Vladdy has arrived. What’s he doing differently now and will it be sustained?

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is playing on another level right now.

A triple slash of .389/.507/.667 is Bonds-esque, his 232 wRC+ ranks fourth in all of baseball behind, Acuna Jr, Trout and Mercedes. His 1.2 WAR is tied for second and matches what Vlad did in 2019 and 2020 combined. What’s most impressive about this stretch isn’t necessarily the power and the big exit velocity, it’s his plate discipline. Vlad has 11 walks and 11 strikeouts. This is the Vlad Guerrero Jr. everyone saw in the minor leagues.
We have never seen Vlad hit this well for this length of time in the big leagues. Seriously, look at his stats by week on this FanGraphs leaderboard; three of the six best weeks of Vlad’s career have been this season.  So what is Vlad doing differently this time around? Is this just another hot streak and how does this streak compare to other successful stretches for Vlad?
First, we need to establish the best stretches of Vlad’s career. Using the leaderboard above, I went through and found the five best stretches of Vlad’s young career.

Year
Dates
Plate Appearances
wRC+

2019
May 11 – May 31
76
163

2019
July 19 – August 4
66
241

2019
August 10 – August 30
61
152

2020
August 16 – August 30
63
172

2021
April  1 – April 18
67
232

Vlad has had …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Where do the Toronto Raptors stand in their quest to tank for Cade Cunningham?

Where do the Toronto Raptors stand in their quest to tank for Cade Cunningham?

Right now, there are two kinds of Toronto Raptors fans. On one side, you have those reveling in the club’s recent two-game win streak that featured a historic 53-point blowout and a Gary Trent Jr. buzzer-beater who are excited to see what Khem Birch and Freddie Gillespie can offer. On the other, you have those […]
Where do the Toronto Raptors stand in their quest to tank for Cade Cunningham? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Ben Fisher / Raptors HQ

Leafs look to make it two in a row against Flames

The Leafs are rolling through the prairies right now, stacking their wins column in all three games of the road trip so far. Though they needed OT for the first two, last night’s defeat of the Flames came in regulation, with Michael Hutchinson in net. The wins might not be as pretty as they were in the early part of the season, but a win is a win, and this Leafs team is finding ways to grab them.
Coming into night two of a back to back for both teams means the playing ground is even in terms of rest and wear, but the Flames will be hungry to split the series and topple the Leafs tonight. They’re on a three game losing streak, and keeping it from becoming four will be priority number one. Veteran goalie Jacob Markstrom is likely to be in net for the Flames tonight, with Jack Campbell at the other end of the ice.
The big boys showed up for the Leafs late in yesterday’s game, with both John Tavares and Auston Matthews scoring goals in the third period to bring the team to a 4-2 win. Though the Leafs looked a …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

WoHo: What’s happening in women’s hockey is the Isobel Cup Playoffs!

NWHL hockey is back, baby! That’s right, starting tomorrow we will get to see four NWHL teams finally compete for the 2021 Isobel Cup! Including, of course, our very own Toronto Six. Who. Is. Excited?
And would you look at that? The NHL showed some support over on Twitter:

Championship action! @NWHL
Starting this Friday on @NHLonNBCSports @OnHerTurf pic.twitter.com/M4Pv0fRBHz
— NHL (@NHL) March 24, 2021

The NWHL also made a super cool announcement about the broadcast team for the Isobel Cup games:

The NWHL is excited to announce the NBC Sports broadcast team that will be covering our championship weekend! Kate Scott (play by play), AJ Mleczko (analyst), & Caley Chelios (rinkside reporter)
Details : https://t.co/9SHWa3uoOL: @NBCSports pic.twitter.com/KZ6zeI0jez
— NWHL (@NWHL) March 19, 2021

But before we dive deeper into this weekend’s women’s hockey plans, let’s take a quick peek at some potential drama with our very own Six:

I reached out to Cronin she told me she was surprised and devastated it happened after all the work she did, but she appreciated hearing from players and staff.
— Marisa Ingemi (@Marisa_Ingemi) March 19, 2021

Cronin helped build the roster, created partnerships, …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Blue Jays Consensus Top 30 Prospects, Part 2

Here’s Part 1, we’ll pick up right where we left off…

15. Rikelvin De Castro – SS – 18: Got the high bonus in the 2019 J2 class of Blue Jays signings ($1.2m) based on flashy defensive tools and potential to eventually hit. But the latter is going to take considerably time and effort. A year behind the similarly skilled Jimenez, he’ll surely spend him time on a complex team, probably in the DSL. It will take years to get a full read on whether he was worth the bonus.
14. Otto Lopez – INF – 22: Jumped on everyone’s radar with a batting title at Low-A Lansing in 2019, his calling card is capable defense at multiple positions (he played SS, 2B and both OF corners in 2019 but may be best at 2B) and good bat-to-ball skills with untapped offensive potential beyond simply making contact. He’s got a solid opportunity to be a serviceable MLB utility man but he grades high on baseball instincts and some observers feel he has a shot to be more than that.
13. Eric Pardinho – RHP – 20: The one time Top 10 prospect is one year out from Tommy John and at the stage where he’s throwing but not yet roster ready. …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

This Raptors-Cavs trade will get Andre Drummond to Toronto

This Raptors-Cavs trade will get Andre Drummond to Toronto

The Toronto Raptors may be a fringe playoff team right now but they’re one move away from being a contender again. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers have “engaged in active talks” in regards to a potential trade centered around Andre Drummond. The former UConn center is currently in the last year of his […]
This Raptors-Cavs trade will get Andre Drummond to Toronto – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Stephen Nixon / Raptors HQ

Raptors: Tough slate of games will prove what Toronto is made of

Raptors: Tough slate of games will prove what Toronto is made of

Nick Nurse and the Toronto Raptors are right back in the thick of the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference, as their 2-8 start is firmly in the past after Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and the rest of the much-improved Raptors reeled off eight wins in 14 games. While the results have been encouraging, they […]
Raptors: Tough slate of games will prove what Toronto is made of – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Could the Leafs be eying Rickard Rakell?

While much has gone right for the Toronto Maple Leafs early on this season, a quick rash of injuries coupled with depth forwards failing to meet the lofty expectations of “just chip in here and there, we literally have Auston Matthews” has left the team, at times, looking out of kilter. And despite the trade deadline being over two months away, the Leafs front office supposedly is already looking to add.
On his 31 Thoughts Podcast, Elliotte Friedman mentioned that he believes that the Leafs have a particular forward in mind, but he has not been able to confirm, a sentiment he doubled down on during an appearance on Tim & Sid. Friedman specifically mentions it would be a winger of high enough caliber to play with either Matthews and Marner or Tavares and Nylander, the latter pair having been affected the most by the early season shuffling.
In typical fashion, fans of the Leafs have begun scouring the roster pages of teams expected to be outside the playoffs, trying to determine who the mystery winger could be. The most common name is Los Angeles Kings winger Alex Iafallo, and while it is not hard to see why (established trade history …

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Author: Brian Reid / The Leafs Nation

Prematurely judging the Leafs

A tenth is when we can start getting judgy, right? I mean really we’ve all already been reactionary and judgy about the Leafs at points in this young season already, so why not formalize it six games in and start talking about who has impressed and who has disappointed? We all have opinions, so we’ve decided to air them publicly before enough games have been played for the numbers to be statistically meaningful. We can go 100% gut on this, so I’ve asked The Leafs Nation contributors, who has impressed and who has disappointed so far…
Brendan Mori:
Impressed:
John Tavares – JT looks like a completely different hockey player this season. Last season, Tavares had a laundry list of things come up, including the birth of his first son, being named captain of the team, suffering an injury at the World Championships, breaking his finger early in the season and seeing his head coach get fired in November. One year later, Tavares looks more like the player he was in his first season with the Leafs. He is flying around the ice once again, making nifty plays and lifting his linemates. Tavares also looks a lot more comfortable …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Daily Duce: A George Springer decision could be coming soon, Taijuan Walker talks about pitching for the Blue Jays, and more!

Daily?!?!

There’s quite a bit going on right now! Before getting into the things that might happen, let’s talk about the stuff that has happened…
On Monday night, the Blue Jays signed Tyler Chatwood to a one-year deal worth $3 million, pending a physical. It’s an interesting buy-low option given the team plans to use him out of the bullpen rather than as a depth starter.
And then, on Tuesday, it was reported that the Blue Jays and Kirby Yates were close to a deal and that the former Padres closer was visiting the team’s complex in Dunedin. Of course, nothing has been signed yet, but adding Chatwood and Yates to the bullpen in the span of a couple days would be a pretty significant swing for the Blue Jays.
Assuming the team operates with an eight-man ‘pen, it would look something like this…

Kirby Yates (R)
Rafael Dolis (R)
Jordan Romano (R)
Julian Merryweather (R)
Tyler Chatwood (R)
A.J. Cole (R)
Shun Yamaguchi (R)
Ryan Borucki (L)

It looks like Ross Stripling is penciled into the starting rotation, but that can obviously change. There are also a handful of names like Anthony Kay, Jacob Waguespack, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation