Hooray for Baseball

One of my favorite things each year is purchasing MLB At Bat. It’s great getting access to every radio call of every game.

Last year, MLB made the cost recurring. I don’t mind but o can see how some people can be surprised by the sudden charge. Luckily I had the money to cover it, as sometimes I wait until actual games start to purchase the product.

With the Mets better than ever I expect to get some miles out of the app this year. 


 

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My 2016 Hall of Fame Ballot

Normally I post my ballot prior to the announcement of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, IBWAA, Hall of Fame Ballot results. However, this year, I waited until the results were official. It has something to do with the fact that my computer was not working but also something to do with the amount I am working and where. I am currently between sports jobs, hopefully in that phrase’s most literal meaning.

But the real important thing you wanted to see was my ballot.


I’m happy I was able to add in a few “further consideration” guys who didn’t make my ballot last year, such as Alan Trammell. You can read the 2015 ballot and the 2014 ballot for my feelings on most of these players.

As for first year guys I voted for, Griffey was a slam dunk and made me feel better for not having space to add Greg Maddux in 2014. The two closers seemed legit, with 600 save Hoffman and top lefty Billy Wagner. Edmonds is deserving of further review. I almost voted for Jason Kendall because he was such a different kind of offensive catcher, but ultimately he was not HOF material.

If I get more than my phone to post with I’ll elaborate or add Baseball Reference links. Until then, I’ll see you on the Twitter.

2015 IBWAA HoF results

Hall of Fame fallout

This Hall of Fame business is finally sorting itself out.

Last year I was worried for both the BBWAA ballot and the IBWAA ballot. A massive logjam of credible candidates was piling up and it looked like it all may collapse on itself.

Last year, within a day of the IBWAA results being released, the internet group expanded their ballot to 15. It still left a few guys who could be hall of fame quality off the list, but they weren’t guys who should be in the hall, merely guys who could be in the hall. The IBWAA has been proactive in fixing the logjam, putting nine players in the last two years.

I might finally be coming around to Sammy Sosa getting a vote. Continue reading

Why not Tulo?

The Mets have a hole at the shortstop position. Ask any Mets fan, pundit, blogger or media member.

I’ve heard that the Mets need to upgrade their offense, and the only place that is really an open spot to do so is at shortstop. Our infield is mostly set for the next year and we have an outfield that either provides quality defense or is manned by a veteran. We even have a catcher who should be a solid offensive weapon. So the offensive upgrade is at shortstop.

I had advocated for Hanley Ramirez. I still would have taken him, but the amount of money we would have signed him to and the fact that his days at shortstop were likely limited means it’s probably for the best we didn’t throw money at him.

From there we had Asdrubal Cabrera, who had a really good year a few years ago offensively and Jed Lowrie who was solid. Neither looked like great defensive players.

So why not Troy Tulowitzki. There are three points against him; 1. He costs a lot of money, 2. He is injury prone, 3. He would cost at least one top prospect and likely more.

The first point shouldn’t be an issue. Adding Tulowitzki’s contract would make the 2015 Mets expected payroll (including arbitration increases) at about $119 million. That would put the Mets almost dead in the center of team payrolls in 2015. The Mets would be on the hook for $20 million each year through 2019, when he’ll be 35.  Then one year of $14 million and an option year of $15 million or a $4 million buyout. So at least $118 million left (Not including bonuses and possibly $5 million contract escalators for the last two seasons.) Fangraphs had a unit of WAR (or a win) valued at about $6 million. Tulo last year earned 5.5 BWAR in about half a season of at bats (319). So in half a season he exceeded his $16 million 2014 season salary by $17 million (6 $/WAR x 5.5 WAR = $33 million). If we were to get that same production, even if it were stretched out over the whole season instead of just half, we’d still have his contract more than paid for. The 2013 season saw Tulo earn 5.3 WAR over 446 innings. He’d still be worth $20 million a year. The 2012 season was Tulo’s worst gathering 0.4 WAR over 181 at bats, which by the 2014 value if a win would be $2.4 mil. A bad break that would be mitigated by the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

So in answering why Tulo seems like he’d be worth the money, I pretty much answered the point about injury. Tulowitzki played in an average of 107 games per season over his 9 year career (117 per season if you eliminate his 26 games in a late call up in 2006 as a season). It’s still more than half the games per season, but ideally you’d like to see him somewhere around 140-160. However, he’s averaged a 4.7 WAR (not counting his 2006 call up). Every season, except for lost years in 2012 (0.4 WAR) and 2008 (0.6) and the 2006 cup of coffee (-0.4), Tulowitzki has been one of the top three shortstops in WAR in Major League Baseball. Tulowitzki’s current hip injury is a little scary for a player at such a mobile position, but the Royals’ Alex Gordon and the Denver Bronco’s Wes Welker have come out of the torn labrum surgery fine, so there is hope he will be a good player upon returning. I mean aren’t we hoping for the same from Matt Harvey.

As for the prospect cost, that’s where red flags start popping up for me. In terms of an offensive upgrade, only three other players can hold a candle to Tulowitzki in recent years, one is the aforementioned Hanley Ramirez, who projects to be a left fielder sooner than later. Another is Jhonny Peralta, who actually led MLB last year in WAR for a shortstop. The Mets could have gotten him but said he was too expensive. In terms of $/WAR he made $34.8 million of his four-year, $53 mil. contract in one season.  In the Harvey-less 2014, it would have been a less valuable year, but it could have been enough to get the Mets over .500. The last possible offensive upgrade would be Ian Desmond, who the Mets could have had.  Desmond could have been had by sending two top prospects, likely including Noah Syndergaard to the Tampa Bay Rays while assuring that the Washington Nationals received Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar. In this deal the Mets would get one of the best shortstops, but only for one year. The Nationals would get a good short stop and also one of the best ss/2b/lf/etc. in baseball. In fact if that trade went through, the Nationals would have ended up with more WAR based on the previous year’s total.

I would take Desmond, but only with 3-4 years of control.  While Tulo is a big expense, at least we’d know that we’d be getting six years of control of a top player after we traded 2-3 top prospects and an MLB player.

So here’s to hoping for a Tulo trade or Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada combining for a positive WAR.

My 2015 IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot

This year’s election is much different than last year’s vote in one specific way.
I can just about vote for everyone that I want to.
Thanks to the IBWAA’s swift couple hour consensus on enlarging the ballot to 15 from 10 ( a process the BBWAA is still in committee over), I can fill out my ballot without having to pull dastardly stunts like I did last year.
There are still a few guys that I would like to vote for but may have to swap out for one reason or another. But I feel less bad leaving them off than I did leaving guys off last year.

For reference, here is last year’s IBWAA voting and here is this year’s ballot.
Who didn’t make the ballot
Below are the guys who got eliminated without a long deliberation. I’ve broken them down into a couple of categories and will quickly define those categories if they’re not self explanatory.
Continue reading

IBWAA RELEASES 2015 HALL OF FAME BALLOT

Los Angeles – The IBWAA released its 2015 Hall of Fame election ballot Tuesday, with the names listed below. Balloting will take place electronically betweenDecember 1 and December 31, 2014, with the results being released via Twitter on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. PST.

The IBWAA ballot compares identically to the BBWAA ballot, with the following exceptions:

  1. Craig Biggio’s name does not appear on the IBWAA ballot because he was elected by the group in 2014.
  2. Mike Piazza’s name does not appear on the IBWAA ballot because he was elected by the group in 2013.
  3. Barry Larkin’s name does appear on the ballot because he has not reached the 75% threshold in an IBWAA election.

Per a group decision in 2013, the IBWAA allows members to vote for 15 players, instead of the previous 10, beginning with this election. Players’ names link to their respective pages on Baseball-Reference.com.

Returning candidates: Jeff BagwellBarry BondsRoger ClemensJeff Kent , Barry Larkin (elected by BBWAA in 2012), Edgar MartinezDon MattinglyFred McGriffMark McGwireMike MussinaTim RainesCurt SchillingLee SmithSammy SosaAlan Trammell and Larry Walker.

First-time candidates: Rich AurilliaAaron BooneTony ClarkCarlos DelgadoJermaine DyeDarin ErstadCliff FloydNomar GarciaparraBrian GilesTom GordonEddie GuardadoRandy Johnson,Pedro MartinezTroy PercivalJason SchmidtGary SheffieldJohn Smoltz

Ballot tabulations by Brian Wittig & Associates.

The IBWAA was established July 4, 2009 to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections being announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results being announced the following January.

In 2010, the IBWAA began voting in its own relief pitcher category, establishing the Rollie Fingers American League Relief Pitcher of the Year and the Hoyt Wilhelm National League Relief Pitcher of the Year Awards.
Among others, IBWAA members include Jim Bowden, Jim Caple, Mike Petriello, David Schoenfield, Mark A. Simon and Dan Szymborski, ESPN.com; Kevin Baxter Los Angeles Times; Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports; Craig Calcaterra, NBC Sports Hardball Talk; Bill Chuck, GammonsDaily.com; Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; King Kaufman, Bleacher Report; Kevin Kennedy, Kostya Kennedy, Sports Illustrated; Jonah Keri, Grantland; Vlae Kershner, SFGate.com; Chuck Culpepper and Will Leitch, Sports on Earth; Jill Painter Lopez, FoxSportsWest.com, Bruce Markusen, Hardball Times; Ross Newhan; Dayn Perry and Matt Snyder, CBSSports.com; Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News; Eno Sarris and Wendy Thurm, FanGraphs; Tom Hoffarth and J.P. Hoornstra Los Angeles Daily News; Pedro Moura, Orange County Register; Neil Payne, FiveThirtyEight.com, Tracy Ringolsby, MLB.com, Ken Rosenthal, FoxSports.com, Dan Schlossberg, USA Today and Jesse Spector, Sporting News.

Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers, with a yearly fee of $20, or $35 lifetime. Discounts for groups and scholarships are available. Members must be 18 years of age to apply.

For more information please visit www.ibwaa.com.