Pitching Depth and Roster Building, Part 2: The Prospects and Lower Minors

Having wandered about in the thicket of Toronto’s major league starting options (and, may I add, I think it’s a pretty cool thing to have that set of options in Triple-A given what most such rotations look like) we can now get into the more prospect-y side of this discussion.

My good friend over at Future Blue Jays did a series of rotation projection posts earlier in the off-season, and he started at the bottom and worked his way up. I found that too difficult to do because it seems to me that often a player might not land as high as he otherwise would have simply due to opportunity. So, for example, the guys in Double-A are guys who have earned at least that level but potentially also guys for whom there’s just no opening at Triple-A.
The other framing assumption is specific to this season, which is to say that in many cases, a player may be promoted to the level that he would have been had they played a 2020 MiLB season. For example, top-5 prospect Simeon Woods Richardson pitched at High-A Dunedin in 2019 (albeit not for a full season) and might reasonably have been …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Six Name Digit Murphy as Franchise’s First Head Coach

Toronto’s new NWHL team, The Toronto Six, has named Margaret “Digit” Murphy as their first head coach.

NEWS: We have named Digit Murphy as our first head coach in franchise history
: https://t.co/jv5ZxeGDwc pic.twitter.com/xwLXqG4lNr
— Toronto Six (@TheTorontoSix) October 20, 2020

Murphy is also the franchise’s president, a role she will maintain as she steps into her coaching position. She brings extensive coaching experience to the team, and has been involved in all aspects of the franchise’s development.
Looking forward to following The Six this upcoming season!

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Author: MerOutLoud / The Leafs Nation

Nate Pearson has arrived, Ken Giles is injured. What does that mean for the Blue Jays’ pitching staff?

The day is finally here. Nate Pearson, Toronto’s No. 1 prospect and one of baseball’s most exciting young arms, is set to make his Major League debut.

Pearson’s presence will be a big boost to the Blue Jays’ rotation, which has looked very solid after one trip through the order. It’s important to temper expectations for rookies, no matter how much talent they have, but Pearson certainly boasts the stuff to hit the ground running as a top-of-the-rotation arm.
The first time through, Toronto’s rotation tossed 22 innings, allowing just six earned runs on 18 hits and nine walks while collecting 19 strikeouts. Now, imagine Hyun Jin Ryu bouncing back to form after a rusty first start and adding Pearson, who immediately steps in like an ace, to the mix.
Dare to dream!
Anyways, now that Pearson is up, the Jays have a normal five-man rotation. He’ll kick off Toronto’s second go through the rotation, with Ryu and Matt Shoemaker scheduled to follow after him and Trent Thornton and Tanner Roark still pencilled in as the fourth and fifth starters. That’s a pretty formidable group.
Another …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Six sign top CHA defender Lindsay Eastwood

Toronto’s NWHL franchise added a prominent player today in signing former Syracuse Orange captain Linsday Eastwood:

NEWS: We’ve signed the 2019-20 @CHAWomensHockey best defender award winner and @CuseIce captain @LindsayEastw00d
: https://t.co/PN9lREFPFT pic.twitter.com/8KxvYO41AQ
— Toronto Six (@TheTorontoSix) June 11, 2020

As noted in the tweet from the team’s Twitter account, College Hockey America (a D-1 NCAA division for women’s hockey only) named Eastwood the nation’s top defender in the division. A native of Kanata, ON, the college senior racked up 28 points in 36 games from the blueline in her second season as the Orange’s captain. This production earned her 16th in the NCAA D-1, and led her somewhat mediocre team in scoring (tied with sophomore forward Abby Moloughney). Last year, Eastwood took Syracuse to its first CHA Tournament title in the program’s history.

Welcome “home” @LindsayEastw00d pic.twitter.com/loWFHh9OG9
— Toronto Six (@TheTorontoSix) June 11, 2020

All quotes below are taken from the team’s article on its website.
“Lindsay leaves Syracuse as one of its all-time most accomplished players,” said Syracuse head coach …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Norman Powell will be better than ever when he returns

Norman Powell sprained his left ankle in Toronto’s last game, just the latest development in what’s been an injury-marred campaign for the Raptors’ guard. Thing is, he’ll be better because of it. Here’s why: To put it mildly, it’s been a trying season for Toronto Raptors guard, Norman Powell. He’s had to deal with a […]
Toronto Raptors: Norman Powell will be better than ever when he returns – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jordan Skuse / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Is Norman Powell ready to make the jump this offseason?

Next up on Toronto’s offseason previews: Norman Powell. How well did Stormin’ Norman perform last season? What can he improve on? What kind of role can we expect him to play next year? Norman Powell, by the numbers, had the best season of his young Toronto Raptors career. He averaged career-highs across the board – […]
Toronto Raptors: Is Norman Powell ready to make the jump this offseason? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Nikola Cuvalo / Raptors HQ

2019 NBA Finals Game 1 now most-watched hoops broadcast of all time in Canada

Toronto’s historic playoff run continues with yet another record audience tuning in for Raptors-Warriors All of Toronto is caught up in a wave of Raptors hoopla, and the TV ratings for last night’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals confirm what you probably suspected: The rest of the country is equally invested! A heck of a lot of people were watching last night: 7.4 million Canadians tuned in to watch the Raptors take on — and defeat! — the defending champion Golden State Warriors:

Another @Raptors win, another broadcast record!Last night’s Game 1 of the #NBAFinals on @Sportsnet reached 7.4M Canadians and captured an average audience of 3.3M viewers, making it the most-watched #NBA game ever in Canada #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/8PMIZZvJWA— Sportsnet PR (@SportsnetPR) May 31, 2019

7.4 million! We’re approaching one-quarter of the country’s entire population, here! On average, 3.3 million people were watching the game, and as the clock ticked down at 11:35 p.m. and the Raptors celebrated their first-ever Finals win, 4.1 million Canadians were watching.
Now, if this story seems to familiar to you, that’s because… it is! This is at least the third time the Raptors have set a television viewing record in Canada, first with Raptors-76 …

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Author: Josh Kern / Raptors HQ

Raptors squeak by Bucks in double OT, and it doesn’t matter how they did it

Nothing about Toronto’s Game 3 win over the Bucks was pretty except the final score. For now, that’s enough. None of the bad stuff from Game 3 matters.
It doesn’t matter that whatever flow the Raptors had in Sunday’s first half was reduced to a pathetic drip in the second half. Toronto posted 58 first-half points, tallying 18 assists on 21 buckets in the first 24 minutes. They followed it up with 38 points on putrid shooting in the second half. Oh well.
It doesn’t matter that Kyle Lowry, who put up 11 critical points on 4-of-7 shooting while masterfully running Toronto’s offense, fouled out with 6:12 remaining in regulation. Fouls reset once the final buzzer goes. He’ll be back on the floor for Game 4, and his body of work through three games has been totally Lowry-like. Good enough.
It doesn’t matter that Danny Green and Fred VanVleet were borderline unplayable for the first 41 minutes at 48 seconds of the game. Their two combined buckets (on 20 total shots) both came from long range, at crucial moments, in the minutes after Lowry was sidelined. Their defense was essential, too. Milwaukee doesn’t finish 38-of-102 from the floor without those two popping in for …

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Author: Sean Woodley / Raptors HQ

Raptors get blown out by Bucks in Game 2, 125-103

Toronto’s fate was decided early in the first quarter, as the Raptors were decimated by an energetic Bucks squad in Game 2. After a disheartening loss in Game 1 where both teams seemed evenly matched, the Raptors were totally outclassed tonight. The Bucks out-hustled, out-shot, out-rebounded, out-assisted and generally outdid the Raptors entirely, providing me with a pointless writing exercise about a 125-103 blowout loss. But please, join me and let’s bask in sadness together!
To start things off, the Raptors made careless error after careless error. In the first six minutes of the game, the Bucks went on a 9-0 run, including two Giannis Antetokounmpo jams, multiple Toronto throwaway turnovers and a Nikola Mirotic three-pointer. It might’ve suggested that Nick Nurse call a timeout at some point before that Mirotic three, but hey, I’m not a professional basketball coach so he must be right. But seriously, the Milwaukee crowd was getting fired up and the Raptors looked flustered; a timeout to settle the troops was much needed.
Marc Gasol was incredibly shaky to start the game, missing his first four shots, fumbling a Kawhi Leonard interior pass and whipping a pass of his own off the rim …

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Author: Dylan Litman / Raptors HQ

Raptors go cold and lose Game 6 to Sixers, 112-101

Toronto’s supporting cast withered while the Sixers finally got a good Ben Simmons game. This series will go seven. The years are ticking off our collective life, but the Toronto Raptors still refuse to do things the easy way. After a Game 5 drubbing of the Sixers, it appeared the corner had finally been turned. The supporting cast had done their part, even during a mediocre Kawhi Leonard game. Happy surprises were happening everywhere — Siakam looks healthy again! Fred is making jumpers! Band-aid Serge over everything!
And yet… and yet.
The concept of momentum continues to be foreign in this second round series between the Raptors and Sixers, as very little of what happened in Game 5 carried over into Thursday’s Game 6 on Toronto’s side. Once again, the open shooting went cold, the rotations reverted back to problematic, and a hungry Philadelphia team capitalized. The Raptors had their runs, but ultimately fell well short — losing Game 6, 112-101. Game 7 is Sunday night in Toronto.
Statistically, the number bolded and highlighted on the scoresheet from tonight’s game is a bit off the wall: Joel Embiid posting a +40, the highest ever for a Raptors playoff opponent.
Despite a relatively quiet 17 points …

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Author: John Gaudes / Raptors HQ