Monday, December 27, 2010

My Hall of Fame ballot

Again, since there's so little going on in Dodger land, I thought I'd do my own Hall of Fame ballot, as many baseball writers are doing around this time.

Last year's close calls

Bert Blyleven, who has been on the ballot for 14 years, just missed the required 75 percent vote, coming in at 74.2 percent.

Roberto Alomar garnered 73.7 percent after his first year on the ballot.

The next closest player was Jack Morris, who had 52.3 percent, followed by Barry Larkin at 51.6 percent.

Without further adieu, here is my ballot... if I had one.

RHP Bert Blyleven
- The guy should have been in many years ago. He has the 43rd-best Wins Above Replacement total of all-time at 87.6, which ranks him No. 13 amongst pitchers. To put it in perspective, every player in the top 50 is a Hall-of-Famer or future Hall-of-Famer (Alex Rodriguez 101.9; Randy Johnson, 89.6; Albert Pujols, 83.8). He also ranks No. 14 all-time in innings pitched (4970).
Most impressive season: 1973, Minnesota: 20-17, 2.52 ERA, 325 IP, 1.12 WHIP, 3.85 K/BB (led AL), 25 CG, 9 SHO, 158 ERA+ (led league)

2B Roberto Alomar
- I grew up with baseball in the 1990s, so Alomar was a prominent player. He might be the best second baseman I ever saw. He would have been a first-ballot guy for me. Despite playing a defense-first position, Alomar ranks No. 64 all-time in offensive WAR and No. 87 overall. He made 12 consecutive All-Star appearances and won 10 Gold Gloves in that time. He also had a career .814 OPS.
Most impressive season: 2001, Cleveland: .336/.415/.541/.956, 20 home runs, 100 RBI, 150 OPS+

OF Tim Raines
- Aside from Rickey Henderson, Raines is the best leadoff hitter of the last 50 years. Batting first, he had a slash line of .294/.385/.427. Surprisingly, he spent a lot of time batting second and third in his career (2841 plate appearances), but he will always been known as a leadoff guy. He had a four-year stretch from 1981-84 in which he led the National League in stolen bases -- 71, 78, 90, 75 respectively. In '81, a strike-shortened season, he stole those 71 bases in 88 games.
Most impressive season: 1987, Montreal: .330/.429/.526/.955, 18 home runs, 68 RBI, 50-for-55 in SB, 123 runs scored, 149 OPS+

SS Barry Larkin
- Much like Alomar, when you thought of shortstops in the '90s, Larkin was one of the first guys you thought of. Not only was he a solid defender, he was pretty good with the bat -- so much so that he took home the 1995 NL MVP. He was a consistent hitter, putting up a career line of .295/.371/.444 and was the face of the Cincinnati Reds franchise for the better part of 13 years.
Most impressive season: 1996, Cincinnati: .298/.410/.567/.977, 33 home runs, 89 RBI, 36-for-46 in SB, 117 runs scored, 154 OPS+

SS Alan Trammel
- Trammell is a lot like Barry Larkin. When you think of the Tigers in the '80s, Trammell is the first guy you think of. He, along with Cal Ripken, were the first two guys to redefine the shortstop position, as they were offensive (the good offensive) players. However, they didn't sacrifice defense for offense. From 1983-90, Trammel had an .813 OPS as a shortstop. In a time when shortstops were "glove-only" guys, it was almost unheard of. He also has the 72nd-best WAR of all-time (66.9), 0.2 points in front of Dodgers' Hall-of-Famer Pee Wee Reese. He's also 0.2 points ahead of former Dodger Eddie Murray.
Most impressive season: 1987, Detroit: .343/.402/.551/.953, 28 home runs, 105 RBI, 21-for-23 in SB, 155 OPS+

Then you have a few cases of standards. How does one sort out the so-called "Steroid Era"? How does one determine the value of a designated hitter and closer?

I'm talking about Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez and Lee Smith.

McGwire and Palmeiro have been busted for performance-enhancing drug use and some people believe Bagwell used, despite lack of evidence. I like Bagwell, but he wouldn't be a first-ballot guy for me anyway. Bagwell was one of the most dominant players of the '90s and I'm sure he'll get in eventually.

Is it fair to hold PED allegations against Bagwell even though he's never been busted or admitted to using? Of course not. Unfortunately, that is the way it is today. People are going to suspect and convict certain players in their own courts (their minds).

Martinez came up as a third baseman, but injuries relegated him to DH duties. He made it count, as he put up a .314/.428/.532/.959 line as a DH in his career. And he wasn't just a good hitter, he was a great hitter. From 1992-2003, he had a .319/.431/.548 line in the middle of that potent Seattle Mariner lineup. In many ways, he, not Ken Griffey, Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson, was the Seattle Mariners. He wasn't the most charismatic or flashy guy, but he did his job and did it well.

That being said, I'm an NL guy and I think the DH is a joke. Still, it's hard to argue with results. He got 36.2 percent of the vote last year. This is Martinez's second year on the ballot and if my vote counted, I probably wouldn't vote Martinez in on the first- or second ballot, but he'd get a vote from me eventually.

Smith was once the all-time saves leader -- a statistic that has lost value over the years. He had similar and sometimes better numbers than Hall-of-Famer Rollie Fingers, but I'm not sure he deserves to make it. It's his ninth year on the ballot and his percentage has been increasing. I'm not sure he'll get enough to make the Hall before he is off the ballot.

So, there's my ballot. Feel free to chime in with your own ballot or if you think I'm off my rocker.


The Dodger blog world

You may have noticed Jack Morris did not make my ballot. Well, Mike Petriello of Mike Scoscia's Tragic Illness can be thanked for that. His post about Morris and Orel Hershiser pretty much sums it up.

DodgerBobble posted a bobblehead of one of my favorite Dodgers of all-time, Shawn Green. His 2001 and 2002 ranks among the best Dodger offensive seasons of all-time.

Chad Moriyama of Memories of Kevin Malone posted a nice recap of the Dodgers in the Arizona Fall League.

Dingers' Blog posted two great reads about subtle racism in baseball from 2010. Read them here and here.


Former Dodger closer Takashi Saito signed a 1-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, Ken Rosenthal reported.

Saito had a bounce-back 2010 with the Braves after a somewhat rough 2009 season with the Red Sox. He had a 2.43 ERA for the Red Sox, but he also had the highest WHIP of his career (1.35), H/9 (8.1), HR/9 (1.0) and BB/9 (4.0). He also had the lowest K/9 (8.4) and worst K/BB (2.08) ratio of his career while in Beantown.

In Atlanta, he had a 2.83 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 6.8 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 2.8 BB/9, 11.5 K/9 and 4.06 K/BB ratio.

This is a fantastic signing by the Brewers. He could definitely step in at closer if rookie standout John Axford falters.

If only Colletti would have brought back Saito on a 1-year deal instead of signing Matt Guerrier for three years.

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