Tuesday, January 28, 2020

My Thoughts on the 2020 Hall of Fame Class (Part 2) 1/28/20

Hey baseball fans!

Our Hall of Fame class for the year of 2020 has officially been elected! I gave my thoughts on the Veterans Committee vote a month ago, but now, here are my opinions on how the BBWAA vote went.

Jeter: One Vote Short
396 votes out of 397 balloters isn't bad at all for one of the greatest players of my generation, but Jeter should've been unanimous! Whatever. At least he got in. Not that anyone thought he would be anything less than a first ballot Hall of Famer. Congrats, Captain!

Larry Walker Finally Gets His Respect
I wasn't expecting Walker to get in this year, but that doesn't mean he's not deserving of the election. He made it by less than ten votes, but 75% is 75% when it comes to HoF voting, and Walker broke the benchmark. Justice is finally served for one of the best hitters of the 90s.

Schilling Barely Misses Induction By 5%
The should-be Hall of Famer missed the mark again, but his 70% on the ballot is a step in the right direction. Because of the weak first-comers next year, he should be in the Hall by 2021, despite his off-field antics.

Big Boosts for the Fielders
Omar Vizquel and Scott Rolen were sixth and seventh on the voting this year, which is quite interesting given their expertise in fielding. You can say anything you want about their hitting, but it's their gloves that boosted them up so much on the ballots. Don't get me wrong, I love a Gold Glover, but fielding metrics are still very new to the Cooperstown scene, so I'm still a little skeptical about their inductions. Give me a few years, and then maybe I'll warm up to them more.

Todd Helton: The Next Alan Trammell?
Ok, maybe I'm a little biased here, but it seems that Helton will be the next should-be Hall of Famer to hover around 20%-30% for the next several years, just like my Hall of Fame birthday buddy, Trammell, did for his time on the BBWAA ballot. Helton is worthy!

No Love for Paul Konerko
2.5% for Paul Konerko officially knocks him off the ballot for future years, which is really such a shame. Konerko will be a Hall of Famer, but it stinks that it'll now be a VC election rather than a BBWAA election. Just look at his stats and think about what he did for the South Side of Chicago. A legendary slugger, indeed.

What did you think of the Hall of Fame vote last week? 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."

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

If I Had A Hall of Fame Ballot 2020 1/21/20

Hey baseball fans!

It's time for the main event! If I had a ballot for the 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame vote, who would I put on it? Let's find out!

Derek Jeter
At the top of everybody's list should be Jeter. Check out my last post by clicking here to see why I think he's a Hall of Famer and why he'll be unanimous.

Curt Schilling
Schilling has messed himself up in a lot of ways off the field, but on it, he was one of the best pitchers at the turn of the century. He helped both the Diamondbacks and the Red Sox win World Series championships, pitching masterful performances in each Series. Overall, for his career, Curt posted a 3.46 ERA with 216 wins and 3,116 strikeouts. The one thing that goes against him is ERA, but given Mike Mussina's induction, that high an ERA is HoF-worthy.

Todd Helton
You can talk about the Coors Effect all you want, but Todd Helton is "Mr. Rockie," meaning that he's probably the best player in the team's history and was a fan favorite during his tenure in Colorado, which goes a long way in my book. Helton finished his career with a .316 batting average and and a .953 OPS. No matter what era or ballpark a hitter plays in, those stats are out of this world. He averaged 148 hits a season over his 17-year career and made six All Star Games.

Larry Walker
Another Rockie (this time, not for his entire career) who had a great batting average and an even better OPS. Walker was a three-time batting champ and hit over 35 homers in a season four times. The five-time All Star is appearing on his last BBWAA ballot, but even so, he deserved induction a long time ago.

Jeff Kent
No, I don't care who he hates. Kent is a Hall of Famer because of his career accomplishments as a second baseman. A notably powerless position, Kent averaged 22 homers and 89 RBIs a season in a 17-year career that saw him become one of the biggest names for the position. His .290 batting average ain't half-bad, neither.

Billy Wagner
He is sixth on the all-time saves list. That's it! That's all Wagner needs to be a Hall of Famer. However, closers have a little stigma on the Hall of Fame ballot, but just ask the Sandman if that stigma will stay forever. And don't forget his 2.31 career ERA, which is lower than Trevor Hoffman's!

Paul Konerko
From 1999-2014, which only excludes his half-seasons with the Dodgers, the White Sox legend averaged 27 homers and 86 RBIs a season. The six-time All Star is an absolute legend on the South Side, and was one of the bigger reasons for their curse-breaking season of 2005.

Andruw Jones
Weirdly-spelled name aside, Jones was one of the best hitters on a Braves team famous for its pitching. He smacked 434 career home runs and made five All Star Games. Oh yeah, he's also a ten-time Gold Glover, receiving the awards in consecutive seasons.

Omar Vizquel
I'm not a huge Vizquel fan, but no one can ignore his eleven Gold Gloves at shortstop. I would put him on my ballot because, frankly, I have the spot to do so. He seems more like a Veterans Committee inductee, but many people love him.

To anyone who isn't on my ballot, you know why. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Is Derek Jeter Worthy of a Unanimous HoF Induction? 1/11/20

Hey baseball fans!

Happy New Year! It's January, which means we are less than a month away until the 2020 Hall of Fame inductees are announced. In honor of the Hall-iday season, it's time we dive into the votes. As is customary here in Baseball with Matt, I'll do an "If I Had a Hall of Fame Ballot" post later in the month, but for now, let's look at some individual players, like the Captain himself.

Derek Jeter is a Hall of Famer, no question about it. He's a fourteen-time All Star, five-time Gold Glover, five-time Silver Slugger, five-time World Series champion, 2000 World Series MVP, and currently sits at sixth place on the all-time hits list with 3,465 career base knocks. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Jeter will get the 75% required for Cooperstown induction. But that's not the question on everyone's mind. The real question revolving around Jeter that will be a hot topic of debate for years to come is the title of this post: will Jeter's induction be unanimous and does he deserve it? In my opinion, yes and maybe.

First off, Jeter should be unanimous. Many people who I've talked to argue that Jeter isn't the best shortstop ever or that he's not the best contact hitter ever, so that's why he won't get 100% of the BBWAA vote. But that's a holistic approach to the Hall of Fame that I dislike. Here's how I think of the Hall of Fame vote: if three out of four people think you're a Hall of Famer, you're a Hall of Famer. It's as simple as that. With Jeter, each individual person asks themselves if he's deserving of Cooperstown and purely based on the audience, let alone his numbers, everyone should think so. The BBWAA is composed of writers and media, hence the "W" in the BBWAA, and Jeter was known for being great with the press. Sure, his tenure in the front office with the Marlins has been putrid at best, but many people like Jeter as a person and the people who don't will respect him and his career stats. He was never in any steroids talk and was the King of New York for two decades. Literally no one is saying he's not a Hall of Famer, meaning he'll get 100% of the vote.

Now, whether or not he deserves the honor of a unanimous election is questionable. Mariano Rivera, Jeter's teammate for almost their entire careers, got in unanimously, the first player to do so. Many people thought Mo was deserving of this unique classification because he's the best closer baseball has ever seen. Jeter, like I mentioned before, is not the greatest anything. He's not even the greatest Yankee and surely not the greatest front office person. The problem with this new "unanimous" talk is that it's so new. There's no real precedent for it, compared to overall Hall of Fame voting. And even if there was precedent, unanimous elects will be a part of an elite and exclusive club. We'll have very few examples for comparison for this category in a hundred years, let alone right now.

So, again. Everyone will think that Jeter is a Hall of Famer. It's the question of whether he truly is a "unanimous" Hall of Famer that will be raised for years to come. And who knows? Saves are so common now compared to when Mo broke records that maybe we won't consider him unanimous in fifty years. Either way, I'm very excited to officially see one of my childhood heroes join the other Yankee greats in Cooperstown in July. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."