With last night’s announcement of the latest class headed to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame in July, several aspects of the voting process once again came into question and up for debate.
Here are a few of my thoughts that are just opinions, and I want to hear yours:
* The 10-man ballot is fine. There is some talk that voters should be allowed to vote for more than 10. I think that is a good number. If someone can’t make your list of 10, they may not be a Hall of Famer. At the worst, they will stay on the ballot and eventually get in. That number, in my opinion, does not need to be changed.
* I voice again my ongoing opinion that some broadcasters should be allowed to vote for the Hall of Fame. Currently, only 10-year members of the Baseball Writers’ Assocation of American cast ballots.
Why not have a committee that adds a few voters each year who don’t even have to necessarily be broadcasters? But over the years, we’ve seen some greats like Bob Costas, Vin Scully, Chuck Thompson and Ernie Harwell, to name just four, be more than qualified to cast an educated ballot. Time to add some new members to the club.
* Now for the steroid issue. I think this is just up to the individual voter as to how they view it. Some voters feel no one that ever was accused of or determined to have used steroids should get in. Some weigh it differently. For me, it is up to each voter to decide in each case and that obviously is what voters are now doing.
None of us can know for sure exactly which players used steroids, to what level and to what level it helped them post stats, hit homers and stay on the field. We don’t know, for instance, how many pitchers were using that hitters faced when posting those stats. I am a BBWAA member, but not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame vote. Right now, I would have a hard time voting for Barry Bonds and/or Roger Clemens, as great as they were. At the same time, I can see how someone else would vote for them and also could see a day where I might change my current opinion on both and others.
Interesting take: Former Orioles pitcher Dave Johnson had an intriguing observation on “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” on MASN yesterday. In discussing Vladimir Guerrero’s Hall of Fame candidacy, he spoke of how aggressive he was at the plate, sometimes even hitting pitches that bounced. He then wondered if the Orioles’ Chris Davis could begin to regain his previous level of production by becoming more aggressive at the plate.
Sounds like a plan, although certainly no one wants him trying to hit pitches that bounce.
Davis’ production has certainly been in big decline in recent years, especially when compared to his monster 2013 season. His OPS then - when he hit 53 homers - was 1.004 and it was .732 last year. In the last two seasons, his batting average was .221 and .215 and he has hit 38 and 26 homers.
According to FanGraphs.com, Davis swung at 74.5 percent of pitches inside the strike zone in 2013. The last three years, that percentage dropped from 72.2 in 2015 to 64.1 in 2016 and to 60 this past season, which was his career low. So he took four out of every 10 pitches inside the strike zone. He certainly let hittable pitches go by. He certainly took strike three way too often. No hitter will or should swing at every strike. Some are on the corners, and unless the count already has two stikes, can be taken. They are tough to barrel up. But Davis has let too many hittable pitches go by without so much as a swing in recent seasons.
While his ability to take close pitches no doubt helps his walk rate, which is among the best on the team, more aggressiveness could and should be in order in 2018.
First ballot #Braves #HOF teammates:-- Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) January 24, 2018
They’re the first team in history with 4 first-ballot teammates who spent 10+ years with the same club.
The only team with 3? The ’70s #Orioles (Palmer, Brooks, Eddie Murray)
Chills.-- Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) January 25, 2018
The moment Jim Thome got the call: pic.twitter.com/oPzwn9XS43
Big Fella Jim Thome I wish we could recreate this moment from 2012 big fella. Congrats on the... https://t.co/ZofA1vZV9S-- 10 (@SimplyAJ10) January 25, 2018