Exploring whether or not the Leafs truly need more secondary scoring

Let’s start with the obvious answer to the title of this post: secondary scoring couldn’t hurt the Leafs. And let’s start with an obvious caveat that it couldn’t hurt the Leafs as long as their team defense doesn’t suffer due to bringing in more secondary scoring. If the Leafs could drop someone into their lineup tomorrow that would outperform Zach Aston-Reese offensively without having to give up his defensive zone play or his willingness to hit absolutely everything, the Leafs would probably make that upgrade.
Of course, it is more complicated than that, but it’s also worth taking a look at how the Leafs measure up when it comes to their secondary scoring and the challenges that come with that.
First let me establish what I’m using as my definition of primary, secondary, tertiary, and non-scorers.
Primary scorers are the top quarter of forwards in total points per sixty with a minimum of 25 games played. Secondary scorers will be that next quarter of forwards, Tertiary next, and finally your non-scorers make up the bottom group. It’s not the most in depth approach, but it’s simple. It considers all situations as well, and is largely meant to explore the simple idea that the Leafs need secondary scoring. …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Digging into Chris Bassitt’s numbers, and what to expect next from the Blue Jays

The Jays have signed Chris Bassitt, let’s dive into his numbers.

Last season with the Mets, the 33-year-old had a 3.42 ERA and 3.66 FIP in 181.2 innings pitched, a career-high number for the righty. His 22.4 K% was below average, but he did a good job avoiding giving runners a free pass, as he had a 6.6 BB%.
As for his career totals, he has a 3.45 ERA and 3.81 FIP in 737.1 innings pitched. To go along with that, he has a 21.7 K% and 7.4 BB%, so no bad numbers.
Despite not being a strikeout artist, how has Bassist put up solid numbers? Well, he’s always been able to generate soft contact from his high 3/4 release point
According to Baseball Savant, Bassitt sat in the 95th percentile of average exit velocity of 85.7 mph, well below the league average. He also sat in the 87th percentile of HardHit%, essentially how many balls in play had an exit velocity of 95 mph or higher. Bassitt’s 2022 HardHit% sat at 32.8%, which is the same amount for his career.

1) Chris Bassitt’s curveball
A surprise at the top, Bassitt’s curve has top-25 drop despite a low release point & adds top-10 x move to boot. He doesn’t think it would be as effective if he threw it more, but he’s used it 2x as much & still getting as many whiffs this year. pic.twitter.com/nZdLbjfgOI
— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) October 7, 2022

His st …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Good Vibes Only: Talking Ourselves Into Yusei Kikuchi Becoming the Bullpen Ace

Let’s just get this out of the way before we begin. Yusei Kikuchi hasn’t been good at all this season.

In fact, I’d say he’s been pretty awful. Over 83.1 innings pitched, he has a 5.18 ERA and 5.90 FIP with a 13.2 BB%. When you factor in his three-year, $36 million contract (in which he makes $16 million in 2022), things haven’t gone right for him in the slightest.
However, not all hope is lost. Time and time again, I see folks ask how Tampa, Baltimore, and many other teams can find random dudes who become bullpen aces. Well, one of the best ways to find these random dudes is by converting failed starters into relievers.
Let’s look at some of the better relievers in baseball. Edwin Diaz? Started as a starter. Jordan Romano? Started as a starter. Liam Hendricks? You guessed it, started as a starter. Josh Hader was also a starter. Even the best closer in MLB history, the only player to be unanimously voted into the Hall of Fame, Mariano Rivera, was a starter.
When Kikuchi pitches out of the pen, will he be anything like any of these guys? More than likely, no. However, let’s discuss Hader as they have some similarities.
Hader made 95 starts over five years in the Orioles, Astros, and Brewers system, before sticking in the majors as a reliever in 2017. He started 14 games in Triple A …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Grading each day of the MLB Draft for the Blue Jays

With the draft out of the way, let’s recap how the Jays did.

In this article, I’ll be going by each of the three days and how the Jays by giving a letter grade (with context, of course). Essentially, they got two first rounders and two second rounds on day one. On day two, they added a bunch of high upside relievers for less than the slot value, something they need.
On day three, the Jays shocked me by picking five prep players. Usually, teams will pick a high school player or two in the late rounds as a “hedge” pick. Essentially this means that if they fail to sign someone in the first few rounds, that bonus pool money could be used for the hedge pick.
I’ll take you back to Sunday, where the draft finally ended at 1:00 AM.
Day one:
On Sunday, the Blue Jays had four picks, the 23rd overall, the 60th overall, the 77th overall and the 78th overall. Let’s go through each of the picks one by one (which I won’t do for day 2 and 3).
23rd overall, LHP Brandon Barriera:
They shocked me by picking a high school pitcher with their first round pick, something the team hasn’t done since 2013. The last time a high school pitcher was drafted in the first round and signed with the Blue Jays was Roy Halladay in 1995, three years before I was born.

Here’s a glimpse at #BlueJays 1st-round selection Brandon Barriera: #MLBDraftpic.twitter.com/j1z6OJj1T4
— Thomas Hall (@ThomasHall85) July 18, 2022

Barriera wa …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs trade down to 38th in order to dump Mrazek’s toxic contract

Let’s call this something you hate to see. About three hours into draft coverage with players like Brad Lambert still on the board, the Leafs opt to trade away their 25th overall pick in order to rid themselves of Petr Mrazek’s $3.8M AAV cap hit.
Mrazek will go to Chicago and the Leafs will pick 38th. Obviously no salary was retained by the Leafs in this deal.
With cap space being a premium asset and the Leafs very much living in the now and not the future, the Leafs pulled the trigger on a deal that can only be described as disappointing and given that Mrazek was a Dubas acquisition, a bad situation that sits solely with the current Leafs regime.
The good news in this is that there should still be a very good player available at pick number 38 and now the Leafs have some more flexibility to build out their roster, although more work can still be done there as the Holl, Kerfoot, and Muzzin contracts are still options that will hopefully be explored tomorrow.
The biggest disappointment probably comes from committing over three hours to Sportsnet’s draft coverage and knowing it was just to see the Leafs clear some salary. Toronto will now pick three times to …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation