Gabriel Moreno impresses, Orelvis Martinez goes yard + other minor league standouts

You know them, you love them. Gabriel Moreno and Orelvis Martinez both had great nights at the plate.

Let’s go over how they did:
Gabriel Moreno:
Starting with the Jays #1 prospect, Gabriel Moreno made his season debut in the Buffalo Bisons’ win on Tuesday night.
In his first at bat, he flared the ball to shallow centre field. At one point, the 22-year-old catcher was down 0-2 in the count, but he battled back to 2-2 before the hit.

Gabriel Moreno’s first hit of the season.#BlueJays #NextLevel
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) April 12, 2022

In the defending half of the inning, Moreno made a nice sliding grab on a popup behind home plate, showing off his quick speed and athleticism.

Pretty nice catch here by Moreno.#NextLevel #BlueJays
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) April 12, 2022

In the same half of the inning, he threw out a runner, showing off his plus plus arm.

As I post this, he threw out his first runner of the season.
I don’t know why people run on him.#BlueJays #NextLevel
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) April 12, 2022

The catcher then hit his second single of the game, driving in another run to make it 3-0.

Moreno is now 2-2, now with an RBI.#BlueJays #NextLevel
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) April 12, 2022

In Moreno’s following three at bats, he flew out twice and grounded into a fielder’s choice.
Orelvis Martinez:
How could you ever forget about the #2 prospect, Orelvis Martinez. The 20-year-old went DEEP in his first at bat of the game, giving the New Hampshire Fisher Cats a 3-0 lead.

All the Moreno hype, but let’s not forget about Orelvis Martinez…. Who just hit his second Double A dinger.#BlueJays #NextLevel
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) April 12, 2022

Of course, he followed that up with a single, showing his quick bat speed to get a ball on the other side of the plate.

Martinez single!!#BlueJays #NextLevel
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) April 13, 2022

Not just that, but Martinez also rocketed a double down the third baseline, meaning he was just a triple away from the cycle.

Orelvis Martinez double.
Very fast off the bat.#BlueJays #NextLevel
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) April 13, 2022

Elsewhere for top prospects:
Sebastian Espino ranks as my 13th best Blue Jays prospect. He went DEEP to put the game out of reach.

My #13 prospect, Sebastian Espino, just went yard for his first Double A homer!#BlueJays #NextLevel
— Brennan Delaney (@Bre …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Jonathan Villar declines a one-year, $6 million contract + incentives

Who doesn’t love late night rumours? Per Hector Gomez, the Jays offered 30-year-old utility infielder Jonathan Villar a one year, $6 million dollar contract.

SOURCE: Jonathar Villar turned down a $6.5 million, one-year deal offer, plus $1.0 million incentives from the #BlueJays.
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) March 13, 2022

My thoughts? Good, he isn’t good.
March 12th edit:
Unfortunately, my editor told me I have to actually write this article, so let’s go into why it’s good that Villar declined this contract.
His first tenure didn’t go great:
This isn’t the first time the Jays have had an interest in the infielder, in fact, they traded prospect Griffin Conine for Villar in 2020. He wasn’t very good. In 79 plate appearances, he slashed .188/.278/.481 without a home run. He also had a rather high K% of 27.8%, but this number is only slightly elevated from his career 26.5% K%. He also stole 7 bases in all of his attempts, but had issues running the bases, being picked off multiple times.
It’s a small sample size, but that’s not all.
He’s a bad teammate:

Looked as though Jonathan Villar picked up his equipment and left the dugout after the #BlueJays pinch hit for him in the top of the seventh
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) September 29, 2020

The guy picked up his things and walked out of the Jays dugout after being pinched hit. This was in game one of what would be only two games in the 2020 playoffs. My message to Villar: Don’t play like crap and you won’t get pulled.
He didn’t have a great 2021:
Villar slashed .249/.322/.738 in 505 plate appearances in the past season. He added an additional 15 homers, but his K% was still on the high side at 26.1%. His wRC+ totaled 105, slightly above average, but still not the replacement you’d expect at third base.
He also had his lowest succes …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays have signed reliever Yimi Garcia

A late Friday transaction! That’s what you love to see!

According to Jon Morosi, who cites former All-Star Carlos Baerga’s Instagram, the Blue Jays have signed relief pitcher Yimi Garcia. Baerga has been right about stuff in the past and I can’t possibly imagine anybody making up a fake transaction in regards to Yimi Garcia, so this seems legit.

Yimi García has agreed to a contract with #BlueJays, source confirms. Credit to Carlos Baerga, the 3-time All-Star infielder, for breaking the news on Instagram. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 28, 2021

So, who’s Yimi Garcia?
He broke into the big leagues with the Dodgers in 2014, pitched a lot in 2015, got hurt in 2016, missed all of 2017, and came back as a pretty effective arm in 2019. The Dodgers cut Garcia loose after that and he signed with the Marlins, where he would toss 15 scoreless innings in the shortened 2020 season.
Garcia was again good for the Marlins in 2021, as he put up a 3.47 ERA over 39 outings, though he outperformed his peripherals, 8.7 strikeouts per nine and 3.3 walks per nine. He was flipped to the Houston Astros ahead of the trade deadline and had the opposite situation, an ugly 5.48 ERA with good …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The TLN Three Stars: Leafs slay Sharks both on and off the ice

I love California, I’ve never been there, but it seems like a lovely place. I hate the Leafs’ California road trip.
Fun fact: this game started at midnight in Newfoundland, where this article is being written, so technically, the Leafs did get a Saturday game this week. I’m exhausted so let’s get right into it.
It is past 3am as I write this and at least William Nylander respects the fact that most people on the east coast don’t wanna stay up this late without a good reason. He served up excitement right off the opening faceoff, burying a beautiful goal past James Reimer just 32 seconds into the game.
In more good news, David Kampf is back in the lineup after exiting just a few seconds into his first shift against L.A. partnered up with Nick Ritchie and Wayne Simmonds and looking excellent as ever. This trio combined for a very pretty looking deflection goal by the Wayne Train. David Kampf continues to make a case for one of the best free agent signings of the off-season, I’m more impressed with his skillset with each passing game.
With his goal tonight, Matthews has now …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Minor League Review: The Florida Complex League

While I absolutely love the Toronto Blue Jays, I’ve always been interested in the sustainability of a sports team. One championship isn’t enough, give me six in a span of ten years. In baseball, sustainability comes from an organization’s ability to scout. The Blue Jays have been able to do just that.

In a series of five articles, I’ll be covering prospects from all the minor league affiliates of the Toronto Blue Jays, including the summer league teams, which is the topic of this article. I will be using both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America’s list of top prospects, however, a lot of the players mentioned in these articles will not be ranked. With that being said, I believe these are prospects that Blue Jays fans should keep an eye on.
Unlike every other article in this series, this article will cover both the “embryo” Blue Jays in Florida as well as the Dominican Republic.
Florida Complex League’s top prospects:
Starting with the Florida Complex League Blue Jays, let’s look at the players on Pipeline’s top 30 that played for their rookie team in Florida.
Estiven Machado:
18-year-old Estiven Machado is the Blue …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Franchise Hockey Manager 7 predicts the rest of Morgan Rielly’s career

One thing that I both love and hate about the NHL is the ongoing saga of a player in the midst of his contract year. It either gets done rather quickly, drags on for way too long before a deal is reached at the 11th hour, or you get teased of the possibility of an extension only for the player to either be traded or let go at season’s end. It’s stressful, exhausting, and is bound to take up endless hours of debate regarding whether or not said player is worth keeping and what constitutes a fair deal.
This year will once again bring up that never-ending tradition with Morgan Rielly being the main player on the Leafs’ roster whose contract is set to expire at the conclusion of the 2021-22 campaign. It would be foolish to suggest that he won’t be getting paid handsomely since he’s blossomed into a legitimate top-pairing defenceman in the half-decade since he signed the six-year deal. Regardless of whether his future remains in Toronto or he moves elsewhere, there’s no denying that he will be highly valued on the open market with many teams vying for his talents.
But …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Deadline Primer: The Bullpen

Oh how we love to get our hopes up, it’s a Trade Deadline tradition, after all. However, heading into the 2021 Trade Deadline, things feel a little bit different. The Blue Jays boast one of the game’s most feared lineups to go along with one of the game’s deepest farm systems. It’s the perfect recipe for a little trade deadline drama.

The biggest hole for this club since the very beginning of the season has been in the bullpen, and although Adam Cimber and Trevor Richards have done well to come in and bolster, it’s very to say that GM Ross Atkins will be on the hunt for at least one more reliever. In 2020, The Jays were in a similar situation, as they approached the expanded playoff with minimal concern for falling out. They went out and acquired starting pitching depth in Taijuan Walker, Robbie Ray and Ross Stripling and used them to lengthen the bullpen. I would suspect another bulk reliever to be added to fold sooner than later to upgrade over Anthony Kay as the first man out and push relievers like the aforementioned Cimber and Richards back down towards the back end.
Tim …

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Author: DeuceDoucette / Blue Jays Nation

SPOILER ALERT: The Kraken appear to be taking Alex Kerfoot from the Leafs

God I love the internet (sometimes).
While living in a world where everything is recorded can be a nuisance sometimes, it also yields moments like this…

Seattle Kraken have selected forward Alex Kerfoot from the Toronto Maple Leafs in the expansion draft. @spittinchiclets @TheHockeyNews @PierreVLeBrun @SeattleKraken
— Jack Carroll (@Jcarroll11_) July 20, 2021

(In case that tweet gets deleted, here’s the video again)

For those wondering what is going on there, that is film of Kevin Weekes helping to announce the Kraken’s selection from the Toronto Maple Leafs, and him listing Alexander Kerfoot as the selection. We do not know if they have done multiple takes, but it seems unlikely and we can probably lower our stress levels about worrying about the newly acquired Jared McCann.
While this is far from a guarantee, this is certainly strong evidence in how the expansion draft will play out for Toronto. And of course we have no knowledge of if there was a side deal involved. We assume that information was on another fish.

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays come out on top after an absolute roller coaster ride with the Orioles

Those are the Baltimore Orioles we know and love. The Blue Jays are back in the win column after a six-run rally in the ninth inning.

Things worth mentioning…
First Inning:
The game started off fun, Semien went yard and then Vlad did the same. Before the game, I bet $5 that Vlad would hit a dinger @4.50. So the extra 17 bucks is much appreciated. Thank you Vlad if you are reading this.
Before the game, I said if Manoah went 6 IP allowing less than four runs and had 7 Ks, I’d shave my head. Unfortunately, Manoah couldn’t do it, meaning Twitter will have to wait until something else happens. Manoah, bless him, didn’t have a great game. However, I have no doubt he’ll bounce back. There are positives from this start, while home runs are bad, he walked only one batter and didn’t give up a hit that didn’t leave the park. He also had 6 Ks, one off his career-high. Alek, if you are reading this, it could be the mechanics, but I assume you’ll watch the tape and throw a perfect game next outing. I have faith in you.
Manoah’s ejection:
Well, …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors fans are going to love this Fred VanVleet bobblehead

Toronto Raptors fans are going to love this Fred VanVleet bobblehead

Toronto Raptors fans love Fred VanVleet – and for good reason. But now, you can bring him into your fan cave with a new bobblehead. Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet has gotten a little bit better each and every season. The 26-year-old is currently averaging 19.4 points, 6.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. Obviously, […]
Toronto Raptors fans are going to love this Fred VanVleet bobblehead – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Nathan Cunningham / Raptors HQ