John Tavares looks like he could make Team Canada and the impact of Leafs at the Olympics

It’s safe to say the amount of Olympic talk has increased. Whether it’s because of COVID concerns largely stemming from the Senators outbreak, the threat of a US boycott of the games that would likely be followed by other nations like Canada, or whether it’s the good old fashioned speculation that comes with assessing lineups based off of play this year instead of previous years, people seem to be talking about the Olympics.
Let’s start with the John Tavares story. Tavares very much seemed like a bubble player or someone who could find his way into the Team Canada fold through injuries to other Canadian forwards, but things have shifted slightly, in a couple of different ways. The first being that John Tavares was selected as the model for Team Canada’s Olympic fashion, something that is largely due to the fact that he is a former Olympian, but still there isn’t a shortage of former Olympians around, and this could speak to the Hockey Canada brass’ continued preference towards going with experience, leadership, as well as I’m sure the marketability of having the Leafs captain on their roster doesn’t hurt things like …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs and Kyle Clifford can make the most of this reunion

The Leafs have an incredible amount of depth players, and they just acquired Kyle Clifford.
But why?
Clifford brings a different type of game than many of the Leafs’ depth options. The 30-year-old is physical, has a heavy body, but most importantly, he’s a leader.
He also has two Stanley Cups to his name, if you want to put that in there.
This addition was a no-risk move for the Leafs. Since Toronto traded for him, he didn’t have to clear waivers to get to the Toronto Marlies. At $1-million, Clifford’s cap hit is buriable and won’t affect any of the Leafs’ plans unless he’s called up.
One of the reasons they brought him in is because having depth isn’t a problem, especially if it’s Clifford. But this trade is also a chance for him to be closer to home. Born in Ayr, Ontario, the 30-year-old can play in the AHL and still be in the same city, unlike St. Louis’ situation.
Their AHL team, the Springfield Thunderbirds, is one-and-a-half hours away from St. Louis. Clifford has a wife and three kids, and it just wouldn’t make sense for him and his …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Orelvis Martinez crushes homer in first High-A game, CJ Van Eyk twirls gem

There’s an increasing amount of hype building around the Toronto Blue Jays’ 19-year-old shortstop prospect Orelvis Martinez, who just made his High-A debut last night with the Vancouver Canadians.

It doesn’t appear that that hype is going to slow down anytime soon, as Martinez crushed his first homer as a member of the C’s in his first game last night.

He’s here and he’s perfect.
Orelvis Martinez hits his first @vancanadians homer – and 20th of the year – to make it 5-0 C’s.
Only took him *checks watch* 3 ABs…! pic.twitter.com/mhyrcbdesq
— Tyler Zickel (@tyler_zickel) August 4, 2021

Martinez has been playing with the Dunedin Blue Jays in low-A ball, but it quickly became apparent that he deserved a shot at the next level. Through 326 plate appearances, Martinez had a .279 batting average and an OPS of .942 to go along with 19 homers.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, “everyone was asking” Toronto for Martinez at the trade deadline, but the Jays elected to hang onto their number four ranked prospect.
In addition to Martinez’ stellar debut, another prospect who fans have been told to keep an eye on threw five shutout innings on the bump.
In …

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Author: David Quadrelli / Blue Jays Nation

Orelvis Martinez crushes homer in first High-A at bat, CJ Van Eyk twirls gem

There’s an increasing amount of hype building around the Toronto Blue Jays’ 19-year-old shortstop prospect Orelvis Martinez, who just made his High-A debut last night with the Vancouver Canadians.

It doesn’t appear that that hype is going to slow down anytime soon, as Martinez crushed his first homer as a member of the C’s in his first game last night.

He’s here and he’s perfect.
Orelvis Martinez hits his first @vancanadians homer – and 20th of the year – to make it 5-0 C’s.
Only took him *checks watch* 3 ABs…! pic.twitter.com/mhyrcbdesq
— Tyler Zickel (@tyler_zickel) August 4, 2021

Martinez has been playing with the Dunedin Blue Jays in low-A ball, but it quickly became apparent that he deserved a shot at the next level. Through 326 plate appearances, Martinez had a .279 batting average and an OPS of .942 to go along with 19 homers.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, “everyone was asking” Toronto for Martinez at the trade deadline, but the Jays elected to hang onto their number four ranked prospect.
In addition to Martinez’ stellar debut, another prospect who fans have been told to keep an eye on threw five shutout innings on the bump.
In …

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Author: David Quadrelli / Blue Jays Nation

Connor Overton emerges from relative obscurity to legitimate option for The Blue Jays

The Covid-19 pandemic has created an incredible amount of obstacles in day-to-day life, and the world of sports was obviously impacted tremendously.

What we see on the surface of course is well documented; relaxed rosters, limited travel, few or no fans in the seats, but a major factor that hasn’t been discussed in great detail is the ability for young free agents and draft-eligible players to be accurately scouted and assigned within the affiliated minors of Major League teams.
This has forced many young free agents to turn to social media where they can post videos of their bullpens with accurate velocity, and Rapsodo data—spin rate, break, etc. giving teams hard information to project how they might perform in affiliated ball. It’s an amazing testament to how much these kids and their support staff believe in their ability to play the game.

Free agent Connor Overton 95-97.7 MPH Bullpen. Looking for an affiliate job for next year.
FB up to 19.5 VB
Throwing at the @x2athletics pro day January 22nd in NC@FlatgroundApp @PitchingNinja @KHGSports pic.twitter.com/5eg53pMxQ0
— Connor Overton (@Coverton6) January 14, 2021

For Connor Overton, his baseball journey, since being drafted in the 15th round …

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Author: DeuceDoucette / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: Could Toronto hire Minnesota assistant David Vanterpool to replace Chris Finch?

Raptors: Could Toronto hire Minnesota assistant David Vanterpool to replace Chris Finch?

The Minnesota Timberwolves are having nowhere near the amount of success that the Toronto Raptors are having in 2020-21, and they’ve decided to shake things up by firing head coach Ryan Saunders, the son of the late, great Flip Saunders. Minnesota replaced him immediately, passing over associate head coach David Vanterpool and hiring Raptors assistant […]
Raptors: Could Toronto hire Minnesota assistant David Vanterpool to replace Chris Finch? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Blue Jays escape The Trop with a split

Given how much of a cursed hellhole The Trop is and the amount of bad experiences we’ve had there at the past, coming out of there with a split in a four-game series is a huge win. Take it and run.

Things worth mentioning…
To be honest, heading into it, this really didn’t look like a game the Blue Jays would win. They were starting Tanner Roark against Blake Snell, Tampa Bay’s ace. But Roark was OK for the Jays, going five innings and scattering three earned runs. You always like for your starter to go six, but Roark was good enough and gave the Jays a chance to win on Monday.
The offence predictably didn’t get much going off of Snell (two runs over five-and-two-thirds) but they worked him hard enough that he wasn’t able to go deep into the game. That was key because it meant the Rays had to dig into their broken-down, taxed bullpen. In the seventh inning, Santiago Espinal drew a two-out walk off of Edgar Garcia, who then handed the ball over to Aaron Loup. Cavan Biggio would reach base on catcher interference ( …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Muzzin contract picking up steam, Leafs sort of linked to Josh Manson

There’s been a somewhat surprising amount of Muzzin contract talk over the last week or so since he bounced back from his stint on injured reserve. And I say somewhat surprising because we haven’t heard any of the same rumblings with Tyson Barrie, a right-shot who is younger and also set to go to free agency this summer.
It’s been Muzzin getting all the attention, and that seems to be ramping up to the point where a new contract extension looks almost imminent. The latest in this situation was brought about by Bob McKenzie last night on Insider Trading:
Well there’s no question ‘s on record saying he’d like to come back and stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs. And I think there’s no question, I think, that the Toronto Maple Leafs want back, for both sides, under the right set of circumstances.
We reported last week that there have been some preliminary discussions. We expect that to pick up in the days to come, when there is an expectation that the Leafs management will be meeting with Muzzin’s rep to try and further those …

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Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation