Orelvis Martinez hits another home run, Chris Bassitt fans five, and more as the Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-6

Another win against the trash birds of the American League East, means we get to use the magical header.

The Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-6 on Saturday afternoon, in what was a rather positive game with plenty of players who could have earned the player of the game. Let’s jump right in.
Blue Jays Nation’s player of the game: George Springer
George Springer hit his second home run of spring training with two runners on, giving the Jays a 6-4 lead. While they weren’t the winning runs, it shifted the game heavily in the Toronto Blue Jays’ favour, bringing their win probability to 83.1%.
Today was the first game where each of the Blue Jays’ projected outfielders were on the field, with George taking his presumed right field position. He looked good out there, and if he can stay healthy this season, watch out.

Springer Dinger!!!
George Springer (@GeorgeSpringer) with his second home run of the spring.
99.6 mph off the bat.#BlueJays pic.twitter.com/jp3miC6gfw
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) March 11, 2023

Things worth mentioning:
Chris Bassitt had a solid game if you look past the three earned runs. He struck out five and had a game-high nine swings and misses. What’s more, is that his average fastball velocity sat at 91.2 mph on Saturday afternoon, up from his 89.8 mph average in the past two starts. Look for the velocity to continue to increase.

Here’s Chris Bassitt (@C_Bass419)’s strikeout and whiff thread this afternoon!
The pitches were moving, and he generated 9 whiffs while striking out 5!
Best outing as a Blue Jay so far.#BlueJays pic.twitter.com/oxyJb4JE82
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) March 11, 2023

Orelvis Martinez would have won the player of the game had I not given it to him in their win over the Phillies. The exit velocity on his second home run of spring training was 96.9 mph and it was a great display of power as he went oppo-taco. The kid has in …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors 905 G League roundup: Best performances vs. Westchester Knicks

Raptors 905 G League roundup: Best performances vs. Westchester Knicks

Much like the Toronto Raptors, G League squad Raptors 905 have seen individually brilliant performances overshadowed by what the kids are calling a “mid” record. Raptors 905 sits at 9-8 despite constantly getting pumped full of NBA-level reinforcements. 905 split a series against the Westchester Knicks, who it may not surprise you to learn are […]
Raptors 905 G League roundup: Best performances vs. Westchester Knicks – 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 sign two players to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training

Minor league deals keep rolling in.

Per the Blue Jays Twitter account, the team has signed 32-year-old reliever Luke Bard to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.

OFFICIAL: We’ve signed RHP Luke Bard to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training.
Additionally, we’ve invited internal non-roster C Jamie Richie to Spring Training. pic.twitter.com/fIuaONn3iy
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) February 11, 2023

Bard pitched in the majors in 2022 with both the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees, posting a 1.80 ERA and a 3.85 FIP in 15 innings pitched. For his career, he has a 4.44 ERA and a 5.05 FIP in 81 innings pitched, pitching with the Los Angeles Angeles in the early part of his career. 
Bard, who is the younger brother of the Colorado Rockies closer Daniel Bard, has never been one to register many strikeouts, as he had a 13.6 K% (and an 11.9 BB%) in the majors this past season. For his career, he has a 20.4 K% and a 7.5 BB%.

Opponents are 0-for-10 against Luke Bard’s curveball this season with four strikeouts.
Overall, in his 14 innings of work before he was DFA’d by the Rays, opposing hitters are slashing .152/.291/.217 against him. https://t.co/WS8KL6tdrl pic.twitter.com/j1e5w4kwCg
— Max Goodman (@MaxTGoodman) August 5, 2022

Interestingly, he posted a 28.7 K% in Triple-A with the Tampa Bay Ray affiliate in 24 innings pitched. While his FIP and ERA were elevated compared to his MLB numbers (he had a 4.29 ERA in 35.2 innings pitched in the minors in 2022), Bard is a good depth option.
There’s also room to improve, as his fastball sits at 94 mph. What’s more interesting is the fact that Bard is a big spi …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Pascal Siakam not being named All-Star in career year is a disgrace

Pascal Siakam not being named All-Star in career year is a disgrace

The Toronto Raptors are one of the most disappointing teams in the league, as Nick Nurse’s much-maligned squad went from a 48-win feel-good story to a lottery team inundated with trade rumors. However, one of the positives to take away from this season is Pascal Siakam becoming an undeniable elite player in the league. Siakam […]
Pascal Siakam not being named All-Star in career year is a disgrace – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Winter League wrap-up, final edition: Rainer Núñez’s team falls in the finals, Bowden Francis dominated in the semi-finals, and more!

This will be the last edition of the Winter League wrap-up… This means that we’re getting closer to the start of the 2023 season!

While most of the leagues haven’t finished, there are no more Blue Jay prospects playing, so it’s time to wrap up the wrap-ups.
In this article, we’ll look at prospects who played in their team’s playoff rounds. In a two-part series, I looked at how all the Jays prospects did in LIDOM (you can read that here), as well as in the other three winter leagues (which you can read here).
Let’s start by focusing on the Dominican Winter League.
Licey del Tigres win the Dominican Winter League:
On Wednesday night, Licey won their 23rd title in LIDOM, beating Rainer Núñez’s Estrellas 2-1 in the final game to win the series 4-1.

Nate Pearson is emerging as that high leverage, swing and miss the 2023 Jays are lacking.
11 IP0 ER5 H15 K (36.59 K%)4 BB (9.76 BB%)34 swinging strikes (43.59 whiff%)36.75 CSW%
Here is every whiff & strikeout this season.#BlueJays #NextLevel pic.twitter.com/YCmlr3Ypo7
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) November 13, 2022

As you may know, Nate Pearson was a big part of Licey’s early success, pitching in relief and doing so quite well. Finishing in mid-November, the 26-year-old posted a 36.6 K%, a 9.8 BB%, and a 43.6 whiff %. Moreover, he didn’t allow an earned run in the 12 innings he pitched in. I wrote more about his adventure in the Dominican Republic here, but he’s emerged as a potential bullpen piece for the Blue Jays next season.
Sadly for Núñez, he didn’t quite perform as he did during the regular season, which saw him win LIDOM’s Rookie of The Year award. In the four-team round-robin, he slashed .167/.219/.167 with 11 strikeouts in 32 plate appearances for a 34.4 K%.

¡DOBLETE de Rainer Núñez que remolca la primera de las @EOBASEBALLCLUB! 🐘🌟#LIDOM #CopaBanreservas ⚾️🏆 pic.twitter.com/Mnx8FYvZwT
— LIDOM (@LIDOMRD) December 8, 2022

It’s possible that the 22-year-old first baseman was dealing with exhaustion, as he had been playing since April 2022. Either way, Núñez certainly made an impression and ranked as Blue Jays Nation’s 16th-best prospect heading into 2023.
Criollos de Caguas bow out in the semi-final:
Although Blue Jays p …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Blue Jays Arbitration Tracker (11 of 12 arb-eligible players have reached deals, only Bo Bichette remains)

Friday is the deadline for Major League teams and arbitration-eligible players to exchange their desired salary figures for the 2023 season, so we’re going to see a handful of deals reached in the next little while.

According to Ben Nicholson-Smith, the Blue Jays have come to terms with eleven players thus far…

Per source, #BlueJays & Danny Jansen avoided arb with a $3.5 million deal for 2023
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 13, 2023

Per source, #BlueJays & Trevor Richards avoid arb with one-year, $1.5 million deal
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 13, 2023

#BlueJays, Tim Mayza avoid arb with $2.1 million deal for 2023 per source
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 13, 2023

#BlueJays, Trent Thornton avoid arb per source
$1 million
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 13, 2023

#BlueJays, Santiago Espinal avoid arb per source
$2.1 million for 2023
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 13, 2023

#BlueJays avoid arb with Jordan Romano per source
$4.5375 million
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 13, 2023

As @JonHeyman said, #BlueJays avoided arb with Daulton Varsho ($3.05 million)
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 13, 2023

#BlueJays avoid arb with Cavan Biggio per source
$2.8 million
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 13, 2023

#BlueJays, Adam Cimber avoid arb per sources
$3.15 million
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 13, 2023

Blue Jays and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., agree at $14.5m to avoid arbitration, per source.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) January 14, 2023

Below are the salaries that MLB Trade Rumours projected each arb-eligible Blue Jay would earn for the 2023 season and beside that is the deal they’ve reached…
Vladimir Guerrero Jr: $14.8 million – Reached a $14.5 million deal 
Bo Bichette: $6.1 million
Jordan Romano: $4.4 million – Reached a $4.5375 million deal
Danny Jansen: $3.7 million – Reached a $3.5 million deal 
Adam Cimber: $3.2 million – Reached a $3.15 million deal 
Daulton Varsho: $2.8 million – Reached a $3.05 million deal
Cavan Biggio: $2.6 million – Reached a $2.8 million deal 
Santiago Espinal: $2.1 million – Reached a $2.1 million deal 
Tim Mayza: $1.9 million – Reached a $2.1 million deal 
Trevor Richards: $1.5 million – Reached a $1.5 million deal
Erik Swanson: $1.4 million – Reached a $1.25 million deal 
Trent Thornton: $1.1 million – Reached a $1 million deal
As it stands on Saturday morning, the only player left without a deal is Bo Bichette, so the Blue Jays and their start shortstop might be headed to arbitration. According to Mark Feinsand, the Blue Jays submitted a $5 million salary figure, while Bichette’s camp has asked for $7.5 million. MLBTR, as noted above, projected $6.1 million.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Winter League wrap-up (part two): Blue Jays prospect Robert Robertis continues to impress, Bowden Francis is still pitching well, and more!

Although the Dominican Winter League regular season wrapped up this past weekend, there’s still plenty of baseball remaining for the three other winter leagues!

Earlier on Monday, I wrote an article featuring the prospects playing in the Dominican Winter League. In this article, we’ll be looking at the seven prospects playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League, the Mexican Winter League, and the Venezuelan Winter League.
Let’s start with Puerto Rico, where there are currently four Jays’ prospects playing.
Puerto Rico:
In the last overall update, there were only three prospects playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Now there are four, as Chavez Young has recently Indios de Mayaguez, joining fellow Jays prospect Glenn Santiago
Chavez Young:
The sample size is short, as he played his first two games on Sunday. He has yet to register a hit in his first eight plate appearances, but he also has three walks and was caught stealing once. 

Chavez Young (@chavezyoung242) doing Chavez Young things.
He walks and makes sure to pump up the crowd.#BlueJays pic.twitter.com/4GhM8P6SCH
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) December 18, 2022

I mentioned in the other wrap-up that Young has a fun grade of 80, and there’s no better proof of that than the video above.
The next update should have more information, but I went on about his defense in one of my latest articles, which you can read here.
Glenn Santiago:
Like some Jays prospects that played in LIDOM, the 22-year-old hasn’t really gotten an opportunity with his Puerto Rican Winter League team. Santiago has only had four plate appearances with a hit in the five games he’s appeared in.
Between Low-A and High-A, Santiago slashed .228/.293/.344 with three homers in 208 plate appearances. There’s definitely room for improvement, but he has quick bat speed and hits the ball hard. 

Glenn Santiago’s first High A hit is a triple!
The 21-year-old was drafted in the 10th round of the 2019 draft.
The shortstop slashed .268/.329/.423 with two homers in 86 PAs.
Interesting player to keep an eye on.#BlueJays #NextLevel pic.twitter.com/HWejeMrGJS
— Brennan Delane …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Jays are apparently close to signing Don Mattingly, could be as soon as Wednesday morning

Long-time big league manager Don Mattingly is “very close” to signing with the Toronto Blue Jays

Per Joel Sherman, the 61-year-old legend Mattingly signing with the Jays could be announced as soon as Wednesday morning!

The announcement of Mattingly’s hiring is now expected as early as Wednesday morning. https://t.co/5lMxR4zyPG
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 30, 2022

News continued to pour in, but Mattingly noted on Jon Heyman and Sherman’s podcast that he’s in talks with a mystery team (the Jays per this NYPost article.) 

Don Mattingly was on The Show podcast @nypostsports with @Joelsherman1 & @JonHeyman today.
Mattingly says there is a team he is talking to that is very interesting to him.
Who is the mystery team that may end up hiring the Yankees legend and ex-Marlins manager? pic.twitter.com/BiC1oM3QxX
— Jake Brown (@JakeBrownRadio) November 29, 2022

Let’s look at what the veteran manager could offer.
The 61-year-old spent the last seven seasons managing the eternally rebuilding Miami Marlins, amassing a 443-587 record, which isn’t that bad when you factor in the team considers itself a small market.
Miami only had a winning record once in the seven years, coming in the plague season. However, early in his tenure (when they had good players), they sat around .500. Mattingly also spent five seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where they went 446-363 in that span. Overall, he has an 889-950 record for a 48.3 win percentage.
However, the Jays re-sign John Schneider earlier in the off-season, so this begs the question, what role would he fill as a bench coach? As far as my research goes, there are no vacancies for the coaching staff, so I’m not too sure. Prior to becoming a manager, Mattingly’s job was that of a hitting coach.
Now, there are also questions about his leadership style, which is why I don’t see a fit. Unlike Charlie Montoyo and even Jon Schneider, Mattingly has never really allowed his players to be expressive. The most recent example of this came early in the 2022 season, when he sat Miami Marlins star Jazz Chisholm the day after hitting a home run.
As you may know, the Bahamian-born Chisholm is a rather expressive player, which is great for the game. However, Mattingly spent his 14-year career with the New York Yankees, even becoming their captain. So that begs the question if his hardass policies would affect the Jays, who enjoy having fun. Perhaps his policies would take a back seat as a bench coach? Perhaps it’s to help mentor John Schneider as he moves into his first full-season? What will happen to the home run jacket?
So many questions, but first he has to be announced. Expect updates to this article once he officially signs!
As always, y …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Ten Blue Jays minor league players elect free agency, including Elvis Luciano

On Thursday, Blue Jays minor league players elected free agency.

Updated on the transaction page on Friday evening, there are 10 minor leaguers whose contracts weren’t extended/decided against signing with the Jays:
C Ryan Gold
RHP Jake Elliottt
RHP Elvis Luciano
RHP Brady Lail
LHP Trey Cumbie
RHP José De León
OF Yoshi Tsutsugo
RHP Eric Yardley
RHP Casey Lawrence
SS Eric Stamets
The most noticeable name is Elvis Luciano, who was a Rule 5 draft pick in 2019. The right-handed pitcher was the first player born in the 2000s to play in Major League Baseball. With the 2019 Jays, he had a 5.35 ERA and 5.56 FIP in 33.2 innings pitched, along with a 17 K% and 15.1 BB%, pitching in relief. 

At just 19 years old, Elvis Luciano has a scoreless @MLB debut in the books! #LetsGoBlueJays pic.twitter.com/N3zTPsFAtv
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 1, 2019

This looks bad, but Luciano was only 19 years old and wasn’t ready for the big leagues, but had to remain on the Jays’ 26-man roster.
Luciano spent most of the 2022 season on the minor league injured list, as he had a stress fracture in his pitching arm. Last season in New Hampshire, he had a 3.16 ERA and a 4.54 FIP in 37 innings.
Other former major leaguers that elected free agency/weren’t signed are Casey Lawrence, Eric Yardley, Yoshi Tsutsugo, José De León, and Brady Lail.
In the mid-10s, De León was regarded as a top prospect, but injuries have hampered his career. He has an 8.44 ERA and 5.98 FIP in 48 innings pitched with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tampa Bay Rays, and Cinncinati Reds. This season, the 30-year-old had a 4.35 ERA and 5.15 FIP, along with a 31.3 K% and 14.6 BB% in 10.1 innings with the Bisons.
Casey Lawrence is another name of note, as he was the only pitcher on the list that pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2022. While his 7.50 ERA and 6.34 FIP weren’t great, Lawrence was a guy who could eat innings in a pinch. He had a 2.79 ERA and 4.16 FIP in 126 innings pitched with the Buffalo Bisons.
We here at Blue Jays Nation wish nothing but the best for …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays’ Matt Chapman provided exceptional defense, but it wasn’t enough to win the American League third base gold glove

Matt Chapman didn’t win the American League Gold Glove for third base, but should he have?

To put it simply, I don’t think he was snubbed, and here’s why.
In 2022, Chapman finished with a 2 Defensive Runs Saved and a 1 Outs Above Average in 1344.1 innings fielded. While defensive metrics aren’t the sole factor in determining a good defender (the eye test should also be used), they are very important in deciding the Gold Glove winner, and Chapman’s decline in defense is interesting.
In 2021, Chapman had a 10 DRS and 17 OAA, with the latter being a career high, which led to him winning the 2021 Gold Glove for the position. What’s with the decline? I have a litany of theories, such as the lack of foul ground and the turf playing a factor, but the eye test tells me and everyone else that Chapman had a good year.
Let’s compare that to the winner, Baltimore’s Ramon Urias won the award. He finished with a 14 DRS and a 7 OAA in 769.1 innings fielded at the position. While he had a smaller sample size, both DRS and OAA are accumulating stats, meaning that with more innings, it’s likely that Urias’ numbers would be even better. As for the eye test, I couldn’t tell you. I don’t go out of my way to watch Baltimore Oriole games.
What happened with the other Blue Jays nominees? 
As y …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation