The Blue Jays were among the teams who attended Yoenis Cespedes’ showcase in Florida

We’re only a few weeks away from the start of the season and we have a new ‘The Blue Jays have checked in on ________’ report.

According to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the Blue Jays (along with the Yankees, White Sox, Brewers, Tigers,, Padres, Rays, Reds, Marlins, Cubs, and Braves) attended Yoenis Cespedes’ showcase in Florida.
I could quote some of the scouts on site, except it would be more effective to express their general sentiments in a collective shrug, as many of them did, their shrugs meaning, “Yup, he’s still a physical wonder and somebody you can dream on.”
At the plate, working with recently dismissed Mets hitting coordinator and coach Ryan Ellis, Cespedes did some soft-toss work, and then he took batting practice against a left-handed pitcher. He pulled some shots over the left-field wall and went the other way to deposit some shots over the wall in right-center. La Potencia still can send the baseball on a long-distance trip.
Cespedes has sort of fallen off the grid over the past few years due to battles with various injuries. He opted out of the 2020 season and he played in just 119 games between 2017 and 2019 due …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Marlies and Me: Toronto is 4-4-0-0 to finish off road trip

The Toronto Marlies had an interesting road trip to start the season. At some points they looked like the most dominant team on the ice, and at other points they looked like they could use a few practices. It’s obviously not ideal for Toronto because of the amount of games and how much practice time they’ve got, but right now in this time, that’s the circumstances they’ve had to play through.
And it’s not an excuse to say and even players on the Marlies have said that, though you do have to consider that to be part of the reason. Toronto played eight games in 12 days and with any of the days off that they had, it was used for rest.
Overall on this road trip, there were a lot of positives that can be taken away from it. The Marlies are such a young team this year with the likes of Nick Robertson, Adam Brooks, Joey Anderson and a few others. It’s going to take some time to not only get used to each other but to have a good idea of systems and special teams.
If I had to predict one aspect …

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Should Nick Nurse win Coach of the Year again?

Toronto Raptors: Should Nick Nurse win Coach of the Year again?

After a dismal 2-8 start, the Toronto Raptors suddenly find themselves in a position to grab a top-four spot in the Eastern Conference, and they have head coach Nick Nurse to thank for the stunning turnaround. As fans of the Raptors know too well, The NBA is all about narratives. It always has been, and […]
Toronto Raptors: Should Nick Nurse win Coach of the Year again? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Eddie Huband / Raptors HQ

The Leafs need more out of their forward group

The Leafs have gotten off to a fast start this season, currently leading the NHL with 24 points and a record of 11-3-2, mostly on the backs of an improved blue line and a couple of guys named Auston and Mitch. While the overall team results have been excellent, the process through which they have attained those results has led to some concerns now that a quarter of the season has passed.
One of the most dangerous scorers in the NHL since his career began, Matthews has taken his game to another level this season. He is currently leading the league in goal scoring with 13 goals in just 15 games and his 20 points are good enough for sixth best in the league but he has been even more dominant than those numbers suggest. Always a slick puck thief, Matthews has added a newfound physicality to his game and his commitment to the defensive side of the puck is ever-improving.

Auston Matthews has really taken his defensive zone play to another level.
Watch #34 throughout this clip. pic.twitter.com/2k09OBZ9e6
— Nick DeSouza (@NickDeSouza_) February 14, 2021

Last season was a tough one for Marner – at least by his standards – but he appears …

Read More

Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Cavan Biggio and Hitting High Velocity

Cavan Biggio has had an impressive start to his Major League career.

Over 159 games he has a 118 wRC+, 24 home runs, a 16.1% walk rate, a triple slash of .240/.368/.430 and has even stolen 20 bases without being caught. Putting it all together he’s been worth 3.8 wins above replacement. Defensively, the Blue Jays have turned him into a super utility type playing him all over the diamond.
However, despite Biggio’s impressive start, he has one major flaw that could potentially hold him back in the long-run. He hasn’t been able to hit fastballs. That has led to some thought that pitchers will start challenging him with fastballs, plummeting his walk rate and take away from his offensive strength. We saw Tampa Bay take advantage of this in the post-season.
Biggio saw 30 pitches over two playoff games, 23 of which were fastballs. Just five of those fastballs were less than 95 miles per hours. Biggio struck out six times in eight plate appearances, five of which came on fastballs. This obviously a small sample against a really strong pitching staff, but it highlighted a deeper issue for Biggio and why some think he may not last long in the big leagues.
Let’s get …

Read More

Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: The 2 best lineups Nick Nurse needs to use more often

Raptors: The 2 best lineups Nick Nurse needs to use more often

After a chaotic start to a season that saw the Toronto Raptors kicked out of their home country after losing a few of their key secondary players to free agency, head Nick Nurse has done a fantastic job righting the ship. He helped turn around Pascal Siakam after a slow start, promoted Yuta Watanabe into […]
Raptors: The 2 best lineups Nick Nurse needs to use more often – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Leafs reportedly have interest in Sam Bennett

While the Leafs’ 2021 season might be off to a hot start, the rumours of them going after another forward have not gone away. Now it appears that they appear to be keen on going after Sam Bennett.
During today’s edition of Hockey Central, Chris Johnston came on and said the following regarding Bennett’s future:
I think a trade is possible. There are teams with interest. I think even the Leafs have some level of interest in Sam Bennett. I don’t know if they have the right piece to send back that would make that kind of trade palatable, but there are teams out there kicking tires naturally on a 24-year-old player. I know he’s had inconsistencies, it’s something that’s plagued him, but we’ve also seen him have some pretty major playoff performances for the Flames over the years. And that’s going to be appealing to any team depending on the acquisition price.
The main takeaway from this is obvious: the Leafs might be willing to trade for Bennett but it’s hard to forecast if they have the pieces needed to get the deal done. There are plenty of other teams interested …

Read More

Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Luck, Inconsistency, and Penalties define the Leafs first 10 games

Let’s start of with the fact that the Leafs are 7-2-1 to start the season, sitting at the top of their division, and we’ve seen demonstrations of skill from all the players you’d hope to see that from. The big four forwards are doing terrific, the new additions on the blueline are certainly making it appear the position has been upgraded, and Andersen and Campbell seem like they will be able to get the job done for the Leafs this year.
On the surface everything is looking pretty great, but some of that changes when we reflect on how the Leafs have gotten to this point. The reality is that it’s been a very shaky 7-2-1 performance, and more often than not, the Leafs have been relying on their power play to bail them out, getting by on short bursts of offensive talent in an otherwise lackluster night of hockey from them.

Looking at their performances to date, the wins in Ottawa and against Winnipeg were the only two that statistically show the Leafs as a dominant team at 5v5 and looking to earn their victory. And even in both of those games, the …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

If the Leafs are looking to bring in help, who should it be?

Let’s start off with an initial truth. A 7-2-1 start to the season doesn’t warrant a need for change. Even with the depth injuries the Leafs have suffered, they can backfill long enough, and keep on keeping on. Now that we’ve established the Leafs are doing well, we need to consider a couple of things, the first is that the Leafs have been rumoured to be seeking an upgrade to their secondary scoring. There’s also the fact that if trades are going to be made this year, they are most likely coming with a two week waiting period, which makes the trade deadline more of a true last chance day this year. Teams may wish to act soon.
We asked around the TLN crew to see whether there were any potential targets or players that need to be shipped out that the Leafs should be exploring…
Mark Norman:
When the Leafs signed Mikko Lehtonen it was much to the chagrin of the New Jersey Devils, who thought they were the front runners for the KHL’s top defenceman. We’re now 8 games into the season and Lehtonen is on the outside looking in, seemingly having …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Three players who are starting to step up for the Toronto Raptors

Three players who are starting to step up for the Toronto Raptors

After a dismal 1-6 start to the season, the Toronto Raptors are beginning to find their footing, thanks in large part to the improvement of some key role players. It hasn’t been a great month for the Toronto Raptors to start the 2020-2021 campaign.  Sluggish play and lacklustre defence led to some surprise losses early […]
Three players who are starting to step up for the Toronto Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Eddie Huband / Raptors HQ