BJN. Radio Ep. 32: An up-and-down weekend with the Mets, a new-look lineup, refuting the idea of being sellers, and more!

What a rollercoaster that was.

The Blue Jays, fresh off of an ugly two-game set with the Red Sox badly in need of some wins, rolled into Flushing to face the Mets. They got shut down on Friday, exploded on Saturday, and then lost a heartbreaker on Sunday. One step forward, two steps back.
Me and BK talked about the team’s new lineup composition, why it’s ideal to have Bo Bichette in the four-hole, Hyun Jin Ryu’s tough start, Ross Stripling’s bounce-back, and Alejandro Kirk’s return to the lineup. We also waved goodbye to T.J. Zeuch, who we fear might become the next Chris Carpenter in St. Louis, and then talked about how the Blue Jays should approach the trade deadline.
There are many suggestions out there suggesting this team should sell, but we explained why that’s a bad idea.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Good Luck, Bad Luck, and Batting Average on Balls in Play

BABIP. What is it? BABIP or Batting Average on Balls In Play is a metric used to measure how often contact leads to a hit. Some say it measures luck and I will agree. To a certain extent that is.

BABIP is a stat that needs further explanation using further stats. Reese McGuire is often considered a lucky hitter. Why? His BABIP is .350.
Now the same people that would consider McGuire lucky wouldn’t consider Vlad Guerrero Jr lucky, even though his BABIP is slightly higher at .352. 
This begs the question, what’s the difference? In this article, I look to answer that through two explanations while also giving an example of an unlucky hitter.
I am (bat) speed
Baseball is quite a complex game even if non-baseball fans will tell you otherwise. Hitting is no different. As a baseball outsider, we can use stats to quantify how good a player is. 
To put it simply, the difference between Vlad Jr and McGuire comes down to the fact that one player hits it hard while the other player hits the ball at medium speed 61% of the time.
Let’s talk about percentiles using Baseball Savant.
Reese McGuire doesn’t hit …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Will Nick Robertson be in the Leafs lineup on opening night?

I’ve gone back and forth in terms of what I think about Nick Robertson and what type of player he can be. For now though, I know what player he is. A fast, skilled and strong shooter who belongs in the NHL, not the AHL.
Here’s a video where I discuss my reasons behind this and what makes him more of a threat with the Leafs rather than the Marlies.
I hope you enjoy!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Looking at how the Blue Jays value versatility

“No duh, Brennan, versatility is incredibly important. So what point are you trying to make here?”

You may be asking yourself as you read the title. Yes, versatility is one of the most important facets of the game of baseball. Lacking versatility can significantly limit the use of a player below replacement level.
So why bring up versatility? Well, let me ask you a question. Who is the Jays backup first baseman? In this article, I’ll be speaking on quite a few topics regarding how the Jays use versatility, including the big leagues and how it plays a role on the makeup of the team, the minor leagues, and finally, what we can look for during the trade deadline.
Versatility in the big leagues…
The Jays have many needs, relief pitching is the first thing that comes to mind, but the starting pitching staff can use more depth and the Jays need a third baseman. One position that has not been needing an upgrade is first base, even though the Jays only have one first baseman on their 26 man roster. Even with all this said, Vlad has played a significant amount as the DH.
This is where versatility comes …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Absolutely, Alek Manoah

Alek Manoah was the 11th overa…
You know what? No. You know who Alek Manoah is, everyone does. 7 IP, 3 H, 10 K, 1 BB, 0 ER. That is Manoah’s pitching line. That’s right. 

Things worth mentioning…
Alek Manoah has pitched like a damn ace this season and tonight was no different. Who cares that he only pitched 35 innings in the minors, a number he eclipsed in seven games in the majors. Who cares that he’s only 23?
His confidence, his composure, his demeanour, Manoah has the making of an ace. 
Walked a guy in the first? Cool, strike out the next two. Springer hit a two-run shot in the Jays’ half of the inning and the game was done, that’s how locked in Manoah was tonight. In the second, he struck out the side with some nasty sliders that should be illegal.
The Jays added more runs giving Manoah the win. In the top of the third, Manoahson literally struck out a guy by hitting him (Vlad just hit a home run as I’m writing this). I call Manoah, Manoahson because in the minors he hit 4 batters while only walking three, very Bob Gibson-like.
In the fourth, he didn’ …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Around the NHL: Trading Jack Eichel this year would be a mistake for Buffalo

We live in what could be a unique time for hockey. You’d be hard pressed to find a time where an elite center who’s prime is just starting on the trading block, but when hasn’t Buffalo done something out of the ordinary these last few years. Not since maybe Joe Thornton have we seen a player who’s regarded as one of the best players in the league close to being traded, but even then Thornton was on the back half of his truly elite years.
But there’s a reason why it doesn’t happen often. It rarely works out well for the team dealing the player in a normal year, and doing it right now would be a brutal mistake. The Sabres have made plenty these days, but this would be franchise altering, and not in a good way.
So, let’s go over a few reasons why the Sabres should not trade Jack Eichel, or at least not this season.
The return for star players is more often than not underwhelming
Let’s knock the obvious one out of the way first. Very rarely do you win a trade by dealing the best player …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

IT’S LADY BYNG FINALIST SZN AND AUSTON MATTHEWS MADE THE CUT!!!

In what was undoubtedly the most physical, rough and tumble year of Auston Matthews career, it appears Matthews is still viewed as quite the gentleman.

Sportsmanship combined with a high standard of play.
Which finalist will be taking home the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy? #NHLAwards @NHLdotcom has more https://t.co/Henp0vGuBW pic.twitter.com/N678HxOx0S
— NHL (@NHL) June 5, 2021

Yep. He’s our gentleman despite seeing his penalty minutes increase from 8 in 2019-20 to 10 this season, and his hit total jump from 40 to 57 this year despite playing in 18 fewer games. Yes, Auston remains a Lady Byng finalist for the second straight year, and after finishing second in voting last season, it’s very possible that he’s the front runner this season because Brian Campbell is the only defenseman who won the award in the past 65 years. Facing Spurgeon and Slavin would probably make Matthews the favourite, and I wonder if voters will treat the Byng as Matthews consolation prize for having an incredible season, but not being able to leap past Connor McDavid for the Hart.
Auston has already addressed that individual accolades don’t quite cut it for him when he was announced as a …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: There just had to be a Game 7

What do the Leafs going to a Game 7 and Thanos have in common? Both are inevitable.
I mean, at the very least, they’ll get to exorcise those demons, but they should’ve just closed it out, that would’ve been much appreciated.
They didn’t really deserve to have this game go to overtime so in the end they got what they deserved, but the way they played in overtime, they should’ve won.
Yeah, that’s all I got for this intro. I just had back-to-back games where my heart got ripped out, jammed back in, only to be ripped out again.
3rd Star: Jason Spezza
This was a highly contested spot for most of overtime, because I thought everyone played out of their minds to allow only two shots against for almost the whole period, but Spezza gets it in the end, solely for giving us hope with the 2-1 goal.
2nd Star: TJ Brodie
The obvious reason is that he came up clutch and tied the game late in the third. But also, he really stepped up in the absence of Jake Muzzin in the third and overtime, and was the reliable steady force as always.
1 …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Breaking Down Alek Manoah’s Debut

What a debut that was. Six innings, no runs, two hits, seven strikeouts.

That’s an impressive debut against any team let alone the New York Yankees in the Bronx. Yes, the Yankees weren’t full strength but still, this was an incredible debut, as Brennan Delaney wrote. So let’s break it down. This won’t be a full pitch-by-pitch breakdown if you want that, check out Nick Pollack’s gif breakdown over at Pitcher List.
The game didn’t quite start as planned, as Manoah walked Yankees lead-off hitter DJ LeMahieu on four pitches. Manoah settled in after that striking out the next hitter then getting Aaron Judge to strikeout with a 97 mile an hour heater right down the middle, which I am sure you have all seen but is too good to not show again.


That was the hardest pitch Manoah threw on the day. He averaged 94.9 mph with his fastball which is right in line with his minor league velocity. He threw 30 fastballs generating 14 swings and six whiffs. The fastball can be tough on hitters because of the spin rate …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation