Ep. 48: The Trop Sucks & That Series Didn’t Go Well

We are back with another episode of BJN Radio to recap the Blue Jays tough three-game series at Tropicana Field.

Things did not go well. A questionable, if not terrible, strike zone cost them in game one and while they were able to squeak out a win in game two thanks to a gutsy performance from ‘The Big Man’ Alek Manoah, they couldn’t get the win in the rubber match. Ross Stripling was terrible, there was drama surrounding Kevin Keirmaier and a dropped piece of paper, and it was just all around a bad time at The Trop, which it usually is.
Cam & Tyler recapped the series, look at the wild card standings, and got set for a massive four-game series against the Twins today on the pod.

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Author: Tyler Yaremchuk / Blue Jays Nation

A Fortnight on the Farm: Tenth (and final) Edition

That’s another MiLB season in the books, apart from the 10 game “post-season-season” that the AAA level is about to commence.

I’ll make note of that in a couple of weeks when I attempt a season-review possibly “hot take” prospect list in a couple of weeks. None of the teams that are finished are playoff-bound, though the Bisons did score the division championship in the AAA-East. But these columns have always been more about individual prospects than team wins and losses anyway.
Buffalo
While his brief tour in the majors didn’t set the league on fire, Kevin Smith came back with hits in his first four games before going cold over the weekend. But he ended the regular season with a .916 OPS and there’s nothing to be disappointed with there.  Fellow top prospect Otto Lopez ended up with almost half as many at-bats at AAA as he had at New Hampshire. He wasn’t as dominant as he’d been at the lower level (naturally) but it’s worth noticing that manager Casey Candele took the brakes off on the bases. He stole 7 in 10 tries at AA, and 12 without being caught once in AAA. Good baserunning is …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 47: Hyun Jin Ryu’s struggles, Gerrit Cole’s spaz, Josh Donaldson’s ovation, and more!

Another series, another couple of wins for the Blue Jays! That’s the way it’s been for the past month-and-a-bit and the hope is that it continues as the Blue Jays head to The House of Horrors.

The Blue Jays got the job done this weekend, taking two of three from the lowly Minnesota Twins. Things started off ugly as Hyun Jin Ryu got knocked around on Friday but Steven Matz and Jose Berrios led the team to back-to-back wins on Saturday and Sunday, so all ended well.
We talked about Ryu’s struggles, the “injury” that landed him on the 10-day Injured List, and what to expect from him moving forward. We also talked about Matz’s excellent run and what it means for him in the off-season. Finally, we talked about the Blue Jays lineup and why it needs to involve Alejandro Kirk more often than not.
We then took a look at the out-of-town scoreboard and gave a hat tip to Cleveland, who did us a solid by beating the Yankees on Saturday and Sunday. We finished off by talking about the series ahead against the Rays at The Trop, a place that’s never fun …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: Will Canadian Isiaha Mike stay within the organization?

Raptors: Will Canadian Isiaha Mike stay within the organization?

At the 2021 NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors added another first to their history book by selecting Rexdale’s Dalano Banton in the second round. It was the first time in franchise history that the Raptors ever drafted a Canadian. Along with Scarborough’s Isiaha Mike, the Raptors have a strong local presence on the Summer League […]
Raptors: Will Canadian Isiaha Mike stay within the organization? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Leafs Sign Depth Forward Michael Amadio

Stop the presses because we have another big Toronto Maple Leafs signing to break.
Reports say that the Leafs have signed 25-year-old center Michael Amadio to a one year contract for league minimum.

Michael Amadio gets a two-way, one-year deal with the #leafs: $750,000 NHL, $400,000 guaranteed.@koshtorontosun first on the news.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 28, 2021

Amadio has not cemented himself as an NHL player since he debuted in the 2017-18 season with the Los Angeles Kings. In 173 career games played, he has 16 goals and 24 assists, with career highs being 68 games played and 16 points.
In the AHL, Amadio is quite productive, putting up 104 points over a 130 game career.
In a slight twist on the Dubas-Sault Ste. Marie connection (or obsession, depending on who you ask), Amadio was born in The Soo, but did not play for the Greyhounds in major junior.
Amadio has some two-way upside, but it’s unlikely that he will be penciled in to a roster spot. Expect him to report to the Marlies (possibly as their top-line center) and only play for the Leafs as an injury-replacement on the 4th-line. At this moment, it’s a zero-risk contract that may bear some positive fruit.

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Around the NHL: A Missed Opportunity for the Kraken

Another expansion draft has come and went, and much like the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft, a lot of fans left it underwhelmed, especially with the really good players left unprotected by other teams.
That said, there’s a big difference between the underwhelming picks by Vegas, and the underwhelming picks by Seattle. With Vegas, a lot of fans failed to consider how some players would excel in new roles. William Karlsson was an anomaly, but even Reilly Smith, Nate Schmidt, and Colin Miller excelled in larger roles when they were analytics darlings in lesser roles on worse teams. That’s not to say Seattle didn’t do that either (more on that in a bit), but there’s a bit less upside to their picks.
Also, Vegas’ expansion draft didn’t get quite have the impact on the team that you might think still. Of their 30 selections in 2017, only six players remain on the team, and two of them (William Carrier and Tomas Nosek) are bottom six forwards. Vegas made a bigger impact in the expansion draft through side deals and expanding their draft capital, creating the contender they are today.
Granted, Seattle clearly has an identity they’re …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

For better or worse, Kyle Dubas is all-in on the Leafs’ core

Another offseason media availability, another time where Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has laid down to block shots headed for the Maple Leafs’ core. Dubas held media availability today to discuss the team’s expansion draft decisions and the upcoming free agency period, as summarized here by our Jori Negin-Shecter.
Dubas dropped what is sure to be his most quoted line since “we can and we will” during a question about the 2021-22 season:

Judging by this quote from Kyle Dubas today, the 2021-22 Maple Leafs season will take on a “Last Dance” kind of vibe.
The vision isn’t changing.
It’s now or never for results. pic.twitter.com/FKspBo43Pl
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 22, 2021

That one’s going to get a lot of replay.
On one hand, it is admirable that Dubas is steadfast in his vision for this team in the face of an unreal amount of pressure and acrimony from a justifiably-on-fire fan base. The Leafs have been down this road before with more reactionary or emotional general managers and it has often led to calamitous knee-jerk mistakes with long-term negative impacts. As much as Leafs fans are angry with how things played out against Montreal, this …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays sign high school pitcher Irv Carter with a $850,000 signing bonus

The Blue Jays have signed another one of their top picks from the 2021 draft.

A few days after reaching a deal with first-round pick Gunnar Hoglund, the Blue Jays have come to terms with fifth-round pick Irv Carter on a deal with a signing bonus of $850k.

5th-rder Irv Carter signs w/@BlueJays for $850k (slot 152 value = $350,300). Thinking that will be their 2nd-highest bonus. Florida HS RHP, projectable 6-ft-4, already up to 94 mph with more to come, promising slider. Miami recruit. @MLBDraft
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) July 19, 2021

Unsurprisingly, Carter earned a much higher signing bonus than his recommended slot value of $350,300. He was one of the top pitching recruits out of high school in Florida and had committed to play for the University of Miami Hurricanes.
But, based on his reaction to being selected by the Blue Jays, it isn’t all that surprising he signed…

Calvary Christian pitcher Irv Carter and his draft party react to being selected by the Toronto Blue Jays. @Irvcarter42 @BlueJays pic.twitter.com/Ml87c32uaY
— Adam Lichtenstein (@ABLichtenstein) July 12, 2021

Here’s what MLB Pipeline says about him…
Teams that have to play Calvary Christian Academy in Florida might think they’d be lucky if …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays select RHP Chad Dallas with fourth-round pick

Another pick, another arm.

With their fourth-round pick in the 2021 draft, the Blue Jays have drafted another pitcher in righty Chad Dallas from the Tennessee Volunteers.
MLB Pipeline had him ranked No. 210 in the draft. Here’s what they have to say…

After Dallas came out of the bullpen to strike out 71 in 39 innings as a freshman at Panola (Texas) JC in 2019, Tennessee recruited him as a reliever. Instead, he became the Volunteers’ No. 1 starter in his first year in Knoxville and helped pitched them to their first College World Series since 2005 this spring. He won eight of his 11 Southeastern Conference starts and beat Louisiana State with a career-high 12 strikeouts in the super regionals.
Dallas added a mid-80s cutter in 2021 and it has become his best weapon, a plus offering that destroys right-handers both in the strike zone and as a chase pitch. His low-80s curveball has depth and grades as solid at its best. His fastball sits at 90-94 mph and can reach 98, though it features only modest armside life and doesn’t miss many bats.
While his 5-foot-11, 206-pound build isn’t ideal for a starter, Dallas makes up for it with his ability to pound …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Sunday’s Rundown: Three free-agent goalies the Toronto Maple Leafs should target

Sunday’s Rundown: Three free-agent goalies the Toronto Maple Leafs should target

Another Sunday is here and it is the last Sunday’s Rundown for now as we’re finishing up the last position on the ice, goalies. We covered everything so far, from free-agent left-wingers to free-agent centres to right-wingers and last week we did the defensemen that are set to become UFAs this summer. The goalie position on the other hand is more important than all the other positions in my opinion simply because Toronto only has two goalies under contract next season, Jack Campbell and Michael Hutchinson, so my point exactly.
Campbell is entering the last year of the two-year deal he signed while he was on the Kings and it is carrying an AAV of $1.65M which is an absolute steal if you ask me. Hutchinson, on the other hand, is also entering the last year of the two-year deal he signed last season and he is more than likely getting exposed to Seattle but they are more than likely not selecting him.
With those two the only goalies under contract and Frederik Andersen set to become a UFA this summer, Kyle Dubas and staff have to make a decision on what they plan to do. Either bring …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation