meltdown results in the Blue Jays splitting the two-game series in Philly

Last night’s game was exciting in its own way. The Blue Jays and the Phillies combined for 29 runs, Jackie Bradley Jr. homered, and position players pitched. Tonight, it was a pitcher’s duel for seven innings, followed by the Blue Jays blowing a late 3-0 lead.

Unfortunately, Philadelphia ended up winning tonight’s contest 4-3, as Matt Vierling capped off a 5-for-5 night with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning. Jordan Romano blew his second consecutive save, the first time in his career that that has happened, and Yimi Garcia continued to show some concerning signs as the bullpen couldn’t back up a great start from Kevin Gausman.

Blue Jays bullpen: Last 6 games
ERA 8.51Opponents AVG .306WHIP 1.81
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) September 22, 2022

So, how did we get there?
The game seemed in hand in the 8th inning for the Blue Jays, as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. smoked a 3-run home run off of Phillies reliever Seranthony Dominguez to give Toronto a 3-0 lead. No one had scored through the first seven innings of the game, but Guerrero Jr. quickly ended that trend with his 30th home run, now only 12 RBIs shy of a 30-100 season. Guerrero also drove his hitting streak to 14 games, amidst what most would call a “slump” considering how much he is hitting the ball on the ground.
If you’re in for a good laugh, Guerrero absolutely deflated the emotions of the Phillies’ broadcasters with that home run…

“Oh man.” pic.twitter.com/glLtSbZOta
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) September 22, 2022

The …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

Nicolas Aube-Kubel brings a different kind of intensity to the Maple Leafs lineup

Over the last few seasons, the Maple Leafs’ fourth line has featured grit and skill over everything else, but that’s about to change a little bit with the addition of Nicolas Aube-Kubel.
He began the 2021-22 campaign with the Philadelphia Flyers, being in the organization since being drafted by them back in 2014. The 26-year-old spent four seasons in the NHL on the Flyers, leaving the organization with 50 points in 169 games.
Aube-Kubel was placed on waivers back in November by Philadelphia — only seven games into the 2021 season. 24 hours later, he was a part of the Colorado Avalanche, and well, the rest is history.
He won the Stanley Cup, dropped the Stanley Cup, and then signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Maple Leafs. Everything you’d want in a player, right?
The 26-year-old, in 67 games with the Avalanche, was able to put up 22 points before the regular season came to a close. But his impact doesn’t come from being on the score sheet — it’s from his commitment to being a very difficult player to go up …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Alek Manoah went into Ace Mode on Wednesday

After the Orioles beat the Blue Jays last night, the Sportsnet cameras panned to Alek Manoah sitting in the Blue Jays dugout right after the game. He was starting at the Orioles, watching them celebrate a win. One could only imagine that Manoah was plotting how much he wanted to dominate the Orioles for his start against them on Wednesday night.

Manoah delivered, as he pitched eight innings, only allowing three hits, one run, one walk, and five strikeouts. He allowed the one run in the first inning, but he was almost flawless after that. Manoah retired 14 batters in a row after the Ryan Mountcastle RBI, and he only gave up one hit between innings 2 through 8.
Manoah was the perfect candidate to pitch tonight’s game, after last night featured several dramatic events and the Blue Jays needing a rebound win. He earned his team-leading 14th win of the season, and lowered his ERA to 2.42.
The defense behind him was good as well, including a spectacular play in the bottom of the 3rd by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Adley Rutschman grounded to Guerrero at first, but it threw him off the bag enough for Manoah to cover him at first base. Guerrero flipped the ball behind his back to Manoah at first to complete the out with ease, leading Manoah to shout “That was f*****g sick” at Vladd …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays Nation 2022 Mid-Season Prospect Countdown: 10-1

The last article in the series, featuring players ranked 10th to 1st!

Here are all the other articles and if you want to do the countdown the right way, you can click the article title below to read them first.
Blue Jays Nation 2022 Mid-Season Prospect Countdown: The Players Who Just Missed The Top 60 List
Blue Jays Nation 2022 Mid-Season Prospect Countdown: 60-51
Blue Jays Nation 2022 Mid Season Prospect Countdown: 50-41
Blue Jays Nation 2022 Mid Season Prospect Countdown: 40-31
Blue Jays Nation 2022 Mid Season Prospect Countdown: 30-21
Blue Jays Nation 2022 Mid-Season Prospect Countdown: 20-11
As in each of those articles, I’ll be using clips of players in High A, Double A, and Triple A throughout the series of articles. For players in Dunedin, I’ll be using exit velocities numbers, pitching velocity as well as clips from the three series on MiLB TV.
For players in the Rookie Leagues (Florida Complex League and Dominican Summer League), we’ll strictly be using the season numbers. Furthermore, the year is done for those individuals.
Also, the most important aspect to me when evaluating players is their statistics, as it quantifies what players do with the tools. Afterward, their ceiling/floor is important, while proximity to the MLB matters for some, especially closer to 60.
Starting with our tenth best prospect.
#10 Yosver Zulueta:
This one may be surprising to you, but while I think Yosver Zulueta could be a mid-rotation starter or a high-leverage reliever, there are some issues that push me away from placing him higher up in this article.
Signed in 2019, Zulueta missed 2020 due to COVID (and Tommy John) and 2021 due to an ACL tear.

Zulueta just fanned his first runner throwing…
100 mph!!!!!!#BlueJays #NextLevel pic.twitter.com/RjpNT5v6Jl
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) July 7, 2022

The 24-year-old started his first full professional season with the Dunedin Blue Jays, posting a 3 ERA and a 1.41 FIP in 12 innings pitched. He had an incredibly high 45.1 K% in those 12 innings while limiting walks to 5.9%.
He was promoted to High A Vancouver, where he posted a 3.80 ERA and 3.37 FIP in 23.2 innings pitched. Zulueta’s K% dropped to 30.4, while his BB% increased to 10.8, a worrisome sign as he started to pitch against players his age.

Zulueta has a pretty nasty slider as well.
K thread.#BlueJays #NextLevel pic.twitter.com/neNOJCuYiK
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) July 24, 2022

Zulueta continued to rise up the levels of the minor leagues, as he pitched 10.1 innings with the Double A Fishe …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

How Bowden Francis’ developed curveball has made him an intriguing bullpen option for the Blue Jays

Remember last season when the Blue Jays bullpen was really crappy?

We think we have it bad now, but the early season 2021 Blue Jays were a pain to watch once the starter was removed from the game.
To remedy this, the Jays traded first baseman Rowdy Tellez for reliever Trevor Richards, as well as a Triple A prospect. Now you may say, wow that trade really sucks as Richards has a 5.27 ERA and 5.11 FIP in 42.2 innings pitched. Not just that, but Tellez has gone on to have some success in 2022, posting a 117 wRC+ with 22 homers in 405 plate appearances.
While that may be the case in 2022, it cannot be understated how important Richards was to stabilizing the Jays bullpen in 2021 as he posted a 3.31 ERA and 4.61 FIP in 32.2 innings pitched.
However, this article isn’t going to focus on the trade and how it’s played about. This article will focus on how Bowden Francis has emerged as a legit bullpen option a year and a bit later.
Let’s dig into Francis’ stats:
For the 2021 season, Francis pitched as a starter. He posted a 4.19 ERA and 5.65 FIP in 73 innings pitched with the Buffalo Bisons. Prior to the trade, he had pitched with the Brewers Triple A team, posting a 3.49 ERA and a 3.78 FIP in 38.2 innings pitched. Not fantastic numbers, but solid enough.
Here’s a spoiler alert for the 2022 season: his numbers are utter crap. …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays take series behind a strong start from Jose Berrios

Like Cam said on the podcast last Thursday, the Blue Jays have been getting extremely consistent starts from Jose Berrios. The Jays got another one from Berrios on Sunday afternoon, heavily contributing to a 4-1 win over Detroit. With that win, Toronto took the series, and are now 7-2 since the All-Star break.
Berrios went 7 innings, giving up only 3 hits, one run, one walk, and striking out six. His only blemish was a 4th inning home run by Javier Baez, which honestly turned out to be predictable; in his 1st inning at-bat, Baez hit three consecutive pitches to deep left field. All three were literally just foul, inches from being homers. Berrios eventually walked Baez in that at-bat, but he got Berrios back with a solo shot later on. It also just so happens to be that Berrios is Baez’ brother-in-law. Baseball is incredible sometimes.
Berrios fought through an inconsistent strike zone, and only needed 80 pitches to get through his outing. With this start, Berrios dipped his ERA down to 4.96. It’s the first time his ERA has been below 5.00 since June 15th.
Today‘s scoring was started by Matt Chapman, who has been on an absolute heater the last several weeks. Chapman hit a 2-run h …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

Scottie Barnes reacts to Raptors signing Juancho Hernangomez

Scottie Barnes reacts to Raptors signing Juancho Hernangomez

The Toronto Raptors brought in one last running mate for Scottie Barnes and the rest of the lineup, as Juancho Hernangomez was added to the squad thanks to a one-year contract. Fresh off becoming the league’s resident thespian for his role in “Hustle” as Bo Cruz, he’s quickly become a household name. While his play […]
Scottie Barnes reacts to Raptors signing Juancho Hernangomez – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

2022 TLN Prospect Rankings: #18 Veeti Miettinen

This time last year, Veeti Miettinen was on an upward trajectory following a strong freshman season in the NCAA.
Less than a year removed from being a sixth-round pick for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Miettinen tied for the most points on St. Cloud State, won Rookie of the Year and landed on the Second All-Star Team in his NCAA conference, and rose from an honourable mention on the TLN Prospect Rankings all the way up to 12th.
One year later, Miettinen drops six positions on the TLN Prospect Rankings after an uninspiring sophomore season. A stagnant offensive year with a lack of progression in the deficiencies in his game has cooled some of the Miettinen hype, but there are still skills to get excited about.
Veeti Miettinen
LW | St. Cloud State (NCHC) | Age: 20 | 5-foot-9 | 160 lbs | Shoots: LAcquired: 2020 6th Round, 168th Overall | 2021 Ranking: 12th
On the surface, it would appear that Veeti Miettinen had a similar season to his freshman year. He scored 10 goals and 23 points in 37 games as a sophomore, compared to 11 goals and 24 points in 31 games as a freshman. His scoring rate took a slight dip, but nothing overly drastic?

For starters, St. Cloud State took a slight step offensively, going from 3.26 goals …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Winners and Losers after Raptors sign Juancho Hernangomez

Winners and Losers after Raptors sign Juancho Hernangomez

The Toronto Raptors got in one last free agent signing at the eleventh hour before training camp starts. Juancho Hernangomez, who is known for his role in Adam Sandler’s “Hustle” as Bo Cruz, signed with Toronto on a one-year contract after spending 2021-22 with the Utah Jazz. Hernangomez is likely going to compete for a […]
Winners and Losers after Raptors sign Juancho Hernangomez – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

MLB Draft Day 3, live article – Blue Jays selections, analysis and more!

This is the last day of our three day Christmas in July.
 
Rounds 11 through 20 is taking place today, and it’s my favourite day. To be truthful, I’m a sucker for those late round pickups that turn into top prospects for the organization. There’s a story to tell about them, such as Damiano Palmegiani who was picked in the 14th round in 2021.
Or take Spencer Horwitz for example, a lefty first baseman chosen in the 24th round. That round doesn’t even exist anymore, yet the 24-year-old has become one of the better prospects in the organization in my opinion.
If you missed the first day draft, here are the links for each of their four picks from that day:
The Toronto Blue Jays select Brandon Barriera with the 23rd overall pick
The Toronto Blue Jays select Josh Kasevich with the 60th overall pick
The Toronto Blue Jays select Tucker Toman with the 77th overall pick
The Toronto Blue Jays select Cade Doughty with the 78th overall pick
Yesterday, the Jays had seven selections in rounds 3 through 10, which you could read more about here:
MLB Draft Day 2, live article – Blue Jays selections, analysis, and more!
I think the Jays did a pretty good job picking up prospects with upside. My two favourite selections were Alan Roden and Peyton Williams.
Alan Roden is a 22-year-old corner outfielder and first baseman. He is a contact hitter with only eight strikeouts and 29 walks in 242 plate appearances. He has excellent exit velocities and could hit around 20 homers if all goes right. Not just that, but he’s a left-handed batter, something the Jays desperately need. I could see him starting his pro career in Dunedin, but a High A start seems likely either this season or next.
Peyton Williams is a 6’5, 255 lb first baseman. Slugger? Surprisingly no. While he hits dingers and has incredible exit velocities, some of the best in the draft, he is a line drive hitter with a spray approach. In his collegiate career with the University of Iowa, he has 77 walks and 83 strikeouts in 492 plate appearance …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation