On retirees and prospects

Andre Dawson was the first ballplayer I’d ever met, and he was friendly and personable to this 8-year-old.  So while I’m not quite convinced his career was of Hall of Fame quality (he has the lowest OBP in the Hall for an outfielder by 20 points), I’m not going to vociferously object to his good news.

The percentages of the guys behind him are interesting.  Normally, this would be a “good” year, at least for the people I think deserve induction:

  • Bert Blyleven: 74.2
  • Roberto Alomar: 73.7
  • Barry Larkin: 51.6
  • Edgar Martinez: 36.2
  • Tim Raines: 30.4

Blyleven and Alomar will get in next year, Larkin’s well on pace, and Martinez made a good dent for a DH.  Raines is the only one lagging behind pace, but he’s got the thinnest case out of the bunch.  Overall, it’s good progress for the most deserving, which would usually be all that could be asked of the process.
This year, the reaction is a little different — which is great.  It’s not just us blog types venting about the BBWAA’s wrongdoings — BBWAA members are flagellating the greater organization:

  • Jon Heyman: how can roberto alomar not make the hall of fame on any ballot? the baseball writers dont look very good on this one.
  • Peter Abraham: More BBWAA embarrassment . Our system is broken. Too many dopes who don’t really cover the game vote.
  • Tom Verducci: It’s stunning that one of the five best second basemen to ever play the game missed election by eight votes.
    And, no stranger to brainless votes:
  • Joe Cowley: The baseball writers continue to show how inept they are, blowing the Hall of Fame vote by leaving Robbie Alomar out.

It’s hard for one year to transform a monolithic organization, but maybe this one-two punch of snubs will spark a way of revising the process.  You have the worst of both worlds.  For one, you have a no-doubt Hall of Famer who didn’t get in the first time because some voters seem to think first-ballot HOFers have their plaques in a separate wing.  Joining Alomar on the doorstep is Blyleven, who everybody knows is going to get in next year.  That doesn’t stop the writers from putting him through the entire 15-year wringer for the hell of it, taking the chance that he’ll still be around in one year to enjoy it.
Then you have a wild card — a mouth-breather with a Hall of Fame vote that refuses to use it because, well,  he’s a mouth-breather.  And thanks to Baseball Ink, I can continue my practice of never linking to him.  He’ s “begging” to be thrown out of the BBWAA, and here’s hoping they’ll call his bluff just like the Sun-Times did.  It could be perfect timing, with a bunch of high-profile, still-active writers openly criticizing their organization while a non-active, uninterested, bottom-feeding ballot owner flaunts his negligence.
I doubt anything will change, because the organization is both too fraternal and too unwieldy to make effective, sweeping reforms.  But it’s fun to pretend, because it’d be great to live in a world in which writers don’t drag their feet for no good reason.
And hey, Harold Baines is still on the ballot, which is great.  Another year, another occasion to talk about his very good career.
*********************************
Minor notes
*Buddy Bell reviews two notable White Sox prospects and a Dave Wilder present:

  • Dayan Viciedo: Who will be making a gradual transition to first base, as was expected.
  • Jared Mitchell: Won’t be rushed as he makes the transition from two sports to one.
  • Juan Viciedo:  Has had his age corrected and is too big for a middle infield position.  Thanks, Dave!

*Phil Rogers ranked his top 10 prospects at Baseball America, which isn’t a bad list.  He might have Trayce Thompson too high, but it’s nice to see him take a chance on a high ceiling.  The box to the right should probably be ignored.  It’s strange to see Dan Hudson considered to have the best slider, because it lacked bite when we saw him late last season, and his scouting report (which is behind the paywall) says as much.  Clevelan Santeliz, a Rogers favorite, is said to have a better one, so that’s a strange omission.
It’s nice to see that Rogers at least has a sense of humor:

Jeff (England): We all know you have a man crush on John Ely, so where would he have ranked if he wasn’t traded, and does he still have the best change-up on the planet?
Phil Rogers: I had Ely as No. 12 but my peeps at BA dropped him down a little once they got their hands on the list. He will be in the Sox Top 30 because the book had “closed” when Kenny made the Pierre trade. Quite a changeup, yes. But I might give Johan Santana a slight edge.

A few assorted notes from his chat:

  • Dan Remenowsky is comparable to Joe Borowski, which is good in terms of value for an undrafted guy, and bad in terms of a margin for error.
  • The Sox are impressed with Josh Phegley’s improvement behind the plate.  That’s surprising to me, as when I saw him, he looked very raw.  At times, he may have been better off blocking pitches with a piece of plywood.
  • Hitters hate facing Santos Rodriguez, but he’ll need to show he can handle a full season of work now that he’s 22.
  • Charles Leesman is the best candidate to be fast-tracked of all low-minor arms.
  • Sergio Santos is out of options, so he’ll need to show serious strike-throwing ability in the spring to be a factor.
  • Jose Martinez is about ready to come off his knee injury that’s cost him the last one and a half years, and will start the year in Kannapolis.
  • Ryan Buch is a sleeper with a big fastball.
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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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knoxfire30

As horrible a mistake it is to watch Alomar not get in, the writers who continually make joke votes (or maybe they are just that dumb need to be removed immediately!!!!)
David Segui got a vote, Ellis Burks and Erik Karros each got 2!!!! Ventura got 7, Hentgen and Appier got a couple each I believe. COME ON, take these guys ballots shove it up their asses and tell them to go away forever!
Im sick of the joke awards in baseball its bad enough watching a mediocre mvp vote, its horrible watching the gold glove become a complete sham, and now the hall of fame voting has gotten OUT OF CONTROL. Bud do nothing Selig wont do a damn thing but its time some other people come out and make this a big big issue.

iowaoaks

I heard an interview with Tony Gwynn last night and he said Hall of Famers do talk and gather over the summer and made a pretty strong statement to the point of them pushing for change.
I think that is the best chance of any actually change happening on this issue.
So… uh, start writing your congre, er, Hall o’ Famers…?

onlysoxfaninboston

Revenge quote from Cowley? He was suspended by the BBWAA for his idiotic MVP votes, no? Cowley’s like school in the summertime…

knoxfire30

The overall Top Ten list is good, and Im the president of the Jared Mitchell fan club but he shouldnt be ranked ahead of Hudson and Flowers at this point.

marshlands

Jim, I’m curious to hear why you think Raines has the thinnest case of the bunch.
In my mind (I know…) he’s a much better player than Dawson ever was, and is one of the best leadoff hitters of all time. And I drunk and/or sipping on too much Tom Tango juice?

onlysoxfaninboston

I agree, I’m not sure if Raines has the thinnest case.

knoxfire30

Sign me up too, Raines was a heck of a player and in their primes or even over the long haul I would of preferred to have Raines.

Chris Pummer

A dream that for some probably dies hard.
That’s just as well. If the Sox want a guy with that skill set, they might as well just bring back Thome. Despite his advanced age, he’s been a better hitter than Cust perhaps every year they’ve both existed on this planet, save for maybe two very debatable exceptions.
And of course, Thome was better last year, which is maybe the most relevant set of data to base how we think they’ll do next year.

nschaefer

WARP3 of the players you listed:
-Dawson: 59.6
-Blyleven: 92.4
-Alomar: 79.4
-Larkin: 86.2
-Martinez: 68.9
-Raines: 81.7
I would argue that Tim Raines does not have the thinnest case of the bunch, depending on how much you hate FRAA (the defensive component of WARP3.
We can look at WAR if you like which uses UZR:
-Dawson: 56.8
-Blyleven: 90.1
-Alomar: 63.6
-Larkin: 68.8
-Martinez: 67.2
-Raines: 64.9
Raines was also the best player in the majors from 1983-87 according to Bill James’ Win Shares, and was one of the 10 best throughout the 80s. See Joe Posnanski’s article here: http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2010/01/04/best-players-in-baseball/#more-2974