Taijuan Walker brings a new and improved cutter to the Blue Jays

Having lost Nate Pearson, Matt Shoemaker and Trent Thornton to injury, the Blue Jays were desperately in need of some pitching. So they went out and got Taijuan Walker from the Seattle Mariners. Walker will bring some stability to the back-end of the rotation.
Walker isn’t a game-changing arm. This isn’t David Price circa 2015, but he’s a solid pitcher who can help this team push towards the playoffs. Fangraphs currently has the Blue Jays playoff odds at 65.7%.
In 27.0 innings Walker has a 4.00 ERA, a 4.94 FIP and a 4.77 xFIP. He’s struck out close to a batter an inning keeps the walks mostly in check.
He attacks hitters with a five-pitch mix, four-seamer, cutter, spilt-finger, sinker and a curve. Per Baseball Savant he throws each pitch at least 10% of the time. He doesn’t throw overly hard, averaging 93 on the fastball. He fits into the exact mould of a Blue Jays starting pitcher: mid-range velocity and a large pitch mix.
Walker’s best pitch looks to be his cutter. He throws it 22% of the time and it averages 85.6 mph. It acts more like a slider than a true cutter (Fangraphs actually labels …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: How Matt Thomas can be the next J.J Redick

Shooters shoot, and that is what Matt Thomas has been doing for the Toronto Raptors just like another particular player in the league. When watching the Toronto Raptors play this year, there is always a player who leaves us with a blank look asking ourselves: “Who is that guy?” Well this year, that particular player is […]
Toronto Raptors: How Matt Thomas can be the next J.J Redick – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

Devon Travis, Dalton Pompey, Socrates Brito, and others become free agents

Over at Baseball America, Matt Eddy did some incredibly heavy lifting for all the rest of us by compiling a list of all 510 minor-league players who have become free agents. Seriously, what a grind that must have been.

Anyways, the Jays had a handful of players hitting free agency this fall. Here they are:
RHP: Josh Almonte (AA), John Axford (AAA), Danny Barnes (AAA), Mark Leiter Jr. (AAA), Willy Ortiz (AA), Francisco Rios (AAA)LHP: Matt Dermody (AAA), Shawn Morimando (AAA)C: Patrick Cantwell (AAA), Michael de la Cruz (AAA), Javier Hernandez (HiA), Alberto Mineo (AA), Andres Sotillo (AA)2B: Deiferson Barreto (HiA)OF: Socrates Brito (AAA), Patrick Kivlehan (AAA), Jordan Patterson (AAA), Dalton Pompey (AAA)
There are some interesting names here. Devon Travis was outrighted earlier in the week and had the choice to accept an assignment to Triple-A or become a free agent. He unsurprisingly chose the latter. The Dalton Pompey saga in Toronto appears to finally be over, which also isn’t all that surprising given the fact he didn’t appear to be in the team’s plans at all.
I figure some of these guys could be back on minor-league deals. The organization seemed to …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Cutdown Day: The Maple Leafs’ Cast-Offs Have Made the Marlies Much Older. Is This the Right Move?

That Matt Read chose to stay in Toronto, even if it meant riding buses for the Toronto Marlies, shows exactly how he views the Maple Leafs organization.
We don’t know if Read turned down any NHL deals for the AHL pact he signed this morning. We likely never will, really. Nevertheless, Read earned this new commitment on his own merits, doing just about everything you could ask from a PTO invitee and effectively (read: surprisingly) forcing himself into the Leafs’ roster conversation, if only for a moment.
Now, Read has a home. And that home is on a Marlies roster currently undergoing massive turnover.
Prior to training camp, the Marlies were projected by most, myself included, to enter the 2019-20 season as one of the most youth-centric groups in recent franchise memory. Teenaged duo Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren were likely to return, while early expectations foresaw Mac Hollowell, Joseph Duszak, Jesper Lindgren, Brady Ferguson (who is 24, to be fair) and Egor Korshkov expanding their cameos from last season into featured roles this year. Add a batch of youthful newcomers in Justin Brazeau, Joseph Woll, Colt Conrad and, possibly, Ian Scott to the mix, and the Marlies’ group of …

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Author: Mike Stephens / The Leafs Nation

Michal Neuvirth released from PTO

Deep down you thought that Matt Read or at least Brandon Halverson would be the first PTO to end, but here is Michal Neuvirth proving us all wrong.

The @MapleLeafs have released Michal Neuvirth from his Professional Tryout.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) September 24, 2019
The decision comes after an injury plagued training camp, that featured a couple of periods of solid netminding, but not a lot to inspire the confidence that Neuvirth was up to a season of hockey and that he could be counted on when the Leafs needed him.
It’s unfortunate that it looks like injuries will claim his NHL career, but for his sake we wish him the best and that he can rehabilitate himself back into game shape.
As for the Leafs, it looks like Michael Hutchinson is the defacto NHL backup, which may leave some people wanting.
Over the weekend I highlighted a few cap compliant goaltending options that would require waivers before the season starts, and while many of the names on the list have vanished, options like Eric Comrie, Tristan Jarry, and Jon Gillies still remain, among a few others.
As for the immediate training camp needs the Leafs have made the following move…

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Matt Shoemaker wants to be with the Blue Jays long-term

Matt Shoemaker’s Blue Jays tenure has been excellent. Short, but excellent. Will it continue?

The Jays inked the oft-injured runner-up for 2014 American League Rookie of the Year to a one-year show-me deal in the off-season, and, over the course of five starts, he showed everyone that he could still pitch. Despite having his previous three seasons derailed by injuries — first, a line drive to the head that ended in 2016 season, and, after that, forearm issues that held him to roughly 100 innings in 2017 and 2018 — Shoemaker dominated for the Jays early on.
He finally looked like the top-of-the-rotation starter he was with the Los Angeles Angels before all of those injuries stacked up. Through four starts, Shoemaker scattered just five earned runs while striking out 23 batters and walking just nine. Then, three innings deep into what looked like his fifth-straight quality start, the injury bug bit again.
Shoemaker hurt his leg while chasing a member of the Oakland A’s in a rundown between first and second base. It was a heartbreaking scene as a devastated Shoemaker pounded the grass in frustration, knowing that this was going to be yet another serious injury.
He was diagnosed with a torn ACL in …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Toronto Raptors third shooting guard will be decided by philosophy

The battle for minutes between Matt Thomas and Patrick McCaw will come down to philosophy. This decision will show what type of team Nick Nurse wants the Toronto Raptors to be. The Toronto Raptors will take a step back at shooting guard next season. While everyone, understandably, discusses the departure of Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green‘s […]
The Toronto Raptors third shooting guard will be decided by philosophy – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Bossetti / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors offseason preview: Matt Thomas

We continue our offseason previews, by taking a look at Matt Thomas, an international signing from Valencia who will be looking to make an impact for the Toronto Raptors next season. Matt Thomas will finally get to step foot on an NBA hardcourt. It took playing two seasons abroad for the former Cyclone to build the […]
Toronto Raptors offseason preview: Matt Thomas – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jordan Skuse / Raptors HQ

Shoemaker out for rest of the season

Initially hopeful for his return, Matt Shoemaker is out for the remainder of the 2019 season after an MRI showed he has torn his ACL.

Torn ACL for Matt Shoemaker. Out for the year #BlueJays
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) April 21, 2019

Injured on an awkward rundown play in the Saturday game against the Oakland A’s, Shoemaker ends his season after an uplifting beginning to his stint with this team.
In five starts and 28.2 innings pitched, he has a 3-0 record with a 1.57 ERA, 0.872 WHIP and 7.5 strikeout rate per nine innings. For a previously-injured 32-year-old, that was insane numbers to add to the early strength in the Jays’ rotation.
In his five seasons with the Angels, his two most recent seasons have been absolutely injury-riddled — pitching only 108.2 innings through those two years.
One positive outlook on this injury is that Shoemaker has another year of arbitration eligibility, hitting free agency after the 2020 season. Considering his recent injury history, it might not be the smartest to be super hopeful that Shoemaker can help the 2020 Blue Jays like he has in just five starts. But if he is able to bounce back at all, he could be another important asset to either help the team …

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Author: Thomas Williams / Blue Jays Nation