Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Matt Nadel's First Ballot Hall of Famer Criteria 7/19/17

Hey baseball fans!

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is right around the corner, but what makes someone qualify as a first ballot Hall of Famer? Obviously the definition of greatness in baseball has changed over the years, but here are the most up-to-date criteria with which I judge baseball personalities on whether or not they're a first ballot Hall of Famer, whether the voters agree with me or not:

For contact hitters:

Criteria: .300+ career batting average
Why? Getting three hits in ten at-bats seems lackluster to most beginner baseball fans, but think to yourself about how you analyze a player's season, just based on batting average. Seeing a three in the tenths place is just a lot more attractive than a two.


Criteria: 3,000+ career hits
Why? Usually, Hall of Famers play around 20 years in baseball. If you average 150 hits a season over 20 years, you're Roberto Clemente (he finished his career with 3,000 hits on the dot). Who doesn't want to be Roberto Clemente? But seriously, usually the best contact hitters will have some 200+ hit seasons during their primes and then tail off a little bit at the end. That makes a round number like 3,000 so applicable. Recent Hall of Famer, Craig Biggio, had 3,060 hits for example.

For power hitters:

Criteria 500+ career home runs and/or 1,500+ career RBIs
Why? It's the same logic as with hits; a power hitter might have 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons during his prime, but then won't do as well later in his career. It's just a good number because it takes consistency into consideration while leaving room for bad seasons.


For the all-around hitters:

Criteria: 10+ career All Star Game appearances
Why? Ryne Sandberg, Pudge Rodriguez and Yogi Berra don't have career stats that jump out at you per se, but what they do have are a ton of All Star appearances. If a player is considered the greatest at his position in the league he plays in for ten or more years, then of course he deserves enshrinement in Cooperstown.


For pitchers:

Criteria: 250+ wins
Why? It used to be 300, but no pitcher has eclipsed that milestone since Randy Johnson did almost ten years ago. It's very rare that a pitcher even gets over 200 wins in a career, let alone 250, which makes the number extra special. Bert Blyleven, a Hall of Famer, had 287 wins. To put it into perspective, there are only 116 pitchers in baseball history to get over 200 career wins. Wow. Pitching is hard.


Criteria: ERA lower than 3.00
Why? It's a lot harder than it seems and it goes back to the batting average criteria, except the opposite; a two in the ones place looks better than a three.


Criteria: 8+ All Star Games
Why? I call this the "John Smoltz Rule" because he was a reliever and a starter at different points in his career, only has 213 career wins, has an ERA of 3.33, made eight All Star Games, and is in the Hall of Fame. So if a starter or reliever could pull off John Smoltz-like stats that gets them at least eight appearances in the Summer Classic, they should be in the Hall.


For managers, owners, and GMs:

Criteria: Win a lot.
Why? I'm grouping all of these positions together because they all are judged based on their team's success. Whether it be with one or multiple teams, if a head honcho leads his club to the promised land on multiple occasions, thus building at least a quasi-dynasty, then it's a done deal for me. See you in the Hall soon, Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon!


Just remember that these criteria are for slam dunk Hall of Famers. Jeff Bagwell definitely deserves a spot in Cooperstown, but didn't amass any of these stats, so my criteria could be taken as unfair, right? Well, I didn't think he was going to get into the Hall on his first try anyway because BBWAA voters are a lot stricter when it comes to filling out their ballots. How else do you think potential HoFers should be judged? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."


Sunday, July 9, 2017

An All-Out Slugfest: The History of the Home Run Derby 7/9/17

Hey baseball fans!

The All Star Game Home Run Derby is tomorrow, pitting the best sluggers in a competition of who has the most power! Personally, it's my favorite side event of the MLB All Star Game, so here are some things to know about the Home Run Derby before watching it tomorrow on ESPN:

The Derby started in 1985, with five players from each League participating. The number of participants changed throughout the 90s, but the four-person-per-League format that is used today was adopted in 2000. The way the tournament has been set up has also changed over the years. From 1991, the first year it was televised, to 2013, all the players were playing against each other and were given ten "outs," or hits that weren't home runs, to hit as many home runs as they can. The top home runs hitters in each round moved on until the final two. For the 2017 Home Run Derby, for example, Giancarlo Stanton will square off against Gary Sanchez, the one seed vs. the eighth seed, in a March Madness-style, head-to-head battle, where each player will be given four minutes to hit as many home runs as they can.



Despite the rule changes, there have been some players who have clearly dominated the Derby. Todd Frazier of the White Sox leads all players in HRD history with 91 career Derby homers. He won the whole thing in 2015 while playing for the Reds. Josh Hamilton hit a single-round record of 28 home runs in the first round of the 2008 Derby, but eventually lost in the final round to Justin Morneau. Ken Griffey, Jr. and Yoenis Cespedes are the only two players to win the contest in back-to-back years (Griffey in '98 and '99 & Cespedes in '13 and '14). Griffey also won it in 1994, making him the only three-time champ. Prince Fielder is the only Derby participant to win it at least once in both Leagues, winning it in 2009 as a member of the NL Milwaukee Brewers and in 2012 as a member of the AL Detroit Tigers (pictured below). Hall of Famers to have won the homer tourney are Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, Cal Ripken, Jr., Griffey, and Frank Thomas.


My favorite Home Run Derby that I've ever watched was in 2011, when in Chase Field, Robinson Cano of the Yankees, while being pitched to by his dad, beat Adrain Gonzalez of the Red Sox in the final round of a classic desert showdown. What's the favorite Derby you've ever watched and who do you think will win it tomorrow? Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Happy Bobby Bonilla Day! 7/1/17

Hey baseball fans!

Happy Bobby Bonilla Day! July 1 is the day of the year when the New York Mets pay a retired, slightly ok baseball player about $1 million annually until 2034! Now I know some of you may be confused, but let me explain.

Bonilla played in the MLB from 1986-2001 with a plethora of teams, actually making six All Star Games as an outfielder. He doesn't have the stats to be in the Hall of Fame, so the fact that he is still receiving money from the Mets is mind-boggling. Basically, the Mets signed Bonilla to a deferred-money deal after not wanting him on the roster after the 2000 season, meaning that rather paying all of Bonilla's $5.9 million salary for the year right then and there, they would pay percentages of it over time with interest (at a negotiated 8% per year). The deal kicked in with the first payment being issued on July 1, 2011. The only problem for the Mets is the $5.9 million in 2000 will be worth $29.8 million by the time the deal is done. So now, the Mets organization is stuck paying Bonilla $1.19 million every July 1 until 2033! The worst part of it all for the Amazins is that Bonilla lives in Florida now, where there's no income tax, so he's really taking aaaaalllllll of that dough. Classic move by the Mets' front office.


On a separate note, happy Canada Day to Joey Votto, Russell Martin, and the Toronto Blue Jays. If you were in Bobby Bonilla's shoes, how would you spend your annual mega-paycheck, eh? Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."