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Miller has written 632 posts for the Hall of Miller and Eric

Thank You! (And Another Delay)

In a world where 14-year-olds regularly have a million people check out their make-up tutorials, what I’m about to announce may not seem like a big deal, but it is to us. On Wednesday, we reached the 100,000 hit mark. That’s right, since we started this little project in 2013, there have been clicks on posts at the Hall of Miller and Eric more than 100,000 times.

We began this little project for ourselves, trying to elect a better group of players than the Hall of Fame. We did that, and you’ve read. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

One of the reasons we think you stop by our little corner of the Internet is that we’re honest with you. We do our best, though we know we’re flawed. We’re sometimes opinionated, but those strong opinions develop because we care.

And occasionally, we don’t get everything done we say we’re going to. Yes, there will be to be another delay in posting our review of the pitchers the BBWAA is considering for this year’s Hall class. I just can’t get my numbers to do what I want them to. In short, pitchers from 100+ years ago look better than I think they should. I don’t know if this is just some sort of bias on my part or a flaw in my updated rating system. Whatever the case, we would rather delay than post work we can’t stand behind.

The new goal is to have numbers I trust by Wednesday, the day we’re scheduled to review how active pitchers progressed on their way to the HoME in 2019. If we do, we’ll post then.

Once again, thank you all so much for reading. Your clicks mean more to us than you can imagine.

Miller

 

2019 HoME Update, Active Right Fielders

While left and center field feel like they are transitioning slowly from one generation to the next—and maybe leaving a generation out in some cases—right field’s got a more balanced sense of continuity. Ichiro left the building. Giancarlo Stanton’s in his baseball mid-life (complete with mid-life crisis). Mookie’s zooming up the charts, and Aaron Judge lurks just below twenty WAR and not yet a part of our annual ratings (he should be joining the list after 2020). Also Bryce Harper is around, and due to national regulations about overhyped players, we must include him in the paragraph.

And in the next paragraph, we must refer you to our other posts in this series.

[Catcher], [First Base], [Second Base], [Third Base], [Shortstop], [Left Field], [Center Field]

Ichiro Suzuki

2019 BBREF WAR:
0.0

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 21
Ahead of Vlad Guerrero, Reggie Smith, and Enos Slaughter
Trailing Dwight Evans, Dave Winfield, and Bobby Bonds

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 24
Ahead of Harry Hooper, Brian Giles, and Reggie Smith
Trailing Vlad Guerrero, Dave Winfield, and Dwight Evans

Current career trajectory per Eric:
Ha! That’s an easy one. He’s now officially retired.

HoME Outlook:
Pretty darned good but not a mortal lock. Well, not yet, but sorta. Ichiro ranks among the bottom tier of HoME right fielders, and his value-based numbers put him in a flat-footed tie with Vlad Guerrero. We have a lot of right fielders, and with Guerrero and Enos Slaughter already in line, we’re not in a hurry with Ichiro. However, the HoME won’t be complete without him, and as the number of elected players expands the number of players elected at each position, his absence (and Guerrero’s) may look more and more egregious.

Mookie Betts

2019 BBREF WAR:
6.8

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 42
Ahead of Johnny Callison, Jesse Barfield, and Jose Bautista
Trailing Dave Parker, Tommy Holmes, and Ken Singelton

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 43
Ahead of Ken Singleton, Jesse Barfield, and Jose Bautista
Trailing Rocky Colavito, Tim Salmon, and Johnny Callison

Current career trajectory per Miller:
As you can see above, Mookie is already in some pretty nice company through just his age-26 season. And even after what may be considered a down year by his standards, he was a big mover on this list. A year from now, like Trout, he’ll be a 20-something leading his position among actives. Let’s play out Mookie’s career a couple of ways. First, let’s say that last year was his true value. Give him that for two, down a half win for two, and then down a win every two years until a single 2-win season at 37, then retirement. If that’s what he did, he’d wind up as the seventh best right fielder ever, ahead of Paul Waner and behind Al Kaline. But let’s say we imagine 2018 was true-ish talent level. Let’s give him 10 wins at age 27, and then we’ll drop by a win per year until 3-win campaigns at 34 and 35 before 2-win showings at 36 and 37. If that were the case, he’d be comfortably ahead of Kaline and a bit behind Roberto Clemente. That’s the type of talent we’re watching.

HoME Outlook:
I think a fairly poor run-out would include WAR totals of 4, 4, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, and retirement after his age-35 season. If he did that, I’d rank him 20th in right field, ahead of six HoMErs plus Vlad and Ichiro. And that’s if things go poorly. Betts is a HoMEr unless things go horribly wrong.

Giancarlo Stanton

2019 BBREF WAR:
0.4

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 37
Ahead of Chuck Klein, Dave Parker, and Tommy Holmes
Trailing Jack Clark, Rocky Colavito, and Tim Salmon

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 47
Ahead of Shawn Green, Jose Canseco, and Dixie Walker
Trailing Jose Bautista, Jesse Barfield, and Ken Singleton

Current career trajectory per Eric:
A little iffy, right? Stanton has trouble staying on the field. When he plays he’s great. When he sits, he ain’t. He missed damn near the whole of 2019 with the latest in a barrage of injuries, casting doubt on what exactly his 2020 might look like and whether his brittleness will keep him from assembling the outstanding, Hall-level career his talent could give him. His seasonal games played tell the story of a fascinating, frustrating player:

2010: 100
2011: 150
2012: 123
2013: 116
2014: 145
2015:  74
2016: 119
2017: 159
2019: 158
2019:  18

All told, he’s played in only 71% of his team’s games, or 116 a year. Makes Larry Walker and Rickey Henderson look indestructible.

HoME Outlook:
Stanton’s a top-40 right fielder right now, but he’s not yet close to HoME status. His case requires either more peak, more career, or more cowbell. I gotta have more cowbell! Anyway, even with twenty more career WAR, he’d still be iffy unless they came with peak-flavored icing. Trundling along by itself may not do it, so as he turns thirty, let’s see if he can get healthy and productive and show us who’s boss.

Nelson Cruz

2019 BBREF WAR:
4.3

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 52
Ahead of Paul O’Neill, Shin-Soo Choo, and J.D. Drew
Trailing Rusty Staub, Darryl Strawberry, and Wally Moses

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 58
Ahead of Shin-Soo Choo, Kirk Gibson, and Felipe Alou
Trailing J.D. Drew, Wally Moses, and Roger Maris

Current career trajectory per Miller:
Every year I think Nelson Cruz couldn’t possibly have another one in him, yet every year he seems to. He’s had eleven consecutive seasons that range from decent to very good – never below 2.1 WAR or above 5.4 WAR during that stretch. Too bad the first of those seasons occurred when he was already 28. He’ll be 39 next year, coming off the best OBP, SLG, and OPS+ of his career. Only six players ever have hit 200 homers from ages 33–38. It’s Cruz, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, and Hank Aaron. In fact, only those guys plus Andres Galarraga, Willie Mays, and David Ortiz have topped Cruz’ homer mark from age 33 until the end of his career. Looking at how things are going right now, I can’t imagine he doesn’t end up in the top three.

HoME Outlook:
Well, he didn’t get an early enough start, and bat-only guys don’t do too well in terms of HoME election. Still, an amazing career.

Shin-Soo Choo

2019 BBREF WAR:
1.6

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 54
Ahead of J.D. Drew, Kirk Gibson, and Carl Furillo
Trailing Wally Moses, Nelson Cruz, and Paul O’Neill

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 59
Ahead of Kirk Gibson, Felipe Alou, and Roy Cullenbine
Trailing Nelson Cruz, J.D. Drew, and Wally Moses

Current career trajectory per Eric:
I admit to some pleasant surprise at seeing how well Choo has held up the past couple seasons. The best Korean-born player in MLB history has settled in at a level a scrape above average. His offensive skills remain intact, it’s his defense that depresses his value. Well, that depends too on which defensive system you use. Rfield hates him while DRA indicates that he’s merely average, buoying him in my rankings. He’s getting by on old-player skills, so maybe he has one or two helpful years left. Or maybe this is the year he collapses. That’s how it is in MLB now.

HoME Outlook:
He’s had as good a career, in his way, as Darryl Strawberry or Shawn Green. That’s saying something positive about him but not about his chances to receive accolades from us.

Jason Heyward

2019 BBREF WAR:
2.0

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 65
Ahead of Juan Gonzalez, Magglio Ordonez, and Tommy Henrich
Trailing Roger Maris, Babe Herman, and Justin Upton

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 67
Ahead of Magglio Ordonez, Tommy Henrich, and Babe Herman
Trailing Socks Seybold, David Justice, and Bob Allison

Current career trajectory per Eric:
It lives!!! Heyward’s bat that is. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but Heyward at least made his way back to an exactly average offensive contribution this year after three years in no-bat’s land. Unfortunately for him, his defense has dipped dramatically from awesome to merely above average/good, so his value remains simply average. Heyward can still help a team that needs a steady right fielder so long as they don’t mind one that hits seventh or lower in the lineup. He’s got a few more years in the league ahead of him.

HoME Outlook:
About five years ago, I thought Heyward looked like a good career to bet on thanks to a broad base of skills and power that I thought would come during his prime. Obviously, you can trust my reasoning all the way to the bank or local sports book. At this point, he’s spent so much time perfecting the 4-3 groundout that he’s wasted his chance at internet immortality. Oh, who knows. Maybe he goes Justin Turner on us? Nah.

Justin Upton

2019 BBREF WAR:
-0.9

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 64
Ahead of Jason Heyward, Juan Gonzalez, and Magglio Ordonez
Trailing Roy Cullenbine, Roger Maris, and Babe Herman

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 72
Ahead of Ross Youngs, Juan Gonzalez, and Reggie Sanders
Trailing Raul Mondesi, Babe Herman, and Tommy Henrich

Current career trajectory per Miller:
Injuries stink. A year ago, I was imagining what might become of Upton if you squinted just right. Now, he’s just hoping to be on the field for another 140+ games. He’s an Angel for three more years at $72 million, so a lot of people are hoping the same thing.

HoME Outlook:
The answer was never a positive one. Now there’s absolutely no shot.

Bryce Harper

2019 BBREF WAR:
4.2

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 74
Ahead of Jayson Werth, Hunter Pence, and Ken Griffey
Trailing Raul Mondesi, Ross Youngs, and Socks Seybold

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 77
Ahead of Bobby Murcer, Hunter Pence, and Elmer Valo
Trailing Jayson Werth, Reggie Sanders, and Juan Gonzalez

Current career trajectory per Miller:
Harper has now played eight seasons. By WAR, last year was his fourth best. With my conversions, it was his fifth best. Over the last four years Marcel Ozuna, Tommy Pham, Starling Marte, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Elvis Andrus have posted more bWAR.

HoME Outlook:
I give Harper a hard time, and any analysis of his Hall chances probably should too. Even so, there’s hope. Let’s say he repeats last year’s mediocrity every year until he’s 40. If he did that, he’d move up all the way to 27th on the right field list. That won’t get him in, but you all think he’s going to do better than last year, right???

Hunter Pence

2019 BBREF WAR:
1.7

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 76
Ahead of Ken Griffey, Bobby Murcer, and Elmer Valo
Trailing Socks Seybold, Bryce Harper, and Jayson Werth

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 79
Ahead of Elmer Valo, Jim Fogarty, and Orator Shaffer
Trailing Bobby Murcer, Bryce Harper, and Jayson Werth

Current career trajectory per Miller:
After a couple of down years, Pence gave the Rangers far more than they could have hoped for in 2019. A free agent, I predict he will give a team less than they hope for in 2020.

HoME Outlook:
The 2014 World Series (and a second ring) will have to suffice.

George Springer

2019 BBREF WAR:
6.2

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 97
Ahead of Jackie Jensen, Jim Fogarty, and George Selkirk
Trailing Vic Wertz, Carlos Gonzalez, and Mike Mitchell

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 98
Ahead of Mike Mitchell, Carlos Gonzalez, and Jackie Jensen
Trailing Terry Puhy, Vic Wertz, and Nick Swisher

Current career trajectory per Eric:
Hey, this guy’s pretty exciting, huh? He’s a very good player on a great team, and he just had what, thus far, represents his career year. I’m surprised to learn he’ll be thirty next season. The big three-uh-oh. Springer’s calling card is his bat, and it’s very good not great. Sometimes he fields really well, other times he doesn’t, and he doesn’t bring anything much to the table with his legs. The other thing with him is durability. He’s played one season where he managed more than 140 games. He’s looking like a bit of a late bloomer, which could mean he has some quality offensive years ahead of him a la Josh Donaldson, or that he’s simply maxed out and his thirties will look like every season that wasn’t his career year. Smart money goes with the latter, and that kind of play will keep him around a while because four-win players don’t grow on trees.

HoME Outlook:
Could a career that looks like Tim Salmon’s be in the cards? Or Jack Clark’s? I kinda like the player, so I’ll hope for better, but I’m not bullish enough to predict he has the goods to propel himself HoMEward.

Carlos Gonzalez

2019 BBREF WAR:
-0.5

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 95
Ahead of Mike Mitchell, George Springer, and Jackie Jensen
Trailing Hank Bauer, Terry Puhl, and Vic Wertz

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 100
Ahead of Jackie Jensen, George Selkirk, and Chief Wilson
Trailing Mike Mitchell, George Springer, and Terry Puhl

Current career trajectory per Miller:
Over the last three years, he’s been worth -0.5 WAR. He shouldn’t be in uniform, and I suspect in 2020 he won’t be.

HoME Outlook:
If he could have been 24 for his entire career, there would have been a shot.

Nick Markakis

2019 BBREF WAR:
0.8

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 102
Ahead of Bake McBride, Chief Wilson, and Chicken Wolf
Trailing Jim Fogarty, George Selkirk, and Jermaine Dye

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 106
Ahead of Richie Zisk, Jermaine Dye, and Billy Southworth
Trailing Buck Freeman, Oyster Burns, and Chief Wilson

Current career trajectory per Eric:
Markakis hasn’t hit for an OPS+ of 110 or higher since age 28 and the power had simply gone out. He’s now 35. He used to draw some walks to keep the OBP up, making up, somewhat, for slugging percentages under .400. That changed in 2018. Markakis hit with more power (SLG .440) and made his only All-Star team. Then it fell apart in 2019. He missed a quarter of the season, and he hit a lot like he did in 2017 instead of 2018. He sort of feels like the new B.J. Surhoff in terms of his hitting profile, with the caveat that he’s more durable than his fellow Oriole and Brave. Surhoff played a long time, though with diminishing returns in his late thirties. Markakis has the kind of combination of skills that could keep him in the game a few more years. Enough to keep people intrigued by the idea that he could become the worst player since Lou Brock to notch 3,000 knocks.

HoME Outlook:
You already know that we don’t give a hoot about round numbers, so he’s got no pathway into our hallowed halls. Or what passes for a hallway on the internet.

A Miller Aside:
For the HoME, I don’t give a hoot about round numbers, but I’ll always be a fan looking at those career marks. It’ll be fun if Markakis can make a run at 3,000.

J.D. Martinez

2019 BBREF WAR:
3.3

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 112
Ahead of Oscar Gamble, Frank Schulte, and Willie Crawford
Trailing Jim Northrup, Al “Fuzzy” Smith, and Buck Freeman

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 114
Ahead of Al Smith, Oscar Gamble, and Willard Marshall
Trailing Jim Northrup, Curt Walker, and Chicken Wolf

Current career trajectory per Miller:
The guy’s been an awesome force at the plate for the past three years. That’s the good news. The bad is that he adds no other value and that he’s now 32. If he wants it, he has $62.5 million coming to him from the Red Sox over the next three seasons, though most seem to think it’s a forgone conclusion that he opts out. I’m not so sure. He’ll reach age 35 by the end of this deal, and I’m not totally confident—not confident at all—that another team will want to offer him more money. [Editors note: This was written early in November. I’m leaving it here regardless of what happens with Martinez.]

HoME Outlook:
He’s not going to the HoME, and if he decides to stay in Boston, thereby allowing the Sox front office to justify moving Mookie to avoid what I think of as an effort tax, he and I are going to have a real problem.

Josh Reddick

2019 BBREF WAR:
1.2

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 120
Ahead of Trot Nixon, Tommy McCarthy, and Carl Reynolds
Trailing Merv Rettenmund, Danny Tartabull, and Andre Ethier

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 123
Ahead of Carl Reynolds, Richard Hidalgo, and Joe Carter
Trailing Trot Nixon, Frank Schulte, and Danny Tartabull

Current career trajectory per Miller:
He remains a decent guy to roster. Will he be next year at age 33? I’m not so certain.

HoME Outlook:
That’s not something that’s going to happen.

Yasiel Puig 

2019 BBREF WAR:
1.3

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 124
Ahead of Joe Carter, Casey Stengel, and Richard Hidalgo
Trailing Trot Nixon, Tommy McCarthy, and Carl Reynolds

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 130
Ahead of Jay Buhner, Jack Tobin, and Tom Brunansky
Trailing Casey Stengel, Andre Ethier, and Joe Carter

Current career trajectory per Eric:
Remember the hype! He was like the second coming of…Yoenis Cespedes? Sadly for all involved, Puig’s tendency toward possibly inappropriate behavior has bitten into playing time and made him a bit of an outcast. Sad because this guy’s been a good contributor with three seasons of at least three WAR by my reckoning, including one at an All-Star level. His entire game seemed to take a tumble last year. He didn’t hit, his fielding went south, and he got traded in mid-year after being traded the prior off-season. He feels like a player in need of a good-fit team, and, fortunately for him, he’ll be a free agent this off-season. Maybe some club can work with his strengths instead of against his weaknesses.

HoME Outlook:
None to speak of, really.

Fellows We’re Following?

Who might you see in this space next offseason?

  • Jay Bruce (19.7 BBREF WAR)
  • Kole Calhoun (15.9 WAR)

Top 40

RF

That’s it for the position players. In one week we get moving with the pitchers.

Miller and Eric

Some Thoughts on Ted Simmons, Marvin Miller, and the Process

I was saying to my wife, “Please, not Murphy and Mattingly. Please, not Murphy and Mattingly.” And then the announcement came. I was ecstatic, and I hope you were too. Marvin Miller is finally getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Eric named him the tenth most important person in baseball history.  I put him sixth on my list. Even if we’re both about 15-20 spots too generous, Miller is an easy call.

As you probably know, Miller said that he didn’t want to be elected after his passing. It’s really too bad he felt that way. Maybe he became bitter, and if that’s the case I can’t blame him too much. He should have been recognized decades ago. But just as nominees cannot decide that they should be inducted, nominees cannot decide that they shouldn’t be. That’s good news for the Hall. And it’s good news for parents walking with their kids through the Hall’s halls. They can talk to their kids about labor relations and some of the most important times in the game’s and the nation’s history. I, for one, couldn’t be happier.

From the time the 16-member committee was announced, I was convinced Lou Whitaker was going to get in. Three committee members played their entire careers in the American League while Whitaker was at his best, and two others overlapped with Whitaker’s career quite a bit. Then for hours today my brain went to Dwight Evans. Maybe I was just being hopeful. I don’t know. What I do know is that I never considered Ted Simmons getting in.

Perhaps I should have. Two years ago, a committee including seven of the same members who voted yesterday, brought Simmons to within one vote of election. In spite of the discussion of the rigorous process that the committee goes through, it seems more likely they coalesced around two names very quickly. Or they got there soon enough under what I assume is the Hall’s direction to elect someone.

Hey, I’m not arguing with the result. Back when we held our 1994 election, Simmons was eligible for the first time, and Eric and I had no problem electing him. Today, we both see him as the 19th best catcher of all-time. Among catchers, we both see him as better than two HoMErs (one a mistake), and we both rank him ahead of three Hall of Famers.

It’s not often I’ll say this, but the result of the Modern Era Committee vote was close to ideal. Sure, there were two players I’d have taken over Simmons, but I’m not going to give up the wonderful in search of the perfect. Dwight Evans received eight votes, and Lou Whitaker garnered six. They’ll both get in one day. The candidates whose election most scared me, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, and Tommy John all received three or fewer votes. Hey, I can’t even be upset that Dave Parker and Steve Garvey pulled in thirteen votes between them. I’ll save those fears for another time.

With results like we got last night, there’s reason to be optimistic moving forward. Next year, both the Early Baseball and Golden Era Committees meet, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Bill Dahlen, Jack Glasscock, Paul Hines, Charlie Bennett, Ken Boyer, and others.

Miller

Grading the BBWAA Ballots, #10-15

If you’ve been following along with our Friday posts the last two weeks, today you expected our 2020 BBWAA ballot review of pitchers. And we will post that soon. To be honest, the issues are with MAPES+. I’ve been slow to update my numbers, and I haven’t yet been able to settle on the right reliever leverage adjustments or decide on an adjustment for wins above average.

I’d like to use the excuse that the BBWAA ballots this week were so bad that I had some sort of mental breakdown, but that’s not the case. What we’ve had the past few days are generally reasonable ballots.

I’m of two minds when voters don’t explain on Twitter. On one hand, I want to understand their thinking. On the other, Twitter replies range from the polite and informed to the bitter, angry, and moronic. I might not explain or engage either if I were some of these voters.

Please check out earlier posts in this series.

[1-7], [8-9]

Filip Bondy: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Helton, Jeter, Kent, Ramirez, Schilling, Sosa, Vizquel, Walker
  • No explanation.
  • He added Helton, Kent, Manny, and Walker.
  • He subtracted Sheffield.
  • He’s been a guy to add and subtract a bunch of players – Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Sheff, Sosa. I wish he’d explain, but I’m glad he emails Thibs.

Bruce Miles: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Helton, Jeter, Pettitte, Rolen, Schilling, Vizquel, Walker
  • Helton and Walker are adds this year.
  • He explained his ballot a year ago, but he hasn’t yet this year.

Adam Rubin: 45

  • Bonds, Clemens, Helton, Jeter, Rolen, Schilling, Vizquel, Walker
  • He replied to zero Twitter comments and explained nothing.

Barry Bloom: 80

  • Bonds, Clemens, Jeter, Pettitte, Ramirez, Schilling, Sheffield, Sosa, Vizquel, Walker
  • This year he added Manny, Sheff, and Sosa. Basically, he gave up on his anti-PED campaign. You should check out his post. His reasoning makes sense, at least to me. And he doesn’t seem angry about change, which I like.
  • I’m betting this will be the best ballot from any non-baseball source (he works for Forbes), and it will be the best ballot including Omar Vizquel.
  • I think I’d actually give him some extra points for his reasonable, logical arguments if he didn’t vote for Vizquel.

Jay Cohen: 55

  • Bonds, Clemens, Helton, Jeter, Rolen, Schilling, Wagner, Walker
  • Helton and Wagner are adds, and although this is just his third ballot, he replies to nobody on Twitter, at least not through the time I looked. More explanation is needed.

Alan Greenwood: 5

  • Bonds, Clemens, Jeter, Ramirez, Schilling
  • No adds or drops, no explanation, nothing.

More ballots will be on their way shortly, and I’m hoping to get the preview of the pitchers on the BBWAA ballot next Friday.

Between now and the next time we talk, keep your fingers crossed for Lou Whitaker, Marvin Miller, Dwight Evans, Ted Simmons, and Thurman Munson.

Miller

2019 HoME Update, Active Center Fielders

Center field can be summed up in two words: Mike Trout. There’s other guys to talk about, but he’s the, uh, big fish here. We could write 2,000 words about how amazing he is without blinking. Seriously, remember when headlines blared about whether Trout or Bryce Harper was the next big thing? Ha! He’s just something else, and something we’re unlikely to ever see again. The other guys here, well, there’s a lot of dead wood that’s starting to clear out in center, and others just haven’t quite made the cut yet for us to track them. So we might be saying goodbye to some of these guys and welcoming some new blood into our annual player synopsisfest in 2020.

To catch up on other 2019 positions, click the links below.

[Catcher], [First Base], [Second Base], [Third Base], [Shortstop], [Left Field]

Mike Trout

2019 BBREF WAR:
8.3

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 6
Ahead of Sliding Bill Hamilton, Ken Griffey Jr., and Richie Ashburn
Trailing Tris Speaker, Mickey Mantle, and Joe DiMaggio

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 7
Ahead of Ken Griffey Jr., Richie Ashburn, and Paul Hines
Trailing Billy Hamilton, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle

Current career trajectory per Miller:
A bit of inside baseball for those who are interested. Obviously, when you write a blog with a partner, you have to share responsibility. If there’s some technical Excel work, that generally goes to Eric. He’s just better at it. If there’s some grunt data entry stuff, that’s more my speed. If I want to look at our sharing in the most positive light for both of us, I would say Eric is better at big picture, while I am a bit more detail-oriented. The way we share responsibility in these posts is different. The person who starts writing takes the players he wants, while always trying to be fair. Well, Eric was more than fair on this one. He gave me the game’s best player. However, rather than thinking of it as a treat, I worry it’s kind of a burden. With Mike Trout, the game’s best player and possibly the best player who’s ever lived, there’s a certain responsibility. And I think I’m generally going to pass the buck here. You all know Trout. I don’t have much of a wrinkle, so I’m going to be straight-forward and update my previous thoughts on the player. Yes, Mike Trout remains the game’s best player. And since he’s signed for eleven more years, it’s pretty likely he finishes his career as an Angel. But hold on a minute! He’s only signed until age 38. While 38 is kind of old, players at Trout’s level tend to play a long, long time. Since Trout has 72.5 WAR through his age-27 season, I decided to look for comps by including anyone with even 60 WAR through that point. Much to my surprise, there are only five guys. Trout leads the pack by a bunch. Ty Cobb (69.0) played until he was 41, and he was still very good at 40. Mickey Mantle (68.1) had bad knees and was done at 36. Rogers Hornsby (63.7) played until 41 but wasn’t any good after 35. Alex Rodriguez (63.6) played through 40. He was helpful at 39 but wasn’t generally that good after 35. Jimmie Foxx (62.6) hung on until he was 37, though he was last good at 33. If we drop the WAR requirement by a few, we add Ken Griffey Jr. and Mel Ott, neither who was any good after 36. So maybe Trout does call it quits in eleven years? I don’t know.

What I do know how to do is speculate. Let’s play out those eleven years at 8, 8, 8, 7, 7, 6, 6, 5, 5, 4, and 4 WAR. While possible, I think that’s extremely optimistic toward the end. Some might call it pessimistic at the start since Trout have been above 8 WAR in all but two of his eight full seasons with my adjustments. Still, let’s see how it plays out. As we’ve always expected, he’d move past DiMaggio into fifth at the position. And now it’s looking more likely that he also passes Mantle. There’s no guarantee, of course. But I am more optimistic than I’ve been in seasons past. 

HoME Outlook:
Trout needs to pay another game to get into the Hall, but he’s already very comfortably going to be a HoMEr.

Andrew McCutchen

2019 BBREF WAR:
1.4

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 30
Ahead of Johnny Damon, Cy Seymour, and Larry Doby
Trailing Chet Lemon, Willie Wilson, and Hugh Duffy

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 30
Ahead of Larry Doby, Johnny Damon, and Dale Murphy
Trailing Fielder Jones, Wally Berger, and Hugh Duffy

Current career trajectory per Eric:
The sad truth: Andrew McCutchen is limping along to the finish line. It might not be 2020 or 2021, but he’s a shadow of the electric player who led the resurgent Pirates in the early aughts.

HoME Outlook:
His career so far resembles Wally Berger’s in terms of his peak and career value. We can safely assume that Cutch has finished adding peak seasons, but he looked like an average-ish player this year before the torn ligament. His peak isn’t unusually high, in fact it would be in the bottom tier among HoME centerfielders. The problem is that he hasn’t quite reached 50 career WAR, and he’d need another 10–15 WAR to justify a plaque. The rapid diminishment of his skills plus the nasty injury together suggest he may not have half that total left in him.

Curtis Granderson

2019 BBREF WAR:
-0.6

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 48
Ahead of Fred Lynn, Eric Davis, and Ray Lankford
Trailing Edd Roush, Steve Finley, and Devon White

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 47
Ahead of Eric Davis, George Van Haltren, and Steve Finley
Trailing Fred Lynn, Devon White, and Ellis Burks

Current career trajectory per Eric:
The Grandyman has reached the end. Regardless whether he plays in 2020, he’s done in the metaphorical sense if not the literal.

HoME Outlook:
I size him up as roughly the same player as Fred Lynn. I won’t belabor that point.

Lorenzo Cain

2019 BBREF WAR:
2.8

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 78
Ahead of Adam Jones, Johnny Mostil, and Cy Williams
Trailing Andy Pafko, Ginger Beaumont, and Darin Erstad

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 73
Ahead of Willie McGee, Chili Davis, and Burt Shotton
Trailing Brady Anderson, Mickey Rivers, and Baby Doll Jacobson

Current career trajectory per Miller:
Let’s get this straight. Lorenzo Cain has never been a superstar. He is a very good player who peaked in 2015 and again in 2018. He reached the majors with an almost-full-time gig at age 27 though, suggesting that his career numbers won’t ever be great. Last year was a terrible one at the plate for Cain, while he continued the inevitable defensive slide that occurs to most everyone in their 30s. Whether he has another couple of very strong seasons in him depends on whether or not he can rediscover that bat. He’ll be 34 next year, so I’m not betting on him.

HoME Outlook:
I’d be a bit surprised if he got inside #60.

Adam Jones

2019 BBREF WAR:
-0.4 

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 79
Ahead of Johnny Mostil, Cy Williams, and Kindly Burt Shotton
Trailing Ginger Beaumont, Darin Erstad, and Lorenzo Cain 

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 81
Ahead of Cy Williams, Randy Winn, and Bill North
Trailing Johnny Mostil, Andy Pafko, and Amos Strunk 

Current career trajectory per Miller:
Remember a year ago when folks were shocked and awed that Jones remained a free agent for so long? Well, maybe clubs knew something. A guy with a 103 OPS+ from ages 30–32 shouldn’t be expected to be the hitter he was from ages 26–28 ever again. Add to that the need to shift away from center field because of diminishing defensive returns, and you have a guy who you can’t imagine will play too far above replacement level. And what do you know, he didn’t! I love Adam Jones. I really do. He had to withstand and overcome a good deal during his career. If he wants it, I hope he lands a front office or on-field coaching gig once he decides to retire. If I were running a team, I’d seek him out for such a role. What I wouldn’t do is give him money to play for my club. Sorry, Adam. 

HoME Outlook:
What he’s had is a career to be proud of.

Matt Kemp

2019 BBREF WAR:
-0.9

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 94
Ahead of Stan Javier, Rick Monday, and Josh Hamilton
Trailing Shane Victorino, Jim Perisall, and Tommie Agee

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 92
Ahead of Josh Hamilton, Rick Monday, and Dave Henderson
Trailing Tommie Agee, Lip Pike, and Shane Victorino

Current career trajectory per Eric:
A 34-year-old in the body of a 74 year old. Baseball-wise, that is. I mean once a player reaches his retirement age, what difference is 44 from 74? He’s not coming back. Neither is Kemp’s game.

HoME Outlook:
There’s a nice comparison to be made here to Vernon Wells. You get the drift.

Jacoby Ellsbury

2019 BBREF WAR:
0.0

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 107
Ahead of Curt Welch, Mookie Wilson, and Jerry Mumphrey
Trailing Jim Landis, Denard Span, and Grady Sizemore

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 105
Ahead of Lloyd Moseby, Denard Span, and Al Bumbry
Trailing Vernon Wells, Johnny Hopp, and Larry Hisle

Current career trajectory per Miller:
What happens first, Jacoby becomes Hall-eligible because he hasn’t played in five years, or he retires? The Yankees will pay him another $26 million to be injured again next year.

HoME Outlook:
If he could have only repeated 2011 five to eight more times…

Carlos Gomez

2019 BBREF WAR:
-0.4

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 118
Ahead of Marlon Byrd, Lloyd Waner, and Stan Spence
Trailing Ruppert Jones, CoCo Crisp, and Lipman Pike

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 113
Ahead of Curt Welch, Stan Spence, and Coco Crisp
Trailing Barney McCoskey, Bill Bruton, and Mookie Wilson

Current career trajectory per Miller:
He missed the last three months of 2019 after being released. I suspect he’ll miss all six months of 2020.

HoME Outlook:
If he could have only repeated 2013 five to eight more times…

Kevin Kiermaier

2019 BBREF WAR:
2.3

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 127
Ahead of Ron LeFlore, Ender Inciarte, and Johnny Bates
Trailing Gary Pettis, Mark Kotsay, and Pete Reiser

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 122
Ahead of Mark Kotsay, Steve Brodie, and Marlon Byrd
Trailing Lloyd Waner, Gary Pettis, and Pete Reiser

Current career trajectory per Eric:
I kinda love players like this: so-so hitter with some speed but super amazing outfield defense and a howitzer. Kiermaier resembles Jimmy Piersall with an arm. Which makes it sound like Piersall had no arms, now that I look at it. Baseballspeak is weird sometimes. As soon as KK’s defense comes down to mere-earthling level, he’ll be looking for playing time because the bat won’t support him. It could be soon. His Rfield dribbled away a little this year. Kiermaier has trouble staying on the field, which keeps his overall value down and raises doubts about how long he’ll be in the game.

HoME Outlook:
Nothing to see here except a fun player.

Ender Inciarte

2019 BBREF WAR:
0.6

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 129
Ahead of Johnny Bates, Steve Brodie, and Gorman Thomas
Trailing Pete Reiser, Kevin Kiermaier, and Ron LeFlore

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 128
Ahead of Johnny Bates, Mike Kreevich, and Gorman Thomas
Trailing Ron LeFlore, Jose Cardenal, and Marlon Byrd

Current career trajectory per Eric:
A player cut from the same cloth as Kiermaeir, though less extreme. Inciarte doesn’t hit, runs well, and fields very well. He played only 65 games this past year and his fielding numbers looked below average for the first time, a huge drop off. Let’s see how he comes back in 2020, especially his glove before we get in close on what his career looks like.

HoME Outlook:
Like Kiermaier, the limitations of his game (namely hitting) prevent him from reaching the kind of heights required for the HoME.

A.J. Pollock

2019 BBREF WAR:
0.2

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 141
Ahead of Johnny Grubb, and the rest of history’s centerfielders
Trailing David DeJesus, Mack Jones, and Roberto Kelly

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 140
Ahead of Johnny Grubb
Trailing Roberto Kelly, Mack Jones, and Stan Javier

Current career trajectory per Miller:
We’ve decided to rank a guy who’s hardly ever been a full-time contributor, so now I have to write about him. And now I have.

HoME Outlook:
If he could have only repeated 2015 five to eight more times…

Fellows We’re Following

We might have a trio of middle-pasture prowlers enter the rankings next year! Again our new basic tenet is to include anyone with 20 BBREF WAR.

  • Dexter Fowler (19.6 WAR)
  • Adam Eaton (19.0 WAR)
  • Charlie Blackmon (18.2 WAR)
  • Kevin Pillar (15.6 WAR)
  • Jackie Bradley Jr. (15.0 WAR)

Top 40

CF

We finish off with position players in just seven days. Join us!

Miller and Eric

Grading the BBWAA Ballots, #8-9

I don’t watch a heck of a lot of televised sports aside from baseball. But several years ago, I noticed something pretty important. I noticed that basketball and football announcers are pretty good, while almost all baseball announcers are awful. That wasn’t the critical discovery however. The important part was figuring out why.

It’s quite simple, really. The basketball and football announcers are talking to me; the baseball announcers aren’t. What I mean is that announcers try to appeal to the mainstream viewer. I’m not the m baseball viewer. I know too much about the game, so I think the announcers are fools. I’m completely mainstream for basketball and football, so I think the announcers are pretty good. It’s not that baseball announcers are crap. It’s that I know too much about the game. And if you’re a frequent reader around here, you do too. I’d bet you think baseball announcers stink (thought you may like your local team because, well, homerism).

I share this today because of the ballot of one Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun Times. The fact that Morrissey voted for only Derek Jeter, Curt Schilling, and Larry Walker is disturbing enough. The real issue, however, is his article. Nearly every line of it is pure garbage.

To me.

But Morrissey knows his audience. He must. And he writes the things they want to read. Could he do a better job? Maybe, but that’s not the point. Mainstream writers like Morrissey probably shouldn’t do a better job. Newspaper readers skew older than the general public. And you might be surprised to know that as of just three years ago, according to Nielsen, 51% read print exclusively. Morrissey has been writing for major newspapers, near as I can tell, for at least 30 years. Put those three facts together, use some deductive reasoning, and voilà!

In other words, awful as they are, Morrissey’s explanations can be justified given who he thinks his audience may be. If I were ever to read an article on the Football Hall of Fame, I bet it would make sense to me. There’s a reason Morrissey’s post received thousands of times more clicks than this one. Sad, I know, but likely true.

Onto those ballots! Missed the first post in this series? Here it is.

Joe Cowley:  65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Jeter, Kent, Ramirez, Schilling, Sheffield, Vizquel, Wagner, Walker
  • Kent, Sheffield, and Wagner are adds this year. While I’m good with two of the adds, it’s always surprising when someone adds three ballot veterans. However, I like it in this case. Last year he also named ten guys, including Halladay, Edgar, and Mariano, so I really like the adds this year.

Rick Morissey:  -140 (Yeah, that’s negative 140).

  • Jeter, Schilling, Walker
  • The fool is amazed that Sammy Sosa is at only 8.5% when Bonds and Clemens are near 60%. Um, Rick, Bonds and Clemens were better.
  • He says that Paul Konerko did everything well except baserunning. More accurately, Konerko did everything poorly except hit. Fool.
  • As a positive, he mentions Jeter’s Gold Gloves. Fool.
  • His first line about Schilling is about his post-season winning percentage. Fool.
  • He equates Schilling not being in the Hall with Colin Kaepernick not being in the NFL. Fool.
  • He goes on about Coors, though he says it doesn’t matter – since Walker’s .278 road batting average “isn’t shabby”. Fool.
  • He didn’t submit a public ballot last year after doing so the three previous seasons, so this may be good news for Walker and Schilling. But he voted for both of them two years ago, so probably not.

Miller

2020 BBWAA Ballot Review and Predictions, Outfield

Welcome to the second installment of our BBWAA ballot preview (plus extra guys who didn’t make the ballot). The infielders were last week, and the pitchers are next week. Hopefully, before the BBWAA rejects Larry Walker again, the Era Committee sees fit to elect one or two of its deserving nominees. Yeah, I hope for a lot

Bobby Abreu

Career BBREF WAR: 60.0

Year on ballot: 1st

CHEWS+ Rank: 26
Ahead of Sam Rice, King Kelly, and Bill Nicholson
Trailing Reggie Smith, Enos Slaughter, and Harry Hooper

MAPES+ Rank: 31
Ahead of Sam Rice, Sam Thompson, and Bill Nicholson
Trailing Enos Slaughter, Reggie Smith, and Brian Giles

Synopsis:
Abreu would probably be an OK Hall of Famer in that he would raise the standards a bit in right field. He had a better career than Hall right fielders Ross Youngs, Chuck Klein, Tommy McCarthy, KiKi Cuyler, and Sam Thompson—also Harold Baines, if you choose to place the DH at a fielding position for purposes such as this. I have him just a shade below the Hall of Miller and Eric’s in/out line. To be sure, he’s in a place where we could elect him, and it wouldn’t be a big deal. He’s very, very close, but the players who on paper surround him and who are already members of the HoME have additional factors to consider that nudge them ahead. Sam Rice and Harry Hooper, as we’ve noted in the past, have baserunning, double-play avoidance, and outfield-throwing value that BBREF WAR doesn’t currently capture and that helps them surge over the line. There’s also Enos Slaughter who looks essentially identical to Abreu on paper, but for whom we may choose to take his missing time due to the war into account. But that’s us not the BBWAA, and Abreu has the broad set of skills and the lack of milestones and singular accomplishments that all but guarantee his candidacy will be short-lived. Tack onto that the fact that there are several other outfielders on the ballot with better cases, including three right fielders (Walker, Sosa, and Sheffield) plus a leftfielder (Bonds), and it’s easy to see why the BBWAA will pass on him. -Eric

Miller’s 2020 prediction: He won’t stay on the ballot (he should), but if the right writers reveal early, things might get exciting among Abreu fans. Michael Young received nine votes a year ago. I say Abreu tops that, though not by enough for him to see 2021.

Eric’s 2020 prediction: A handful of votes, maybe.

Barry Bonds

Career BBREF WAR: 162.8

Year on ballot: 8th

2019 percentage of the vote: 59.1%

CHEWS+ Rank: 1
Ahead of Ted Williams, Rickey Henderson, and Carl Yastrzemski

MAPES+ Rank: 1
Ahead of Ted Williams, Rickey Henderson, and Carl Yastrzemski
Trailing not a soul.

Synopsis:
Bonds and Clemens have one hope right now. The 2020–2022 ballots, their final three, are light on hot new candidates. The huge onslaughts of the aughts have subsided, and these three elections will, with any luck, clean up a lot of the mess that remains behind. Few high-class newbies means more opportunity to pick up a few points here and there. And that’s all Bonds and Clemens have managed the last two years. Three points each year to get them to just under 60%. But think it through a second: Few strong new candidates coming along to draw votes away, Larry Walker leaving the ballot one way or the other this year, and Curt Schilling poised to follow him this year or next. Those are helpful trend points. Cop another 3–5 percent the next two years and get just close enough that, through some twists of logic, just enough fence sitters buy the last-year narrative and check off their names in 2020. That’s the only path they have. From today’s vantage point it seems highly unlikely, but each year new voters come on board and some oldsters drop off, and slowly, glacially, things can change enough to make the impossible merely improbable. But I wouldn’t bet on it. An intriguing subplot: Bonds and Clemens’ final year on the ballot will be A-Rod’s first year. The former should tell us interesting things about the latter. -Eric

If you vote for Clemens but not Bonds or Bonds but not Clemens, I request that you donate your brain to science after you pass. You need to be studied. -Miller

Miller’s 2020 prediction: Maybe a bit over 61%.

Eric’s 2020 prediction: Bonds and Clemens pick up 3–5 percent this year.

Raul Ibanez

Career BBREF WAR: 20.4

Year on ballot: 1st

CHEWS+ Rank: 126
Ahead of George Bell, Melky Cabrera, and Dale Mitchell
Trailing Bob Bescher, Duffy Lewis, and Bibb Falk

MAPES+ Rank: 121
Ahead of Melky Cabrera, Dale Mitchell, and Pat Burrell
Trailing George Bell, Duffy Lewis, and Bibb Falk

Synopsis:
A worse candidate than Adam Dunn, Ibanez couldn’t field or run either, and he didn’t hit as well. But for some reason he was seen as providing veteran leadership or something and hung around a while. He was never more than a contributor and could never have pushed a team toward contention. Also this. -Eric

Miller’s 2020 prediction: No votes.

Eric’s 2020 prediction: A one-way ticket to bye-bye.

Andruw Jones

Career BBREF WAR: 62.8

Year on ballot: 3rd

2019 percentage of the vote: 7.5%

CHEWS+ Rank: 12
Ahead of Duke Snider, Paul Hines, and Jimmy Wynn
Trailing Rich Ashburn, Jim Edmonds, and Carlos Beltran

MAPES+ Rank: 12
Ahead of Jim Edmonds, Duke Snider, and George Gore
Trailing Carlos Beltran, Paul Hines, and Richie Ashburn

Synopsis:
I’ve been pleasantly surprised that Andruw has beaten down the 5 percent demon twice now. Especially when Jim Edmonds and Kenny Lofton couldn’t drum up enough support to stay on the ballot just once. On the bright side, there are no centerfielders above him on the ballot to block him, and the next important one he’ll encounter isn’t coming until 2023 (Carlos Beltran). On the dim side, there’s no there here, no forward motion to his candidacy, and he doesn’t seem to have anyone lobbying for him or any reason for them to do so when several other candidates have more compelling narrative and some chance of turning the narrative into a plaque. -Eric

Andruw Jones is to center field what Omar Vizquel’s supporters say he is to shortstop. Only better. Oh, and Omar’s supporters are wrong. -Miller

Miller’s 2020 prediction: He’ll nudge to 8%.

Eric’s 2020 prediction: Hangin’ around.

Ryan Ludwick

Career BBREF WAR: 11.2

Year on ballot: didn’t make it

CHEWS+ and MAPES+ Ranks: not ranked

Synopsis:
The two things I remembered about his career are that he played for the Cardinals and the A’s. I was wrong about one of them. -Miller

Nate McLouth

Career BBREF WAR: 6.4

Year on ballot: didn’t make it

CHEWS+ and MAPES+ Ranks: not ranked

Synopsis:
McLouth led the NL in doubles, made an All-Star Team, and won a Gold Glove in 2008. Nice year! At 2.4 WAR, it was the best of his career. -Eric

Manny Ramirez

Career BBREF WAR: 69.4

Year on ballot: 4th

2019 percentage of the vote: 22.8%

CHEWS+ Rank: 15
Ahead of Billy Williams, Jimmy Sheckard, and Roy White
Trailing Tim Raines, Bobby Veach, and Sherry Magee

MAPES+ Rank:
Ahead of Roy White, Zach Wheat, and Joe Kelley
Trailing Billy Williams, Sherry Magee, and Jimmy Sheckard

Synopsis:
Manny is stalled at about 23 percent. It’s easy to see why: He’s got those steroid busts. More subtly, Barry Bonds sits way above him with a less cut-and-dried steroid case. If Bonds’ candidacy were to progress to election, Manny might be the prime beneficiary. Absent Bonds and Walker, he’s the best outfield candidate on the ballot. Then again, he could be the prime beneficiary and those busts might keep him stuck around 23 percent forever. -Eric

Manny is one of my favorite players ever, yet I don’t mind that he’s not yet in the Hall. See, there’s a lot more egregious mistakes of omission and commission, and I only have so much outrage to go around. -Miller

Miller’s 2020 prediction: He won’t move up unless and until Bonds and Clemens get into the Hall. Stuck at about 23%.

Eric’s 2020 prediction: 23%

Gary Sheffield

Career BBREF WAR: 60.5

Year on ballot: 6th

2019 percentage of the vote: 13.6%

CHEWS+ Rank: 15
Ahead of Wee Willie Keeler, Andre Dawson, and Dwight Evans
Trailing Harry Heilmann, Tony Gwynn, and Sammy Sosa

MAPES+ Rank: 19
Ahead of Bobby Bonds, Dwight Evans, and Dave Winfield
Trailing Andre Dawson, Sammy Sosa, and Tony Gwynn

Synopsis:
He’d have a better chance if his name were Gary Shandling. Look I don’t really truck in the whole sports drugs thing, so I’d gladly put him on my ballot if I had room. But Larry Walker was a better player, and he’s got higher electoral priority now. Which is only to say that Sheffield’s not gaining much now and probably won’t reach 30 percent ever. -Eric

Unlike Manny, Sheffield is absolutely not one of my favorites. I can’t get worked up about his lack of progress until we get through some others. -Miller

Miller’s 2020 prediction: About 13–14%

Eric’s 2020 prediction: 15%

Alfonso Soriano

Career BBREF WAR: 28.2

Year on ballot: 1st

CHEWS+ Rank: 61
Ahead of Riggs Stephenson, Alex Gordon, and Jason Bay
Trailing Ron Gant, Brett Gardner, and Tip O’Neil (and also Jim Wright, Newt Gingrich, and Tom Delay)

MAPES+ Rank: 62
Ahead of Tip O’Neill, Jason Bay, and Brett Gardner
Trailing Ron Gant, Lefty O’Doul, and Alex Gordon

Synopsis:
One of my wife’s favorites. Why? Because he was so seemingly spastic that she never knew what he might do. To be honest, his defense at second totally validates her opinion. I remember him leaping upward for a line drive aimed directly at his chest. Heckuva athlete, and he could really put a charge in the ball. If he’d double his walk rate, he’d have been a much better player. Then again his walk rate was so low that he might have needed to triple it or more. -Eric

Miller’s 2020 prediction; No votes.

Eric’s 2020 prediction: One or two courtesy votes

Sammy Sosa

Career BBREF WAR: 58.6

Year on ballot: 8th

2019 percentage of the vote: 8.5%

CHEWS+ Rank: 14
Ahead of Gary Sheffield, Willie Keeler, and Andre Dawson
Trailing Sam Crawford, Harry Heilmann, and Tony Gwynn

MAPES+ Rank: 17
Ahead of Andre Dawson, Gary Sheffield, and Bobby Bonds
Trailing Tony Gwynn, Willie Keeler, and King Kelly

Synopsis:
Slammin’ Sammy isn’t going into the Hall of Fame anytime soon. Not by the writers, of course. In the VC his lack of BBWAA support combined with the steroid stuff will not play well in those smoke-filled horse-trading rooms. He and Palmeiro and Sheffield face this same fate. -Eric

I like him a lot more than Sheff and a lot less than Manny. No, I can’t get worked up. -Miller

Miller’s 2020 prediction: He has a solid 8% of the vote.

Eric’s 2020 prediction: 8.75 percent

Larry Walker

Career BBREF WAR: 72.7

Year on ballot: 10th

2019 percentage of the vote: 54.6%

CHEWS+ Rank: 8
Ahead of Reggie Jackson, Elmer Flick, and Sam Crawford
Trailing Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline, and Paul Waner

MAPES+ Rank: 10
Ahead of Sam Crawford, Harry Heilmann, and Elmer Flick
Trailing Joe Jackson, Reggie Jackson, and Paul Waner

Synopsis:
The biggest unknown on this ballot: Will Larry Walker’s multiyear surge end with a Hall of Fame selection? It’s his tenth, and final, year on the ballot, and his progress in recent years warms the cold cockles of even this cynical observer. Let’s say this first: Either he’ll go in this year, or he’ll be elected the next time the Today’s Game committee meets. He’s over the 50% threshold from which only Gil Hodges has failed to make the cut (and rightfully so). Lee Smith was the latest to do it just this year (wrongfully so). That’ll be a point in his favor with the VC. In addition, he’ll have the Trammell effect working for him. He’s going to depart the ballot having made big gains into electable territory. But will he gain election this year? Well, he’s got some things in his favor for making the jump to lightspeed and getting that final 21% he needs. First of all, the only major newcomer on the ballot is Derek Jeter so newbies won’t suck up all the electoral oxygen and votes. Second, his nearest competitor in the outfield is Barry Bonds whose support doesn’t appear to be increasing. Even though Bonds has a few percentage points on Walker, he’s not likely to gain a ballot spot that Walker might otherwise take. Bonds’ theoretical zone of potential new support is actually Walker’s to run with. But also, because Bonds isn’t moving, anyone who isn’t voting for Walker, is filling their ballot, and votes for Bonds could find it easy to give Walker Bonds’ vote since Barry has two more years of eligibility and has no chance of being elected in 2020. Lastly, Walker is the biggest non-Jeter story. Curt Schilling is a little closer to election, but Schill’s got a couple years left, leaving Walker as the lead backlog story. There’s narrative there, and where there’s narrative, there’s votes. Walker has a lot of stars aligned in his favor. -Eric

Miller’s 2020 prediction: Larry Walker will complete the journey from 10.2% in 2014 to 11.8% to 15.5% to 21.9% to 34.1% to 56.6% to 75.0% in 2020. Hey, it’s our last prediction. I want to go out on a limb, and I want to be optimistic. Plus, I want the always amazing exercise of watching the Tracker to be even more exciting.

Eric’s 2020 prediction: I’d say he’s 80/20 against winning election, but I think he’s going to end up near 70% of the vote and be a shoe-in for the Today’s Game committee.

Miller and Eric

The Cardboard HoME, 2009 Election

As we continue with our occasional series on our HoME baseball card collections, today we’re going to look at 2009, which, at the time of this writing, is the most recent one for which we both own cards of all players elected. And since we’re still very early in the series, we thought we’d treat you to another four-player election.

Back in 2009, we elected no-brainer Rickey Henderson in his first time on the ballot. We also let Kevin Appier pass through the first time we considered him. On the other hand, our final two elected, Roy White and Sal Bando, were on their 25th and 23rd ballots, respectively. This was an interesting election retrospectively, in that reasonable people could vote down three of our four HoMErs. Anyway, we think we’re pretty reasonable, and we like all four.

If you’re new to this series, please check out our previous posts.

[Collecting the Cardboard HoME], [1999]

Bring on the cards!

Henderson EricRickey Henderson – Eric

I love Rickey Henderson, in a respectful and non-romantic way, of course. Not only could he do anything on the diamond, but he had flair, deep respect for his profession, and a weird sort of wit that I always found amusing—though I’m not always sure he meant what he said as amusing. Anyway, the ultimate leadoff hitter. It came down to two choices for me among the cards in my collection: 1983 Topps and 1984 Topps (I would have chosen his rookie if I’d had one on hand since it shows his trademark postage-stamp strike zone). The cool thing about 1984 Topps is that it shows him talking a walking lead, something I remember him doing that drove pitchers crazy. But that card feels a little claustrophobic to me, a little bunchy. So I went with 1983 Topps. I like the balance of the action shot, the color is vibrant, and you can really see what makes Rickey work. I mean look at his legs! They’re like tree trunks. No wonder dude was a real burner.

Henderson MillerRickey Henderson – Miller

Rickey Henderson, first and foremost in the minds of most people, was a base stealer. Yes, of course he was much more than that, but I wanted him in an A’s uniform doing what he did most prolifically. In the 1982 Topps card, you can see that he’s poised to take off, stirrups showing. You can almost feel the fear in the pitcher’s heart believing that there was nothing he could do about it. And in moments, Rickey would be off, for one of the 1406 successful attempts of his career. It’s a nice plus that in 1982 he stole his record 130 bases. And I’m happy to remind you here that he won his last stolen base title (as well as his last base on balls title) with the A’s at age 39. The color on this card is a plus. The green of the A’s works well with the pinkish used by Topps, at least to my eye. Other cards I considered were the 1983 Donruss edition and Rickey’s 1980 Topps rookie card, one of the most iconic cards of my childhood. Ultimately, this one won out for its shear awesomeness.

Appier EricKevin Appier – Eric

I went for the rookie card. I don’t have a ton of Appier’s cards, and this one suited him well enough. You get a nice sense from the 1990 Score of his motion. He’s about to come way over the top, all his weight hinged on his front leg. Of course, that herky-jerky motion also destroyed his elbow, but we can let that slide.

 

Appier MillerKevin Appier – Miller

In order to put together this collection, I spent a lot of time at The Trading Card Database. As you might know, players of the last 30 or so years have a lot of cards. For some, I looked through 20 or 30 pages online. And I’ll admit that at times it became exhausting. It’s possible my Appier choice was one of those times. Just going through to find the card for this post, I found a few I kind of like more (like Eric’s choice, for example). One difference between many of those cards and the one I chose, though, is Appier’s face. I can see it in the 1993 Topps card. He looks like he’s at maximum grunt, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As an aside, I think the 1993 Topps cards are pretty ugly. What wasn’t ugly was the Royal’s 1993 season. It was the best of his career at 9.3 WAR. I’ll take that to justify an ugly(ish) card design.

White EricRoy White – Eric

I sought out the rookie card for White since it was an affordable addition. I have a bunch of interesting rookies, and he’s one. I find it interesting how just a few years later, he would sport the look that makes his 1976 Topps card so awesome. I admit some jealousy about Miller’s selection.

 

 

 

 

White MillerRoy White – Miller

Roy White had some ugly cards, some boring cards. It wasn’t at all easy to pick one. When I think of guys from the 1970s known for their hair, two players immediately come to mind. There’s Oscar Gamble whose awesome Afro helped write his New York Times obituary last year, “Oscar Gamble, Power Hitter With Prodigious Hair, Dies at 68”. And then there’s Rollie Fingers. Apocryphal or not, I love the story that he retired from the game rather than signing with the Reds for the 1986 season. About the ‘stache, Fingers said, “I’m not about to shave it off just to play baseball.” This takes us to the 1976 Topps Roy White card. Sporting both awesome hair and an awesome mustache, I went in this direction. I just wish he had grown in those sideburns a few more inches.

Bando EricSal Bando – Eric

I also admit some jealousy about Miller’s Sal Bando card. It’s a really good in-action shot with vibrant color. The 1973 Topps with Bando capture in-action after what must be a tremendous wallop would have made a great selection too. But something about the 1974 Topps with the big sideburns and the bushy mustache works for me. Yeah, he looks like Vinny the garbage man in a baseball uniform, but I look like that at work most days too, so I really identify with Sal.

 

Bando MillerSal Bando – Miller

Since Bando was a far more valuable player with the A’s than with the Brewers, I knew the card had to be a ’76 or earlier. And since Bando, like White, played in an era with a bunch of boring cards, I didn’t have a lot of really cool stuff to choose from. With all other things being equal, I prefer action shots to cards like the ’76 White above, so my choices on this one were limited. I could have gone with Eric’s, imagining what might have been going on in the captain’s mind. But I didn’t, so I had only the 1973 card Eric mentioned and my 1976 Topps. While Bando was clearly a better hitter than a fielder, I went with 1976 because of the yellow jersey. I find it more interesting than the white of the ’73 card.

That’s it for 2009. Hope to see you next time!

Miller and Eric

 

 

2019 HoME Update, Active Left Fielders

Left field used to a be a place where the mashers roamed. Where fielding prowess meant little and rock ‘em-sock ‘em offense meant everything. MLB’s leaguewide emphasis on athleticism and defensive ability appear to have pushed this player type toward the brink of extinction. Kyle Schwarber fits the type, but who else will carry on the torch for Greg Luzinski? Perhaps, no one. The worst defensive left fielders today would probably outplay the Bull easily in the field. As a result, the position has gone through a metamorphosis over time and remains in transition. We can see the effect of this trend in the dearth of excellent active careers at left field. Other than Christian Yelich, who has played all the outfield spots in his time, left field is all about waiting for the young guys to catch up.

If you want to catch up on posts in this series you’ve missed, here are the links.

[Catcher], [First Base], [Second Base], [Third Base], [Shortstop]

Ryan Braun

2019 BBREF WAR:
1.8

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 29
Ahead of Albert Belle, Luis Gonzalez, and George Foster
Trailing Kip Selbach, Joe Medwick, and Minnie Minoso

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 29
Ahead of George Foster, Ken Williams, and George J. Burns
Trailing Albert Belle, Kip Selbach, and Minnie Minoso

Current career trajectory per Eric:
I’m half-Jewish, sort of. 23andMe says I’m about 46% Ashkenazy. But…my Dad’s peeps, you see, so unless you’re in the most liberal reform temple, I’m probably not officially Jewish. But close enough that bagels and kugel figure in breakfast on Christmas morning at my parents’ house. Anyway, the exploits of Jewish baseball players are not near and dear to my heart exactly, but I’m always glad when they do well. Until the sports-drug business a few years back, The Hebrew Hammer was a quiet favorite. I don’t really know what to make of that whole scandal, but Braun’s game hasn’t been the same since. That’s offensively and defensively. Well, and he turned 30 the year after his half-year suspension. He’s trending downward since and seems destined to end up as the George Foster or Joe Medwick of his time.

A Miller Aside: You may not know what to make of the whole scandal, but I do. SI’s Michael Rosenberg wrote a bit about Braun and Dino Jaurenzi Jr. back in 2013. It describes how I feel about Braun.

“You remember Laurenzi, don’t you? The last time you heard his name — the only time you heard his name—was in February 2012, when Braun set Laurenzi’s reputation and character on fire out of personal convenience. It looks more and more like a despicable act, much worse than whatever Braun did with performance-enhancing drugs. It looks more and more like Braun peed in a cup, then relieved himself on Laurenzi.”

HoME Outlook:
Braun has a legit peak, but the way he’s sliding into mediocrity, he won’t have enough time to add the additional career value that might flip his case from red to green.

Christian Yelich

2019 BBREF WAR:
7.1

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 46
Ahead of Don Buford, Frank Howard, and George Stone
Trailing Heinie Manush, Sid Gordon, and Charley Jones

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 46
Ahead of Don Buford, Lonnie Smith, and Jeff Heath
Trailing Frank Howard, George Stone, and Heinie Manush

Current career trajectory per Miller:
I’ll take Mookie Betts or Alex Bregman as the game’s second-best player. Nevertheless, Yelich is a legitimate superstar at his 2018–2019 peak. He just completed his age-27 season, something Betts will do next year and something Bregman will do in 2021. Also, as great as Yelich has been, he’s one MVP-level season behind Bregman and two behind Betts. But I digress. Yelich missed 30 games in 2019, still managed almost 7.4 WAR with my conversions for defense, and he won the triple slash triple crown.

HoME Outlook:
If Yelich repeats his last four years over his next four, he’ll trail HoMEr Bob Johnson by the slimmest of margins. Oh, and he’ll be ready for his age-32 season. Yelich looks very good right now. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s see him keep up that peak for another year or two.

Alex Gordon

2019 BBREF WAR:
1.2

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 63
Ahead of Jason Bay, Rico Carty, and Abner Dalrymple
Trailing Tip O’Neill, Aflonso Soriano, and Riggs Stephenson

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 59
Ahead of Lefty O’Doul, Ron Gant, and Alfonso Soriano
Trailing Riggs Stephenson, Greg Vaughn, and Tom York

Current career trajectory per Eric:
I had a thing for Alex Gordon a few years back. Not like that, you dirty old dogs. More like an infatuation with the possibility of an interesting, late-breaking HoME case. He moved to left field, found he was a Viking in the off pasture, and started to hit like the prospect mavens said he would. A few peak years later, and I had enough to dream on. Add one more big year and some shoulder seasons, and he could be a contender. It didn’t work out that way. He can still play left field well, but the rest of his game has left him behind, and he’s a contributor only at this point. He’s closer to done than to his peak.

HoME Outlook:
Sadly for my would-be HoME crush, nary a chance.

Brett Gardner

2019 BBREF WAR:
4.0

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 59
Ahead of Tip O’Neill, Alfonso Soriano, and Riggs Stephenson
Trailing Gene Woodling, Greg Vaughn, and Ron Gant

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 65
Ahead of Rico Carty, Topsy Hartsel, and Matty McIntyre
Trailing Jason Bay, Tip O’Neill, and Alfonso Soriano

Current career trajectory per Eric:
As a Red Sox watcher, I kinda dislike this guy. He’s pesky, keeps his hair ridiculously short, and has been with the Yanks forever. That’s a recipe for a grating player as far as I’m concerned. But my irritation won’t last too much longer: he’s thirty-five years old after all. But no one has told him that. He had a nice campaign in 2019 with improvements in hitting that offset a loss of defensive value. He also, out of nowhere, added 30-homer power. (Yes, I know he hit 28 this year, not 30, but he did so in 141 games.) His years of double-digit steals may be coming to an end, but he still managed seven triples, so the speed well hasn’t run dry. I don’t like the player, but he seems to be adapting well to trends in the game and his baseball senescence. He could be around long enough to pick up another 10 or a dozen WAR.

HoME Outlook:
Oh, well, despite his ability to keep on top of his game, he doesn’t have a prayer to make our hallowed virtual hall.

Yoenis Cespedes

2019 BBREF WAR:
0.0

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 94
Ahead of Richie Zisk, Joe Rudi, Starling Marte
Trailing Cliff Floyd, Bobby Higginson, and Bip Roberts

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 88
Ahead of Cleon Jones, Garret Anderson, and Joe Rudi
Trailing John Stone, Cliff Floyd, and Don Baylor

Current career trajectory per Miller:
Is there anyone in the world you really dislike? A mean a lot? If you do, see if you can get that person a job with the Mets, specifically in an on-field capacity. Cespedes missed last season after his life decision to step in a ditch caused multiple ankle fractures. Things aren’t looking great for 2020 right now either. Like a steak cooked to medium, it may not be done, but let me tell ya, it’s been done for a while.

HoME Outlook:
The last time Cespedes played a full-ish season, he was 30. The next game he plays will be when he’s 34. That’s not a winning HoME combination.

Starling Marte

2019 BBREF WAR:
2.9

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 97
Ahead of Joe Vosmik, Cleon Jones, and Adam Dunn
Trailing Yoenis Cespedes, Richie Zisk, and Joe Rudi

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 95
Ahead of Goerge Wood, Joe Vosmik, and Charlie Jamieson
Trailing Charlie Maxwell, Wally Moon, and Bobby Higginson

Current career trajectory per Miller:
I hope Marte is beloved in Pittsburgh. To try to figure that out, I looked for best-selling Pirates jerseys in 2019. One link took me to the official online shop of the Pirates, which seems like a good place to try to learn what I wanted. There were four jersey with names that came up: Willie Stargell, Roberto Clemente, Kent Tekulve, and Josh Bell. So apparently no, Marte isn’t beloved in Pittsburgh. (As an aside, and in an attempt to be fair, the guy’s been a Pirate for eight years. It’s not unreasonable to think that everyone who wants a Marte jersey already has one).

Note from Eric: Kent Tekulve!!! That’s AWESOME!!!

HoME Outlook:
Perhaps he’ll appreciate it from afar?

Michael Brantley

2019 BBREF WAR:
4.6

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 106
Ahead of Carlos Lee, Willie Horton, and Tommy Davis
Trailing John Briggs, Charlie Maxwell, and Rusty Greer

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 106
Ahead of Carlos Lee, Irish Meusel, and Shannon Stewart
Trailing Willie Horton, Rusty Greer, and Adam Dunn

Current career trajectory per Miller:
He’s been healthy for two straight years, which is great. He’s made three straight All-Star teams, which is pretty shocking. And he’s a nice guy to have on your team. He’s also 33 next year and hasn’t ever really been a superstar. Maybe he has another nice contract in him after he plays out 2020. Maybe not.

HoME Outlook:
If he can get into the top-80 at the position, that would be pretty cool.

Melky Cabrera

2019 BBREF WAR:
-1.2

CHEWS+ rank at the position after 2019: 128
Ahead of Dale Mitchell, Pat Burrell, and Luis Polonia
Trailing Bibb Falk, Rual Ibanez, and George Bell

MAPES+ rank at the position after 2019: 122
Ahead of Dale Mitchell, Pat Burrell, and Luis Polonia
Trailing Raul Ibanez, George Bell, and Duffy Lewis

Current career trajectory per Eric:
He’s done, right? We can all agree? I mean, even if he plays next year or in 2021, his ability to rack up meaningful value has reached its end. Actually, it reached that end last year, but who’s counting?

HoME Outlook:
We’re following at least three Cabreras right now, and one of them has a HoME resume. This ain’t him.

Fellows We’re Following

Seems pretty likely that we’ll be writing next year about Marcel Ozuna. He’s got 19.4 BBREF WAR now, so unless something awful happens in his 2020 season, he’ll be joining the players above.

Top 40

LF.jpg

One week from today, we check out the actives in center filed. Join us then!

Miller and Eric

Grading the BBWAA Ballots, 2020

It’s that time of year again! Time to open Ryan Thibodaux’s awesome Hall of Fame Ballot Tracker and refresh for the next six weeks. That means it’s also time for me to begin my ballot grading absurdity. I’ve been doing this for three or four years now, and I always do so with a bit of trepidation. On one hand, I really have no business judging someone else’s opinion. On the other, I care about the Hall of Fame far more than many people who have a vote. It also really bugs me when writers use faulty logic to justify the unjustifiable. So I grade.

I’m not sure how these posts will roll out, whether I grade once each week, more, or less. I expect that it’ll be a combination of whim, free time, and anger. I’d love to review every single ballot, as I did a few years ago. I’d also love a million dollars. And for anyone who makes the second one happen, I can promise the first one will too.

Today we’ll answer some questions, discuss the grading system this year, and review the first batch of ballots.

How can you vote for Bonds and Clemens and not Sosa?

I am stunned by how frequently I’ve seen this question in comments sections just about everywhere. The answer is as simple as Bonds and Clemens were better. Of course, the question presumes that if you vote for one PED user, you must vote for them all. However, that assumption is ridiculously flawed. Bonds and Clemens were all-time greats with or without PED use. However, a reasonable person could suggest that Sosa’s use of PEDs put him over the in/our line. Voting for Bonds and Clemens but not checking Sosa’s name is completely reasonable.

How can you vote for Sosa but not Manny?

Like in the question above, there are presumptions implicit in this question. First, Manny was a better player. Second, both Manny and Sosa used PEDs. Third, players who used PEDs should be judged on the same level. However, I disagree. There is clear evidence that Manny Ramirez broke the sport’s rules – those suspensions. Sosa, on the other hand, was not caught using during the time PEDs were legitimately banned by MLB. So yes, if you believe Manny cheated but that Sosa didn’t, which is entirely reasonable to me, you can vote for Sosa but not Manny.

How can you vote for Omar Vizquel but not Scott Rolen (or Andruw Jones)?

[Editor’s note: As I’m not a meat eater, please forgive me if the detail of the following analogy falls flat, and just try to follow what I mean.]

If you grow up being told that Salisbury steak is a great cut of beef, like a rib eye or a New York strip, then maybe you don’t ever know any better. Vizquel is the Salisbury steak in this analogy. Rolen and Jones are the rib eye and the strip, respectfully. Salisbury steak will get the job done. If there’s nothing else to eat and you need nourishment (a shortstop), you’d eat it. But if you could make the choice, you’d choose one of the other options. Because they’re better.

The presumptions in this question are that Vizquel voters are in his corner because of his defense and that Rolen and Jones were equal (or superior) to him on defense and far superior on offense. In other words, even if you mistakenly believe Vizquel is the rib eye, adding a wonderful glass of Bordeaux or an incredible Cuban cigar would still make it that much better.

Here’s where the analogy falls flat – assuming you’ve been following it so far. If you want your steak to be Salisbury, if you think the best movie ever made is The Sandlot, or if you want your engagement ring to be made out of amethyst, that’s completely fine! It’s your choice. There’s no objectively correct answer. However, we have objective data to say that Rolen and Jones were superior to Vizquel. So, basically, it’s a good question. You can’t vote for Vizquel without voting for the other two.

Should Jeter be on the Cooperstown stage alone?

Was he that great? That important? Well, Babe Ruth wasn’t. Willie Mays wasn’t. And writers who suggest Jeter was ignore the fact that there’s an Era Committee that will likely elect someone to join Jeter, and perhaps others, on the New York dais. If you truly believe Jeter should be there alone, hold off your vote and your column until after the Era Committee votes. If they elect nobody, bring out your garbage column. If you bring it out before that even happens, you’re nothing but clickbait and awfulness.

The Grading System

  • Voters will earn 10 points for each of the following players: Bobby Abreu, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Todd Helton, Derek Jeter, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Andy Pettitte, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, and Larry Walker.
  • Voters will earn 0 points for the following: Cliff Lee, Jason Giambi, and Billy Wagner.
  • Voters will earn -10 points for the following: Josh Beckett, Heath Bell, Eric Chavez, Adam Dunn, Chone Figgins, Rafael Furcal, Raul Ibanez, Paul Konerko, Carlos Pena, Brad Penny, J.J. Putz, Brian Roberts, Alfonso Soriano, Jose Valverde, and Omar Vizuel.
  • Voters will earn -10 for every spot on their ballot left open below 9 since there are 13 players on the ballot who would receive my vote.
  • Voters lose 5 points for not explaining their ballots.
  • Voters lose 10 points for choosing Bonds and not Clemens, or vice versa.
  • Voters lose 10 points for talking about character in any way.
  • Voters lose 10 points for taking PED users but not Clemens or Bonds.
  • Voters lose 5 points for mentioning Coors Field as an argument against Larry Walker or Todd Helton, even if they support those guys.
  • Voters lose 5 points for any comparison between Omar Vizquel and Ozzie Smith.
  • Voters lose 5 points for each judgment of the morality of specific players.
  • Voters lose 5 points for any other case of ridiculous logic.
  • Scores max out at 100.
  • Scores can dip as low as they dip.
  • I sometimes add or subtract points just because I feel like it.

The Ballots

Bill Center: 25

  • Bonds, Clemens, Jeter, Schilling, Sheffield, Vizquel, Wagner, Walker
  • Center admits to making a stupid argument by dropping Helton to focus on Walker this year. It’s particularly stupid because he has room on his ballot.

Lynn Henning: 50

  • Bonds, Clemens, Jeter, Rolen, Schilling, Walker
  • I love Henning. Thoughtful guy, great on Twitter.
  • If you’re going to vote for exactly six, I think he got it right.
  • Even though his grade is pretty low, he wrote, “Ozzie Smith was at least five Cooperstown kilometers ahead of Vizquel, who didn’t come within 110 career Defensive Runs Saved of Smith, to cite one tell-all metric.” I’ve arbitrarily assigned 20 points for writing that.

Sadiel Lebron: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Jeter, Jones, Pettitte, Ramirez, Schilling, Sosa, Vizquel, Walker
  • One thing that remains true about Lebron is that he remains consistently inconsistent. He added four names this year and subtracted one. Last year, he added two and subtracted two. The guy’s just making stuff up.

Steven Marcus: -85

  • Jeter
  • Keith Law put it very well when he tweeted to Marcus, “Here’s the attention you ordered.” This is just a pathetic ballot.
  • He hashtags a desire to keep the Hall small. However, a small Hall guy probably shouldn’t vote for Jeter.

Tony Massarotti: -10

  • Bonds, Clemens, Jeter, Ramirez
  • He shared on his radio show. Since I lived in Boston for so many years, I’m familiar with the show he and Michael Felger host. That’s why I didn’t listen.

Aurelio Moreno: 70

  • Abreu, Bonds, Clemens, Helton, Jeter, Schilling, Sosa, Vizquel, Walker
  • He wrote about 600 words about the ballot, but he said very little.

Anthony Rieber: -80

  • Derek Jeter
  • This is our idiot of the week. He dropped six guys he supported a year ago because Jeter “deserves to stand alone at the podium as the entire Hall of Fame Class of 2020 on July 26 in Cooperstown.” Asinine.
  • And he really explains nothing. This vote is all about clicks. I clicked, but I won’t link here.

I’ll come back with another one of these soon enough. Hope to see you back then.

Miller

Institutional History

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