TLN Predicts what the season will look like for Leafs players

Yesterday we gave you some team and league wide predictions, now as we inch closer to the start of the season I feel you can properly handle our predictions for the Leafs players.

Thought we’d start the group off with an easy one, and while Matthews expectedly did numbers here, it’s hard to argue that the other four couldn’t push for their chance at the title as well. Well maybe Brodie’s a stretch, but he’s also one hell of a defenseman and it’s nice to see the blueline get some love here.

Good chance that we were filling out the prediction questionnaire while watching a preseason game. And for full disclosure, yours truly forgot to put Kase on the drop down list, so those were two write-ins for Kase. Maybe he could have pushed Bunting harder if I was on my game. It’s the preseason for all of us.

Unlucky Pierre didn’t receive a lot of love here. Mikheyev and his rumoured trade request probably helped his case as well, and as for Liljegren, I want the TLN crew to know it wasn’t me this time who suggested Liljegren be traded, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is peaking at the perfect time of the season

Since making his Major League debut in 2018, generating consistent offensive results has been one of the biggest areas of concern for outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., however, that certainly hasn’t been the case for him recently.
While the 27-year-old displayed flashes of his potential throughout the first half of this season, maintaining his offensive production over an extended period remained a key issue, which largely prevented the bottom third of the Toronto Blue Jays’ lineup from making a significant impact. As a result, the offence struggled to turn over the batting order at times, limiting the number of scoring opportunities for the top half of the lineup.
Though this offence experienced its worst slump of the season during the middle of August, they’ve done an excellent job at recovering since then, and while accomplishing this feat has been a group effort, Gurriel Jr. has been one of the main forces behind this team’s recent hot streak.
Sure, almost every player on the 28-man roster has served a critical role in helping the Blue Jays win 15 of their last 17 games, but from an offensive standpoint, no one has enjoyed a stronger resurgence than the 6’4″ left fielder. Despite still …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Should the NHL abolish the dress code?

The NHL is a dress code league, but it’s time for a change.
Hockey has always been a sport where you dress nice walking into the rink. It started at the NHL level and has trended all the way down to children’s rep teams. Many people believe that if you show up to the rink donning a slick suit, you will have more success on the ice.
It’s similar to the rule that Lou Lamoriello has regarding beards — if you wake up and shave every day, it means you’re ready to work. While I agree with that, there’s a fine line between thinking that’s true and having that work mentality already.
Don’t get me wrong, the now-Islanders GM is a Stanley Cup Champion and you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. However, times are changing, people are changing — hockey is evolving.
Many players within the NHL are known to not show much personality, whether that’s in the way they dress, how they talk to the media or how they carry themselves on the ice. If the league wants to grow in areas that the NFL and NBA do, they …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Handing out Summer League superlatives

Toronto Raptors: Handing out Summer League superlatives

The Toronto Raptors performed so well in Summer League play that they made it to the postseason, as their 3-1 record is indicative of a team that had the perfect blend of youth, aggression, and intensity on the defensive end. Having both blown teams out and come from behind, Toronto has looked very sharp. The […]
Toronto Raptors: Handing out Summer League superlatives – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

A Fortnight On The Farm: Volume Seven

As we are all rightly enthralled with the surging major league club, the hottest in the AL over the last 42 games. the farm system continues to churn along adopting to promotions and departures and seeing who holds up during the “dog days of August.”

Complex Teams
The sample size has come up enough that we can begin to somewhat identify trends, surprises, slow starts, and so forth. The DSL team has played 17 games so far which, in the big picture, is still a pretty tiny sample but the best performers here are worth noticing. At the top of the list is 2B Francisco Fajardo. The slender switch-hitter is 21, which is old for the DSL (though that’s harder to gauge after the lost season). But he’s hitting .447 and has five walks and only two strikeouts. It’s mostly a team of names you wouldn’t know, as usual, the one consensus top 20 player here is SS Manuel Beltre who got off to a really slow start but is hitting .500 in August. Among the pitchers here, the best indicator is usually the strikeout ratios and there are four players here with about 16 IP, and 19 or more strikeouts who have walked …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: Malachi Flynn’s scoring steals the show in Summer League

Raptors: Malachi Flynn’s scoring steals the show in Summer League

During the Toronto Raptors’ Summer League debut against the New York Knicks, all eyes were justifiably fixated on No. 4 overall pick Scottie Barnes. While the Florida State alum certainly impressed during his first NBA exhibition game, that shouldn’t overshadow the fact that Malachi Flynn looked like the best player on the floor at times. […]
Raptors: Malachi Flynn’s scoring steals the show in Summer League – 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: Grading Scottie Barnes in his first NBA action

Toronto Raptors: Grading Scottie Barnes in his first NBA action

The beginning of NBA Summer League play means that Toronto Raptors fans were able to get their first glimpse of Scottie Barnes in red and black. The first opponent Barnes locked horns with was the rival New York Knicks, who brought in a solid haul of talent in the 2021 NBA Draft. The Raptors took […]
Toronto Raptors: Grading Scottie Barnes in his first NBA action – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

A Fortnight On The Farm: Volume Six

This is a sort of fascinating time for a minor league check in, particularly with the major league squad considering themselves contenders. Five days remain in which there may be a flurry of trades which will potentially shuffle the situation of some of these teams. Those left standing a week from now may find that promotions are about to ensue (we’ve already seen a few) and the organization will be looking to see who needs a fresh challenge down the stretch.

Buffalo via Trenton (for the last time)
More and more Jays fans, quite rightly, are banging the drum for SS Kevin Smith to be promoted and while you have to give props to Santiago Espinal for his work at 3B, if the Jays are looking to add a bat (Ramirez, if I’m dreaming, or Bryant, Escobar, some such) and fail then a guy who can supplement 3B and had 18 homers in his 66 AAA games on the record already is hard to ignore. I’m assuming he won’t be added to the 40 before the trade deadline (if at all) but if he’s not part of a deal, there will be every reason to get him up …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Building a Sustainable Contender

Without a salary cap in a league, there will always be small markets in a league. Baseball is one of those sports that doesn’t have a salary cap.

Toronto is one of the largest cities in North America and is by no means a small market, yet, the Jays Front Office has used tactics often seen in small-market teams. How did the Jays turn an old team with a barren farm into a team that is a contender with a top-seven farm system in the MLB? Well, the short version is that they used small market tactics to create a sustainable contender.
The beginning
2015 and 2016 were fun. I only started watching baseball a lot around 2014, meaning that my fondest memory of the Jays came in the two following years. Alex Anthopoulos built a team that in all honesty should have won the World Series in 2015. In 2016, Atkins and Shapiro had taken over, but the team’s makeup was largely thanks to AA.
While 2015 and 2016 were nice, AA didn’t leave much for the future. He signed Russell Martin to a bad contract, he traded for a Troy Tulowitzki who was constantly injured as a Blue Jays. These moves helped …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

A Fortnight On The Farm: Mid-Season Edition (Part One, The Draft and Triple-A)

This is the unofficial midway point of the major league season but the literal halfway point for many minor league teams (the recent extension of the schedule and addition of playoffs notwithstanding). It’s a really good time to take a look at the progress so far and what sort of impact that could or should have on prospect rankings and valuations inside and outside the organization.

On Sunday the team added a new Top Prospect to the list in the form of University of Mississippi RHP Gunnar Hoglund, and made me look smart in the process.

I mean, I so seldom get to do this… pic.twitter.com/aDzaEBKElU
— Tammy Rainey WarrenDemocrat (@Tammy_Beth) July 12, 2021

Shi Davidi had this quote after the pick from the Blue Jays scouting director Shane Farrel:
“We saw a little pick up in fastball velocity this year. Combining that with his upper level ability to command the ball to both sides of the plate and throw the slider off the fastball is what really drove us to make the selection.”

Hoglund was originally thought to be in line to be the third college starter selected back before the season when everyone had the Vandy …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation