Monday, January 14, 2013

The Good, The Bad and the Reactions

By now, it's no news that the BBWAA didn't induct anyone into the Hall of Fame.  The closer we got to the reveal on MLB Network, the more I realized that it was a reality.  I was honestly burnt out from hearing the same arguments from the same people.  I don't hold anything against people like Tom Verducci who say steroids automatically discount you from being a HoF player.  It's his opinion and I'm not going to tell him he's wrong.  I might disagree with it, but that's a different story.  I'm more angry at some other guy that MLBN had on their roundtable discussion.  Chris "Mad Dog" Russo was the most obnoxious, loud mouth idiot that MLBN has ever had on their network, and they employ Kevin Millar on a daily basis.  If he wasn't parroting Verducci, he was saying something terribly stupid.  The one that stuck most in my mind was his reasoning for not voting for Fred McGriff.  He said, and I quote, "How many MVPs did he win?"

Let that sink in for a minute.

This moron, who won't vote for Clemens or Bonds (who have won 8 MVPs and 7 CYAs between them by the way) or anyone connected with steroids, won't vote for McGriff because he didn't win an MVP.  Let's just discount the facts that:

a) While the MVP is rarely given to a bad player (Maury Wills), it is not always given to the correct player (Mo Vaughn winning in 95, Sosa in 98, etc).

b) The writers vote for the MVP despite the fact that they seldom see other teams beyond their own for more than 6 games a year.

c) The MVP has vaguer criteria than the HoF.


d) I don't think McGriff specifically got jobbed of an MVP, but definitely had MVP-type seasons.

And focus on the fact that McGriff, who had a very underrated career mostly due to being in the steroid era, and put up a line of 284/377/509 with a 383 wOBA and a 134 wRC+, has his whole career discounted by this jerk because he didn't win some vaguely defined award voted on by a group of writers who barely saw him play (His best years were in San Diego and pre-WS Toronto).  493 HR, most for anyone in this era that I know of that isn't connected to steroids, all thrown out the window because he never won an MVP.

That's a great case right there.

Here, let's play some "Disprove the idiot while being the idiot":

1) Nolan Ryan never won a Cy Young Award.  NOT A HALL OF FAMER!!!11!!

2) Bob Turley won a CYA, therefore he's a better case for the Hall than McGriff.

3) Spud Chandler has an MVP,  therefore he's a better case for the Hall than McGriff.

4) Phil Cavarretta has an MVP, therefore he's a better case for the Hall than McGriff.

5) Hank Sauer has an MVP, therefore he's a better case for the Hall than McGriff.

Seeing the picture here?

I'm not saying McGriff is a lock for the Hall of Fame, and I'm not saying he doesn't belong.  Like I mentioned before, he is probably the most borderline case on the ballot this year.  I do think that, if push comes to shove, I would wind up voting for him, but I think this year's ballot was too big for that.

I am saying that there are better reasons for arguing against McGriff than just "He never won teh MVP".

I also think that the worst crime that has come out of this year's ballot isn't the lack of entries, but the voices speaking up for some guys who really don't belong.  Here's my take on some of them:

1) Tommy John.  No.  No.  Look, John was a good pitcher, and probably the definition of a lefty junkball pitcher (especially after the surgery).  But he played for some really good teams and didn't pitch extremely well for them.  His ERA was similar to Ryan's but he struck out nowhere near as many batters (in one less year mind you).  Yes Ryan walked a lot of batters.  But he also didn't give up many hits either, and maintained a better K/BB ratio.  The fact is that Ryan was one of the most dominant pitchers ever and comparing him to John, while not totally crazy, is still doing him a disservice.

2) Jim Kaat.  What is it with the Lefty Pitchers that last forever that makes people think they are great?  Both Kaat and John struck out less than 5 every 9 innings, and walked more than 2 per 9 innings.  His FIP was an incredibly average 3.41 (Ryan btw was a 2.97) which wouldn't be so bad if he didn't give up tons of contact.  Not a dominant pitcher, not worth induction.

3) Ken Boyer.  I get this.  Believe me, I do.  He just doesn't match up with what I think a HoF 3B should be.  Probably the best out of the 3 choices I've mentioned, but just not quite there.  It's a shame, because he really was one more year of typical production away from being a HoFer, but just kinda fell off after 64.

That'll do it for now.  Hopefully with the season starting again, I can bitch about something other than the HoF.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

....And the rest

Work is picking up steam post-New Years, so I figured I'd just cover the rest of the big names on the ballot right now and give a brief explanation for my choice:

1) Edgar Martinez- Yes.  I never understood the DH argument.  It's an everyday position, not like a LOOGY or a pinch hitter.  Martinez wasn't really a bad defender in his time, either, just moved to DH due to injury.  He was an incredibly talented hitter as well, posting a 418 OBP in his career and hitting over 500 doubles and 300 HR.  Deserves induction any day.

2) Fred McGriff- Not quite.  Crime Dog, to me, is the most borderline player on this ballot.  But my feeling is that if McGwire isn't good enough, McGriff isn't good enough.

3) Larry Walker-Yes.  Dude OBP'd 400 in his career, with a 965 OPS.  Absolutely belongs in.  You can talk about the Coors effect as much as you want, doesn't change the fact that Walker was a great hitter with Montreal before he moved to Coors.

4) Don Mattingly- No.  He is close to me, but just sapped of how great he would have been due to his back.  Had that not happened, he would have been inducted already.

5) Rafael Palmeiro- Yes.  Even without traditional benchmarks, he was a great hitter for a long time.  Steroids will keep him out, but I would still vote for him

6) Bernie Williams- No.  Crappy fielder, decent hitter.  Played a lot in the spotlight of Yankee country, making him slightly overrated.  Was a very good, but not great player.

7) Dale Murphy- No.  I know he was a premier player of the 80s, but that doesn't make him an all time great.  Just like Bernie.

Those are the big names.  My ballot for 2013 would look like this:
Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Mark McGwire
Sammy Sosa
Larry Walker
Edgar Martinez
Raffy Palmeiro
Mike Piazza
Curt Schilling
Craig Biggio

I want to put Smith on there too, but there isn't enough space.  Maybe swap out Walker for him.

That's it from me.  Let's here from you.