In the Heyman Hall of Fame post, I talked about how memory doesn’t always serve us well. About how Heyman’s “you just had to be there” and multiple references to “impact,” in support of Jack Morris’ Hall of Fame case weren’t persuasive to me. An excellent counterexample of all of that comes in the form of Jeff Fletcher’s column explaining his thought process on voting for Jeff Bagwell:
Applying the eyeball test to Bagwell, which is usually all I do with players before it’s actually decision time, my instinct was that he was not a Hall of Famer. I don’t remember at any time through Bagwell’s career thinking that this was a guy who deserved to be enshrined with the likes of Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron … When I began digging into the numbers, my guess was that Bagwell would probably wind up falling short. But I dug nonetheless.
And when he dug he realized that his memory had failed him. Or perhaps he just hadn’t really appreciated Bagwell at the time seeing as though no one outside of Texas watched every Astros game back in the 90s. It didn’t take an exploration of esoteric metrics and annoyingly-acronymed statistics. It merely took a pair of fresh eyes taking a fresh look at the record which Jeff Bagwell complied at the moment Bagwell first became eligible for consideration.
Not really hard, was it?
For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.
The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?
Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.
Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West
There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.
Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?
Our 2017 AL West Previews:
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim