MLB Draft Winners

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Colorado – 11th overall pick Tyler Matzek was the best
high school pitcher in the draft, and outfielder Tim Wheeler and
left-hander Rex Brothers were nice grabs at No. 32 and No. 34,
respectively. Second-round third baseman Nolan Arenado also could have
been picked earlier. The Rockies could have gone cheap in order to free
up more cash for Matsek, who is sure to demand a big bonus, but they
decided to keep adding legitimate prospects. If they get everyone
signed, they’ll again have one of the most talented farm systems in the
league.

Kansas City – The Royals were believed to be considering
catcher Wil Myers at pick No. 12. They instead took Aaron Crow there,
only to find Myers still available when their next turn came up at No.
91. Crow, the Nationals’ first pick last year, is a future third
starter or closer. Fourth-round Chris Dwyer could be a third player to
command a seven-figure bonus.

Texas – 14th overall pick Matthew Purke and 44th
selection Tanner Scheppers were both viewed as top-10 talents by some.
Scheppers, who was drafted by the Pirates last year, fell because of
concerns about his shoulder, but he should be signable after already
sitting out one year after college. Third-rounder Robbie Erlin and
fifth-rounder Ruben Sierra Jr. also could have gone much earlier. The
Rangers probably won’t sign them all, but adding three of the four to
the system would be a nice coup. Unfortunately, the skeptic in me
wonders if Tom Hicks’ team took so many tough signs because the well is
empty and the team didn’t want to pay slot money to players who would
be more eager to take it.

And from the it could have been worse department…

Brody Colvin – Rated Baseball America’s No. 43 prospect,
Colvin, a high school righty, fell all of the way to the seventh round
and pick No. 227. However, once there, he landed with the Phillies, a
team that should be willing to spend after being the last team to make
its first pick Tuesday. Because of the Raul Ibanez signing, the
Phillies were without a first-rounder and didn’t draft until pick No.
75.

Kyle Heckathorn (RHP Brewers), Tyler Skaggs (LHP Angels), Kentrail Davis (OF Brewers)
– All three players may have expected to get the call in round one, but
slipping to the supplemental round wasn’t such a bad thing. Unlike true
first- and second-rounders, supplemental picks aren’t protected, so if
these players go unsigned, their teams won’t get bonus picks next year.
That will give the teams more incentive to sign the players.

Great Moments in Not Understanding The Rules

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Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is a Hall of Fame voter. In the past he has voted for players who used PEDs, but he’s never been totally happy with it, seeing the whole PED mess as a dilemma for voters.

On the one hand he doesn’t like voting for users and doesn’t like harming those who were clean by shifting votes away from them, but on the other hand, he doesn’t want to pretend history didn’t happen and that baseball hasn’t been filled with cheaters forever. What to do?

This year he decided to abstain altogether. A fair and noble act if one is as conflicted as Livingston happens to be. Except . . . he didn’t actually abstain:

Major league baseball will confer bronzed immortality on a few players Wednesday when the results of the national baseball writers’ balloting for the Hall of Fame will be announced.

I had a 2017 ballot. I returned it signed, but blank, with an explanatory note.

A blank ballot, signed and submitted, is not an abstention. It’s counted as a vote for no one. Each “no” vote increases the denominator in the calculation of whether or not a candidate has received 75% of the vote and has gained induction. An abstention, however, would not. So, in effect, Livingston has voted against all of the players on the ballot, both PED-tainted and clean, even though it appears that that was not his intention.

This is the second time in two years a Cleveland writer has had . . . issues with his Hall of Fame ballot. In the 2014-15 voting period, Paul Hoynes simply lost his ballot. Now Livingston misunderstood how to abstain.

I worry quite often that Ohio is gonna mess up a major election. I guess I’m just worrying about the wrong election.

Hall of Fame voters are making news, not exercising democratic rights

Cooperstown
Associated Press
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Last month the Baseball Writers Association of America voted to make all Hall of Fame ballots public beginning with next year’s vote for the 2018 induction class. In the past 24 hours or so, as this year’s Hall of Fame voting period comes to a close, a lot of folks have been talking about that. Most notably in Jayson Stark’s piece over at ESPN regarding next year’s brave new public world.

Stark is pro-transparency on the ballots, as are the vast majority of BBWAA members who voted on the public ballot measure (it passed 80-9). Not everyone Stark quotes in his article is on board with it, though:

“I’ve already seen a lot of people change their votes from one year to the next,” said one of the strongest dissenters to this decision, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. “People have changed their votes based on public opinion.”

Two other sources in the story, Scott Miller of Bleacher Report and a voter who asked to remain anonymous equated their Hall of Fame vote with democracy and invoked the sanctity of the secret ballot. “The No. 1 reason I was against this rule is that in this country, it’s a democracy, and everyone has a vote on different things. And I hate to see a blanket rule that forces everyone to go in one direction,” Miller said. Here’s what the anonymous guy said:

“To me, a secret ballot is a fundamental of democracy. You should be able to vote your conscience without having to explain your vote. But once it’s public, you’re open to public pressure. And that’s not what we want in a democracy. We’re not elected representatives. We’re chosen to be part of a voting group.”

This is ridiculous of course. Voting for the Hall of Fame is not exercising democratic rights. It is making news and making history. Hall of Fame voters are making decisions which will fundamentally alter baseball history and which matter greatly to a large number of baseball fans. They are not advancing their own or society’s interests at the ballot box the way citizens do on election day. Despite the fact that the form of their action here is, technically speaking, a ballot, they are making news in the same way a GM makes a news with a trade, the commissioner makes news with a rule change or a team makes news by winning a World Series.

Would any of these voters — who are credentialed members of the media, by the way, and like to style themselves as truth-seeking members of the Fourth Estate — accept silence from the people who make the news on the beat they cover? Would they be content if the newsmakers whose acts they chronicle demanded anonymity the way they themselves do now? Of course they wouldn’t. And if they got the same silent treatment they’d prefer to give, they’d write one of those petulant little columns they love about players who “duck the press” after a game.

Suck it up, journalists. Act the way you expect the newsmakers you cover to act and own your decisions. Don’t pretend for a moment that you’re not the subject of, and not the reporter of, the story when Hall of Fame season comes around.