Fortnight on the Farm: Vol. 1

Let’s be honest, at this point in the season, a little more than two weeks on, we barely have a hint of anything and thus such a recap will necessarily be shallow.
So the format this time will be basically to note what the well-known top prospects are doing and then give you a little list of others who have started off hot and maybe bear keeping an eye on. As the season progresses we’ll see who actually “broke out” and who was just on a minor hot streak.

Triple-A Buffalo Bisons
One second to mourn the fact that I have no reason to write “Thunder Bisons” anymore. Okay, that’s done. The Buffalo roster features four pitchers that are on the 40-man roster plus another guy who’s on most of their Top Prospect lists.  But the latter, Adrian Hernandez, just arrived and there’s no story to tell there yet. Overall, 17 pitchers have logged an out here and nine of them have an ERA under 3.00 with perhaps the most interesting early results coming from non-prospect Jeremy Beasley.
Offensively, of course, it’s the Gabby Moreno show, what with Jordan Groshans and Otto Lopez rehabbing in Dunedin. But in 10 games he’s sitting on good-but-not-great offensive production so there’s not yet the pressure to call him up. The best oth …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Off Day Notes: Multiple unvaccinated Red Sox will miss trip to Toronto, the Yankees’ struggles with the Orioles, and more!

The Blue Jays have a day off today, so let’s take a look around the American League.

The big story today is that the Boston Red Sox have multiple unvaccinated players who won’t be able to join the team as they travel to Toronto next week. As of right now, the only one we know about is pitcher Tanner Houck, who would have been lined up to start next Tuesday for the Red Sox in Toronto.

Cora was asked after an 8-1 win over Minnesota on Sunday if he expected to be missing other players.
“Yeah,” Cora said. He was not asked a follow-up question and then ended the press conference.
Asked earlier about Houck, Cora said: “We knew it beforehand, so we’ll plan accordingly.”

Tanner Houck tells the Globe that he’s not vaccinated against COVID-19. Because of Canada’s vaccine mandate, Houck won’t be able to pitch next Tuesday in Toronto.
“I think it’s a personal choice for everyone whether they get it or not,” Houck said
https://t.co/Jj2tNquABz
— Julian McWilliams (@byJulianMack) April 17, 2022

As an aside, the language here is yet another example of the disingenuous way that the Canada-U.S. border situation is being reported on. It’s always “Canada’s laws are making it so this guy can’t enter the country,” when, in reality, the United States has the same rules when it comes to those who are unvaccinated crossing their border. While this as framed as an advantage to the Blue Jays, they’re still up against the same obstacle, and they’ve had to consider vaccine status when putting together their roster.
Anyways! We know Houck, who has a 3.00 ERA over two starts this season, won’t be joining the Sox in Toronto, but we don’t know who else will be staying behind. But before we get there, we have a three-game series in Boston with the Red Sox to think about.
Yusei Kikuchi …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays Pitchers got Roughed up, but the Minor League Starters had a Great Day

Let’s be real, the game on Sunday sucked. That’s not to say that there weren’t some positives in the Blue Jays organization.

Pitching let the team down against the Rangers. However, there were five minor league pitchers, all but one a starter, who had fantastic days. 
In fact, at one point if you had combined the stat line of the three starters from Triple A, Double A and Low A, their line would have read 10 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 21 K

If you put all minor league starters together (so far)
10 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 21 K#NextLevel #BlueJays
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) April 10, 2022

Nick Allgeyer:
Starting with the highest level, Nick Allgeyer had himself a fine day with Buffalo. The 26-year-old had a line of 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB and 7 K. Allgeyer had a no-hitter heading into the fourth inning before a sharp single ended that bid.
In the fifth, he gave up a homer, the only hard contact he allowed all game. Although he pitched himself a nice game, he was given a no decision as the Bisons offense only scored two.
If there are injuries to pitchers in the starting rotation, there’s a good chance that Allgeyer or Bowden Francis (who pitched Saturday) would be the first minor league starters to be called up.
Allgeyer is a pitcher to keep an eye on, because he could be a back-end of the rotation starter. The leftie’s season ERA sits at 0.82.
Hayden Juenger:
Hayden Juenger is a 21-year-old right handed pitcher. There’s a chance you’ve never heard of him, as he was recently drafted in the 2021 MLB draft. In 2021, he pitched in relief in all 20 innings he pitched in. Juenger had a solid 2.70 ERA in 2021, but his 34 strikeouts to 4 walks was incredible.
Pitching for the Double A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Juenger had a successful first outing, with a line of 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, which is a promising sign for a player that didn’t make my top 20 list. 
Out of his 121.2 innings pitched, or 72 gam …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays embarrass the Rangers in a fun game + key players and minor league news!

God the Texas Rangers are just crap, eh? Let’s dunk on them.

It didn’t start well, Jose Berrios only got one out while allowing four earned runs. There is a part of me that is quite skeptical about the starting pitching.
In fact, let’s be real, we all thought the game was done after the first three innings. Danny Jansen recorded the first hit of the Blue Jays season, but that was quickly erased after a Cavan Biggio double play ball. 
At this point, it was 6-0 with all the momentum on the Rangers side. They added another run off Trent Thornton, who to his credit, righted the ship with his two innings pitched. However, then came the bottom of the fourth.
On the second time around, Jon Gray issued a walk to Springer, a single to Bichette, a single to Vlad which scored Bo, a walk to Teoscar to load the base. With the bases loaded, Lourdes grounded up the middle, but scored a run. Then Kirk hit what looked to be a dinger, but it was a deep fly out to score Vlad.
Stripling shutdown the Rangers in the top of the fifth, which set up the perfect script for the movie. With two outs, Springer was walked, Bichette singled, Vlad singled, scoring Springer. Does this sound familiar? Then came Teoscar Hernandez to the plate and absolutely smashed the ball. 7-7 game.
In the bottom of the sixth, Jansen walked, Sant …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays trade Randal Grichuk to the Rockies for Raimel Tapia and Adrian Pinto

Let’s be honest, who saw this trade coming?

Randal Grichuk has been traded from the Blue Jays to the Rockies for Ramiel Tapia, per source.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) March 24, 2022

It was announced on Thursday afternoon that the Blue Jays have traded Randal Grichuk and cash to the Colorado Rockies for 28-year-old outfielder, Raimel Tapia and 19-year-old Adrian Pinto.
Raimel Tapia:
The Rockies are my second team and while Raimel Tapia doesn’t stand out, the 28-year-old is the perfect fourth outfielder. First and foremost, he fits the Jays need of a left handed batter. While he didn’t hit for power, especially at Coors, his career slash line sits at .280/.325/.721 with an 78 wRC+.
Tapia’s wRC+ should be taken with a grain of salt, as the stat is reliant on ballpark factor, meaning that since the 28-year-old doesn’t hit homers at Coors, it takes a hit.
His 2021 was arguably his best season, as he slashed .274/.327/.699, but drastically improved his walk and strikeout rate. While his 7.5% BB% is his career high, he only struck out 13.1% of his plate appearances, down from his career 18.4%.
He is also a spray hitter, as evident by his career total for batted balls. His pull% sits at 31.4%, up the middle at 37.9% and opposite field at 30.7%. This is one reason the Jays looked at Brett Grander a few days ago.
While his career high in home runs sits at 9 in 2019, he did record his highest stolen base total at 20 during the 2021 season.
Furthermore, Tapia registered a 7 DRS in left field during the 2021 season and has improved over the past two seasons. Interestingly, according to the tweet below, playing left field at Coors is like playing centre field in 90% of bal …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Källgren has been great, but can’t be the goaltending solution for the Leafs

Let’s start with the fact that the Leafs needed Källgren. Fans needed Källgren. Generally, everyone has a lot more hope today than they did yesterday because of Källgren. In his two and a half games as a Leaf, Källgren has allowed just three goals, has a .963 save percentage and given the Leafs two wins and an overtime loss at a time when we thought the Leafs would be leaning into Mrazek’s .884 save percentage until the equally unreliable Jack Campbell returns from his injury.
The fact that Källgren is getting the start again on Saturday against Nashville is great. He certainly looks like the best path to victory for the Leafs, and they are wise to make the most of that. It’s just a matter of how long it can last.
As a new goaltender in the league, Källgren benefits from shooters not knowing him. That’s a concept that Leafs fans should be awfully familiar with considering how often Toronto gets “goalie’d” by AHL netminders and backups.
There’s also the matter of Källgren’s history showing that he’s not a .963 goaltender (surprise, no one is), but he’s also not really a .920 goaltender at either the AHL or SHL level. He was .911 in the SHL last season o …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Should the Jays trade for Matt Chapman?

Let’s start this article off with a fun fact, shall we? A portion of this article, as well as the idea, came from another article I’m working on. 
We all know that I want the Blue Jays to trade for Jose Ramirez, but what about Matt Chapman? The 28-year-old is a solid third baseman, with one of the best gloves at that position as well as power in the bat. Well, my dear reader that’s what this article will be about.

He’s very good defensively:
The current Oakland Athletic, Matt Chapman, is arguably one of the best defenders at third base. In his career, he owns a DRS of 78 in his 4955.2 innings played at the hot corner. Since 2017, he leads both these categories, only being challenged by St. Louis Cardinals third baseman, Nolan Arenado, who sits at 71 DRS. The next best third baseman in terms of DRS is Manny Machado at 28 DRS.
He also leads all qualified third basemen in Ultimate Zone Rating since 2017, as that sits at 47.3 during his career. Nolan Arenado ranks second at 37.1 and then another significant drop off after that.
If you’re not into advanced defensive metrics, his fielding percentage of 97% ranks third for qualified third basemen behind Anthony Rendon (97.8%) and you guessed it, Nolan Arenado (97. …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors’ embarrassing loss to Hornets more than an ASG hangover

Raptors’ embarrassing loss to Hornets more than an ASG hangover

Let’s take a look at the positives after the Toronto Raptors fell in defeat against LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets. Standout rookie Scottie Barnes had a solid game, as his ability to get to the rim was epitomized by him scoring 12 straight Raptors points. Now let’s examine what went wrong. Literally everything else. […]
Raptors’ embarrassing loss to Hornets more than an ASG hangover – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Gary Bettman weighs in on Canadian COVID restrictions

Let’s say that Bettman’s words are never meant for fans of the sport. Bettman’s words are calculated public reassurances to the NHL Board of Governors that he has their backs, and he will protect their investments ahead of his reputation. That’s why, no matter how much none of us want it, Gary Bettman will be the NHL Commissioner for as long as NHL ownership can get away with it. Eventually, Gary will fall on his sword for them, and Bill Daly will continue to maintain their status quo after that. The system works, if you are a billionaire.
It’s largely because of that system that we were given nothing but quick dismissals of the Rocky Wirtz situation and half-truths regarding the Coyotes situation. Instead, time was spent on how the Canadian COVID restrictions are impacting the bottom line.

One thing abundantly clear from Bettman press conference: #NHL (and its clubs) are beyond frustrated with Covid-related restrictions in Canada.
There was a not-saying, just-saying moment about teams potentially moving games to U.S. as well as shifting #NHLDraft from Montreal.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) February 4, 2022

Gary Bettman says #NHL is still projecting revenue “in the $5 billion range” for this season, down from $5.2b projection in December before omicron.
“But I will say it has been devastating for clubs in Canada.”
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) February 4, 2022

If your attitude towards this is “who cares?” I don’t blame you. Bell and Rogers not making as much of the Leafs as they could have won’t keep me up at night. I don’t think Canucks, Oilers, or Senators fans are overly fond of their owners either, and the Canadiens print money at the same rate as the Leafs. They’re doing just fine. Jets fans still shout “True North” for their owners, so maybe they’ll start a gofundme to make up the difference for the games they couldn’t attend, but really, complying with public health guidelines in a pandemic is a strange figh …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Comparing starting rotations in the American League East

Let’s be real here, the lockout sucks. What else is there to do other than pray that the two sides can get together and figure it out?

Well for me, I can start a nice little debate about the best players in the American League East. We’ll start with which AL East team has the best rotation.

Baltimore Orioles:
The Baltimore Orioles are not good. The Bad Birds of the AL East finished the 2021 season with a record of 52-110, which landed them the first overall pick in the 2022 MLB draft. The team’s one bright spot for starting pitching came by means of a starting pitcher named John Means (pun intended). 
The former 11th round pick pitched 146.2 innings and registered an ERA of 3.62 and an ERA+ of 126. Means also registered a FIP of 4.62, so his independent numbers are slightly worse. However, Means had a K/9 of 8.2 with a BB/9 of 1.6, which are solid numbers. The 28-year-old is under Oriole control until the end of the 2024 season.
The Orange Birds also signed 31-year-old Jordan Lyles to a one-year, 7 million dollar contract before the lockout. For the past two seasons, he played for the Texas Rangers and had an ERA of 7.02 in 2020 and 5.15 in 2021. The Orioles are hoping that he regains his 2018/2019 form where he posted a 4.11 ERA and a 4.15 ERA.
The Orioles have the second smallest payroll, with only $29,416,666 dedicated to the 2022 roster. They have the money to spend, but due to their rebuild, it’s unlikely that they will add anyone of note.
Boston Red Sox:
From the second-lowest payroll to the sixth-highest payroll, the Boston Red Sox unsurprisingly have a better batch of starting pitchers than the O’s.
The most notable of which is 32-year-old Chris Sale. The hard throwing lefty missed all of the 2020 season as well as the majority of the 2021 due to Tommy John Surgery. Despite that, he put up sol …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation