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

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

Toronto Raptors Draft history: 5 times the Raps drafted a star

Toronto Raptors Draft history: 5 times the Raps drafted a star

July 29’s NBA Draft is the next major event on this year’s NBA calendar, and the Toronto Raptors will select No. 4 overall, barring a trade. Historically, Toronto has been good about keeping their draft selections, only failing to draft a first-round prospect four times in their 26-year history to this point. The Raptors are […]
Toronto Raptors Draft history: 5 times the Raps drafted a star – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

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

Analyzing the up-and-down start to Alek Manoah’s big league career

Alek Manoah has had an up and down start to his Major League career.

He’s had very good outings in tough situations, pitching very well against the Yankees, White Sox, and Red Sox on the road, but he’s also struggled against weak opponents in the Marlins and Orioles.
His season earned run average of 4.18 doesn’t look great, especially when it comes with a 6.18 FIP and 4.52 xFIP, but prior to that Orioles start his ERA was a sparkling 2.66. He may not be the saviour of the rotation everyone expected but he has given the team quality innings and most importantly has taken the ball every turn through the rotation so the team doesn’t have to worry about a bullpen game once a week.
With five starts under his belt, this is a good chance to evaluate how Manoah is doing, what his attack plan for hitters has been, and how hitters made adjustments now that they have some video on him.
We will begin with the fastball. Manoah has thrown his fastball 42.9% of the time. He typically throws the fastball up in the zone, as he did in his first three starts…

There is nothing there in …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Stephen A. Smith’s Nav Bhatia take misses the mark

Toronto Raptors: Stephen A. Smith’s Nav Bhatia take misses the mark

The Toronto Raptors will have a major imprint on the Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2021 class. Not only was superstar power forward Chris Bosh added to Springfield after his 11 All-Star game nods, but the Raptors sent the first-ever fan to those hallowed halls in Nav Bhatia. The “Superfan” has attended every Raptors home game […]
Toronto Raptors: Stephen A. Smith’s Nav Bhatia take misses the mark – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Blue Jays are severing all ties with Roberto Alomar amidst sexual misconduct allegation

Major League Baseball has placed Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar on its ineligible list following an investigation of sexual misconduct allegations, commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Friday.

Alomar had been working with Major League Baseball as a consultant in Puerto Rico and is now banned from working in the league office or for any team in the majors or affiliated minors. He had also been working with the Blue Jays as a special assistant but was let go as part of an overarching restructure by the organization back in September of 2020.
The Blue Jays have announced that they support MLB’s decision and will be severing ties with Alomar. This means that the team will be removing Alomar’s name from the Level of Excellence and removing his No. 12 banner from the rafters at the Rogers Centre.
Here’s a statement issued by the team and one from Mark Shapiro…

Finally, the Hall of Fame issued a statement saying that Alomar’s plaque at Cooperstown “will remain on display in the Hall of Fame in recognition of his accomplishments in the game, and his enshrinement reflects his eligibility and the perspective of the BBWAA voters at that time.”


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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Should the Toronto Raptors be worried about Fred VanVleet amid slump?

Should the Toronto Raptors be worried about Fred VanVleet amid slump?

The Toronto Raptors saw their playoff hopes hit a major roadblock against the Brooklyn Nets, as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Jeff Green beat up on Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and the rest of the squad. VanVleet was in for a very rough evening, as his poor shooting continued his subpar run of form. VanVleet […]
Should the Toronto Raptors be worried about Fred VanVleet amid slump? – 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: Latest rotations from Nick Nurse are simply unacceptable

Toronto Raptors: Latest rotations from Nick Nurse are simply unacceptable

The Toronto Raptors hit a major bump in the road on Saturday against the New York Knicks, as awful perimeter defense helped a poor shooting team absolutely dice Toronto up from the 3-point line. Head coach Nick Nurse should by no means be excluded from the blame here, as he made some minor tweaks to […]
Toronto Raptors: Latest rotations from Nick Nurse are simply unacceptable – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors: 3 bargain bin trade targets Toronto could add

Raptors: 3 bargain bin trade targets Toronto could add

If you are hoping to find a major, game-changing addition for the Toronto Raptors to elevate them back into the mix of the top Eastern Conference contenders, there are plenty of intriguing possibilities that Masai Ujiri could consider. If the front office wants to cut costs, however, that won’t exclude them from making some quality additions at […]
Raptors: 3 bargain bin trade targets Toronto could add – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Ben Fisher / Raptors HQ