Nick Nurse comments on Scottie Barnes’ offensive struggles

Nick Nurse comments on Scottie Barnes’ offensive struggles

The Toronto Raptors are playing without most of their big guns. Pascal Siakam and Precious Achiuwa have groin and ankle injuries, respectively, while an illness and sore hip have sidelined Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. The last few games could have been a showcase for Scottie Barnes, but he hasn’t taken advantage. Barnes has […]
Nick Nurse comments on Scottie Barnes’ offensive struggles – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Blue Jays, Position by Position: Outfielders, and decisions the Jays must make for 2023

The Toronto Blue Jays outfield is the most interesting position as they head into the off-season.

Unlike the catching position and the infield, the outfield is where the Jays may be able to sign a free agent. Just like with both the backstop and the infield (namely second base) the Jays could conceivably trade on an outfielder for a position of need.
Like the other two articles, we’ll also look at a few prospects that could impact the Jays’ roster in a few seasons. There are of course infielders who also play outfield positions, such as Otto Lopez, Davis Schneider, Tanner Morris, Zach Britton and Spencer Horwitz, but they were mentioned in the last article.
This isn’t to say that the 2022 Jays had a bad outfield, in fact, it was actually pretty good (at least in terms of with the bat). Let’s look into how the Jays’ outfielders did in 2022.
How did the Blue Jays outfielders do in 2022:
Just a quick note: I won’t be including Cavan Biggio or Whit Merrifield, as they are natural second basemen. I will include both Bradley Zimmer and Jackie Bradley Jr.
Teoscar Hernandez:
After each season, there are some people that believe that the year Hernandez had just had was a fluke, but time and time again, he produces. It was a slow start for Herandez, mainly because of injury (a trend that we’ll see often here), but overall the 30-year-old right fielder had a great season.
He slashed .267/.316/.491 with 25 homers in 535 plate appearances. As to be expected, Hernandez had a high K% of 28.4% and a low BB% of 6.4%, but he finished with a 129 wRC+. 
This was the third straight season that Hernandez had performed well, as h …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Leaving Las Vegas ..but sub Nicolas Cage for the Toronto Maple Leafs: Muzzy’s Muzings

Leaving Las Vegas ..but sub Nicolas Cage for the Toronto Maple Leafs: Muzzy’s Muzings

Coming off arguably their most complete effort of the season in Winnipeg, the Leafs were off from puck drop at T-Mobile Arena in Vegas on Monday night.
Chandler Stephenson potted the game winner early in the third period as Vegas smothered Toronto 3-1.
For the fifth straight outing, the Leafs surrendered the first goal of the game. And it actually happened twice. Phil Kessel, who tied Keith Yandle’s ironman streak of 989 consecutive games, had a goal called back after a successful challenge by Sheldon Keefe for offside. That said, just moments later, Nicolas Roy cashed; Kessel picked up an assist.
Meantime, William Nylander’s 4th of the season tied things up midway through the second period. That was the score until Stephenson’s tally. Former Leaf Michael Amadio provided some insurance at the 8:11 mark of the final frame to put the game out of reach.
Toronto fell to 4-3-0 on the season, they’re 1-1-0 through two games of their five game road trip.
Muzzy’s Muzings:
HOW’S THE CAPTAIN?
The silver lining on another disappointing loss is that it appears the Leafs dodged a major injury bullet in this one. 6:58 into the third period, John Tavares took a 97 MPH Rasmus Sandin clapper off the outside …

Read More

Author: Nick Alberga / The Leafs Nation

3 huge problems Raptors must fix amid shaky start to 2022-23

3 huge problems Raptors must fix amid shaky start to 2022-23

The Toronto Raptors were one of the most surprising teams in the league last year, thanks to a 48-win season that established the fraudulent nature of their Tampa performance. Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and O.G. Anunoby entered this season with tons of promise, but their team hasn’t been as dominant as some may have expected. […]
3 huge problems Raptors must fix amid shaky start to 2022-23 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Johnny Twovares leads the way as Leafs fly high in Winnipeg: Muzzy’s Muzings

Johnny Twovares leads the way as Leafs fly high in Winnipeg: Muzzy’s Muzings

It was arguably their most complete effort of the early season.
John Tavares scored twice – his second and third of the campaign – as the Leafs (4-2-0) kicked off their five-game road trip with an impressive 4-1 victory in Winnipeg (2-3-0).
Speaking of impressive, how about Ilya Samsonov? The 25-year-old netminder made 30 stops for his fourth consecutive victory to start his Maple Leafs career.

Ilya Samsonov: 4 wins, 0 losses .939 Save Percentage
Between the Murray injury and a slow start from TOR’s 5v5 offense, Samsonov has come up big for the Leafs to start the year.
— Nick DeSouza (@NickDeSouza_) October 23, 2022

Meantime, what a hunch by Sheldon Keefe beefing up his fourth line. Wayne Simmonds and Kyle Clifford, who both made their season debuts on Saturday night, set up David Kampf for the game winner in the second period. Meantime, Auston Matthews led the way with three helpers.
Toronto has now won eight of the past 10 meetings in Winnipeg.
Muzzy’s Muzings:
 FOURTH LINE JUICE
Toronto’s new look fourth line of Kyle Clifford, David Kampf and Wayne Simmonds brought some much-needed jam to the lineup.

Maple Leafs’ Clifford-Kämpf–Simmonds line outshooting their competition 4-0 and outscoring them 1-0 through two periods.
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) October 23, 2022

 
Also, great to see that fourth line chip in with a goal, too. If there’s one negative to pull, though, it’s that both Clifford and Simmonds took minor penalties in the game. But all-in-all, minimal complaints on my end. I’m happy.

Maple Leafs improve to 15-0-0 when David Kämpf scores a goal.
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) October 23, 2022

URGENCY
For the first time in a while, the Leafs played …

Read More

Author: Nick Alberga / The Leafs Nation

End of season comparison: Raimel Tapia and Randal Grichuk, plus intriguing prospect Adrian Pinto

One of the most shocking transactions to come out of the lockout, the Jays traded longtime Jay Randal Grichuk to Colorado for Raimel Tapia and a prospect.

It’s time to compare two more players. In this article, we’ll see if the Jays were better off with Grichuk or Tapia.
Background:
On March 24th, 2022, the Blue Jays traded Randal Grichuk and $9,716,666 in cash to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Raimel Tapia and second baseman/centre fielder Adrian Pinto.
At the time of the trade, Grichuk was set to make $9,333,333 in 2022 and $9,333,334 in 2023. The Jays took on Tapia’s $3,950,000 contract, which, paired with the $5,383,333 sent to the Rockies this season, offsets the two salaries.
However, the Jays could non-tender Tapia, meaning he’d become a free agent instead of going to arbitration for his third and final time. I wouldn’t do this if I were the GM, but if they did, the Jays would clear $5,000,000 of salary from this move. 
Both Grichuk’s and Tapia’s contracts would be off the books and the only money tied up would be the remaining $4,333,333 the Jays will have to send to Colorado. If the Jays do tender Tapia, which they likely will, his 2023 salary would probably come in somewhere around the $5 million mark.
Now it’s time to compare their 2022’s.
Randal Grichuk’s 2022:
In his last season with the Jays, Grichuk slashed .241/.281/.423 with 22 homers in 545 plate appearances. He had an 85 wRC+ and a 0.1 fWAR. He didn’t fare much better in the thin al …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Can a stronger post-pandemic NHL open a wider window for the Leafs?

The thing most people don’t want to talk about when it comes to the Leafs is just how much the shifting of the league due to the pandemic absolutely wreaked havoc on their plans to contend. It doesn’t make for an interesting story to just throw up our hands and say “The flat cap is the problem”, but like, it sort of is. The nuked revenue due to the near-shutdown of the league since 2020 did damage to a lot of cap teams, but none quite like the Leafs. 
Management in Toronto thought they had a strong long term plan worked out when they signed Matthews and Marner to monster second deals on top of the Tavares money in the same calendar year of 2019. They did so banking on new television deals, more expansion money, and a forecasted salary cap number that should be in the range of 92-95 million right now. With everything that’s happened since, it sits at 82.5 million. Catastrophic for a team that wanted to get the most of a 5-6 year window before another re-up was needed. 
I guess the question now becomes, with what seems to be the most normal season to get going since the pandemic started about to start, can the league, and with it the Leafs, get back on track with their long term …

Read More

Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation

The bats come alive as the Blue Jays defeat the Rangers 11-7

As a Blue Jays fan, the most satisfying wins are probably wins against other AL East foes. Outside of that, it’s equally as satisfying to watch the Blue Jays beat the Texas Rangers, especially when they can score 11 runs in four innings against them.
Toronto got to Rangers starter Kohei Arihara early and often, Bo Bichette continued to stay hot, and the Blue Jays had enough offense to stave off another late rally from Texas with a 11-7 win to clinch the series.
Arihara came into tonight’s game with an already-inflated ERA, and Toronto made sure to have him follow the trend. The Blue Jays scored in the first inning for the second straight night, this one being a 4-run frame thanks to a pair of 2-run singles from Alejandro Kirk and Santiago Espinal.
Adolis Garcia would smack a 3-run home run off of Kevin Gausman in the bottom half of the frame, making it 4-3, but that would be long forgotten once Toronto got back up to bat.
Espinal added another RBI in the 3rd inning, doubling in Cavan Biggio. Next up was Raimel Tapia, who absolutely crushed a 3-run home run 428 feet. It was Tapia’s second-longest home run this season, expanding Toronto’s lead to 8-3.

Ra …

Read More

Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

How much is Ross Stripling going to make on his next contract?

Ross Stripling has been one of the most pleasant surprises on the Toronto Blue Jays this year.

Given the way he’s pitching, Stripling is going to earn himself a nice contract as he’s set to reach free agency for the first time in his career this winter. How much is he going to earn? And should the Blue Jays be the team to pay him?
Digging into Ross Stripling’s success in 2022…
At the beginning of the season, the team designated Stripling as the long man out of the bullpen. His role was going to be to make multi-inning appearances and also make spot starts when the rotation needed to be spaced out.
But the plan changed as Hyun Jin Ryu went down with forearm soreness. Stripling was thrown into Ryu’s spot in the rotation and that spot became permanent after Ryu underwent season-ending surgery on his elbow.
Stripling has fared better than anybody could have expected. Through 27 appearances, 19 of which were strikes, Stripling has posted a 3.03 ERA and his 3.04 FIP indicates it hasn’t been a mirage. He’s sitting at 107 innings pitched on the year, quickly approaching his career mark of 122 IP that he threw back in 2018 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Stripling is a pitcher who will pick his spots in …

Read More

Author: Ryan Snodgrass / Blue Jays Nation

4 trade assets Raptors could acquire from rebuilding Jazz

4 trade assets Raptors could acquire from rebuilding Jazz

The Toronto Raptors may not have been the most active trade partner in Donovan Mitchell talks, but they were always hanging around the sweepstakes in the off chance that the Utah Jazz decided to entertain their offer. They had to officially end their pursuit on Thursday afternoon. Mitchell was dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers in […]
4 trade assets Raptors could acquire from rebuilding Jazz – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ