End of season comparison: Yusei Kikuchi to Steven Matz, a tale of change and qualifying offers

We’ve run through all the good comparisons, and now we’re left with Yusei Kikuchi and Steven Matz. Yay.

So yeah, getting this out of the way quickly, neither of these guys had a good season… sort of. It took a change mid-season to help them perform better.
Unlike the other three articles in the series, there are no prospects in this article. However, there should have been, but we’ll get to that. Here’s the background.
The Blue Jays traded three prospects, Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Diaz, and Josh Winckowski for Steven Matz on January 28th, 2021. The lefty had a solid season in 2021 with the Blue Jays and cashed in during the 2021-22 off-season, signing a four-year, $44 million contract with the St.Louis Cardinals.
Yusei Kikuchi spent three seasons with the Mariners, positing “meh” statistics with the team, before signing a three-year deal with the Blue Jays worth $36 million.
Steven Matz’s 2021:
Looking at Matz’s 2021 first, he finished the season with a 3.82 ERA and 3.79 FIP in 150.2 innings pitched. While his 22.3 K% was about average, he had a solid 6.6 BB% which meant he let runners get a free pass.
It was a fairly streaky season for the then 30-year-old lefty. At some point, he looked like it could be his best year, while he got lit up at other points. Overall, it was a solid season where he posted pretty good numbers for a guy who was penciled in as the fifth starter.
Unlike the other two free agents we’ve covered, Mat …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays just got shut down by Dean Kremer and have now lost five consecutive games with the Baltimore Orioles

The nightmare continues. The Blue Jays continue to go through a poor slump, as they dropped another game to the Baltimore Orioles 4-2.

Last night, it was Kyle Bradish, and, as you can tell by the headline, the Blue Jays had a lot of fits with Dean Kremer, the Orioles starting pitcher tonight. Yes, this is the same Dean Kremer who, before tonight, had an 11.32 career ERA against Toronto (per @JGoldberg12 on Twitter). Sounds like the perfect recipe for coming out of a slump, eh? Nope.
Kremer gave up a 2-run homer in the first inning from Vladimir Guerrero Jr., but after that, he put up zeros for the rest of his outing. Kremer threw seven innings, allowing seven hits, two runs, one walk and striking out six. Oof.

Last year if you’d told me Dean Kremer would twirl 7 innings in a game with crucial postseason implications, I’d have said you’re crazy pic.twitter.com/KbDoQ2seSH
— District Orioles (@DistrictOrioles) August 17, 2022

Guerrero’s home run came after George Springer’s leadoff single in the 1st inning. Vladdy hit an absolute seed to the Blue Jays’ bullpen to give Toronto an early 2-0 lead. It was the first time the Jays scored first in a game since August 7th at Minnesota.
Despite the good start, tonight’s game was once again littered with missed opportunities. The Jays would look to add more to the scoreboard in the 3rd inning, as they worked the bases loaded with one out against Kremer by way of a Vladdy single, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. double, and an Alejandro Kirk walk. Unfortunately, Matt Chapman grounded into an inning-ending double play to kill the momentum.
Another critical …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

MLB Draft Day 3, live article – Blue Jays selections, analysis and more!

This is the last day of our three day Christmas in July.
Rounds 11 through 20 is taking place today, and it’s my favourite day. To be truthful, I’m a sucker for those late round pickups that turn into top prospects for the organization. There’s a story to tell about them, such as Damiano Palmegiani who was picked in the 14th round in 2021.
Or take Spencer Horwitz for example, a lefty first baseman chosen in the 24th round. That round doesn’t even exist anymore, yet the 24-year-old has become one of the better prospects in the organization in my opinion.
If you missed the first day draft, here are the links for each of their four picks from that day:
The Toronto Blue Jays select Brandon Barriera with the 23rd overall pick
The Toronto Blue Jays select Josh Kasevich with the 60th overall pick
The Toronto Blue Jays select Tucker Toman with the 77th overall pick
The Toronto Blue Jays select Cade Doughty with the 78th overall pick
Yesterday, the Jays had seven selections in rounds 3 through 10, which you could read more about here:
MLB Draft Day 2, live article – Blue Jays selections, analysis, and more!
I think the Jays did a pretty good job picking up prospects with upside. My two favourite selections were Alan Roden and Peyton Williams.
Alan Roden is a 22-year-old corner outfielder and first baseman. He is a contact hitter with only eight strikeouts and 29 walks in 242 plate appearances. He has excellent exit velocities and could hit around 20 homers if all goes right. Not just that, but he’s a left-handed batter, something the Jays desperately need. I could see him starting his pro career in Dunedin, but a High A start seems likely either this season or next.
Peyton Williams is a 6’5, 255 lb first baseman. Slugger? Surprisingly no. While he hits dingers and has incredible exit velocities, some of the best in the draft, he is a line drive hitter with a spray approach. In his collegiate career with the University of Iowa, he has 77 walks and 83 strikeouts in 492 plate appearance …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Updating list of Toronto Maple Leafs development camp invites

We’re through the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, which means it’s development camp time. A majority of the league has already announced details regarding their camps and rosters, but it appears the Toronto Maple Leafs are delaying the start of their camp until after the start of free agency.
It was mentioned in Sportsnet’s draft summary that Leafs development camp will begin on Friday, and that would make sense given the lack of announcements so far.
That being said, individual collegiate and junior teams have been announcing which of their players are going to development camps, which has given us a few glimpses at who will be on the Maple Leafs dev camp roster.
We know that prospects whose rights are owned by Toronto will be attending camp, as will various players on AHL contracts, so here is an updating list of the free agent invites to Maple Leafs development camp.
Updates will be added at the bottom of the article.
F Marcus Nguyen, WHL
The first team to announce invites that included a player attending Leafs camp was the Portland Winterhawks and right winger, Marcus Nguyen.
Nguyen was first-time eligible for the draft this year and was ranked at #148 on the consolidated list. He got a fair bit of love as a potential late-round swing, ranking in the top 100 on …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation