This Raptors-Knicks trade sends OG Anunoby to New York

This Raptors-Knicks trade sends OG Anunoby to New York

The Toronto Raptors have plenty of potential trade chips they can use to rebuild this team and get a ton of picks for the future, and OG Anunoby could be on the move if an aggressive team wants to snatch him away. There are few two-way forwards in the league who ate better than him. […]
This Raptors-Knicks trade sends OG Anunoby to New York – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Did Raptors’ Chris Boucher just ball out in front of potential trade suitor?

Did Raptors’ Chris Boucher just ball out in front of potential trade suitor?

The Toronto Raptors have likely been taking trade calls centered around big-name starters like Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet, but that doesn’t mean Masai Ujiri won’t deal away a role player if he finds an offer he likes. After signing a three-year contract in the offseason, Chris Boucher might find himself with a new […]
Did Raptors’ Chris Boucher just ball out in front of potential trade suitor? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors demoting Christian Koloko amid defensive struggles is inexcusable

Raptors demoting Christian Koloko amid defensive struggles is inexcusable

The Toronto Raptors don’t have a ton to smile about this season, but the terrific play of rookie big man Christian Koloko has been one of the few silver linings the team can hold their head high about. Koloko has been one of the best second-round picks in the 2023 class. Koloko is averaging just […]
Raptors demoting Christian Koloko amid defensive struggles is inexcusable – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Julian Merryweather era has come to an end

We’ll always have those two saves in April of 2021.

The Toronto Blue Jays designated Julian Merryweather for assignment last week in order to make room on the 40-man roster for the newly-signed Brandon Belt. On Tuesday, the team announced that Merryweather had been claimed by the Chicago Cubs…

ROSTER MOVES:
🔹 RHP Julian Merryweather has been claimed off waivers by the Cubs
🔹 RHP Junior Fernández has been assigned outright to Triple-A pic.twitter.com/F2bdTV3n4p
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) January 17, 2023

Merryweather was acquired back in October of 2018 as the Player To Be Named Later from when Josh Donaldson has been traded to Cleveland a couple of months earlier. At that time, Merryweather was a bit of a mystery as he hadn’t pitched since the 2018 season.
After missing virtually all of the 2019 season, Merryweather finally appeared in 2020. He made eight appearances for the Blue Jays in the pandemic season, posting a 4.15 ERA over 13 innings while racking up 15 strikeouts.
By the time 2021 rolled around, the narrative around Merryweather had shifted from ‘Is he even a real guy?’ to ‘This guy is the closer of the future.’ 
On Opening Day, Merryweather came in for the 10th inning to protect the Blue Jays’ 3-2 lead over the New York Yankees and he struck out the side. A couple of days later, he was brought in for the ninth inning with the Blue Jays up by a score of 3-1, and he struck out two Yankees en route to another save.

Unfortunately, things peaked there for Merryweather. He made two more appearances in April and went on the Injured List with an oblique strain. He didn’t ret …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

1 stud and 1 dud as Gary Trent Jr, Raptors lose wild one to Bucks

1 stud and 1 dud as Gary Trent Jr, Raptors lose wild one to Bucks

Gary Trent Jr. and the Toronto Raptors would have surprised absolutely no one if they came out and laid an egg against the Milwaukee Bucks. Even without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton not suiting up, Toronto was at a disadvantage after playing the Knicks in an exhausting overtime win on Monday. The first half could […]
1 stud and 1 dud as Gary Trent Jr, Raptors lose wild one to Bucks – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Norman Powell taking shots at 2019 Raptors depth is strange

Norman Powell taking shots at 2019 Raptors depth is strange

Toronto Raptors fans and Norman Powell have a very special relationship. While Powell is forever indebted to the Raptors for taking a chance on him in the second round and getting him a championship ring, fans loved Powell’s tireless motor and shooting prowess from deep. While he has since made his way to the Los […]
Norman Powell taking shots at 2019 Raptors depth is strange – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Taking a deep dive on the newest Blue Jay Zach Thompson, along with a farewell to Chavez Young

As you may know, the Blue Jays have acquired a pitcher who may fill in the fifth starting spot in the rotation.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Blue Jays acquired right-handed pitcher Zach Thompson, who had been designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Toronto could have claimed him off waivers, but they instead traded outfielder Chavez Young for the 29-year-old pitcher so no other team could claim him.
Let’s dive into what the Blue Jays are gaining in Thompson and what they’ve lost in Young.
Zach Thompson, a deep dive:
The first thing that jumps out to me about Thompson is his size. Per Fangraphs, he’s listed at 6’7, 250 pounds. Despite the huge frame, the righty only sits at 92.4 mph with his fastball, with a maximum velocity of 94 mph, which came on his debut.
It’s also worth mentioning that Thompson has options, meaning that he can be sent down up to five times without the Jays worrying about losing him to the waiver wire.
His tenure with the Pirates wasn’t great, as he had a 5.18 ERA and a 4.87 FIP in 121.1 innings pitched. His K% sat at a pretty low 16.6%, while he had an 8.6 BB%, which is about average. Thompson was used mainly in a starter role, as he started 22 of 29 games that he appeared in.

Zach Thompson strikes out 11 batters in his 4th MLB Career start. pic.twitter.com/ZQGJZcvhud
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) June 27, 2021

In 2021, …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Chris Boucher calls out media as reason for improved Raptors bench play

Chris Boucher calls out media as reason for improved Raptors bench play

The Toronto Raptors were the only team in the NBA to have all five of their starters average above 15 points per game in 2022. Fans pointed to Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam playing well in the starting group as cause for celebration, but some were frustrated with Chris Boucher and Malachi Flynn, among others, […]
Chris Boucher calls out media as reason for improved Raptors bench play – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors draft: Freshman Gradey Dick looking like ideal Toronto guard

Raptors draft: Freshman Gradey Dick looking like ideal Toronto guard

The Toronto Raptors may have added a second-rounder with first-round physical tools in Christian Koloko with their lone 2022 NBA Draft selection, but more supplemental scoring talent is needed. While there are many talented freshmen that the Raptors should look out for, Kansas guard Gradey Dick may be the best out of them all. For […]
Raptors draft: Freshman Gradey Dick looking like ideal Toronto guard – 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 are expected to sign first baseman Brandon Belt

Well, the Blue Jays have reportedly added another left-handed batter.

According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the long-time San Francisco Giant will be signing a deal with the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

Brandon Belt will be signing a one year deal with Toronto, I’m told. Deal will be announced tomorrow.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) January 10, 2023

Per The Athletic’s Kaitlyn McGrath, the contract is a one-year deal worth $9.3 million, a sizeable chunk.

The deal is for one year, $9.3 million, per a source https://t.co/J9vDSFZoxc
— Kaitlyn McGrath (@kaitlyncmcgrath) January 10, 2023

The 34-year-old has mainly played first base since the plague starter, but he’s definitely a bat first player. He struggled a bit last season, slashing .213/.326/.350 with eight homers in 298 plate appearances, with a 12.4 BB% and a 27.2 K%. This led to a slightly below average 96 wRC+.
However, Belt is not too far removed from a fantastic season, as he slashed .274/.378/.597 with 29 homers in 381 plate appearances (a bonkers number). From the start of the COVID season until the end of the 2021 season, he slashed .285/.393/.595 with 38 homers in just 560 plate appearances for a 162 wRC+.
So while he struggled in 2022, it’s a low-risk signing for a guy who was good just a year ago. What’s more, he was injured for a significant portion of 2022, so the drop in numbers makes sense.

Brandon Belt – 06/18/2021 pic.twitter.com/dydW6odgR6
— Random Homers (@randomhomers) December 28, 2022

Belt’s role on the team is to likely be a backup first baseman who can designate hit and come off the bench to pinch hit. While he used to play in the outfield, he hasn’t done that since 2019.
The 34-year-old was a part of two World Series-winning teams, as he was part of the Giants teams that won the 2012 and 2014 titles.
If he could hit anything as he did in 2020 and 2021, this is a fantastic signing. Even if last year was who he is (his knee is fully healthy now, so I find tha …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation