Thursday, January 31, 2019

A Year-In-Advance Look at the Potential 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame Class 1/31/19

Hey baseball fans!

Today, I will be rounding out my January blog posts with a preview of next year's potential Baseball Hall of Fame inductees! From the Veterans Committee to the BBWAA, the voters will have some interesting decisions to make in 2020.

The Harold Baines Conundrum
I already published my opinions on Baines's VC election that was announced in December of 2018, so I won't bore you with the details of why I don't think he's a Hall of Famer. What I will bother you with, however, is the implications of Baines's election into the Hall on future inductees. Next year will be the first year of the Baines-HoF era, so it's possible that we could see major shakeups in voting for players who had previously not received a lot of love and players who just didn't deserve it. If the Veterans Committee is more or less the same for next year, will Joe Carter and Will Clark make the Hall? Will BBWAA voters be more relaxed when it comes to steroid-users? The bottom line is that Harold Baines has established a new precedent for baseball's common law and no one really knows how it will effect the Hall of Fame's reputation.

Yet Another Yankee Shoe-In
Derek Jeter will appear on the BBWAA ballots next year for the first time and it will be no surprise to see him in Cooperstown at the 2020 Hall of Fame induction ceremony. What might be a surprise, however, is if he receives every single vote. Former teammate Mariano Rivera recently became the first Hall of Fame inductee to receive 100% of the Hall of Fame vote, but some people speculated before the voting was released that Rivera wouldn't be unanimous because of his role of a closer. Probably the only reason that Jeter couldn't get 100% is the steroid skeptics on the ballot. But with the established point that a Hall of Famer could deserve 100%, will the former Yankees shortstop become the first unanimous hitter in the Hall of Fame?

The Other First-Timers
Besides Jeter, All Stars like Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, and Cliff Lee will appear on BBWAA ballots for the first time. While you could make an argument for each of these three guys, no one really thought of them as Hall of Famers when they retired, including myself. The one other first-timer who I think has at least a shot at the Hall of Fame is Paul Konerko. His numbers are pretty solid, but he gets a true boost by being a major figure in the history of the White Sox. It's quite simple: franchise fan favoritism has to be a category worth looking at when it comes to Hall of Fame member legitimacy and one could argue that it was this very factor that pushed Mo Rivera's vote to 100%. Konerko is not deserving of being a first-ballot Hall of Famer, in my opinion, but I expect his voting percentage to rise every year from 2020-2029.

Who else deserve consideration for the Hall of Fame next year? What about Gil Hodges? 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."

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Fun Facts About the 2019 BBWAA Hall of Fame Inductees 1/23/19

Hey baseball fans!

I literally could not be happier with how the Hall of Fame announcement went yesterday, so congratulations to all the 2019 BBWAA inductees! To welcome Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay, and Mike Mussina into the Hall, here is a fun fact about each of them:

Mariano Rivera
I've shared the "less postseason earned runs than moon-walkers" fact plenty of times before and the fact that he was the first unanimous selection is not obscure enough for me, but did you know this? Mo is the first Hall of Famer who played a majority of his career with the Yankees and received higher than 90% on the BBWAA ballot since Babe Ruth in 1936. Lou Gehrig got in via a special election, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle only got above 80%, and Reggie Jackson played a majority of his career with the A's.

Edgar Martinez
FINALLY! Thank goodness Edgar got in. Speaking of which, one of the reasons I've said for years that Martinez is a Hall of Famer is because the best DH every year gets the "Edgar Martínez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award." But did you know that Martinez won his own award when it wasn't named after him? Yes, besides David Ortiz, Martinez has the most Edgar Martinez Awards with five, while Ortiz leads all DHs in the category with eight. Also, Martinez is the only recipient of the award to win the batting title in the same season; in 1995, Martinez won his first ever Edgar Martinez Award while leading the league with a .356 batting average.

Roy Halladay
In 2010, in his first postseason start, Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter. Not only was this the first postseason no-hitter since Don Larsen's perfect game in Game Five of the 1956 World Series, but it was also the first National League postseason no-hitter and the first no-hitter in Citizen's Bank Park, the home of Halladay's Phillies.

Mike Mussina
I'll keep this one short and sweet. Mussina is the only pitcher to have fifteen straight ten-win seasons while pitching in the American League and was the first pitcher to retire after a 20-game season since Sandy Koufax. Great stuff, Moose!

What do you think of this year's Hall of Fame class? 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, January 13, 2019

If I Had A Hall of Fame Ballot 2019 1/13/19

Hey baseball fans!

The 2019 Hall of Fame class will be announced in less than 10 days! As is customary on Baseball with Matt, in this post I will try to predict the members of this year's Hall of Fame class. My ballot would include the full ten hitters and pitchers allowed on any BBWAA ballot, but this post is just a prediction of who will get in this year. As a bonus, I will try to predict the percentages that each of the following players will get.

Player: Mariano Rivera
Percentage: 95%
Why? I talked about Mo in my last post, but there's no point in not mentioning him twice. Rivera is the all-time MLB leader in saves, totaling 652 saves during his career that was entirely with the Yankees. The Sandman made 13 All Star Games in 19 years and his 2.21 career ERA is not too shabby, either.

Player: Roy Halladay
Percentage: 83%
Why? Halladay was always been known as one of the hardest-working pitchers in the business, which can be attested to by many of his Blue Jays and Phillies teammates, coaches, and tons of other personalities in the baseball world. In that aspect, he definitely appeals to the BBWAA writers who vote. And his stats are pretty darn good, too. He's a two-time Cy Young Award recipient and an eight-time All Star. Oh, and did I mention that in his first ever career playoff start, he pitched a no-hitter?

Player: Edgar Martinez
Percentage: 77%
Why? It's a shame he won't get a larger percentage, but it's about time Edgar Martinez makes it into the Hall of Fame. And considering it's his last year on the BBWAA ballot, I think the voters will agree. Martinez was a seven-time All Star and five-time Silver Slugger during his 18-year career with the Seattle Mariners. He's a .312 lifetime batter, leading the league in batting average twice. But the main reason Martinez is deserving of the Hall of Fame is his pioneering as a DH. Only David Ortiz has matched the pure hitting skill from the DH spot in the lineup since Martinez's retirement and the award for the best DH every year is called the Edgar Martinez Award.

If I were to fill out an entire ballot, I would also include Todd Helton, Mike Mussina, Miguel Tejada, Fred McGriff, Jeff Kent, Michael Young, and Billy Wagner, but that's only because I get ten spots. Rivera, Halladay, and Martinez are the real deserving players for the 2019 Hall of Fame class. But what do you think? Who do you think is getting into the Hall this year? Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, January 6, 2019

A Preview of the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot 1/6/19

Hey baseball fans!

The members of the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame class will be announced on January 22 and I couldn't be more excited to see who gets in. This post will be an overview of the most interesting names on the ballot, while my next post will be a prediction of who gets in this year.

The Shoe-In
We've seen some previews of some of the ballots that have already been filled out, so although Mariano Rivera won't get in unanimously, he's going to set some records for Hall of Fame percentages. The all-time leader in saves appears on the ballot for the first time in 2019 and there is no doubt in my mind that he won't get at least 90%. Say what you want about closers, but here's my favorite Mariano Rivera stat: more people have walked on the moon then have scored on an earned run given up by the Sandman in the postseason. That, right there, is dominance.

The Maybe's
Cooperstown is always the most selective of the major sports' Hall of Fames, so this class won't be as big as some people would maybe like to see, but that doesn't mean that the 2019 class will be restricted to just Rivera. Roy Halladay made eight All Star Games and won two Cy Young awards during his 16-year career with the Blue Jays and Phillies, Todd Helton is arguably the most well-liked member of the Colorado Rockies in the team's short history and batted .316 lifetime, and Lance Berkman's mix of power and contact puts him in a great spot ahead of January 22.

The Rest of the First-Timers
Roy Oswalt, Miguel Tejada, and Michael Young didn't play long enough, Andy Pettitte took performance-enhancing drugs and admitted to it, and Rick Ankiel was going to be one of the best pitchers in baseball until he pulled a Ruth and switched to a hitter. Other first-timers include Kevin Youkilis, Vernon Wells, Jason Bay, and Travis Hafner.

Edgar Martinez
It's his last year on the ballot, for Pete's sake! Put him in already!

Mike Mussina
I have never been the biggest Mike Mussina Hall of Fame advocate, mostly because of his 3.68 career ERA, but playing in an always-tough AL East and winning 270 career games certainly helps his case. He got 63.5% of the vote in 2018, so maybe he'll get pushed over the required 75% in 2019.

As for Sosa, Bonds, and Clemens...
We'll have to wait and see.

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."