Robbie Ray should win the Cy Young by a wide margin

Do you want a bold take?

Robbie Ray will definitely win the American Cy Young award. In fact, despite this being a two-horse race between Robbie Ray and the New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole, the stats tell us that Cole shouldn’t even come close.
The comparison:
Robbie Ray had a fantastic season. In 193.1 innings pitched, he had an ERA of 2.84 and a FIP of 3.69, nice. He also had a K/9 of 11.54 and a K% of 32.1%, meaning he struck out nearly a third of the batters he faced. Robbie Ray has always had the potential to be a Cy Young winning pitcher (look at 2017), but what has held him back until this season was his astronomical BB/9.
Ray had a great K/9 of 11.1 up until this season, but his 4.3 BB/9 really hindered his ability from solidifying himself in the Cy Young race, minus his All-Star season in 2017. In 2020, he finished with a BB/9 of 7.84 and before arriving to the Blue Jays at the trade deadline, that BB/9 was an astronomical 9.0 with Arizona.
This changed in 2021 as he posted a BB/9 of 2.47, by far the lowest in his career.
So what about the other horse in this race, Gerrit Cole? Well …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Burning Question: Has Sheldon Keefe proven enough to be the right head coach for the Leafs?

When the 2021-22 season gets underway, it will be Sheldon Keefe’s first full season as the head coach of the Leafs. To say Sheldon Keefe’s tenure as the head coach of the Leafs has been eventful would be a gross understatement since no coach has been through as much in a short window tribulation as he has.
He arrived on the scene in November 2019 to a team that was in complete disarray from wanting nothing to do with Mike Babcock and loud whispers of how he treated his players behind closed doors. The Leafs appeared to become a completely different team almost overnight and went on a run of sustained success heading into the new year, but stagnation resulted in some middling results and an amusing game of hot potato with the Panthers over who wanted the third spot in the Atlantic Division. Then that game involving a Zambini driver happened which was soon followed by a global pandemic that shut down the season for five months. Once play resumed with the playoffs, the Leafs did their annual tradition of falling out in the first round (sorry, the “play-in round”) to the Blue Jackets in five games.
Then …

Read More

Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Does Yuta Watanabe have an inside track on a roster spot?

Raptors: Does Yuta Watanabe have an inside track on a roster spot?

In a few days, the Toronto Raptors will begin training camp, with their first preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers coming up on October 4. A new era of basketball starts in Toronto with young stars like Scottie Barnes, Precious Achiuwa, Yuta Watanabe, and Gary Trent trying to make their mark in the game as […]
Raptors: Does Yuta Watanabe have an inside track on a roster spot? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Should Nikita Gusev and/or Josh Ho-Sang make the Leafs roster?

The Leafs announced yesterday that they will be bringing former New Jersey Devil and Florida Panther Nikita Gusev on for a Professional Try-Out (PTO) this training camp. The PTO allows the Leafs to bring the player officially into their training camp, without offering them a contract for the season yet.
They also announced that Joshua Ho-Sang would be brought in on a PTO as well, much earlier in the offseason.
The question I want to answer today is: would either of those players fit onto the Leafs this year? More specifically, are they good enough to warrant being signed to a contract?
Gusev has almost 100 games in the NHL, mostly with the Devils. While being rather new to the NHL, Gusev is actually 29 years old, so he’s on the sunset end of his hockey career. Before coming to North America, he had a solid career in Russia’s KHL. Having achieved success there, he seems determined enough to make it in the NHL that he’s willing to come to Leafs training camp without a contract, rather than just go play in Russia again.
Ho-Sang is 25 and at the point where either he’s going to make a full …

Read More

Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Leafs get an outdoor game, but unfortunately it’s against the Sabres

Good news everyone, the Leafs will be playing outside again this year. The bad news is it will likely be against a Jack Eichel-less Buffalo Sabres team in Hamilton.

The 2022 Tim Hortons NHL #HeritageClassic will feature the @MapleLeafs and @BuffaloSabres on March 13 at Tim Hortons Field, in Hamilton, Ont. Info: https://t.co/S1v1ewXgdd pic.twitter.com/bn8twg6A6q
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) September 16, 2021

The game counts as a Sabres home game, so you can hold back any possible outrage over having to drive to Hamilton for a Leafs game instead of it being in Toronto, this is just shaving some time off the drive to Buffalo for Leafs fans who normally make that trip, and saving people the inconvenience of the border crossing, which ironically the home team fans will have to put up with. It being a Sabres home game seems like it will be so in name only, as Leafs fans generally take over the arena in Buffalo anyways, and in this scenario it seems very unlikely their fans will outnumber the Leafs fans.
This also marks the first time that an American team has been involved in the Heritage Classic, let …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 4 best Chris Bosh games during his time in Canada

Toronto Raptors: 4 best Chris Bosh games during his time in Canada

The Toronto Raptors will send their first star to the Hall of Fame today, as Chris Bosh will join the ranks of the greatest to ever pick up a basketball when his NBA career and legacy are officially enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame tonight. While Bosh is remembered by some for […]
Toronto Raptors: 4 best Chris Bosh games during his time in Canada – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors: Chris Bosh further explains reasoning for leaving Toronto

Raptors: Chris Bosh further explains reasoning for leaving Toronto

The Toronto Raptors will see their first star inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday, as Chris Bosh will become the first player to have played a majority of his games in Toronto that will see his name and legacy immortalized in Springfield forever. While Bosh’s departure for the Miami Heat […]
Raptors: Chris Bosh further explains reasoning for leaving Toronto – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Report From The Rock: Growlers hire head coach and other notes

This will go down in history as one of the hardest articles I’ve had to write. Not because it involves heavy subject matter or anything like that, I mean that it was physically difficult for me to finish and submit this article because of thundershowers continually knocking out the power and internet as I attempted to write, so let’s get to it while my connection lasts.
New Head Coach Hired
On Friday, the Growlers announced that Eric Wellwood has been hired as the head coach after the position was vacated when John Snowden was promoted to an assistant coach position with the Toronto Marlies.
Wellwood, 31, was the coach of the OHL’s Flint Firebirds for the past three seasons and became the winningest coach in that franchise’s history in 2020.

Congratulations to Head Coach Eric Wellwood on becoming the all-time winningest coach in #FlintFirebirds franchise history! pic.twitter.com/5WIZmZQriw
— Flint Firebirds (@FlintFirebirds) February 22, 2020

“I am grateful for the opportunity to coach in this league with a top-notch organization as the next head coach of the Growlers,” said Wellwood in the official press release. “I can’t wait to get to St. John’s and meet the staff, …

Read More

Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays have called up Kevin Smith. Who’s coming off the 40-man roster?

According to Jamie Campbell, Kevin Smith will be joining the Blue Jays in Washington on Wednesday. Presumably, he’ll be on the team and active for the second of the team’s two-game series with the Nationals.

Source: Kevin Smith to join #BlueJays in Washington on Wednesday.
— Jamie Campbell (@SNETCampbell) August 18, 2021

Smith has put together a huge season for the Triple-A Bisons in 2021, ultimately earning him “CALL HIM UP” status for a good chunk of the year.
Originally a fourth-round pick from the 2017 draft, Smith quickly put himself on the map as a prospect in 2018 by dominating Low-A and then getting called up and doing well in High-A. He came into the 2019 season as a Top-100 prospect, ranked No. 91 by Baseball America, and totally fell off a cliff playing in Double-A, slashing just a .209/.263/.402 line.
The reason for his struggles had to do with a change he made to his swing ahead of the 2019 season. In 2020, when the minor leagues were on hiatus due to COVID, Smith did work at the Blue Jays’ Alternate Training Site to reverse his swing to where it was before he made the change, and the results have been excellent.
In 82 games for the Thunder-Bisons …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #20 Kristians Rubins

I’m calling it now, Kristians Rubins will be the first ever Toronto Maple Leaf from Latvia.
The large, smooth skating defenseman was under the radar until the Leafs signed Rubins to his 2 year ELC in April 2020. Toronto may not have even noticed him in the first place if he weren’t WJC teammates with 2015 Leaf draft pick Martins Dzierkals. Throughout his time in the Leafs organization, Rubins has continually found ways to improve. He first signed an ECHL contract as a 20 year old, earned an AHL contract in less than a month, and won a Championship with the Newfoundland Growlers, all in one season. The following year he graduated to the AHL under then Toronto Marlies coach Sheldon Keefe.
Rubins split the 20-21 season between the Marlies and Denmark, where he played for Frederik Andersen’s former team, the Frederikshavn White Hawks. His 3 points in 22 AHL games that season was unimpressive, but the Marlies were in disarray. If you look at his larger body of work, Rubins has produced at a 2nd pair rate offensively every level he’s played at.
Position: LD
Age: 23
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 220 lbs
Drafted: Undrafted
2020-21 Team: Toronto Marlies, AHL
2020 Prospect Ranking: #18
Kristians Rubins …

Read More

Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation