It’s time we Start Appreciating Reese McGuire

It’s time we sit down and talk about Reese McGuire

I’ve written a few articles about Reese McGuire, one about him and Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP), as well as one about the catching situation and Reese’s heater after being recalled. However, I’ve never gone into detail about how valuable McGuire could be to this team.
Just a side note, I won’t be making any jokes about the incident that happened pre-pandemic. They aren’t funny. 
Before becoming a Jay
McGuire was drafted in the first round, with the 14th overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Drafted out of high school, the potential was evident in the Washington born catcher.
According to his pre-draft bio, defense was always Reese’s speciality, as he excelled at calling games, receiving and blocking. Not just that, but he also had fantastic arm strength, which we can see to this date.
The one question surrounding the young player was his hitting. Here is the ending to his bio on Baseball America.
“Even if [McGuire] doesn’t reach his offensive ceiling, McGuire’s defense will allow him to be a big league back, but if he hits he has all-star potential.”
Prior to the trade to the Jays, Reese was highly regarded as a prospect by both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America. Here is a table that shows his ranking between 2014-2016.
Year
MLB Pipeline
Baseball America
2014
7
8
2015
5
5
2016
5
6
On August 1st, 2016, the Blue Jays traded the struggling Drew Hutchison for McGuire, Francisco Liriano and fellow prospect, Harold Ramirez.
Reese’s bat:
Despite Reese’s bat being hot at certain points, he isn’t known for being a hitter. It’s important to realize that catchers aren’t expected to produce, even if the Jays have Kirk an …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Luke Schenn could be a cheap option to bolster the defensive depth

Over the past month and change, the talk about the Leafs in need of an upgrade on defence. I have already written about some names being suggested as potential options, including Josh Manson who was recently reported to be a trade target of the team.
One of the players I mentioned was Luke Schenn, who Leafs fans have remembered fondly as “The Human Eraser” during his four years in Toronto. The fifth overall pick of the 2008 NHL Draft has been gone for a decade now and in the time since the trade that saw James van Riemsdyk become a Leaf, Schenn has evolved his game to become a dependable defensive option on the bottom-pair.
Nearly ten years after that transaction took place, it appears that the Leafs have some interest in bringing back their former first-round pick according to Rick Dhaliwal. During Monday’s recording of The Donnie and Dhaliwal Show, he mentioned that some people believe the Leafs have an interest in reacquiring him and that a lot of teams have asked the Canucks about his availability. 

The Leafs bringing back Luke Schenn to solidify the bottom pair makes so much sense pic.twitter.com/mxnM66xzyK
— Michael (@TheLeafsIMO) February 3, 2022

I wrote last summer about how bringing back Schenn could help address the departure of Zach Bogosian, whom the Leafs have missed throughout the season. This past season saw the two players post nearly identical underlying metrics and had a lot of other similarities that made the idea of replacing Bogosian with Schenn a tantalizing option. Since writing that piece, Schenn has continued to be a reliable option on the blueline and has found some success when paired beside Quinn Hughes.
In 32 games played, he has three goals, seven assists, and 10 points, marking the first time he has surpassed the double-digit mark since the 2015-16 campaign. In comparison to the other Leafs defenceman, Schenn stacks up fairly well regarding defensive metrics. He has a penalty plus/minus of zero, a hit plus/minus of 82, and has a combined 175 hits and blocks (which would top the team. The one downside is his turnover plus/minus is at -22 …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Timothy Liljegren is going to be fine, just give him some time

There has been quite a lot of talk in the past few weeks about the Leafs needing to make an upgrade with their defensive unit. The cries for an upgrade grew louder when the Leafs went through a six-game stretch where they blew 3-1 leads on four separate occasions.
Regardless of what was the root cause of the unfortunate set of matches to begin 2022, what remains are remenants of old habits rearing their ugly head and fears creeping up in the minds of the fanbase that the same mistakes of years past will once again occur come playoff time. This has led fans to resort to placing the blame for this string of lacklustre play on one or two players.
One player that has been at the ire of fans lately has been Timothy Liljegren, who got his first taste of top-four minutes and looked inexperienced in his new role. While there are legitimate reasons to be critical of his play over the past few weeks, one thing that gets overlooked is that he has only played 36 career NHL games to date. Some growing pains were to be expected when he was thrust into uncharted territory because of Jake Muzzin and Justin Holl missin …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays lose Tanner Kirwer and Curtis Taylor in Minor-League Rule 5 Draft, select Abdiel Mendoza from the Rangers

Look at that! Something to talk about!

The Minor League Rule 5 Draft went down on Wednesday and the Blue Jays have lost two prospects but gained another.
The Seattle Mariners selected outfielder Tanner Kirwer and the Washington Nationals took pitcher Curtis Taylor. The Blue Jays selected pitcher Abdiel Mendoza from the Texas Rangers.
The results from the whole draft can be found here…
Tanner Kirwer, a native of Sherwood Park, Alberta, was a 20th round pick of the Blue Jays back in 2017. He had a strong season in High-A Vancouver, slashing a .285/.420/.474 line over 170 plate appearances. His numbers took a decent dip after getting called up to Double-A New Hampshire. Kirwer had 118 plate appearances for the Fisher Cats and slashed a .208/.370/.399 line. He also stole 43 bases across the two levels.
Curtis Taylor was one of the pitchers that the Blue Jays got from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Eric Sogard back in 2019. Taylor pitched 34 2/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A in 2021 and produced an 8.05 ERA. His strikeout numbers in Double-A (14.7 per nine) were impressive, but he also walked 4.4 per nine across both levels.
And then there’s Mendoza, who the Blue Jays selected. Mendoza tossed 36 1/3 innings (seven starts, 10 appearances) …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays lose Tanner Kirwer and Curtis Taylor in Rule 5 Draft, select Abdiel Mendoza from the Rangers

Look at that! Something to talk about!

The Rule 5 Draft went down on Wednesday and the Blue Jays have lost two prospects but gained another.
The Seattle Mariners selected outfielder Tanner Kirwer and the Washington Nationals took pitcher Curtis Taylor. The Blue Jays selected pitcher Abdiel Mendoza from the Texas Rangers.
The results from the whole draft can be found here…
Tanner Kirwer, a native of Sherwood Park, Alberta, was a 20th round pick of the Blue Jays back in 2017. He had a strong season in High-A Vancouver, slashing a .285/.420/.474 line over 170 plate appearances. His numbers took a decent dip after getting called up to Double-A New Hampshire. Kirwer had 118 plate appearances for the Fisher Cats and slashed a .208/.370/.399 line. He also stole 43 bases across the two levels.
Curtis Taylor was one of the pitchers that the Blue Jays got from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Eric Sogard back in 2019. Taylor pitched 34 2/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A in 2021 and produced an 8.05 ERA. His strikeout numbers in Double-A (14.7 per nine) were impressive, but he also walked 4.4 per nine across both levels.
The Blue Jays had a few prospects such as Samad Taylor, Miguel Hiraldo, and Eric Pardinho who appeared …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

John Tavares looks like he could make Team Canada and the impact of Leafs at the Olympics

It’s safe to say the amount of Olympic talk has increased. Whether it’s because of COVID concerns largely stemming from the Senators outbreak, the threat of a US boycott of the games that would likely be followed by other nations like Canada, or whether it’s the good old fashioned speculation that comes with assessing lineups based off of play this year instead of previous years, people seem to be talking about the Olympics.
Let’s start with the John Tavares story. Tavares very much seemed like a bubble player or someone who could find his way into the Team Canada fold through injuries to other Canadian forwards, but things have shifted slightly, in a couple of different ways. The first being that John Tavares was selected as the model for Team Canada’s Olympic fashion, something that is largely due to the fact that he is a former Olympian, but still there isn’t a shortage of former Olympians around, and this could speak to the Hockey Canada brass’ continued preference towards going with experience, leadership, as well as I’m sure the marketability of having the Leafs captain on their roster doesn’t hurt things like …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

A Look At The Blue Jays’ 40-Man Roster Crunch

Want to talk about the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros playing in the American League Championship Series? Neither do I!

There ain’t much going on around these parts right now as we wait for the post-season to conclude and for the off-season to get rolling, so let’s take a look ahead at one of the interesting situations Toronto will be dealing with — the 40-man roster crunch.
As with last winter (and, well, with just about every winter when you have a deep prospect pool), the Blue Jays have a handful of interesting prospects who will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft come December. They added Gabe Moreno, Riley Adams, Ty Tice, Josh Palacios, and Otto Lopez to the 40-man ahead of last year’s draft, who might they add this year?
Here are some names worth considering…
RHP Eric Pardinho: Back in 2017, the Blue Jays inked Pardinho as an international free agent out of Brazil to a deal with a $1.4 million signing bonus. He was a top-100 prospect coming into 2019 but injuries have massively stunted his development. Pardinho, who turns 21 in January, pitched just three innings in 2021. This would almost be an Elvis Luciano situation for somebody …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes in the Leafs roster, by counting stats

Welcome to Staturday, the column where we talk about stats on Saturday. Today, we’ll get into an overall look at last year’s team totals vs. what the 2021-22 roster did in 2020-21. Basically, we’re going to see if the Leafs should expect to have more or less of all of the basic counting stats. By doing so, we’ll see in what areas the 2021-22 roster should be better or worse than the 2020-21 roster.
I approached this same concept via the Goals Above Replacement model by Evolving Hockey in a previous Staturday column, so check that out here.
All of the stats below will be from Evolving Hockey, and will be at Even Strength, with no adjustments.
Last Year’s Leafs

Player
Season
Team
Position
GP
TOI
G
Points
iSF
iFF
iCF
ixG
Sh%
iBLK
GIVE
TAKE
iHF
iHA
iPEN±
FO±

Morgan Rielly
20-21
TOR
D
55
1078.95
4
21
74
109
160
3.61
5.41
54
64
18
60
132
-5
0

Tj Brodie
20-21
TOR
D
56
1053.38
1
11
40
62
96
1.58
2.5
75
45
19
28
99
0
0

Justin Holl
20-21
TOR
D
55
984.1
2
17
52
75
109
2.2
3.85
60
33
14
72
126
-1
0

Jake Muzzin
20-21
TOR
D
53
950.8
2
22
86
115
169
2.85
2.33
68
49
19
91
138
-5
0

Mitch Marner
20-21
TOR
C
55
904.07
17
47
108
143
195
11.6
15.74
34
53
42
19
45
-1
-1

Auston Matthews
20-21
TOR
C
52
889
30
49
167
225
260
18.11
17.96
40
42
40
56
57
7
34

John Tavares
20-21
TOR
C
56
831.3
12
33
119
155
196
12.8
10.08
27
49
30
44
75
9
62

William Nylander
20-21
TOR
C
51
697.93
11
27
100
137
167
11.37
11
15
33
29
12
61
1
2

Alex Kerfoot
20-21
TOR
C
56
674.1
6
18
59
77
100
6.41
10.17
28
25
14
38
115
3
-43

Ilya Mikheyev
20 …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

When will Kristians Rubins be in the Maple Leafs lineup?

Of all the players I could talk about from the Toronto Marlies, Kristians Rubins is still one of the most mysterious. He’s a big player who can move up and down the ice at a high rate of speed. But the question is — can he put everything togeter?
Today, I look into what he’s good at, what he can work on, and how long it might be before he’s ready for a spot in the Maple Leafs lineup.
I hope you enjoy the video!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

BJN Radio Ep. 10: A split in Oakland, the Springer Saga, Free Manoah, and more!

There was a lot to talk about after the Blue Jays’ four-game set out west in Oakland.

We recapped the good from the A’s series, including Robbie Ray again not walking anyone and Marcus Semien popping off in his return home, and we talked about the bad, including the injury bug that won’t leave the Blue Jays alone and Steven Matz’s second consecutive rough start.
We also went into a bit of a rant about the puzzling George Springer injury saga. After being told Springer wasn’t playing simply because he needed some rest, the $150 million man is back on the Injured List. Who would have guessed! Why the Blue Jays are being so coy about this whole thing is a mystery and it’s incredibly frustrating.
After that, we talked about the Angels releasing Albert Pujols and how funny it would be if he inexplicably finished off his career as a Blue Jay in Buffalo. Finally, we wrapped things up by talking about Alek Manoah’s amazing Triple-A debut and how he could factor into the team’s plans when the trade deadline comes around.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation