Blue Jays Nation’s 2023 Preseason Top 50: #8 Gabriel Martinez

Prior to the start of the 2022 season, Gabriel Martinez ranked as Blue Jays Nation’s 17th best prospect.

While he had a fantastic 2021 in the Florida Complex League, especially showcasing his hit tool, there were some question marks to be answered about his lack of power.
As you may guess, those questions were answered in 2022, hence why he ranks as the 8th best prospect heading into the 2023 season.
But first, let’s look at the criteria.
Brennan’s criteria:
Instead of writing this out every time I did for the mid-season Top 60, I’ll copy and paste my criteria for how I rank and scout these players.
There are many factors that determine a top prospect. The eye test is the biggest driver in determining a top prospect, but proximity to the majors, ceiling, and floor is also important. Moreover, statistics are another key ingredient, as everything works together to give you numbers.
As for the grades, it’s important to remember that they are relative to the league in which they play. A kid from Dunedin is not going to have a 50-grade hit tool if he were placed in the big leagues. But relative to the league in which he plays, a .300 hitter is eligible to have that grade.
For these prospects, I’ll be reviewing their background, numbers in the minors, pitch mix (if they’re a pitcher), and giving a scouting report (if feasible, rookie league guys are difficult).
Let’s jump in!
Gabriel Martinez‘s career so far:
The 20-y …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays Nation’s 2023 Preseason Top 50: #15 Josh Kasevich

It’s been a while since a 2022 draftee was ranked on Blue Jays Nation’s Top 50, but that changes with this article.

Josh Kasevich is an intriguing prospect, as he has a great hit tool and will be able to stick at shortstop as he’s a great defender.
However, we’ll look at the criteria before taking a deep dive.
Brennan’s criteria:
Instead of writing this out every time I did for the mid-season Top 60, I’ll copy and paste my criteria for how I rank and scout these players.
There are many factors that determine a top prospect. The eye test is the biggest driver in determining a top prospect, but proximity to the majors, ceiling, and floor is also important. Moreover, statistics are another key ingredient, as everything works together to give you numbers.
As for the grades, it’s important to remember that they are relative to the league in which they play. A kid from Dunedin is not going to have a 50-grade hit tool if he were placed in the big leagues. But relative to the league in which he plays, a .300 hitter is eligible for that grade.
For these prospects, I’ll review their background, numbers in the minors, pitch mix (if they’re a pitcher), and give a scouting report (if feasible, rookie league guys are difficult).
Let’s jump in!
Josh Kasevich’s career so far:
The 21-year-old (who’ll turn 22 a day after this article is published) was drafted in the second round of the 2022 dr …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Recapping the five most memorable Toronto Maple Leafs moments of 2022

Recapping the five most memorable Toronto Maple Leafs moments of 2022

The Maple Leafs had some amazing moments in 2022. It might just be their most memorable calendar year in a long, long time.

It began with a memorable moment from Auston Matthews and it ended with Mitch Marner making history, But we also can’t forget about what happened in the middle, right?
So, with 2022 coming to an end, I thought it’d be best to look back on the year and all of the incredible moments surrounding the Maple Leafs.
Enjoy!
5 – Game 1 of first round vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

The Maple Leafs couldn’t have had a better start to the 2022 playoffs, quite literally.
Toronto filled Tampa’s net with five goals, courtesy of Jake Muzzin, David Kampf, Marner, and Matthews, who scored a pair. From start to finish, the Maple Leafs outplayed the Lightning, not even allowing a goal against.
This was the start of an incredible seven games, and although we now know the outcome, I’m sure we can all agree that it was Toronto’s best playoff series in a while.
Right?
4 – Game 3 of first round vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Both the Maple Leafs and Lightning were headed back to Toronto with the series all tied up at two. Although the winner of Game 5 would have the chance to be one win away from getting to the second round.
This was an amazing game. You had Tampa scoring two goals in the first period, and at that point it seemed like the game might’ve been out of reach. But Toronto came back, with John Tavares scoring in the second period, and Morgan Rielly tying it early in the third.
1:13 later and William Nylander scored, which put Scotiabank Arena and Maple Leafs Square into a craze. That was, until Ryan McDonagh tied it back up at three.
The madness wasn’t over though because Matthews and Marner had a two-on-one, and Marner shot it off of Andrei Vasilevskiy’s pad and Matthews put it in.
Toronto won that game 4 …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Aaron Judge wins the American League Most Valuable Player award, Bo Bichette, Alek Manoah and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got votes

As mostly everyone expected, Aaron Judge is the 2022 American League Most Valuable Player.

It really isn’t a shock, and even though it wasn’t unanimous (Shohei Ohtani got two first-place votes), everyone and their mother knew he was going to win. And yeah, he had an incredible season, slashing .311/.425.686 with an American League record 62 home runs. He had a career-best 11.4 fWAR, and a 207 wRC+.
Not just that, but the 30-year-old dragged the Yankees to the American League Championship Series, despite having next to no protection around him.
Judge is currently a free agent and is set to make HUGE money after one of the best seasons in history. As a Jays fan, I do hope he leaves the American League, but I’d say there’s a fairly good chance he sticks with the Yankees for the rest of his career.
Los Angeles Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani finished second, but he had an absolutely historic season like never before. The 28-year-old slashed .273/.356/.519 with 34 homers in 666 plate appearances. This obviously wouldn’t be enough under normal circumstances, but unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know why he was a finalist.
Ohtani has a 2.33 ERA and 2.40 FIP in 166 innings pitched as well. This included a 33.2 K% and 6.7 BB%. He also finished in fourth place in the American League Cy Young voting.
Yordan Alvarez finished third in the voting, as he slashed .30 …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Houston Astros have won the 2022 World Series, bring on the transactions!

The Houston Astros have won the 2022 World Series.

This is the second World Series in their 51 years of existence. Their first one came back in 2017, but there’s a huge asterisk next to that one due to the trash bin banging scandal which came to light in 2019.

“THIS TIME THEY FINISH THE JOB!”
SOAK IT IN, HOUSTON! @astros pic.twitter.com/RaONvzDRx5
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) November 6, 2022

It was well deserved for the good team in Texas, as they dominated the American League with a 106-56 record, the second-best record in Major League Baseball.
To get to the position, they swept the Seattle Mariners in three games in the American League Divisional Series All three games were relatively close, including an 18-inning marathon game that saw the Astros win 1-0 to clinch the sweep.  In my opinion, even if the Blue Jays beat the Mariners in the Wild Card Series, they weren’t getting by the Astros.
They also swept the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series, a lot less close than the ALDS, but still funny as hell.
The Philadelphia Phillies were the first to beat the Astros, winning games one and three. However, the experience of the Astros was too much for the Phillies to overcome, as they fell in six games in Houston. Yordan Alvarez gave the Astros a 3-1 lead, and they never looked back.

YORDADDY TO THE MOON. pic.twitter.com/4BiiPpjcTM
— Houston Astros (@astros) November 6, 2022

This snaps a trend of a different National League East team beating up on the Phillies, as the Washington Nationals won in 2019, and the team from Atlanta won in 2021. The plague season doesn’t count.
Had the Phillies won, current Blue Jays 5th outfielder Bradley Zimmer would’ve been entitled to a ring, as he spent a few weeks with the Phillies before being re-claimed off waivers by the Jays. However, former Blue Jays Aledmys Diaz has won his first ring.
The Astros winning the World Series is also notable because 73-year-old Dusty B …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Winners and Losers from Toronto Raptors 2022 preseason

Winners and Losers from Toronto Raptors 2022 preseason

The Toronto Raptors have closed the 2022 preseason on a strong note, beating the rival Boston Celtics in overtime for the second time in as many weeks. A 3-2 record is nothing to shake a stick at, considering how deep they had to dive on the bench for minutes. The roster has been finalized, and […]
Winners and Losers from Toronto Raptors 2022 preseason – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Blue Jays, Position by Position: A three-man catching tandem? Or a trade?

Although the 2022 season is ongoing, unfortunately, it’s not for the Toronto Blue Jays. That means we have to look at the past season in retrospect, as well as look ahead to the future. 

This is a new series, which will focus on the current roster, position by position. As you can presume by the title, we’ll be looking at catchers and how they did in 2022, who’s pushing the issue in the minors, and what may happen to the position in the off season.
How did the Blue Jays catchers do in 2022:
It’s not unfair to say that the Jays had two of the best catchers in the MLB, as well as one of the best catching (and overall) prospects coming into 2022. Let’s see how each of them did.
Alejandro Kirk:
I think it’s fair to say that Alejandro Kirk was the best all-around catcher in the majors this season. Prior to the start of the season, I had said he was “average” defensively, but Kirk proved me and everyone wrong by posting some of the best defensive numbers behind the plate.
In my opinion, the best all-around defensive catching metric is Baseball Prospectus’ Catching Defensive Adjustment (CDA). This tool measures three of the most important defensive actions a catcher can do, framing, blocking, and throwing.
In 2022, Kirk had a 12.1 CDA, which ranked third in the league and second in the American League (next to Jose Trevino …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 114: Thoughts on the Mariners, wild-card weekend predictions, and more!

After the long, winding road that was the 2022 season, here we are.

Toronto will host playoff baseball for the first time since 2016 when the Seattle Mariners come to town to play the Blue Jays in a three-game wild-card series.
We talked about the head-to-head between the Blue Jays and Mariners this season and how the two teams stack up in terms of offence and pitching. After that, we talked about who’s primed for a big moment in these playoffs and we made predictions for the entirety of wild-card weekend.
You can listen to the episode here… 
POINTSBET IS LIVE IN ONTARIO

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

How one second base dilemma evolved into another one: How the Blue Jays preach versatility

It’s March 2022, and the Blue Jays are pushing hard for Jose Ramirez to play second base, despite him being a third baseman.

The Jays had just traded a package of prospects for former Platinum Glove winner Matt Chapman to solidify their troubles at third base. However, Marcus Semien signed with the Texas Rangers before the lockout began, meaning that a new hole emerged at second base.
As the season got closer and closer, it became clearer that the Toronto Blue Jays wouldn’t be trading for Jose Ramirez, and that they would roll into the season with the Cavan Biggio and Santiago Espinal platoon that they had used at third base in the season prior.
Side note: That trade would have devastated the farm, but more importantly, it likely would have involved Alejandro Kirk. I made a whole Twitter thread on that last night, which you can read here. 
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really optimistic about the platoon. While Espinal featured great defense at third, I believed his offensive numbers were aided by the small sample size. 
As for Biggio, he was good in 2019 and 2020, but 2021 was a rough year for Biggio. He slashed .224/.322/.356 in 294 plate appearances and had a 12.6 BB% and 26.5 K% with only seven homers. Not great. Not to mention he had a -3 Outs Above Average (OAA) at third base, where he played most of the time.
So with one guy being awful the season prior, and another guy who provided solid defense, but at best, an average bat, how have we moved into a better dilemma?
Santiago Espinal:
It was easy to presume that Espinal would flourish defensivel …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

2023 NBA Mock Draft has Toronto Raptors adding elite recruit

2023 NBA Mock Draft has Toronto Raptors adding elite recruit

The Toronto Raptors officially wrapped up their 2022 NBA Draft plans months ago when they used the No. 33 pick on Arizona center Christian Koloko. Even with another year in the books, Masai Ujiri is likely hard at work trying to find the next great Raptor in the first round. Bring on the 2023 NBA […]
2023 NBA Mock Draft has Toronto Raptors adding elite recruit – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ