The 2018 Hall of Fame ballot has been released – along with some “unofficial” guidance from the Vice Chairman of the Hall – and the arguments started before the first ballot was even submitted.
Here’s our two cents. Read more
Mike Mussina’s Hall of Fame credentials have been under debate the past few years. While he ranks high in most career measures, he never won a Cy Young award, won 20 games only once, and if elected, he would have the third-highest ERA of any pitcher in the Hall of Fame.
However, that ERA was inflated by playing in the American League East during the height of the PED era. When compared to league average, he looks much better than not only many pitchers in the hall, he’s equal or better than some of his contemporaries already in the Hall. Read more
Justin Verlander is hours away from pitching Game 6 of the 2017 World Series. In doing so, Verlander could clinch a first ring for both himself and his new club. Some writers have suggested that Verlander needs a World Series ring to validate his Hall of Fame legacy. Verlander pitched for the Tigers in two World Series but never brought home a ring (much to the dismay of Tigers fans – this author included – and long-time owner Michael Ilitch).
While we agree given his ‘resume’ as it stands, it shouldn’t be the case. Verlander won the Cy Young and the MVP award in 2011, but he should have left Detroit with at least one more Cy Young, maybe two. Read more
Jose Altuve is playing out-of-his-mind, MVP-caliber baseball this year. The past four years he’s been one of baseball’s best players. The past two he’s been inching ever closer to superstar status (and this year, at least, he’s attained it). Altuve is an offensive dynamo and his defense, once a distinct deficit has settled somewhere near league-average the past few years (which for a player putting up his sort of offensive numbers, is more than acceptable).
The past four years, Altuve has lead the league in hitting twice, and is on track to do it a third time this year. He’s slashed .337/.385/.498, with a 162-game average of 223 hits, 18 hr, 100 runs, 80 rbi, and 42 stolen bases. In the five seasons from 2012-2106, no one in the American League stole more bases than Altuve’s 192, and only Dee Gordon (194) stole more in MLB. It is therefore quite surprising that when he’s not stealing bases, Altuve is a shockingly bad baserunner. Read more
As good as Tim Raines, 2017 Hall of Fame inductee,was as a baserunner, it is almost heresy to suggest that any player in Major League Baseball history was a better base stealer than Ricky Henderson. Henderson has by far the most stolen bases in history. Lou Brock at #2 would have had to steal almost 50% more in his career to match Rickey. The gap between Henderson at #1 and Brock at #2 is the same as between Brock and Jimmy Rollins at #46.
However the question of Ricky Henderson v. Tim Raines is actually closer than you’d think. And we think that an argument can be made that at the “height of their powers,” Raines might actually have been the better runner overall. (*gasp*) Read more
Hall of Fame week continues with a look at first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, Ivan Rodriguez. Rodriguez is often considered the greatest defensive catcher in the history of baseball, and he’s in the conversation for greatest catcher of all time. He definitely has a significant lead in the various ‘defensive runs’ metrics, but he also caught more games and more innings than any other catcher. We dug deeper and as the title suggests, it wasn’t just perception or longevity – he was truly great. There are a few other catchers for whom you can make the argument they were the greatest defensively, but it’s much harder to argue Ivan Rodriguez wasn’t. Read more
On Sunday, the Houston Astros’ Jeff Bagwell will enter the Hall of Fame. We’re particularly pleased with Bagwell’s election, since it seemed for a little while that he might unduly suffer from PED speculation (while in a certain sense it’s reasonable to suspect any player from the era, there is *zero* evidence specifically against Bagwell). Bagwell is a clear Hall of Famer, 6th all time in WAR among first basemen and possessed of one of the best batting eyes in Major League history. Read more