Guerrero and Shaw: The launch angle outliers

On the surface, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Travis Shaw have little in common. Two hitters at two completely different points in their careers, on opposite sides of the diamond (although Guerrero’s future is arguably at first base).
As dissimilar as they are, both Vladdy and Shaw struggled mightily at the plate in 2019, but for two completely different reasons. They were both outliers when it came to launch angles.
Although he has one of the most ferocious swings in baseball, Guerrero pummelled balls into the ground with regularity throughout the 2019 season. Conversely, the degree of Shaw’s uppercut swing went too far north, turning line drives into pop-ups and fly outs.
Somehow, these two were on the polar opposite of the launch angle chart in 2019 and find themselves in the same roster in 2020 with the same issue; they need to get their swing plane back on track.
Player
AVG Launch Angle
Ranking
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
6.7 °
16th lowest
Travis Shaw
24.4 °
1st highest
Let’s start with Vladdy, whose 6.7 degree average launch angle was the 18th lowest among hitters with 250 or more plate appearances in 2019. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s Shaw who …

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Author: Ian Hunter / Blue Jays Nation

Finding a defenseman that fits what the Leafs need isn’t particularly easy

On the surface it seems pretty simple. The Leafs need to upgrade their defense. I’m not sure how much that’s actually true. I think they need to try something new with their defense, but I’m not sure it’s entirely on the personnel aside from Cody Ceci and maybe Martin Marincin. I wouldn’t mind if they were gone, but that’s an entirely different point.
If we assume that the everything we’ve heard is true and the Leafs are looking to upgrade their blueline, particularly with a defenseman who shoots right, can play in their top four, and is under contract beyond this season, the options for the Leafs quickly become very limited. I thought I’d do a little search to see just how many defensemen fit that bill.
Searching for under 30 year old defensemen who are either under contract beyond this season, or restricted free agents who shoot right and are active on an NHL roster were my search parameters.  That search yielded 36 players. Of those players we have names like Cale Makar, Erik Karlsson, Charlie McAvoy, Dante Fabbro, Noah Dobson, Adam Fox, John …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation