International Free Agent tracker: Blue Jays add six Venezuelans and an intriguing Brazilian pitcher

One of the year’s best days is here, as we’ve officially started the International Free Agency period.

As more signings become announced, I’ll create a new section for each player. Let’s start with the big fish of the class.
Enmanuel Bonilla
It was announced on Sunday morning that the Blue Jays have officially signed Enmanuel Bonilla, a top prospect in the 2023 IFA class.

Source: #BlueJays agree to a $4.1 million deal with OF Enmanuel Bonilla, #7 on Top 50 Int’l Prospect list. The team has not confirmed.
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) January 15, 2023

Ranking as Blue Jays Nation’s 20th-best prospect, Bonilla has an intriguing hit tool and some of the best power in the class. Moreover, he may have the tools to stick in centre field as he’s rather athletic and has a strong arm, but he could move to a corner outfield, likely right field.
The 16-year-old ranked as MLB Pipeline’s seventh-best available prospect in their Top 50 international ranking for 2023l. Fangraphs ranked him as their 11th-best prospect, while Baseball America ranked him as their fourth-best available prospect.
Per Jesse Sanchez, he signed for $4,100,000, meaning that the Jays have $1,184,000 remaining in bonus pool money.
Update #1:
The signing on Enmanuel Bonilla was to be expected, but below is a list of the first batch of prospects that have officially signed.

Add C Juan Rosas 🇵🇦to the list
— Mitch Bannon (@MitchBannon) January 15, 2023

Sports Illustrated’s Mitch Bannon was the first to tweet this out, and it was officially confirmed by the team on Sunday afternoon.
Andersson Barvosa:
With a lot of these guys, scouting reports are going to be nearly impossible to find. However, I got pretty lucky and found some video, as you can watch below.

Andersson Barvosa from 2021.
Courtesy of Bendecidos Sport on Facebook.#BlueJays
— Brennan …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays add Spencer Horwitz, Addison Barger, Yosver Zulueta, and Orelvis Martinez to the 40-man roster

The Blue Jays’ roster has officially been set ahead of the Rule 5 draft.

To no one’s surprise, right-handed pitcher Yosver Zulueta, third baseman/shortstop Orelvis Martinez,  first baseman Spencer Horwitz, and third baseman/shortstop Addison Barger have been added to the 40-man roster.
Update: To make room for Zulueta, Horwitz, Martinez, and Barger, Foster Griffin was released, while Bradley Zimmer and Raimel Tapia were designated for assignment.
Let’s look at the prospects added to the 40-man roster.
Yosver Zulueta:
The 24-year-old Zulueta had a combined 3.72 ERA in 55.2 innings pitched in all four “A” levels of the minors in 2022. He had a fantastic 33.9 K% but struggled with the walks as he had a 12.9 BB%, which increased with each level he pitched at. This is to be expected, as he’s missed the last two seasons due to injuries and the plague year.

Zulueta just fanned his first runner throwing…
100 mph!!!!!!#BlueJays #NextLevel
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) July 7, 2022

Aside from the high strikeout rate and solid results, Zulueta was added to the 40-man roster due to the tools and potential he has. The Cuban has an 80-grade fastball which often reaches 100 mph, a plus slider, and a plus changeup, as well as an average curveball.
It’s possible, potentially even likely, that we will see Zulueta on the Blue Jays in 2023.
Addison Barger:
No Jays system position player had a year like Addison Barger. The 23-year-old slashed .308/.378/.555 with 26 homers in 526 plate appearances in High A, Double A, and Triple A. 
Although he likely ran out of gas in the Arizona Fall League (slashed just .189/.318/.321 in 63 plate appearances), Barger has taken a tremendous step forward in his development. The biggest change was the approach at the plate, which saw his K% drop from 32.9% in 2021 to 24.9% in 2022 across the three levels.

Addison Barger (@AddisonBarger) with his ninth homer of the season with the Fisher Cats!#BlueJays #NextLevel
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) September 15, 2022

Prior to the Arizona Fall Lea …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

What more can the Leafs’ core give to move the team forward?

Happy September 1st. We are officially in the month when training camps open, rookie tournaments occur, and the preseason starts. It’s the dry humping stage of the hockey season. It’s also the part of the year when we aggressively start previewing the season and asking some burning questions about the Leafs. We’ll have a number of these previews throughout the month, and this is the first. The question I’m asking myself, you, and the Leafs is whether more can realistically be expected of the core players on the Leafs?
The first thing that immediately needs to be clarified here is the definition of the Leafs core. Given that outside five clear cut guys it starts becoming debatable, we’ll go with those five guys or as they are sometimes called, the first powerplay unit. Matthews, Marner, Nylander, Tavares, and Morgan Rielly should be undebatable as the Leafs core. If you wanted to throw TJ Brodie in there I wouldn’t blame you, if you feel like a goaltender should be part of the core, I hear you, but for now the core are the guys who have been through the continuous stretch of playoff heartbreak and have seen their supporting cast change around them.
Next, it’ …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs 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

Big Blue Jays bats pound Twins bullpen in 9-3 win

Tonight’s game officially confirmed that playing at the Trop significantly affects the way the Toronto Blue Jays swing the bat.

Despite a slow start, the Blue Jays elevated almost all of Minnesota’s relievers’ ERAs tonight in a 9-3 rout of the Twins to kick off a four game set. Toronto had 13 hits tonight, one more hit than they had total in their last series against Tampa Bay. Alek Manoah got his 17th quality start of the season, putting the cherry on top of a very enjoyable win for Blue Jays fans.
Sonny Gray got the start for Minnesota, and, although his numbers were very good, those who watched the game could see that Gray did whatever he could to throw pitches on the outside parts of the zone. Gray finished the night with five walks in five innings. 46 of his 96 pitches were balls. He did paint some corners nicely, but it was frustrating watching the Jays only tally one hit off of him due to Gray throwing several borderline pitches.

However, in the 6th inning, with Gray out of the game, the Jays were able to find some hits. With one out, Teoscar Hernandez hit an absolute moonshot to left field. The ball was hit so high that the Sportsnet cameras couldn’t track where the ball absolutely landed. Viewers were led to believe that the ball was hit into the first row of seats in left field, but in reality, the ball landed 409 feet into the second deck.

Teoscar with the bat drop
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) August 5, 2022

Bo Bichette followed the home run with a double, and he was cashed in by the steaming hot Lourdes Gurriel Jr. The exact same Bichette-Gurriel combo occurred in the 8th, as Gurriel sin …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

2022 TLN Prospect Rankings: The No Vote Club

The 2022 TLN prospect rankings officially began yesterday, as Jon Steitzer opened the festivities by looking at the players who graduated from last summer’s rankings. We aren’t at the top 20 just quite yet, though, as first, we need to take a brief look at each of the players who did not receive a single top 20 vote this year.
First, a reminder of the criteria to be eligible for this year’s rankings. To be considered a prospect in the TLN rankings, the player must be under the age of 24 and has to have played 41 or fewer games (no more than the equivalent of half a regular season.) It should also be clear the player has to be on the Maple Leafs reserve list. No players that are on AHL or ECHL deals are included in the rankings. We’ve also excluded goaltenders from the rankings. Both prospects on AHL/ECHL contracts as well as the goaltenders in the pipeline will be discussed throughout the next month, just not as part of the actual rankings themselves.
John Fusco
RD | 5’11 | 181 lbs | Shoots: R | Harvard (ECAC) | Acquired: 2020 7th Round, 189th Overall
Despite being 21 years old and entering his DY+4 season in 2022-23, John Fusco has played a minimal amount of hockey at a high level.
When he was drafted as an overage prospect in 2020, Fusco was still playing in the United States High School Prep system with Dexte …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation