Daily Duce: FanGraphs’ ZiPS projections, Scott Boras on the Blue Jays off-season, and more!


A few weeks ago, FanGraphs released its Steamer projections, which featured a whole bunch of numbers to get optimistic about when it comes to the Blue Jays. Earlier this week, FanGraphs dropped more numbers, as Dan Szymborsk’s ZiPS projections came out.
Here’s what ZiPS is saying about the 2021 Blue Jays…

For those who don’t know, ZiPS uses statistics from the past four seasons (with more recent seasons being weighted heavier) coupled with things like ageing trends and injuries in order to project what a player’s statistics are going to look like. ZiPS, like Steamer, isn’t an exact science, but it’s widely regarded as one of the most accurate predictors in the industry.
Anyways! ZiPS, much like Steamer, is excited about the 2021 Blue Jays.
It’s projecting that the team will have 11 (!!!) players produce an OPS+ of 100 or greater. ZiPS is really into both Teoscar Hernandez (121 OPS+) and Rowdy Tellez’s (119 OPS+) breakout showings from 2020 but it isn’t as excited about Vlad Jr. as Steamer was. Still, the 124 OPS+ ZiPS projects for Vlad would be a welcomed showing. ZiPS is also probably the only place you’ll find Derek Fisher optimism. It says …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Ideas for the Toronto Raptors two remaining jerseys

Ideas for the Toronto Raptors two remaining jerseys

It’s been almost two weeks since the Toronto Raptors released the first three jerseys of their new collection. On October 15th the Toronto Raptors excited fans and media alike as they released the first three of their new set of 5 jersey styles. The New Association and Icon Edition jerseys present a familiar look being […]
Ideas for the Toronto Raptors two remaining jerseys – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jack Long / Raptors HQ

Leafs target Joe Thornton signs with HC Davos

After weeks of anticipation, Joe Thornton has signed with a pro hockey team! It’s just not with the Leafs or the Sharks.

HC Davos confirms that Joe Thornton has rejoined the team. He’ll use the time in the Swiss league to prepare for his 23rd NHL season.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 15, 2020

Throughout the offseason, Thornton has been training in Switzerland where he lives during the offseason. Given that it has been over seven months since he last played an NHL game and he has intentions of returning for another year, it makes sense why he’s chosen to play in the National League.
It’s not Thornton’s first time suiting up for HC Davos as he’s played for the team during both the 2004 and 2012 lockouts. He’s recorded a combined 22 goals, 68 assists, and 90 points in 73 games.
In 70 games last season with the Sharks, he recorded seven goals, 24 assists, and 31 points.
Toronto is tight on cap space at the time of writing this post, so signing Thornton likely means someone else will be on the move in the coming days/weeks.

Good Idea/Bad Idea: Joe Thornton to the Leafs?

All stats unless otherwise noted are from …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs select Rodion Amirov 15th overall

After weeks of speculation regarding whether the Leafs would keep their newly acquired first round pick or trade it for immediate help, Mitch Marner stepped in front of the camera and announced that the Leafs had selected winger Rodion Amirov. Through 10 KHL games with Ufa in the KHL this season, the 19 year old Russian forward has scored three goals and 2 assists.
From Eliteprospects:
“He strikes with strong habits, deploying crossovers through arced attacks on the rush, made all the more potent with a nice variety of rush patterns through the neutral zone preceding these forays. His anticipation, the ability to see plays before they develop, is one of his high-level tools”
In TLN’s recent mock draft, Nick DeSouza selected Amirov on behalf of the Maple Leafs at 15th overall so the pick isn’t what you would call “off the board.”

Leafs take Rodion Amirov!
In @TLNdc’s mock draft, we had the Leafs taking Amirov. Here’s what I had to say about him. A skilled player who can do a little bit of everything well. pic.twitter.com/rwS6h5y4Gz
— Nick DeSouza (@NickDeSouza_) October 7, 2020

In the lead up to the draft, I previewed Amirov as a potential …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Behind the Net Podcast Episode 39: Is That Loud Enough? (ft. Vivek Jacob)

In this week’s episode, Matthew Rodrigopulle and I react to the NBA player’s boycotting their games, why it is important that happened, and what they hope follows it. They are later joined by Vivek Jacob, a freelance writer for Complex Canada and Raptors Republic, to discuss the significance of the boycott, why it occurred, and previewing a Raptors-Celtics should it continue as scheduled. Afterwards, we both share our perspective on the NHL’s initial decision to continue playing, why the league missed the mark, and how they can take better action for future moments.
Where you can listen

Apple Podcast

Some resources to check out

Follow Us on Twitter
Michael Mazzei: @TheLeafsIMO
Matthew Rodrigopulle: @Matt_Rodrigo_
Black Lives Matter

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Behind the Net Podcast Episode 38: A Tale of Two Toronto Teams (ft. Mike Stephens)

In this week’s episode, Michael Mazzei and I recap what we missed in the previous week, share our thoughts on the NHL and NBA Draft lotteries, and redo the 2012 NBA Draft. We are then joined by Mike Stephens, an NHL analyst for Yahoo Sports Canada, and former managing editor of The Leafs Nation. We discuss his upbringing in the sports media landscape, his favourite memories covering the Marlies and his experience with the Dangle Navy team. We also reflect on the Leafs-Blue Jackets series, why the 2019-20 season was a wasted opportunity, how the team should approach the offseason, and what Bruce Boudreau could bring to the team.
Time Stamps:
3:30: Toronto Maple Leafs reactions, NHL playoffs
8:50: Toronto Raptors success, NBA Playoffs, Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers
17:55: 2012 NBA Redraft
34:55: Mike Stephens:

35:40: How he got into sports media
45:00: Why he loves Trevor Moore
48:00: Stories from covering the Toronto Marlies
53:05: Playing with the Dangle Navy
56:50: Toronto Maple Leafs qualifying round impressions
1:02:30: Who impressed and who disappointed?
1:05:10: What to do with Frederik Andersen and Mitch Marner?
1:16:45: Who should the Leafs trade?
1:24:15: Bruce Boudreau, coaching decisions, ideal moves
1:32:15: Stanley Cup predictions, Raptors talk

1:45:35: NHL and NBA draft lottery reactions
Where you …

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Author: Matthew Rodrigopulle / The Leafs Nation

Behind the Net Podcast Episode 37: Black Lives Matter in Sports (ft. Erica L. Ayala and Omar [@TicTacTOmar])

In this week’s episode, Michael Mazzei and I are joined by Erica L. Ayala, a colour analyst for the Boston Pride and Connecticut Whale and a freelance sports writer, and Omar, known as TicTacTOmar, a writer for Pension Plan Puppets. Erica and Omar join us for a very important discussion about racism and diversity in hockey and in sports. They discuss the significance of kneeling in sports, how bad hockey’s diversity problem has been, how the sport can be more accessible to people of colour, and how the NHL can better show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
For more resources, donation drives, petitions and other ways you can help, check out:
Time Stamps:
2:08: Toronto Maple Leafs, Jake Muzzin injury
4:05: Toronto Raptors finding success, standouts
7:30: Toronto Blue Jays expectations
10:55: Discussion with Erica Ayala and Omar (TicTacTOmar) about diversity issues in sports

15:55: The significance of kneeling in sports and hockey
44:30: Why does hockey struggle with diversity?
53:51: Supporting the movement and taking action 
1:24:00: How to be a better ally

Where you can listen:

Apple Podcasts:
https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/episode-37-black-lives-matter-in-sports-ft-erica-ayala/ …

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Author: Matthew Rodrigopulle / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays need to cut their roster from 30 to 28 players today. Who will be the odd men out?

The 2020 season is two weeks old, so it’s already time for teams to trim their active rosters from 30 players down to 28 players.

Originally, the plan was for teams to get two weeks with a 30-man roster and then another two weeks with a 28-man roster before getting down to the normal 26-man roster, but it was decided that teams would be allowed to carry 28 players for the entirety of the season.
So, from a Blue Jays perspective, the team needs to send a couple of players down to the Alternate Training Site and they’ll also have to make room on the active roster for Chase Anderson, who was apparently set to be activated at some point during the series in Atlanta.
We’ll start off with some names that obviously aren’t going anywhere. The entire starting rotation of Hyun Jin Ryu, Matt Shoemaker, Nate Pearson, Trent Thornton, and Tanner Roark will remain intact, and position players like Vlad Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel, Danny Jansen, Randal Grichuk, Teoscar Hernandez, Travis Shaw, Reese McGuire aren’t going to be sent down.
Given the way pitchers are dropping like mad …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Behind the Net Podcast Episode 36: The Leafs, Raptors, and Jays are Back!

In this week’s episode, Matthew Rodrigopulle and I are joined by Ian Hunter, the lead baseball writer for Daily Hive Toronto, where we discuss the Blue Jays season so far and if the 2020 campaign will be completed. We are later joined by Nick DeSouza, a fellow writer at The Leafs Nation, to analyze the Leafs play so far, Robertson’s impact, and what are the keys to a Leafs-Blue Jackets series.
Time Stamps:
1:55: Blue Jays talk, Miami Marlins testing positive
9:41: Ian Hunter

12:20: Blue Jays early impressions, standout players, pitching staff analysis
25:00: Season predictions for the Jays
30:43: Thoughts on the MLB’s return to play plan and the Miami Marlins outbreak
39:20: World Series predictions
42:15: Favourite ballpark snacks

45:15: Basketball discussion, Tom Thibodeau hired by the Knicks
48:14: Raptors scrimmage impressions
52:25: Leafs exhibition game impressions, Nick Robertson discussion
55:27: Nick DeSouza

56:00: How he got into writing
59: 13: Leafs impressions, standout players, analysis
1:03:43: Thoughts on the NHL bubble
1:05:34: Nick Robertson analysis
1:11:55: Leafs-Blue Jackets series preview, keys to success, analysis
1:15:50: What should the Leafs do in the offseason?
1:18:39: Leafs playoff predictions

1:23:49: 2011 NBA Redraft
Where you can listen

Apple Podcast
Follow Us on …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

What’s next for Nick Robertson after making the Leafs Return to Play roster?

It’s been an exciting few weeks for Nick Robertson to say the least. He’s been through the Maple Leafs’ phase 3 Return to Play training camp and is a part of the 26 player roster, who entered the bubble on Sunday night.
As much as people think Robertson’s situation is crystal clear and he’s made the team, it’s not that simple.
One of the biggest takeaways from the Maple Leafs training camp was that the 18-year-old can play against NHL players. And as we’ve heard before, some teams in the league were hesitant to draft him because of his size, which we now know isn’t a problem.
That was one of the big “what ifs” when Mitch Marner was drafted, too. Yet he has turned out to be one of the NHL’s most dominant wingers.

Today’s @MapleLeafs practice lines and defensive pairings:
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 27, 2020

As the Maple Leafs get ready for their first and only exhibition game against the Montreal Canadiens, everyone will be watching to see if Robertson can play against other NHL …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation